3 yo: This hurts.
Dad: Your head hurts?
3 yo: No. My forehead hurts. (Her expression saying “Obviously!”)
3 yo: Can I have some medicine?
Dad: Do you need medicine? Or should we give you some loves?
3 yo: No! I don’t like loves. I like Benadryl!
No, we did not give her Benadryl for her headache.
What do I write about these days? I have no idea. I spent most of my time in 2015 stumbling around, mumbling to myself, and aimlessly searching under rocks trying to figure out who I want to be, where I am going, and what will get me there.
Exhibit A: I read (or re-read) the following books year:
The Dream Giver
**The Gifts of Imperfection
I Thought it was Just Me
**The Seven Decisions
The Happiness Project
Made to Stick
**The Book of Forgiving
You are a Badass (Still working on this book. There is so much I love about it a few I don’t. I’ve already had to ignore about 30 F words that I could have done without. To be fair the front cover was fair warning.)
**These books were my favorites.
I have been incredibly impatient. God is probably on the verge of pitching me to the side of the road.. “Are we there yet? How about now? How much longer? Do you know a shortcut? Are you sure this is the right way? Is that REALLY on the map? Did we miss an exit?”
It has been a miraculous year of growth in the personal development department and the growing pains have been very real. I’ve learned a lot though. Not at all what I set out to learn or thought I needed to learn, but whatever. I’m trying to just go with it.
Here are a few things I thought about this year:
Kids learn more by who you are than by what you teach them. If I want Anne to have great self esteem and aim high, I have to shoot first. In some ways, this takes the pressure off of learning the exact right way to parent. In other ways, not so much. Time to be awesome so your daughter knows how to be awesome too. It also means that if I love my imperfections she has permission to love hers too.
I spend a lot of time trying to stay as small, safe, and unseen as possible. Problem is—there are no guarantees. You can stay small and quiet and get hit by a bus tomorrow. You might as well live as big and crazy as possible, enjoy the ride, and surrender. Oh how ZEN I sound. No, I haven’t figured that out yet. Surrendering is not my strong suit.
I’m done with “should” and “supposed to.”
Three year olds can set New Years Resolutions too. Anne woke up New Years Eve and said to herself, “Yup. I’m gonna rock 2016” and potty trained herself. Diapers to undies overnight. Yessssss! It’s not like she didn’t know what to do. She’s been rocking the curriculum for many, many moons (moons…lol) but even her pediatrician told us we had done everything we needed to and instructed us to leave the rest to her. She had to decide on her own.
The delayed potty training was good for me. Part of me (a bigger part than I’d like to admit) was embarrassed. The Mom Shame was strong. She’s three and a half. Did we do something wrong? The message from the “community” was strong and many.
When I realized I was more worried about other people’s opinions than the health and wellbeing of my child, the guilt was thick and real and all over me. I felt like I was covered in chocolate from head to toe after eating my daughter’s Halloween candy in my sleep. (If you ever want to hear that story, I will gladly oblige. It’s hysterical and completely traumatic.)
I knew I had to just let it all go. Leave her alone, support her, do all the awesome things we had learned, avoid all the bad stuff, and give her space. I had to let go of what I thought she should be doing or what anyone said because I wanted her to unaffected by it too. That, my friend, is the struggle. To appreciate all the advise and not let the judgment effect my choices. We did get some really awesome advise, too.
No one will build the life I want for myself but me.
Trying harder doesn’t work. Trying to be someone else doesn’t work. Change fueled by self hate doesn’t work either.
Start where you are. There’s no where else you can start. Literally. I did a lot of waiting to be more ___ before I started. This means I started NEVER.
People who really freak me out, who seem so talented or accomplished and out of my league didn’t get there by accident. They also didn’t get there magically or overnight, and they didn’t pop out of their mother’s uteruses like that. Everyone learns and everyone works. Everyone practices.
If they can learn, I can learn too. I am great at my job—but I didn’t always know how to do it. I have learned and grown in so many areas. Whose to say I can’t learn anything? Also, comparing myself to other people usually just screws me up anyway.
Dancing can pretty much solve all of my problems. And dance battles are quite possibly the best form of conflict resolution.
Perfect is the enemy of done. It’s also the enemy of creativity, exploration, friendship, growth, and courage.
Perfume does not double as glass cleaner. Anne disagrees.
God uses us in tons of ways. What may seem completely nuts from the outside may be exactly what we should be doing.
I always thought that if I was just more ____ I’d be happier. Happier with myself, with my life, with my family, with my job. There must be something missing. If my life was more ___. If I was less ____. If I was more like _____.
So I tried. Through sheer grit and determination, I went to work. And while those little victories had some satisfaction laced into them, it didn’t last. Either did the change.
I found that when I started learning to love and cherish myself, not for what I accomplished or what I look like but for the very core of who I am, what I am made of, and where I came from, I became more of the things I always wanted to be. I was more like the people I looked up to. The qualities I didn’t like in myself started to round out a bit.
I had to stop waiting until I “deserved it” to love myself. The whole premise was jacked up anyway. Nothing I could do or say or be would make me more or less deserving of love. God is perfect and He loves me, not because He is just that awesome (although He is) but because God is perfect, He is only capable of loving things worth loving. Do you know what that means? If He loves you (and He does), it’s because you are worthy of it. He loves you, not because of what you do, but because of what you are. You are a Child of God, made by Him, equipped with His light, talents, and have limitless potential. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved. You are already awesome. Imperfect, in progress, and sometimes lost, but awesome.
I think I resisted this idea for so long because it felt like giving up. If I wasn’t hustling for love and appreciation, I figured apathy would set in.
What surprised me more than anything was that the opposite is true. We take care of the things we love. We are kind to our bodies. We talk to ourselves differently. That kind of change has a ripple effect in the rest of your life.
What I really needed, and still need, is more love. As I have learned more self love, I have learned how to love other people more too. Stewardship means something totally different to me now. I actually feel like I barely understand it.
You are the only you who has ever been you and who ever will be you. “There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do. You have a way of being in the world and a perspective that’s unique to you. You are the only one who thinks your thoughts the way you think them. You are the only you that will ever be. You are kind of a big deal.” -Jen Sincero in You are a BadA (the book with lots of F words)