Question: What if parenting got to be full of ease? (What if LIFE did?)
It may not always be easy, relationships of any kind will always make us grow. They’re never ‘figured out.’
But where are we making it harder on ourselves than we need to?
The bloody basket.
I’m looking at it now as I type this. Full of toys. And all she ever does it tip them all out to play with the basket itself.
But the other day, as I looked in despair yet again at the toys in chaotic mess, and the basket over the other side of the room, empty and being used as some kind of Barbie platform, I realised - why am I doing this to myself??
Why am I fighting against that, forever trying to get her to not tip everything out, or - more futilely - to put everything back in afterwards.
Why am I fighting to keep this toy basket as it is, when it clearly doesn’t actually work for ANYONE!?
What she actually wants is to play with the basket. What I actually want is not a crap load of toys all over the floor.
So what is all that stuff inside it? Can I get rid of most of it? House the rest some other way? (Then she might actually play with some of it too.)
And I can leave the basket for her to play with as she likes, without having to tip stuff out and someone put it back in. Over and over.
So simple really.
And yet, an analogy for the ways we hang onto the idea of the how things ‘are’ or ‘should be’ instead of realising where we get to choose what actually works for us and our families.
Whether that’s schooling, work, morning routines, toys, travel, stuff, activities - it is not lazy to choose the way that makes your life easier. It’s SMART. And it’s necessary.
And it makes EVERYONE happier.
You don’t have to do it the way it’s been done. You don’t have to do it the way anyone else is doing it, not your own parents, not your mum friends, not the experts, not nobody.
You get to choose.
To have life be fun.
To do things that feel light.
That are full of ease.
That make you feel glad to get up in the morning, glad to be alive, instead of weary in the face of all your obligations and ‘must dos.'
And there may be things to rework. Things to figure out. It’s not always as obvious as the toy basket.
In my own life, I am figuring out parenting with an ex with a different parenting style - a different philosophy of life completely at times - my own health, my own business aspirations and money situation, with another baby on the way.
But I have already made changes that make my life so much more full of ease than it use to be. SO much more fun and free!
Though there are still challenges, I notice them within myself and my life - like the toy basket, and bigger - the navigation of these challenges gets easier and easier as I make space in my life for only accepting what I really want. And I know that it is worth it. The only option really.
To figure it out. To open my eyes to a different way, and not settle for less than that. To recognise I have a choice!
And even though I don’t have it all figured out, far from it, I still have days that I want to tear my hair out, or that I wonder why on earth anyone would even choose to have kids - what I have learned, is how much more influence over that feeling I have than I thought I did.
How much really is in my control to feel differently and DO differently.
That if I’m feeling like that, like I'm trapped by circumstance again, chances are there is somewhere I’m making it harder for myself. Thinking that I should do it this way, instead of letting myself flow into a way that actually works for me.
Like giving into the thought pattern of “Oh, I never get time to do the work I really want to do uninterrupted.” And feeling so frustrated and resentful about that.
When I look at it, I notice more - like the way my daughter wants connection, and of course I want to give that to her. And when I give her that uninterrupted - in some way that works for both of us, like drawing or painting and not playing Barbies, which I find mind mumblingly boring! - we both feel good, and then she actually does go off and play by herself and I get time to do my things.
Or we stay at my mums and they play together. Or we could hire a nanny. Or I can get up earlier, or work differently during the day.
Those are just a few options. But my point is, there are always options.
If it’s not working for you, you have a choice.
And if you feel like you have none, that you are powerless in the face of a particular situation - then something else, somewhere, needs to change.
A different part of the circumstances, to make more options available. A different perspective, mindset, habit or pattern. A different way of doing things that you just haven’t entertained yet. Probably because no one ever told you that you could do it differently!
But I’m telling you, you can. Whatever you really want, stop settling for less than that, and the answers begin to present themselves. They really do!
There are many changes in my life I’ve brought about through my own actions, but many more where I’ve just wanted something, set that intention for myself, held that vision - and it has happened. The solutions to what I want have seemingly brought themselves about it ways I never could have orchestrated. Even when it seemed impossible, the way would show up.
The time I wanted and needed, the travel, the support, the work, the money, the freedom, the house when I want it, the tether-free living when I don’t. The loving partner I am with now; I never could have ‘made happen’ the way we met, and the adventure it has been since.
But I put myself in the way of it happening, by choosing to not settle for a life that didn’t work for me.
And so I know it is possible again, any time I realise I’ve slipped back to settling for less.
The toy basket was my little sign this week. That little nudge. ‘Hey….you get to change this!’. And I really do.
And so do you.
Rather than all feeling like slaves to our own lives, we actually get to live and feel free!
How revolutionary - the idea that our lives should work for us, and not the other way around!?!
(okay, I'm off to do something about that basket now.)