Sunday, July 17, 2011

Celebrate the Everyday

This is the cake that my 3 year old daughter made yesterday. With minimal help from me, I will add. What special occasion were we celebrating? Nothing, actually.

We bake together most days. We bake bread, pizza dough, flatbreads, loaves, cookies, scones, you name it. I prefer to bake than buy these items and she has loved baking with me since she could climb onto a chair. Baking is her special treat. More than the baked goods themselves. We use mostly organic and good quality ingredients, but I don't mind a little green buttercream frosting and sprinkles from time-to-time.

For this baking project, she very specifically asked to bake a vanilla cake with green frosting, sprinkles, and candles. She had obviously found the birthday candles in the pantry at some point and was planning when we would use them. She knows they are birthday candles. She also knew that we didn't have a birthday to celebrate. And just as I was about to say, "no, we only use candles for a birthday" I stopped myself and thought Why Not? Why not use candles just because, and for no special reason at all?

So we went about baking our cake, patiently letting it cool, whipping our frosting, and putting on the finishing touches. I lit the candles and she blew them out. It was delightful. We shared a piece of cake and tea (her "tea" was milk) and talked about how nice our cake was.

It occured to me later that night, that there is something really special about celebrating the everyday. Moms do so much to entertain and host parties and family celebrations. It is a lot of work and often stressful. But how often do we go all out for no real reason at all? It got me to thinking about other ways we could celebrate the everyday. (and all the reasons we should)

So now my new mantra for my family is Celebrate the Everyday. Celebrate the laundry, dishes, diapers, tantrums, picnics, flowers, good food- all the things that make life seem to ordinary. But these things are in fact what makes life truly remarkable. Family memories aren't about the big vacations and expensive birthday parties. Family memories are about the moments in between.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Less than Perfect

This blog post has been brewing for a while now. I have been anxious to get blogging again. But life gets busy and my little blog gets put at the bottom of the list. That is the thing about being a Mompreneur- the job of Mom always comes first.

So many things in my life seem to go to the bottom of the list when the unexpected happens. I'm not complaining. I love my life and have so much that I am grateful for. But I have watched myself put ME at the bottom of the list ever since having children.

I swore I would never do this. I thought I could avoid the pitfalls of all the moms I would watch on Oprah talking about trying to put themselves first. But gradually, in the past 3 years since first having Georgia, I have moved lower and lower down the TO-DO list of my life.

I think, like so many parents (this doesn't just happen to moms, by the way), I serve my family first. Its natural and actually comes from a good place in that I am one to serve others. In every part of my life, professionally and personally (and are the two actually separate?), I strive to be in service to others. And since staying at home I naturally became the parent that does more parenting, housework, planning, caregiving.

My husband is amazing. Let me just say that. Few people even know how hard he works. But ever since the day I met him he has worked harder than anyone I know. Taking care of his family and being a good employee. He is extremely supportive of me and my business adventures.

When I talk about taking care of myself, I mean time to exercise, see friends, be alone. What I would give for my 45 minute commute in the car to my office that I once had! And then arriving to work and talking to adults! And then the second that I think that I remember driving home from work and every day I passed a park and I would sob if I saw a mom walking with her child. The grass is always greener, right?

So I recently came to the conclusion that something's gotta give. Unlike my previous "perfectionist" self, I am starting to let the laundry pile up. There might be dust on a lampshade. Projects get post-poned. The kitchen is kept immaculate, however. I AM a germaphobe after all.

At the end of the day, I have come to accept that some things just won't be perfect. And perfect is kind of boring anyways. To add to that, I am less than perfect. I haven't returned to the elusive "pre-babies" weight (oh, and it is relatively easy after one, but something happens after two, just so you know). My hair isn't always done and I feel like I could always use a manicure (more to do with my confection profession, mind you).

Now that I have come to accept my less than perfect home and less than perfect self, it is easier to shift my priorities. Personal health and happiness is important to me for so many reasons. But the most important reason is my kids. I want to live a long, healthy life so that I can spend as much time with them as possible. I want to be here for them and be an example of healthy living.

I actually tell my 3 year old daughter, "choose to be happy" in an effort to teach her to change her mood. It really does come down to choice (bearing you are a safe, fed, sheltered human being). And choices about priorities are a parent's job. What I wish for my daughters to learn is how to make choices that take care of their own health and happiness AND allows them to be good to others. This is what I have learned so far. We will see how I do.