As I write this it’s Monday. I’m already at the office, but I haven’t accomplished much here this morning. We got a slow start this morning because the girls took forever to go to sleep and then slept in this morning.
Why is it that they sleep later on weekdays than they ever do on weekends?!?
Last night I was thinking about what I was going to write. I’ve been sending myself voice notes so I remember what works for me throughout the day. You could even say that’s something that’s helping me get through the day right now. I just say “OK Google, record voice note” and it turns it into writing and sends me an email. It’s an easy way to send yourself a reminder. But what I really wanted to say is that thinking about what’s working for me each day and helping me make it through the day feels almost like a gratitude practice.
I saw Shawn Achor speak in Chicago last September. I hadn’t heard of him before the conference. I was really excited to see Gretchen Rubin speak there, but didn’t really have any expectations of Shawn. He is a researcher devoted to studying happiness. He is also an amazing public speaker. He talked about small practices you can do to increase your happiness, one of which was a gratitude practice. You’re supposed to think about specific things that you’re grateful for and remember the details. When you do this, you remember the good stuff. (That’s not the idea verbatim, but you get the point.)
Thinking about the good stuff and what’s going right every day helps me remember and focus on those things. So instead of thinking about how my just-turned-5 year old was completely out of control at naptime and alternating between cry-screaming and hysterically laughing, I thought about how all three girls napped at the same time. Instead of thinking about how painstaking it was to watch (and not interfere very much with) my 5 year old putting the alphabet pieces back in the puzzle in the store we went to, I thought about walking around in the sun with them.
This exercise has shown me what it’s like to focus on the positive. It’s such a contrast to driving to work beating myself up about the way I treated my kid in the morning. It’s not obvious from what I’ve written in the past couple of posts because of the focus, so I wanted to point it out here. Focusing on the positive and on what you want more of is a powerful thing. Sometimes you just need someone to phrase it differently for it to click for you. Or you need to read/hear it at the right time. Maybe you need a challenge, like I did. I challenged myself to write about what’s helping me get through the day. What makes my life easier? What makes my life better? What makes all this worth it?
I’ve already briefly mentioned at least one thing that helped me get through the weekend and be happy:
All three girls napping at the same time!
We had to work for it, we really did. Remember before when I talked about the wild 5 year old. Yeah, that was naptime. But it happened.
How did we take advantage of that time?
Well, we sat on the couch and watched the Masters tournament, in hopes of catching a golf nap.
The other thing that helped me get through the weekend?
30 minutes to get rid of stuff in our room that we’re not using.
See that? Not pretty, is it?
That shelf has served a few purposes. Most recently, it was the baby corner in our bedroom. The pack ‘n play was beneath it and everything the baby needed was on it. Now? It’s mostly just a pile of stuff that doesn’t fit.
When our middle daughter woke up from her nap, she came upstairs and sat on the couch with us. We turned on something for her to watch and I thought “I don’t want to sit here and watch this.” So I took the opportunity to do one of those things I tell myself every once in awhile I should do.
You know, one of those things you don’t even notice all the time, but it’s there in the back of your mind.
When I got started, I looked at the clock. I thought it was going to be a five minute task. It actually took me 30 to put all of it away where it belonged, but I was able to take care of another pile of stuff that was in the basement.
Now it looks like this:
The only thing left on it (besides the scarf/necklaces) is a pillow that’s for Ivy’s birthday.
Instead of sitting on the couch watching some kids’ show I could care less about, I got something done. That’s a win in my book, especially because I did get some time on the couch to just hang out with my husband too.
There’s one more thing that helped me get through the weekend.
Call the Midwife
I love this show. The history. The lessons. The costumes. All of it. The episode we watched last night was about love and acceptance and making the best of what you’re given.
What’s not to love about that?