Tag: finding presence in parenting

“This is supposed to be fun.”

Those were the words uttered to me a couple weeks ago by my 11 year old as we were shopping for ingredients for her birthday dinner. Just the two of us at the grocery store, which might not seem like a big deal to some, but when you’re 3rd of 4 children, actually it is. And when it’s your birthday weekend ESPECIALLY it is.

So we’re in the store, just the two of us, and I am feeling pretty stressed out. We had just moved about a week prior and there was lots ot do to prepare and adjust and organize AND I had a lot of writing work on my plate that week and, I had a birthday dinner to make. Which isn’t really that much more work than just making a regular dinner but in my head I was letting it swirl as monumental. And I was being cranky and short-tempered and admittedly slightly martyr-ish and worse, I was rushing her through this ritual she had been counting on all week.

About halfway down one aisle she started crying. I looked over slightly surprised by her tears, put my arm around her shoulders and asked sympathetically, “What’s wrong?”

Without any hesitation she answered, “This is supposed to be fun. And you’re ruining it because you’re so stressed.” And she was right.

And I realized in that moment that regardless of what else was on my plate, or of what needed to be done, at that moment in time I was there, with her, in the store, getting the stuff we needed for her dinner. And my crankiness and rushingness wasn’t going to change anything at all about what I had to do or what I had been through. All it was doing was making this task miserable.

So I hugged her again. Took a deep breath. And said, “You’re right. I’m sorry. Let’s have fun.”

And we did.

For the rest of the outing, the shop, the meal making, we had a really good time. It was really as simple as making a decision to have a good time. To not worry about all the stuff that needed doing, because I wasn’t going to be doing it anyway, and worrying and stressing about it wasn’t going to make any of it any easier or make it go away,  so in that moment of time, why NOT choose fun.

And since that outing just a few weeks ago, that phrase has become one of my (many) mantras…”This is supposed to be fun.”

It’s a reminder I say out loud and to myself. And though some may argue that it’s not as simple as that, really, most times it is. It’s as simple as shifting my attitude and deciding to have a good time at that moment in time, with the task at hand and the people I am with.

I might just have to etch that one in over the front door – going in and out…This is supposed to be fun*.


*I actually got a chance to talk about this and other attitude shifting ideas, with Carrie Contey as part of her virtual conference entitled, “Your Extraordinary Family Life.” Check it out if you have a chance, there was some really great stuff being said!



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This too shall pass

When my oldest was born, I received a lot of advice around parenting. Some applied. Some did not. Some was for the moment. While still others were maybe delivered a little too early or too late.  The piece of advice I got though that really stuck, the one that has withstood the test of time and the one we have been able to apply to all aspects and ages of parenting was from my sister…

“It’s all a phase,” she said.  “So revel in the good ones and know that the bad ones shall pass.”

solo time

These words have brought me through the darkest times and at the same time allowed me to really see and appreciate the bright and shiny moments as well.What I have come to know as the ebb and flow of parenting.

Whether I was parenting an infant growing a tooth or falling asleep on my chest for an afternoon nap. Whether I was guiding a toddler through a tantrum or helping him examine a dead butterfly. Whether I was assisting a 7 year old learning the code of our written language, or a 10 year old finding just the right chapter book or a 12 year old navigating the social waters. In all of it I was able to strive for full presence either suffering it or celebrating it – depending on the circumstances. All because I knew that this too shall pass.

Where are you now? Up? Down? In the darkness? Or in the light?

Find a loving ear or a helping hand or a total stranger to share in your joy.

And know that this too shall pass.

Only one other piece of advice has withstood this test of time and this one came from my brother…

“Don’t sweep until the rice dries.”

That one’s useful too.

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