Playing Big

Play BigWhat does “playing big” mean to you?

Is it starting your own business?

Is it pursuing a creative outlet, like creating art?

Is it making a systems change within your current work environment?

Is it getting up the courage to make a presentation in front of a group of colleagues?

Is it moving your child with special needs to their neighborhood school?

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An unconventional To Do list

“have a tickle fest with the girls”
“be completely present during the afternoon”
“sit down on the couch and read to the girls”

These are some of the action items that have been on my To Do list this past week.

I’ve have very recently discovered Abundant Mama.  Check it out.   It’s about finding peace, playfulness, and connection amidst the craziness that is motherhood.  I signed up for Shawn’s 10 Day Rise & Shine Challenge because I was looking for inspiration to continue the recent habit I had taken up- getting up early before the rest of the family.  One thing Shawn suggested in that Challenge was to think daily about what it is that I am feeling that I need, and to pick the top one that will make that day the best day it can be.  This challenged me to think about my day in a different way.  Rather than thinking about traditional To Do’s, it got me thinking about what I truly need that day in a broader sense.  I started including things on my To Do list that allowed me to stop and enjoy moments.  More connection with my girls.  More being present.  I still put traditional To Do’s on my list, of course, but I also added to my list things that encouraged me to really be present and connect with my children and with the day.  I do believe that sometimes it’s completely necessary to have a “get a lot of stuff done” day.  But I was finding that most of my days were like that.  I was getting lost in all of life’s to do’s and not stopping to just enjoy the small moments, to enjoy life with my family.  It’s true what they say “The days are long, but the years are short.”

I also started writing down an intention for the day.  My intention has been the same for the past week:

“When my child’s behavior escalates, I will respond in a calm and loving manner, and I will ask myself  “how do I want her to remember this moment?”

I wrote this intention with Alexa in mind.  I find myself becoming very frustrated with how fast her mood changes and how quickly she can escalate from completely fine to completely whiny and in meltdown mode.

Last week was a great week to set this intention.  She went back to school (preschool 3 mornings a week), wasn’t feeling 100%, and has recently stopped napping.  I set the intention and on that same day I had a wonderful opportunity to put it into action.  After picking her up at school, she had one of those meltdowns.  The I’m-Over-Tired-And-Not-Feeling-Well-So-I’m-Going-To -Go-Ballistic Kind of meltdown.  Through her hysterical crying she told me that she needed my help “calming her body down”.  So I laid down with her in her bed and as difficult as it was, I remained calm.  In a low and patient voice, I soothed her.  After what seemed like an eternity, she sobbed “Mommy, can I please have some princess oils?”.  “Princess oils” are essential oils that I have been using on the girls.  There’s one in particular that I use that promotes calming.  “Do you want the Calming?”, I asked.  She nodded.  “And cold water with ice”.  By the time I got back with those items, she had calmed down a lot.  I put the oils on her and gave her the water.  I laid down with her again. She turned to me, lifted her little hand to push my hair out of my face, and said “Mommy?  I love you.  You’re the best mommy in the world.”   The look in her eye told me that she understood and appreciated the patience I had shown her.  Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way.  Remaining calm when a child is pushing all of your buttons is HARD.  Having that sentence to repeat in my head helped me remain calm and respond rationally.

If you’re reading this, I challenge you to add a “To-Do” action item to your list that will help you be more present with your family, or that will create some silliness, fun, and laughter in your household.  Here are a few ideas to get your started:

*”unplug” between the hours of xx and xxx.  No computer, cell phone, or TV.  Be present.
*put on music and have a mini-dance party
*if you have small children, be a “tickle monster” and run around catching your child/children
*take an hour for yourself and get a pedicure
*find a quote that speaks to you and write it on your calendar or post it on your refrigerator and let that be your “intention” for the day or for the week.

What are you doing to do to take care of yourself or your family tomorrow?  Let me know in the comments!