I just love stories where a magical person appears and grants wishes. Whether it is the genie for Aladdin or the fairy godmother for Cinderella, I hold hope that one day my wishes will be magically granted. Always hoping. But if a wish-granting genie is not making an appearance for me, I thought I might do a little wish granting for my fellow moms.
So that you don’t have to make resolutions this year, I am granting three wishes that I wish I had given myself and that you probably don’t even know to wish for yourself if you’re a mom in the trenches.
Wish #1 :: The courage to ask for help
Life doesn’t always go as planned. We inherently know that, but we resist applying that expectation to ourselves. “I got this,” we tell ourselves even when we just want to hide in the closet with a tube of chocolate cookie dough and a bottle of red wine. Or is that just my coping strategy? Whatever your coping strategy is now, I grant you the courage to ask for help. You need it. I know. Ask that mom next door if she wants to car pool. Ask a family member to come babysit so you can get your hair cut. Ask your friend for advice about something where she has expertise. Asking for help is not admitting failure. Asking for help is being brilliant by recognizing your limitations.
Wish #2 :: The energy to persist
Kids are relentless, absolutely willing to go the distance in pursuit of whatever they desire. Their persistence persists from age to age. Whether it’s the toddler who will only eat a sandwich cut into triangles (until he won’t) or the teenager who insists that you don’t understand anything, your children will test your resilience and stamina. Find your power source. Whether it is your spouse, your best friend, your church ladies, your tribe, or your time alone, find it. When you are running low, turn to your power source and get re-energized so you can take on that next toddler or teen tantrum. Truly, I believe that parenting is often like a game of Survivor: outwit, outplay, outlast.
Wish #3 :: The mindfulness to be present
I know. The dishes don’t wash themselves, the birthday gifts don’t wrap themselves, and the bathroom doesn’t clean itself. Somebody has to do it. I encourage you to do two things. First, put off those tasks until after you have enjoyed dinner with your kids AND played a board game or watched a movie. Or even load every one up to go watch one child’s sports practice. I promise that your children will remember time with you more than they will remember a dirty bathroom (and, to be frank, they never actually see dirty bathrooms until they have a roommate one day). Second, enlist your children in tackling those chores. I regret that I always took on the tasks because I needed Wish #1 (“I don’t need help”) and Wish #2 (I wasn’t persistent enough with my kids). Don’t be like me.
A Bonus Wish :: Belief in the outer voices
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time reviewing how I should have done everything – yes, everything – better. I constantly balance my inner voice that tells me I am failing with the outer voices that tell me I am a blessing, that thank me for helping, that tell me I am so valuable. I wish for you that you let those outer voices ring so loudly in your head that they drown out that pesky inner voice that is always pointing out what you perceive to be failures.
As a mom who once desperately needed courage, energy, and mindfulness, I hereby grant these wishes to each of you. May your 2018 be filled with cries for help, the power to outlast, and sinks full of dirty dishes; and may you know that you are an imperfect blessing to your world.