Have you ever had a fun night out planned and you’ve got the PERFECT outfit for the occasion in mind? It fits perfectly, and you just know that all the pieces will look amazing together? In your head you look completely FABULOUS and when you finally put it on IT’S. EVEN. BETTER.
Yea…for me that almost never happens. Too much pizza and not enough exercise leaves things a little bit snug and something just isn’t quite right with the execution (I’m much more stylish in my head than in reality). Life is the same way and the disappointment can be huge. I build up situations in my head so much and make tons to plans to ensure the outcome I want, so when things go wrong (which of course they do), it’s like I’ve completely wasted all my time and effort. And when those situations involve Hayden, it can be another reminder of all the things we should be able to do with him but can’t yet. And I know that’s ridiculous because there’s NOTHING more normal for a kid than to throw a wrench in mom & dad’s plans. There have been so many outings, plans, family pictures, etc, that turned out 0% like I wanted that I was always bummed out and missing the fun things that were going on. I couldn’t appreciate his constant progress and neat things he WAS doing, because I was constantly focused on the things he wasn’t. My husband would tell me over and over that I shouldn’t put so much pressure on things and I knew he was right, but my mind wouldn’t listen and act accordingly.
Finally something has clicked and O.M.G. is life easier. We have done a couple of new things with Hayden and they’ve gone GREAT! My niece had an easter egg hunt at her birthday party and we fully expected him to want nothing to do with it. He was pretty resistant at his school egg hunt both last year and this year, so we assumed he wouldn’t want to participate. But as kids do, he really surprised us! Each kiddo had a different color egg and once he figured out which ones were his, he found all six of them with little assistance from us. We guided him in the right direction and he looked all over until he found them.
The other big test to my newfound zen approach to life was taking him to the beach. We live about 20 minutes from the ocean and I love the beach, so it has sucked not being able to take him. It is kind of a staple to the social calendar around here to take your kids to the beach to play and relax and we’ve never been able to do that. With all the ocean noise and unfamiliarity of the sand, the beach is Hayden’s personal hell. He has come so far with his vision and fearfulness that we decided to give it a shot. We packed very little stuff and LOTS of snacks and set a goal of “if we make it 30 minutes, we’ll call it a success.” Three hours later, we’ve had fun at the beach, eaten a delicious lunch (thank you Chiringo) and are headed back home. He cried when we first got there, but because I had kept my expectations low, I didn’t start to panic and get frustrated that the day was ruined. Daddy splashing around in the water seemed to change his mind about things and he calmed down. He never got in the water or played in the sand, but he enjoyed standing at the edge of the water and watching the small waves come in. HUGE WIN!
Like I said, I have no idea what finally shifted, but it has made a world of difference! I can better enjoy and appreciate when things go well, and when they inevitably go south (because, you know…life), I have a much longer list of successes than a list of disappointments. Eventually, Hayden won’t be a little boy anymore, and I don’t want to look back at this time of amazing growth and only remember the things that went wrong. Because the bottom line is, it’s not about me right now. This is HIS time. There will come a time when I can go to the beach whenever I want and do anything my little heart desires because he’ll be on his own. The most mundane things can be so magical for kids when they are little and THAT needs to be my focus. Another reason why it’s important to me to conquer this habit has occurred to me while I’ve been writing this post. We tell Hayden dozens of times a day how proud we are of him and how hard he works, but he’s going to start to notice when I’m upset about plans going awry. I NEVER want Hayden to feel like I am disappointed in him. As an adult, I can distinguish being disappointed in a situation or an outcome versus being disappointed in my child, but he’s not going to know the difference. He has worked so hard at things that come so easy for other kids and I NEVER want to diminish that effort by making him feel bad about things he can’t necessarily control. I don’t want him to look back on his childhood and only have memories of me being pissed off that things didn’t go 100% to plan. It zaps the fun out of everything and makes me so stressed out planning for every contingency. My brain is on constant “We’re going to have fun and like it” mode which isn’t fun for anybody (ironically).
It can be so easy to get disappointed when your news feed is full of gorgeous pictures of perfectly posed happy kids, but that’s not always life. And if those parents are anything like me, there are dozens of pictures they didn’t post and just used the one where the scream looks like laughter. It’s been quite a lesson for this Type A momma to learn and I have to work at it every day. Is anybody else out there struggling with this? Let me know what’s going on and how you’re mastering it! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!