Playing Hooky Made Me a Better Mom.

Posted on Posted in How to Love & Be Loved.

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How to seize the day:

I’ve unplugged a lot this week, not completely, but a lot.

By “unplugged” I mean largely ignore my phone.

Yes, I stopped for a few phone calls with my daughter’s teachers. Yes, I did check Facebook and my email and read a few text messages. I also, however, only looked at my phone a handful of times a day, either flatly turning it off or on airplane mode for most of it.

In between rainy last weekend and rainy today, instead of perusing my phone or answering texts, I played hooky with my kids.

I didn’t do laundry or the few errands that really should have been finished; I didn’t write some of the thoughts in my head—or succumb to the feeling that the outside world deserves more of my attention than my two daughters.

We played soccer outside.

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My baby—who turns one next week—and my five year old and I took the ball outside, the net and, I’ll admit, late one afternoon I brought my favorite hoppy ale.

I did cartwheels and somersaults for, sadly and honestly and joyously, the first time in years. I fist bumped my little girl when we made goals, and noted the hilarity of watching the baby even kick the ball around. (I did not play soccer growing up, FYI. I am not good. This is strictly for the sake of enjoying 70-degree sunshine, a cool breeze and my gorgeous backyard with the yellow raining leaves—and my children, of course.)

This morning, I was somewhat startled to wake up to full-on fall—to a cold, drizzling rain that combined picturesquely with those yellow falling leaves and a fiercely grey sky.

I was overcome suddenly with gratitude for playing hooky—for not ignoring the demands of my real-life chores and duties, but for shoving to the back what could be and simply taking time to enjoy the dawning autumn colors, and the only summer of my life that I’ll have with a five-year-old and nearly-one-year-old. I was thankful, too, that I could more properly embrace the rain because I had fully enjoyed the sunshine that preceded it.

It’s easier to handle life’s own grey skies when we lean ferociously—completely—into the cheerful, blue ones. Happiness needs to be met, owned and seized when the opportunity is given.

And, sometimes, you seize the day because it feels right. For me, this spontaneous mindfulness led to an attitude readjustment that I needed—I asked my daughter just last week if she understood what “grumpy” meant and she had cockily answered, “Yeah—Mommy.”

Leaning into a sunny afternoon led to color on my cheeks and a happier Jennifer for my family, and for myself.

So, yeah, there’s a lot of laundry to catch up on and other things to do, but I feel calmer than I have in weeks—and I’ve received a lot of kisses from these already loving daughters of mine.

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