Life with two children under the age of five has both its unbelievable rewards and, frankly, its insanity.
Last night, I watched my two girls play in their Halloween costumes and I had a few realizations that struck me as profound yet simple. Often, I find it’s these little types of “aha” moments that help me enjoy my life most—if I only embrace them as larger lessons.
1. Stop creating unnecessary pressure with ideals.
I was at my 5-year-old’s fall party and I was talking to another parent about my 1-year-old’s Velcro shoes. He said that they never bought the lace-up kind, even though they are the preferred standard, because it was so much easier for them as parents. In our conversation, I happened to mention that what saves our sanity ultimately is good for our kids too.
Another example of this came to me via my daughter’s Halloween costume.
She told me adamantly that she wanted to be a dinosaur way back in September. After perusing the costume selection and deeming most ugly, hot and uncomfortable, we chose to special order a dinosaur hoodie. Here we are a week before the costume fun begins, and I’m afraid it won’t arrive on time. I buy her another costume and hide it, even from my husband (which is big, since I invented the play-by-play). The hoodie did arrive, and she enthusiastically wore it to all of her special activities, but I gave her this second dinosaur outfit while we’re sitting around the dining table eating candy on Halloween night.
Guess which costume she wanted to put on today? Not the hoodie.
2. Stop caring what other people think.
To be fair, this is a lesson we all “know” we should be doing, but actually putting it into practice is not easy. (And one of my least favorite things is writers telling people what we “should” be doing, without actually helping to put this sage wisdom into something accessible in real life.)
However, I actually thank my yoga practice for helping me with this.
Anyone who’s ever been to a yoga class knows that it can be intimidating, regardless of skill level. That said, everyone who has ever really paid attention to what’s going on has come to the conclusion that worrying about what other people think of us on our mats is a total waste of brain space, because we are all concentrating on ourselves, on our own mats, and not on the other people present.
Taking this back over to my daughter’s fall party at school last week.
The kids were doing a silly dance, and the teacher said she was happy to see some of the other parents joining in. I looked around and realized most parents were standing there, while the mom next to me and myself were the only ones sticking our tongues out, and our butts in the air, and our knees together, and singing like this, like the song hilariously dictated. We shrugged at each other and she whispered, “We have this CD.”
The thing is, I hadn’t even realized I was singing and dancing along. Instead, I was just having fun at my daughter’s party. And that’s the key: when we stop thinking about what we look like, or thinking we have to be cool, we become more available to enjoy our lives.
3. There is always more love.
Every day as a stay-at-home mom, I feel challenged to fulfill my needs, my children’s needs and the needs of my relationship with my husband.
There are only so many hours in a day, and I only have so many arms, but one thing I’ve definitely been shown, again and again, is that there is always enough love.
I personally was never concerned with loving a second child as much as my first because, growing up an identical twin, I knew that both my sister and I were loved. Also, I’ve been with my partner for over 21 years. I love him so much, and I love our kids, and I love my twin, etc. In other words, there is always enough love to go around.
And my kids have taught me so many ways to enjoy life, not just these three. I could write forever on the joys of my children, even if I could also thank them for reminding me that it’ll be a long, long time until I sleep in again with the “fall back” time change.
What are the most rewarding lessons your kids have taught you? Leave them below in the comments.