Chaos happens despite best laid plans. Even when we have flexed all our forward thinking muscles, our plans, best intentions, and patience can unravel in mere minutes; okay, seconds. Children have an uncanny ability to pull out all the stops in the midst of what you had hoped (and planned) to be a fun, and PEACEFUL family outing.
As it turns out, this scenario rings true for me on a daily basis. I am a planner. I am a goal-setter and an achiever. A high performing achiever. Well technically, in my head, I am still a performance driven, accomplishment seeker, and to-do list “checker-offer.” The issue is that my personality, and hard core wirings, and selfish motivations don’t gel well with my kids’ agendas. They will never line up. And, I have been miserable trying to coerce them to cooperate and play nice.
So, what gives? How can we do things, love our families, and not feel depleted at the end of each day? One thing that has completely transformed my thinking centers on success.
In this season of three children ages four, two, and three months, success looks very different from before. I can longer knock out a book in a day, go out with friends on a whim, journal or design for hours on end when the mood strikes… Success these days looks a lot like everyone eating some semblance of a meal three(ish) times a day. It’s finishing one task on my to-do list, even if it’s as small as mailing a letter. Success is reading the same children’s book again and again, it’s listening to made up tall tales, jumping on the trampoline, blowing bubbles, and rocking my baby.
Success, simply stated in this season: Am I an engaged mother, a connected wife, and am I a continual-learner? Breaking achievement and purpose down to an attainable goal helps bring clarity and vision to my day. I no longer have that heavy burden hanging on me at the close of the day because I didn’t do anything earlier. Quick aside – how often do we tell ourselves that lie? That we haven’t done anything during the day… I believed it for too long before I called myself out on it. Engaging, playing, feeding, just being with our children during the day is enough. If you work outside the home, holy moly. You’ve done and accomplished so much more! Let’s extend ourselves more grace. More grace. To be free from the holds of measuring up, working for our worth and self value, and to embrace a new way of thinking. A less strenuous version of success. A more wholistic and self- friendly version of accomplishment.
If this seems far from attainable, think of yourself as your best friend. I bet your conversation with your best girlfriend is filled with grace, kindness, and more “atta-girls” than you would ever dare to extend yourself. What would you tell her? Deep down we know what truly matters – relationships. With God, our families, our friends and neighbors. Why not base success on our intentionality with others? Or, on our compassion, empathy, listening skills?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does this resonate? Have you had to reimagine success? Is it working for you?