Man, I’m on a blogging roll. What is this, like my third for the month? What is happening to me?
Who’s ready for Fall?? I definitely am. It’s been super hot and dry here in Oregon, and though I love me some sunshine, I’m ready to wrap up in a nice cozy sweater and wear something other than flip-flops on my feet. Also, the post-shower sweat is getting old…and gross.
I’ve been aching for some sort of change recently, and a change in season will be most welcome.
Summer has been busy to say the least, and not just busy for me. It has been busy for friends and family as well. It’s a good kind of busy–mostly–but it seems our schedules never mesh, and I miss those people I spent a lot of time with in the winter months. I think that’s why I’m craving a change of season, because I’m craving a more regular pace. A little backwards considering summer is typically our “slow down” time, right?
My yoga practice has dwindled due to schedules and not desiring to shower six times every day. There are seven splash pads in the city of Salem, and Judah and I have been to six of them…at least twice a piece. This week I’m sure I’ve been pretty annoying to Kyle. I’m constantly asking, “What should we do today?” (meaning Judah and I). Sitting in the hot sun when it’s 95 degrees out while your child gets burned on the hot slides at the park only goes so far. Yes, the beach is just a short hour and a half away, but when gas is almost $4 a gallon, making those trips every day just isn’t practical. (Thanks Obama…I’m totally kidding.)
So when I asked Kyle that question for probably the sixth time, I finally had a moment of clarity. That day alone, Judah and I had baked zucchini bread, drawn pictures, played with cars, gone to the store, went to the library, read books, and went to the splash pad. And this is a pretty typical day for us. What the heck else does the kid need to do in a day? What the heck else do I need to do in a day?
When we moved to Salem, I had more confidence in myself than I had possessed in a long time. It was a fresh start for me. I was free of being defined based on who my friends were, what church I attended, where I worked, what college I went to, etc, etc. I didn’t have anyone to impress or keep up with, and I figured, I am who I am–take it or leave it. I was so excited to escape the stigmas and just be more carefree and comfortable in my own skin.
But slowly, that old comparison game came back. Ooh, she’s a nasty one too.
We live 45 minutes from Portland, aka “hipster” capital of the world. No, I am not a hipster, but I do like their sense of style. I’ve come to find that although many of my friends and peers here in Salem have impeccable style, they are never dressed down. Never. And that is just not me. What happened to jeans and a t-shirt? And not some thrifted band groupie shirt you styled perfectly with your distressed denim and ankle boots. Like jeans and a t-shirt. Like, I work out in this t-shirt, t-shirt. And I have yet to see anyone in sweatpants or hoodies. Ever. (Except for the Geers, and this is why my love for this family is on an entirely different level.) I don’t like to dress like a bum all the time, but sometimes it’s necessary.
This is just one example of an area where I have so foolishly compared myself to others. So come fall and winter, from time to time I’m going to wear my yoga pants, my old college t-shirts, and my hoodies, and I don’t care, Portland area hipsters. I don’t care.
Not only have I been slowly putting my own personal style into the comparison game, but I’ve been placing parts of my parenting under the lights as well. This is why I have felt it necessary to fill our day with activity after activity, never being still.
We all know that I love Pinterest. Love it. Mostly for clothes and recipes, but it’s pretty great for many things. However, don’t you just feel so inadequate when you get on the “kids” page? All these crafty things to do with your kiddos, all these adorable and educational activities just thrown in your face saying, “Have you done this one yet, supermom? What about this? You mean your kid’s room doesn’t look like it’s straight out of The Land Of Nod’s recent catalog? You mean you haven’t whipped up a batch of edible, gluten-free, organic playdough dyed with berry juice?”
It’s a dangerous time to be a mom these days. Thanks to the advances of technology, there are so many ways that we can compare ourselves to one another every minute of the day, without even being in the same room.
So here is my challenge to myself: Stop. Stop running around. Stop comparing. Recognize that the quiet times at home are some of the best. I’m not here to entertain my child, I’m here to parent. So parent. Teach him to use his imagination. Teach him to be self-sufficient and creative on his own. Teach him to slow down and live simply. Teach him to linger. Teach him to enjoy making messes in his room, and then find the reward in cleaning it up. Show him how to be confident by exuding it. Live in the moments instead of thinking about what to do next. Stop “doing” and slow down. And wear sweatpants once in a while, dammit!
As we approach the change of season, this is going to be something I really try and commit to, anyone else with me?