Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tis the season to be simple

Sometimes I surprise myself. Particularly with my reactions to things.

Or under-reaction, rather.

Like when things don't go as planned, and I don't hyperventilate. It surprises me. Or when I don't beat myself up for not hand-making a dozen sentimental Christmas presents for members of our family. It surprises me. Or especially when I don't have the time, energy, or creativity to construe festive holiday crafts or baked goods. It really surprises me.

I've lately caught myself asking {out loud} "Who are you?"

I just don't get rattled these days.

Being a mom to two littles has taught me many things. Most importantly, I've learned to be flexible. To appreciate imperfect. To say no. To seek out simple. To stick to my strengths. To let things go. All things, mind you, that go against the very nature of who I am at my core.

During one of our typical Saturday morning coffee talks, I was explaining these feelings to Gabe. How I, ironically, feel like a more relaxed person since we've had kids. {And since I began my journey of seeking balance, being okay with boring, finding myself, and purging anxiety-inducing thoughts, activities, and jobs from my life.} I no longer try to do it all or be it all. And most importantly, I try really hard not to want it all.

And goodness, it feels so great.

I can remember a time when I was striving to be the best at everything. Even things that I am not good at. Like the time I tried to take up sewing. Or the time I tried to become an expert graphic designer. Or the time I vowed to make dinner from scratch every night. HA. To all of it. Just, HA.

Pinterest and Instagram just make things look so easy. But social media, as brilliant and helpful as it can be, can also spread lies by telling only half-truths; just a sliver of someone's story. And it often used to make me feel like a subpar mom/teacher/person.

But these days, I stick to what I know, the things I am naturally good at. Which is not being the Martha Stewart, the creative-genius photographer, or the sous chef. Yes, I may be a stay-at-home-mom, but I'm certainly no homemaker. No really. I don't have a domestic bone in my body.

And I can actually say that without one bit of shame.

Because all it really comes down to for me is just one simple thing. I want to be the very best mom to my girls. A mom who is wholly and completely present in every sense of the word. And you don't have to be domestic {or perfect} to be a good mom. You just have to love your kids. A lot.

But for me to get to this conclusion meant going through the painful process of letting go.

And let me tell you. Letting go of perfect can be quite excruciating.

Yet oh-so exhilarating!!!

The real test of my "process of letting go" has always been the holidays. Because the holidays especially bring out the need to be perfect by creating-baking-and-memory-making. Nevermind the frenzied bombardment of perfectly-crafted Pinterest Advent calendars or the ever-present reminder of how Grinch-like I am because we don't partake in elf-on-the-shelf.

But I just don't have the time or energy with a new baby this year to even care.

And care, I do not.

But I promise I haven't been a complete Scrooge. We've been creating plenty of fun memories and carrying out some of our favorite traditions.  It's just that simple seems to be the theme this year.

And, what do you know? My girls are still thriving.

Imagine that. Thriving on simplicity!

The fact that I haven't broken out into hives because this is Lyla's third Christmas, and she has yet to get a photo with Santa? That right there folks is a surefire sign of letting go.

This past weekend was one of the best we've had since Adaline's been born. Because we spent the majority of time at home together as a family, and there was no pressure. Pressure that I typically put on our family to squeeze all the typical holiday activities in before December 25th.

Admittedly, my easy breezy attitude was probably kick-started by our first night out sans baby with Gabe's company Christmas party. The evening was filled with live music, unlimited wine, a photo booth, and two party animals never wanting to leave the dance floor.

Oh, wine how I've missed you.

But like I mentioned earlier, I've learned many things since becoming a parent. I forgot, however, to mention the biggest lesson of all: We are old. Mostly too old to stay out past 10. And definitely too old to drink more than 1 glass of wine. I'm pretty sure I stayed on the couch drinking coffee until 2 pm the day after mom and dad's big night out.

Lucky for us, we had nothing on the agenda the next evening. So we decided to uphold the one tradition that I will never, ever rid of. We had our annual watch Christmas movies- drink hot cocoa-sleep by the Christmas tree extravaganza. Although this year, we made a couple minor changes. We added a pizza picnic {because we didn't have the energy to get dressed to go out to dinner.} And we didn't actually sleep by the tree per se. {See the aforementioned lesson of "We are old". And with old comes the deep desire burning from within to get a good night's sleep.}

But oh-my-word did we have a good time. We started this tradition the very first year Gabe and I were married, when we lived in a 700 sq. foot apartment in Dallas. But this year was extra special, for two very obvious reasons. But it's the two year old who makes this whole process of traditions so much fun. Because she understands how special they are: Eating in the living room, consuming sugar that isn't usually kept in our house, and staying up way past bedtime watching movies.

Of course the perfectionist part of me wishes the photos I did catch were much better quality. But then I remember what's important. And I'm able to look past the grainy iPhone quality and terrible lighting to see the magical memories we created.

And I'm not sure who felt more spoiled: the girls or the pups!

Someone was pretty excited about the idea of a pizza picnic. 

Movie and hot cocoa time!

Then we rounded out our already perfectly-simple weekend with the annual Christmas Cantata at church. Complete with mother-daughter matching{ish} outfits. Which, by the way, was an accident. I know I don't have the best track record for accidentally matching. But I'm predictable. And it happens.

Perhaps the biggest testament to a new, anti-stress me? I didn't google how to photoshop out the Stanley canteen mug out of the background of this photo. :)


Shoshanah said...

Completely random, but I have the same pink mug! It's just always funny reading something like this and recognizing something that immediately makes you go, "That's mine!"

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

It sounds like you are in a great place!! Happy Holidays!