I am notoriously self-critical, so when someone asks me how I want to change, I can usually produce a nice long list. If I’m being honestly with myself the first thing that comes to mind is, “I want to be perfect.” Ok, not literally, but that’s pretty much the end result. Because if I’m perfect then I never have to admit I’m wrong. I think part of why I’ve always been so critical of myself is that I want to catch my own flaws before someone else does. I say that I don’t care what other people think of me, but the truth is I must care, because I spend a lot of time trying to make sure that I do everything right. I set impossible standards for myself and then blame myself for not meeting them. Expectations are good, they give me something to shoot for, a purpose and a mission. But they also keep me distracted.
I’m always keeping lists in my head, trying to fulfill multiple requirements at once. I don’t allow myself to really engage in and enjoy my life until my requirements are met. Want to read to the kids or take them to the park? Not until I’ve cleaned up the kitchen, run a load of laundry and done my daily exercise. But the fact is that often by the time all of that is done it’s time for lunch. After lunch is naps and quiet time, and by then it’s too late to get to the park and be back in time to make dinner. I want to be more spontaneously, less rigid and more present. This doesn’t mean I don’t fulfill my responsibilities, but it does mean that I need to focused on whatever I’m doing. If I’m with the kids I shouldn’t be thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner. When I’m taking a night to write (as I am right now) I shouldn’t be worried about the next load of laundry (which I also am). When I’m relaxing in the evening with my husband, I shouldn’t be obsessed over the blog post I need to upload.
To do this requires me to do two things. I need to be organized but also learn to let things go. (Cue Frozen theme song). The fact is that I will never be perfect. I know, big shocker right. But I also need to stop trying to be. I spend so much time trying to get ahead. As if I could just do everything on the right schedule with the proper method I’d be able to get ahead enough to take a breath and relax. Maybe someday that will happen. But I don’t want to look back and realize that I forgot to live. I’ve read about iphone moms (and the defense of them), moms with clean floors and dirty floors. Moms who play with their kids all day and those who expect their kids to learn independent entertainment. But I’m not interested in anecdotes or pithy quotes. I just want to be there, really there. So being present is the primary way I want to change; and I want to do that by letting things go and being OK with it.
So for the next week, my focus is going to be on being as present as possible with my children and my husband. It may incorporate a certain level of spontaneity, but mostly just let things go. Things I have no control over, or even those I do but choose not to let them rule my life (like laundry.) I invite you to join me. If you want to be more present and work on letting things go more, then please do. If not, figure out what you want to change, and do it.