The Rush of it All

The alarm goes off at 5 a.m.
It’s time to get up to exercise.
It may just seem trivial to some
That I try manage these wide family thighs.

Then off to the shower to get ready for the day
Before the kids start to yell for me,
I’ll be lucky if I’m dressed with my hair all brushed
Before the first one barges in to go pee.

Ok, where are your clothes? It’s time to get dressed!
It’s like a new game every day.
They travel to each other’s rooms
Leaving toys in their wake as they play.

Into the kitchen for some breakfast
Quick! Before the hangry sets in.
Bickering over what to eat and who eats first
As I sidestep toys ejected from the toy bin

Then it’s off to the races! We’re late again.
How did it take so long to put on your shoes?
The car, at least, is warm this very cold morning
Oh great, the baby just went poo.

Back into the house for a quick diaper change
The other two yell “it’s time to go, hurry up!”
Oh dear, they’re sounding more like me every day
And in the exit rush I forget my fragrant coffee cup.

The ride to school is uneventful
Not usually the norm.
Then we get there and, oh geez, what did you forget?
I swear, one day, they will take this world by storm.

Then a shift of the mindset
As I set off on my way to work,
But incessant reminders of what to do at home
In my mind it all lurks.

And just like that, it’s time to go home
The day goes by in a flash.
The to do list for work is somehow longer now
Things in work and in life do nothing but clash.

A review of the day with each of the kids
And a snack, or two or three
Then I make a healthy dinner
That, realistically, the only one who will eat is me.

A quick clean up as I clear the table
And the kids all set off to play.
I cringe as I hear the sound of things crashing
Knowing I’ll find toys left where they lay.

We clean the playroom together
Then it’s time for tubbies, our prayers and books.
They ask for one more story
And exchange mischievous looks.

I see through their ploy, I know this game!
I was a kid once, too.
I kiss each of them on their heads
And tell them “I love you.”

I close the door behind me,
Running through what still needs to get done.
Then I power through the must-dos
So I can try to get in a late run.

Ok, the run won’t happen,
I have to get back to work.
I open the laptop and find 25 new emails!?
“Pretend you don’t see them,” I think with a smirk.

But the responsible side of me wins out
Just like it always seems to do.
Then work is all done and I’m finally in bed,
When a little voice yells, “Mommy, I need you!”

I shuffle to his room to see what I can do
To help him get back to sleep.
And though I’m exhausted and can barely think,
Him snuggled up against me is a treasure I will always keep.

As I lay there,  a list of things to do swirl in my mind
And some, I know, just can’t wait.
So at 2:30 a.m., I head downstairs
To throw in some cookies to bake.

Might as well get some laundry done, too
I think to myself as I wait.
Oh my God, did I just make cookies?
I think I promised them cupcakes!

Tasks are done, I’ve read for a bit.
Now I head back upstairs to bed.
My alarm starts to ding, it’s 5 a.m. already?
I sigh, “Let’s go,” I say to myself in my head.

Though busy and sometimes crazy
At this moment, this is just the way.
There is always so much to do
But I wouldn’t change a single moment from any of our days.

So the lesson for you is that in the rush of all,
Don’t forget to stop and notice the little things that make up your day.
The kids who lovingly call you Mom,
And the way they still ask you to come play.

The chores will always be there,
The laundry, the dishes and the toys to be picked up.
But you can get caught up in the rush of it all
If you don’t remember to look up.

 

A Lesson from Kids: Finding the Good

It might be that kids aren’t yet jaded with the cynical world we live in. They don’t know how to dwell on the bad. They aren’t ashamed to express their emotions in the moment they feel them.

Kids can teach us all a lesson.

Here’s a real story: A little over a year ago, one of my little guys face planted into a book shelf just as we were wrapping up our bedtime routine (it sounds as gross as it was). His immediate response was a scream of agony followed by noises of complete frustration with me as I tried to clean him off to see if we needed to go to the ER (we did). But the entire time we were at the ER? Smiles. Holding my hand tightly when he was scared but letting the doctors do what they needed to do. Saying “thank you” quietly as he slurped his popsicle. Falling asleep calmly in my arms when we finally got home.

And his big brother was just as impressive. Startled when his brother started screaming. Scared when I had him in another room and confused why he was blocked from seeing it all. Calmly getting himself ready to get in the car so we could go to the ER. Keeping both of his brothers distracted. Highlighting the adventure we were about to go on (“we’re going to the ER! To see doctors! So cool!”).

Kids don’t get caught up in the “what ifs” or “could have beens.” They are literally present in every moment, fully participating and making the most of the ride.

Perhaps the greatest lesson kids can teach us is not necessarily just finding the good or making the most of every moment, but really being present to each of those moments, excited to see what it brings, and allowing yourself to be whomever you need to be at the moment.

I can think about how often this is a lesson I need to share with myself. How about you?

Take Action
At this point, I know it’s cliché to hear someone say “just find the good!” or “make the most of every situation!” But I think there’s a reason why it’s cliché – it works. To make the most of any situation you have to be really part of it.

So, when it happens next, ask yourself, what would the child version of me do in this situation?

You just might realize you don’t have to search for the good or how to make the most of the situation because it might be right there in front of you.

We really like this list of 5 ideas to help you increase your gratefulness.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Ready or Not, 2021, Here We Come!

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Learn To See The Good

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

Despite the challenges we may face – whether it’s at home, at work, with our family, at school – does it seem hard to believe that there’s more right in your world than wrong?

As a coach and speaker, I find that most of my clients and audiences are tuned in to what’s not working instead of what is working. Why is that when there is clearly so much more right than wrong?

First, our brains are programmed to watch for danger. Our fight or flight response is designed to help us survive. That part of the brain isn’t interested in loving life, doing great things, seeing the best in others – it is just there to help us be aware of anything that challenges our survival.

Try this: change your mindset. Though you may have been programmed to watch for the negative, learning to be more self-aware helps you start to notice your emotions and energy. You can’t control or change what you don’t notice.

During your day, start to ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” If the answer is a negative, unhappy or unproductive feeling, know that you have the ability to change your mindset just by noticing the negative. With this awareness, shift your mindset to being more open, optimistic and opportunity focused.

It takes practice but it can be done. You choose your emotions and energy level. You choose how you want to relate to that challenging boss, that upset customer or the long line at Starbucks. You don’t have to be upset. You could be calm, happy, content. Tap into these emotions by being more aware.

And second, we are surrounded by negative news. Terrorism, politics, conflicts, hacking, security, divorce, reality TV, wars. We are confronted with a 24-hour stream of negativity because, as the media outlets know, bad news sells.

Try this: control what you listen to. Remember, you are the owner of your life. It is your choice to tune out when you need a break. Switch it out for something that is empowering, engaging, supportive, entertaining and educational. Replace it by spending time doing what you love and enjoy. Limit time on social media, choose reputable and news-focused organizations to stay updated on your world, or listen to music or mind-engaging podcasts.

Just because the world talks loudly doesn’t mean you always have to listen. For a good essay about this, check out George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone.

You have to learn to see the good. Your world has made you cynical and part of your brain has made you defensive. The benefit is that life immediately changes when you first look for what’s working and what’s good, instead of what’s not working and what’s bad.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very negative and 10 is very positive, where are you now? Where were you yesterday? Where are you on the important things in your life?
  2. What is one thing you could do today to change how you look at yourself and the world around you, to watch for the good, the successes and the opportunities?

We can’t always control the situations that life sends us, but we certainly can choose how we see them. Learn to see the good.

Consider reading Tune Out to Tune In

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