Tonight, as I was making dinner, I could hear my children laughing in one of their bedrooms. They were playing and having fun, and most importantly, staying out of my hair while I made dinner. I decided to go see what they were up to. As I walked down the hallway, I suddenly got the feeling that I wasn’t going to be happy with what I found. They weren’t in either of their rooms which meant they were in my room.
As I walked in, I slipped on something and landed straight on my behind. As I looked up from the floor the two of them were jumping on my bed and having a baby powder/baby lotion fight. Like a food fight, but with baby products. I know right?!
My husband was at work so I, alone, would have to deal with this mess. As I lay on the floor, I had a brief moment where I wanted to get up and go all Liam Neeson on them. Instead, I calmly stood up and said, “You will both clean this up NOW!” and then walked out.
I returned to the kitchen and did some Lamaze breathing (see I knew those classes would come in handy at some point.) I then proceeded to send a text to two of my girlfriends and then I started to laugh. That’s right. There I stood, knowing full well that my entire master bedroom was covered in baby lotion and baby powder and I decided to laugh.
When I became a parent, okay maybe not the moment I became a parent, but at some point into my first child’s life I decided that I would have two parenting mantras:
1. Laugh. Because if you don’t laugh you will cry, and crying is just not a daily option over laughter.
2. Stop taking life so seriously. No really… stop.
Somehow along the way I forgot my own parenting mantras. I take things way too seriously, and all too often, I would cry in the bathroom rather than laugh in the living room. Tonight, for whatever reason, I remembered the promise I made to myself seven years ago and I decided to laugh. That doesn’t mean I allowed the kids to think it was okay to act like a couple of prisoners trying to teach the warden a lesson, but it does mean that I laughed about the fact that said warden fell on her ass in a pile of Johnson & Johnson baby lotion. Now I smell fresh AND I’m moisturized so… win, win.
I decided I’m making a new list of parenting rules. I’m printing it out and hanging it on my refrigerator because somewhere along the way I’ve let the stress take over and I’m not the mom I want to be. Feel free to print your own copy:
1. Laugh. Just laugh because crying is not ALWAYS the best option.
2. Cry if you have to. It’s okay to cry every now and then.
3. Stop taking life so seriously. No really stop it.
4. Allow kids to be kids. They only get one chance at this and they will love you for it.
5. Set boundaries for them and for you.
6. Embrace the mess.
7. Make time for yourself. You deserve it.
8. Get together with your girlfriends more. They make you laugh and if for some reason you are going to cry they will hug you and give you wine. They understand you. They love you for who you are; not who you think you should be. Be silly with them. Be there for them. Life is so much better when you surround yourself with people who get you.
*Notice me and my girlfriends taking life WAY TOO seriously.*
9. Ask for help when you need it. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you finally figured out you’re not a Transformer.
10. Take one moment every single day to breathe… just breathe and look at your kids. Really look at them. Look at them when they don’t know you’re looking and you will remember all the reasons you signed up for this gig in the first place. You will find your happy. It's right where you always knew it was. Every now and then you just need the reminder.