A couple of years ago, I attended a women in leadership seminar where the speaker challenged us to consider the most important word for our year. I skeptically thought to myself, “How could I possibly focus on just ONE word, ALL YEAR??”
Nonetheless, I chose my word that year as Faith. It was a time in my life when I really needed to let go of needing to be in charge of everything (something I am still working on!) and allow God to lead me to finding purpose.
Remarkably, as I found myself choosing to be mindful of that word that year, I actually found myself feeling less anxious about being the “perfect mom.” Or even a great mom all the time. I was living in this anxiety of always needing to keep it together in public (and at home so my kids wouldn’t tell their friends or teachers) so that my JOB as a child psychologist would not seem hypocritical. I often found myself thinking…”If I can’t keep my own kids ‘in order’, how would anyone possibly trust me to help them with their children??”
I chose to have FAITH that it would be okay.
So I allowed them to run in circles in the grocery store.
I allowed them to make farting noises in the elevator.
I allowed them to sing as they ordered their food at the fast food restaurant.
Because the truth is, none of those things is actually inappropriate for boys/kids their age. None of those things is harmful to them or anyone else. I mean, who really decided those things were banned from grocery stores, elevators, and restaurants?? Mostly us, adults, who really struggle to know how to infuse fun and laughter into our everyday lives.
When I focused on FAITH, I allowed my kids to be kids, without forcing them to fit within a box that “WE” have decided they should be in. And more than anything, my anxiety was not about their well-being. It was about other people’s judgment of me as a mother and a woman. I felt the stares when they would be hyper in the store. I saw the heads shaking as my son would throw the giant ball into the elastic-banded TOWER of BALLS at the store (I mean… really?!?!? who doesn’t want to just throw those balls into the tower every time they walk past??). But at the end of the day, it wasn’t about their inappropriate behavior – it was other people’s judgment of me “not having control” of my kids. And with this one life I have with them, I suppose I have two choices. 1. Never go out in public. or 2. Stop worrying about others’ expectations of how my kids should behave.
Anyone else struggle here?? Let me tell you, you are not alone. And if I ever see you out, I promise not to judge.
So as I continue to choose to have FAITH that it will be okay, I am still working on allowing them to be who they are in public. There are four of them afterall! That is a lot of craziness in the store sometimes! 🙂
Fast forward to this year. I have contemplated a few words for this coming year. Balance. Rest. Peace. But the best word I have found to capture what I dream for 2019 is BREATHE. It absolutely encapsulates all of my goals and dreams for this year.
- When I find myself becoming anxious about what others think of me – I will just BREATHE and be reminded that… I am enough.
- When I am working on my yoga practice (something I have had a LOVE/HATE relationship with for years)… I will BREATHE.
- When I am feeling stressed about work or kids or life… I will BREATHE.
- When my kids are challenging me with their behavior or words… I will remember to BREATHE so I can pause to figure out the best way to respond.
- As I ponder my next steps in my career… I will BREATHE and practice meditating on what God has for me.
Whatever your goal or focus for 2019 (and beyond), I encourage you to find a word. And you will be amazed at how helpful it is that you can live into that word…but also, how often you encounter that word in your life!
So…. what’s your word??
photo cred (pexels.com – rawpixel)