Lesson from a Stranger

Yesterday the boys and I went on a little play date with a couple friend and their kids to a big indoor playground. It was so fun. Both boys loved playing and I enjoyed the time to socialize.

Me and my boys were the last of our group to leave – mostly because H was so in love with the play area and never really came out of it so it took a while to track him down. As I suspected, when I finally found him and convinced him to come to the table where all our stuff was and told him it was time to go, he LOST IT. We are talking full scale temper tantrum with very, very loud screaming and lots of wailing. Oh how I love knowing dozens of eyes are on me while I’m trying to wrestle my toddler into his shoes and jacket, while also making sure he doesn’t slam his head into the floor or smack me across the face. Fun!

I finally got him outside and he took off running. I caught him which only made him spiral even more. While I started trying to put E into his car seat, H took off through the parking lot which thankfully had no driving cars in it. Again, I caught him fast and he continued to flip out. E was in his car seat and now it was H’s turn. He attempted to run away one more time before I got him into his seat, not without being kicked and punched many times – tantrums are brutal folks.

I got him buckled and shut the door. I took a deep breath before opening my car door and behind me I heard, “moms are awesome!” in a positive voice. It was some guy about my age who looked like he’d just got off work. He gave me thumbs up and kept on walking.

Luckily I was having a good day and wasn’t getting overwhelmed by this. I was just exhausted because I’d crawled through a child size playground several times with a one year old in hand, then chased a fast 3 year old and put them both in car seats. That’s tiring!

But it got me thinking – that comment could have really perked me up on a bad day. Heck, it perked me up on a good day!

I want to be more like that guy. I want to spread positivity and kindness. I want to make people feel proud of themselves. I want to make strangers smile. I’m glad he reminded me of how simple it can be to make the world even a tiny bit happier.

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You Will Never Regret Being Kind

A couple of days ago I ran to the grocery stores with my boys for a just a few items I needed. We live pretty darn close to a grocery store so I decided to load the boys up in the stroller and walk over. In my mind it was going to be the perfect, quick activity. My boys love being outside, the weather was beautiful and the grocery store would be a fun little change of scenery. I was so, so wrong. So wrong. E started crying hysterically only seconds into our walk and H started crying hysterically once we got to the store and I wouldn’t let him out of the stroller. Before I knew it they were both fully tandem tantrums of the highest caliber – which is weird because I’m actually very lucky and my boys are usually very well tempered. I figured since I only had a couple of items to grab I could hurry and it wouldn’t get too bad. Again, so wrong. It quickly went from bad to worse. The boys were just hard, getting louder and I was getting overwhelmed. Its not the first time I’ve felt stressed out in a store before, but it was already kind of one of those days and then I met eyes with a older man who was glaring at me! A full on angry, annoyed stare. It tipped me over the edge and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my eyes started welling up with tears and when the man saw this, he rolled his eyes and walked the other direction. I was embarrassed. My feelings were hurt. I felt defeated and very, very frustrated and just sad. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, its part of motherhood and I have a toddler and a baby! Of course they throw fits, its what they’re supposed to do from time to time. But this man just got to me. I wanted to sprint out of there with my wailing children and scream and cry in my room. But I was almost done with my list so I decided to toughen up and finish, even if I was apparently ticking some people off.

Some people suck. Some people are impatient and inconsiderate. Its incredible how a rude comment or look can send someone spiraling.

The only reason I didn’t leave the grocery store with tears flooding down my face and leaving all my groceries behind was because of the wonderful, kind people that I thankfully also encountered.

No one did anything huge or went really out of their way, but they still saved me mentally and emotionally. I received a lot of sympathetic smiles. I saw a lot of women who just gave me that look like, ‘I’ve been there, so sorry!’ I even encountered a sweet woman who left her cart, approached me and squeezed both of my shoulders and said, “you go girl!” They were small, simple things but in that moment of stress, frustration and embarrassment it was 100% what I so desperately needed.

You guys. It is not hard to be kind. It will cost you nothing. It will make someones day. You will feel good about yourself. You will help the world be a little bit brighter, happier and kinder. Unfortunately sometimes the mean things stand out more than the kind things, but the good news is that there is usually more kind in your life if you look for it. I’m encouraging you to do your part to make sure there is kindness in the world though! Just smile! Don’t glare at a stressed out mom! Compliment someone! Offer simple favors! Send a nice text message! Write something nice on someones instagram post! Say hi! Just be kind, however that may look or sound.

This has been your public service announcement from a frazzled mom who was pretty shaken up by some grouchy man in the grocery store but is very grateful for nice people with nice smiles and simple words of encouragement.

xo

My Words for 2018!

I am so excited for 2018. There is no real reason why, I just think I like the thrill of a new year. A fresh start of sorts. I’ve been working on my list of New Years Resolutions for the past couple months now and all the while have been trying to settle on my word for 2018 as well. I would get a good list going of creative words that I felt good about, but I always had the same word planted in the back of my mind during this whole decision making process. The reason I didn’t want to pick it though is because…it was the same word as I had picked for 2017. How boring and lame would it be to repeat the word? However, I pretty much focused on that word for January and February of 2017 then forgot all about it. In fact it wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally went back to my 2017 Resolution list that I even realized the word I was pretty sure I’d pick for 2018 was the same word I’d chosen for 2017. So I kept on searching for a new word and actually found two more I really loved, but I still couldn’t shake that original word. So I decided to mix it up a bit this year. Instead of one word for 2018, I have three. (the first is my original word)

KIND, BRAVE and TIME.

Kind: Heaven knows the world could use more kindness – why not try and put a little more into my small corner of the world? I have always felt a particular pull to this word. I want to be genuinely kind, always – or as much as possible. I want it to be real, too. It is easy to act kind on the outside but have a very different mindset on the inside. I want to have kind thoughts and kind words and deeds. I know very well this won’t happen overnight and will take practice and may be something I never truly master, but I do know I’m very capable of at least getting better at it. I want to be one of those people who everyone feels comfortable talking to and turning to because I am kind, gentle and loving. I know I’m not the funniest person, I’m not the most creative person, I’m not the wittiest person or most social person and I’m like 99% sure I never will be. But I can be one of the kindest people. I want to see the good in others, give people the benefit of the doubt, love unconditionally, be more charitable and give much, much more service. I want to be Christlike and be a light in others lives. I want to leave people feeling better than they did before.

Brave: This is definitely the scariest word for me. I am not very brave at all in any aspect of my life. I’m not saying I want to be brave in that I’m going to go hike to the top of Angels Landing and look over the edge (oh sheesh I just spiked my anxiety just typing that) because that is not going to happen. I want to be brave in my words and actions involving my family. I want to be better at standing up for myself. I want to be better at speaking my mind. I want to be better at not making it my life mission to avoid any and all confrontation. Stuff like that, you know? I’m getting antsy even thinking of potential scenarios…but I also know how life changing it could be for me even if I just improve a little bit. In 2018 I want to be braver than I’ve ever been.

Time: As I’ve reflected back on 2017 I noticed that the majority of my mom-guilt came from feeling like I didn’t manage my time well enough to give my kids, husband and even myself the best life I can provide. I am not good at time management and I probably never have been. But thats going to change this year. The priority for me is making sure my time is spent nurturing my children and creating a home that is a safe place for our family. I want to spend less time on my phone and on social media and reading blogs and more time on the floor playing with blocks, identifying shapes and colors and changing diapers while having funny conversations with my toddler and exchanging coos with my newborn. I want to be actively involved in conversation with my husband and be a sounding board for him when he comes home from work. I want to spend more time in the kitchen making meals and less time on the couch in front of the tv (but don’t worry, I’ll still make sure I save some time for tv because I’ve got to be me!) I am going to spend time tidying up the house and making it a place where you can have a clear head and less time doing something useless and letting things pile up on the floor and counter, creating a frustrating environment. My time is going to be much more well spent and my whole families life is going to benefit from this.

2017 was wonderful. I loved it, I really did, but I am so excited for this new year. Hello, 2018! I’m ready for you. Lets do this.

Happy New Year!