Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Thinking Mamas To-Do List

In an ideal world, we’re all chugging along with clean houses, perfect children and organized pantries.

And then there’s reality that is so far from perfect it’s not even funny.

Despite all this hoopla I write about being intentional, awake, living fully, etc. etc. etc. let’s face it, life is not always picture perfect.

I try to be the best Mama I can. I do.

Some days I would grade myself with an S for Super Mama!

Some days I go to bed with the grade of an F — Failure. There I go, fretting about the mistakes I made, the things I said that I shouldn’t have said, and all the ginormous, monstrous parenting tests that I failed.

Still, what I know for sure is that our best days are the ones where I forget about Super Mom and just take care of myself and my kids. The house sits dirty. We’re late for things but that’s OK because we’re relaxed. And we’re too busy connecting and having fun to notice all the other things we’re not doing.

When I just let the routine and order fall to the wayside for an evening and connect with my family I almost always go to bed with a long list of things to be grateful for and a smile on my lips.

To me, it’s the magic potion for happy days.

It’s amazing how many ridiculous, unimportant things we put on our daily to-do lists.

But what about the important things? The things that we hope, dream and wish we could do each day with our children. So, recently I got the bright idea to create another type of to-do list. Not just any to-do list but a Parenting from the Heart to-do list.

A thinking Mama’s to-do list.

These tasks are not the usual to-do list fodder. No, these lovely moments are so much more important than any spotty mirror, any messy car or any other non-life-threatening errand you have to do today.

This list is in no particular order. And, it certainly is not the be-all and end-all of things a parent can do or would even want to do. And, it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on this list. It also doesn’t mean you have to do everything on this list every single day. That would be ludicrous. We’re still human beings with lives that have to be taken care of and order to make sense of at times.

My final note on this is that this is my personal to-do list and it’s based on our family’s values, belief system and manifesto but I thought you might like it, too. We tend to do things a little differently. We tend to think a little differently. Perhaps if you wrote a list — and I encourage anyone to do so — it would look very different. I’d love it if you could share your list with us either in the comments, on your own blog or on our Facebook page.

This is simply one of those gentle reminders we all need. So … here we go.

A thinking Mama’s to-do list.

*CONNECT – Did I play today? Did I laugh with my child today? Did I ask about their day and tell them about my own? Did we connect and engage in simple ways? (Need ideas to play together as a family? I can give you 100 of them!)
*LEARN — Did I involve my child in making dinner or packing her own lunch? Did I show her how to be responsible? Did I ask questions and wait for the answers? Did we take time to explore her interests rather than just acknowledging them and moving on? Did we wonder in awe about the world around us and just marvel at the amazing details?
*BE ACTIVE — Did we make moving our bodies a top priority today? Did we get outside and take in the fresh air? Did we walk and talk as a family?
*UNPLUG – Did I take time to just be there, to allow for space for anything my child may want to say? Did I show up and hang back and watch her beauty unfold before my eyes so that I don’t miss a thing. Did we soak in some quiet time and just enjoy each other’s company? Did we spend a tiny bit of time unplugged?
*LAUGH — Did I laugh? Did I smile? Did I tell a joke or do a silly dance to show her that I’m not taking this life too seriously, that we’re here to have fun and enjoy life fully?
*READ — Did I let her read. Did I read to her? Did we make reading a top priority today as we want it to be?
*TELL STORIES — Did I show patience while she tells her stories? Did I tell her stories of my own from today, or yesterday or my own childhood?
*CREATE — Did we take time to express ourselves in some magical, creative way either through doodling or making things or building crazy castles with fiery mouthed dragons? Did I put my creative mind at work to solve the hard things and to enjoy the simple things?
*SHOW LOVE — Did I show my love and not just say the words? Did I do something kind, compassionate, or caring today? Did I demonstrate being a loving person — the kind that I want my child to be? Did we take time to think about others and do something nice or kind for them — maybe in our family or neighborhood, at school or in our community?
*LISTEN TO MUSIC — Did we listen to music? Did we dance or clean to it to get our energy flowing? Did we sit and zone out and let the music recharge our souls? This is good for me and this is good for my children.
*BE THANKFUL — Did we take time to say what we’re thankful for or journal about our gratitude. Did we write thank you notes to those who have supported us? Did we take time to think about those we love and find ways to express that love to them?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We are ALIVE!

I'm a serious blog neglect-or! Even though I have been updating Lydia baby book on a monthly basis, thank you Shutterfly and your mobile app, I have completely slacked in the blog world. I don't know if it was because of our frequent travels this summer ( we were gone a TON!), taking the daycare kids to every place imaginable to get out of the house, or starting to work outside of the home again.

Any who, the Larsons are alive and kicking and extremely busy! I decided at the end of August just after school started that it would be fun for me to get out and enjoy my other passion besides being mom. I missed the classroom dearly so I filled out my paperwork to be a substitute teacher for Oswego and Yorkville school districts. I was so thrilled and excited to get out of the house on what I planned to be a once a week occasion that has turned into at least a 2 or 3 days a week venture. I get called and requested by teachers almost everyday. I feel so blessed to be able to have another way to bring income into our home. Where are the children you ask? They are at "daddy daycare" as the neighbors like to call it! Dennis is working from home so he gets the joy or being in charge while I am off making the dough. Again, I feel blessed that he is able to do it but I am finding that a man just can't run a household as well as a woman.

So back to my story, end of August signed up to sub, and then I got an email from a friend with an enticing offer. She was a teacher for a company called Young Rembrandts. She goes to a school once a week and teaches an after school art class for an hour.....really....another chance to get back in the classroom I though. So I applied, got a call 2 days later for an interview and was hired on the next day. So now, I run a daycare, sub on occasion, tutor once a week, run a Thirty One business and now teach art 2 days a week. Can you see I have a pretty full plate? Thats what I thought too until I got called a few weeks later as the Activity Days leader at church.....the Lord must really want me to be kept busy for some reason because I am swallowed in busyness to the point where its getting hard to function and my days just run into each other. I need to remind myself to slow down and take a break and find some ME time.

So with that said, there's the update on us. I promise to get Lydias monthly updates on here that I have missed. I can't believe she is going to be turning ONE in just 2 short week!