One of the reasons parenting is so exhausting, in addition to all the usual running around, is that you’re giving your all (and then some) to teach your kids how to live. I was struck by this thought today: it’s all up to Paul and me. Yes, other people come into play: grandparents, friends, teachers, other people in the line at Starbucks. But for the most part, the shaping of their character — the teaching of right from wrong — is in our hands. With newborn babies, our main job is simply keeping them alive. But later on? You have to teach them how to be.
It seems we’re bombarded daily with inspirational quotes and mothering advice columns that encourage us to take time for ourselves by having a bubble bath or a massage. A bubble bath is nice on occasion, but I get bored in about 10 minutes, and personally, I find it comfier to read in bed with my seven pillows than in a slick tub. Also, bubbles make a scummy mess. And massages are great, but I need a LOT more than one hour to recharge. In fact, ever since the kids were born, I have felt guilty about how much time I seem to want (need?) for myself. Those encouraging articles always suggest taking time “every now and then.” But I want a chunk of time to myself DAILY. In fact, I want a regularly repeating bunch of consecutive hours to do what I want without guilt, without questions to answer or obligations to fulfill. And I finally realized why I need so much of this: it appears I have very few consecutive grown-up days in me before I feel myself reverting back to a kid again. I can’t help it. It’s just a fact. Continue reading
I learned three things today, which makes it an awesome day for personal growth. (Yay, me.) I’ll share with you so that it’s a personal growth day for you, too. (Yay, you.) After you read this, and if you find it useful, you can go watch cat videos on YouTube or discuss conspiracy theories with your teenage son (don’t ask), because your day has been productive.
The three learnings are:
Please note: there is no moral to this story, I offer no insights or inspiration. However, it may serve as a cautionary tale. Most likely, it’s just a bunch of random nonsense. And there’s no thesis statement. Whatever.
When I got to the lake with my paddleboard this afternoon, the temperature was in the low 80’s, the lake was quiet and peaceful under a very slight breeze, and I took off for a quick paddle. But just a minute or two out from the dock, the lake was disrupted by these large waves that came rolling toward me from literally nowhere. They were fat and round and fun, like those thrown off by a pretty big or pretty fast boat, but there were no boats in sight. Not a single one. Huh.
Remember I wrote recently that I wouldn’t be a 15-year-old girl again for the world? Well, maybe I would. In fact, I AM. This has been the best July since I was 15, before I had summer jobs. Wait, scratch that: July of 21 years ago was the best ever, the year I married the love of my life and was a princess for the whole summer. That was awesome. I’ll never forget it.
Other than that, though! This summer rocks. July should be celebrated. So listen, start planning for next summer immediately and follow these steps. I highly, majestically, incredibly and vociferously recommend it:
I want to be a bad-ass, too…
Remember when I wanted to join a roller derby? Changed my mind. I want to play ice hockey. I can (sort of) skate, but I can’t stop. Still, I think the only time hockey players actually stop is when they’re slammed into the walls, so that shouldn’t be a problem. The discovery of this new goal came toward the end of a great day. And it happened because I fought my natural desire to hunker down and stay home on a cold, rainy spring day. I’ll share the progression with you; feel free to copy if you want.
How to have a great day and end it with renewed excitement and passion:
I have edited and cut and rewritten and cut this stupid, stupid essay that I can’t look at it anymore. It started out with a great, fun idea (see headline and PS) but I managed to turn it into a piece with an overworked metaphor and a preachy tone that is annoying me, which means it is bound to be even worse for you. But whatever. Read it if you want. I wash my hands of the damn thing. (With all my editing and cutting, I refused to edit out the balloon metaphor, because the picture from UP is so pretty.)
As an adult in today’s world, and one who spends a fair (though not obscene) amount of time on social media, I have absorbed enough self-help phrases and 12-step slogans and feel-good mantras to last me this lifetime and at least much of my next (although maybe I’ll be evolved enough by then that I won’t need them).