Okay parents...I'm here to give it to you straight. We have been taught we CAN have it all but over the years I have realized do we really want it all? What does that even mean?
Let me start with those plates that we are constantly balancing above our heads. Can you picture those plates in your mind? What are they made of? The china we got as a wedding gift that we whip out once a year, or never? What if we were to change our perspective and turn those plates into paper plates. Interesting, right?
Stay with me. We are so fearful of the plates crashing down all at once and being left with an overwhelming sense of failure. Sound familiar? If you ever dropped a paper plate, it has a certain flow to it as it gently reaches the floor. It's not messy, not loud and certainly not as stressful as let's say, china. This new perspective takes some of that pressure off, right? YEP! You know the pressure I am referring to. The one that weighs your shoulders down, keeps you up at night and constantly causes you to feel defeated.
When we are able to free up our mental real estate, we become productive, both at home and at work. We can alter our relationships with our kids, spouses, family, co-workers and friends.
We are all stretched thin. Even the Swiss cheese I used in my omelette this morning is the ultra thin kind. There is never enough time, someone is always pulling us in different directions and we create guilt for ourselves when we don't deliver. Again, sound like you? It's all of us.
First, let's start with a deep breath. Stop what you are doing and literally take a deep breath. Feel better? I do. Tell your friends, family and kids you are stressed. Why? You will realize you are not alone and we are all in this together. Together we WILL master it all! When we share the good and the bad, we may be helping someone who feels alone, shameful and hopeless.
Embrace the bad days. How would you know what a good day was without the bad ones? Failure is not a bad thing. We often care too much about what others think but the truth is WE are our biggest critics and judges. So you didn't make it to the supermarket for your child's favorite yogurt to put in their lunchbox. That's life...they'll get over it. So you couldn't make it to the school assembly. Guess what? You were busy and couldn't shift your schedule around. That's life...the kids will get over it. So your kids have worn the same shirt all week because you had to make a deadline for work and couldn't get to the laundry. A little spin in the dryer with a dryer sheet and no one will ever know. If they did, who cares. They will get over it.
Find the humor in your stress. Humor? Yes! Laughter is the best parenting and life tool. When's the last time you laughed so hard you peed, even though you had a C-section? If you have to think about it, it's been too long. There is nothing better than being able to find the humor in something serious and watch the magic it creates. Laugh with your kids. Act like an idiot. Find your inner child.
Parenting and life are hard. We all know that. What we don't realize is that simple sustainable solutions exist and they are readily available for all of us. Challenges are good for us. It makes us stronger, are learning lessons, and reminds us we are human. Here's to progress, not perfection.