OK, I know, it’s not “officially” summer until June 21st this year, but my summer just started because yesterday was the last day of school for my kids! Yeah!
Today we are treating the family to a day out to celebrate. Fresh made doughnuts at the new Castle Rock Donut Shop, followed by a trip to Build a Bear and lunch out.
In our family, we believe in celebrating the little things. Tomorrow is my middle child’s dance recital, where she’ll rock out 4 numbers (a “win” over last year, where she only appeared in 1 dance). We celebrate Friday nights, weekends without tears, Monday mornings, and of course, the usual stuff you probably celebrate, too (birthdays, achievements, project completions, etc.)
There’s magic in celebration, have you noticed? It lifts your mood, makes you feel happy, and helps you recognize all that there is to be grateful for. Have you ever heard the expression “celebrate your wins”? I never used to do this, personally. I might take a minute to feel satisfied, and then it was on to the next thing. I was always too busy living in the future (or the past) to take the time to enjoy the present “win.”
But it’s essential that we do celebrate each and every win! No, I’m not talking about the “self esteem” method of parenting, which failed miserably and resulted in a generation of whiney-butts with a colossal sense of entitlement. Wow! You blinked all by yourself! Good job, now here’s a cookie. Or a car.
In my experience, parenting is all about finding the balance. No, I don’t want my kids to worry about how much everything costs, but I also don’t want them to be spoiled and never think about what anything costs. Somewhere in-between, there’s a balance, where you can be aware of money, and understand how it works, without resenting it or taking it for granted or fearing the loss of it.
No, I don’t want to teach my kids that the only way to get ahead is to work your ass off. But I also don’t want them to become lazy pricks who never lift a finger to help anyone but themselves. IMHO, it takes a whole family to keep a household running, so they’ve all got chores. Lots of them. Even the four year old has to water the cat and pick up his room. And we have a weekly housekeeper. Because I don’t want to be the martyr mom who does it all herself and has nothing left for anyone (especially herself) by the end of the day. That mom winds up sick, lonely, unfulfilled, and LOST once her kids fly the nest. But I also don’t want to be the mom who raises kids who hit puberty and have never swept or mopped a floor or folded laundry in their lives. The weekly cleaning service is a privilege, and I am grateful for it. It means none of us has to scrub toilets or spend an entire family day cleaning the house. This is how we strike a balance. Everyone gets chores (yes, even Daddy) that get done every day and once a week a nice lady comes in and cleans extra-well and that way we get to all spend the weekends and time off together.
Again, it’s all about the balance (’bout the balance, no trouble. It’s all about the balance, ’bout the balance, no trouble. Oops, sorry. Couldn’t resist.) I’m not here to say my ways are best (I’ve never once told you that, have I?) but I am here to offer a perspective on balance that you may not have considered.
Does your household feel balanced? Or do you feel as though it’s lopsided, with YOU shouldering most of the brunt of work? Don’t be a martyr, you can fix that. If you’ve got kids, put them to work. It’ll be hell for 2-3 weeks, and then they’ll adapt (as long as you stick with your commitment to make them follow through on chores). If you’ve got no kids and a partner who refuses to help, then take a look at your to-do list and see what’s on there that you could actually stop doing (seriously, I promise you there’s a few). What tasks are you doing because you think you should or feel you must. One at a time, look at them and ask yourself, “Is it essential that I do this?”
If you live alone, I’ll bet there are some things you’d love to NOT have to do. And I’ll also bet you could find the cash to pay someone to make that happen. Or you might even be able to barter with someone. I’ll watch your kids if you clean my house. I’ll trade you a healing session if you cook me some meals, something like that. Believe me, bartering is still alive and well in the 21st Century. But do you love yourself enough to delegate those things you really hate to do?
Again, it’s the balance. You might not mind scrubbing toilets at all (especially if you live alone, haha) but maybe you freaking HATE laundry. Or cooking. Or grocery shopping. Or waxing.
No matter what your living situation is, you can begin to restore balance to your life by asking yourself this one simple question:
What needs to be added or subtracted from my life in order for me to feel balanced?
Then, once you have your answer, look for ways you can make that happen. (Incidentally, I’m an expert at this. Book a Mojo session with me if you know what needs to shift, but you think it’s impossible to make it happen. I’m masterful at showing you how to do it!)
What small shift can you make today that will begin to restore balance to your life?
Go for it.