For years I’ve thought that I needed to change.
I’d read parenting books on the perfect way to get my toddler to stay in bed or my preschooler to listen. Change me, I thought, and then I’d have it together. I’d look at my habits and think that if only I’d give that up or would add this or would not worry about that that then I’d be the person I was meant to be.
I kept the bar of me up so high and as a place that I was always working to get to.
Change me. Change me. Change me.
That kind of was the chant.
It really would get loud when the New Year would poke around and January 1 would roll in. I’d list all the things that I thought I needed to change about me to make me a better me. To make me a better mom and friend and so forth. I’d start the year with a list of things that in my head I told myself if I’d just tick them off then I’d finally be happy and I’d be exactly the person I thought I was to be and that the world needed.
And then this year I kind of thought about why I was spending so much energy and time in my life thinking that I needed to change to be happy and to be the perfect mom or person. What if being happy was instead not chasing after changes but rather learning to simply like me for me?
Yes me. Imperfect crazy and oftentimes a bit emotional and worrying but really really loving my kids and working super hard for them me.
This is what I mean.
We’re so hard on ourselves sometimes as moms. We think that we should do all these steps and our kids need to accomplish this at a certain time and our homes be a certain way and so forth and so much of the time we just miss the simple power in us mothering. Like the Sunday when I dropped what I needed to do and helped my 9th grader think of how to build a popsicle bridge and helped her hold little wood sticks together with Elmer’s glue.
I didn’t need to change anything about me.
You know why? Because I was there. Showing up for her. Doing what I needed to do. There isn’t a book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble that will teach us to do that. There aren’t 100 easy lessons on how to teach our kids respect – but us as moms figuring it out. When my kindergartner doesn’t want to go to school and has those fits and stuff I don’t need to change me to be better because in that moment I’m there – figuring it out – probably pretty exasperated, but man oh man, we get through.
Maybe instead of thinking that we’re the issue and that if we just adopted this resolution to change we instead decided to make resolutions to not change us but to rather cultivate us and be happy with us?
Maybe you decide that you don’t need to pursue all these external things that we think will make us happy or be a better person (and who decides that anyway?) but instead decide to look in the mirror and like the person looking back at you without thinking that there are so many things that need fixing.
You don’t need fixing, my friend.
You don’t need to be perfect.
You just need to keep showing up. Mothering. Building stick bridges. Loving them when they drive you crazy. Fighting for you. Breathing deep. Going to bed tired but grateful.
Maybe we all need to realize that we might not need a whole bunch of changing but rather a whole lot of perspective of who we already are in this world. In my room is a sign that says Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. You know what’s in that sign? The words Be You… Not be this or that or change this or that and then you’re beautiful. It tells us to be our own beautiful.
This is the year of you being you.
You confident in your mothering choices. You who doesn’t apologize for not having it all together. You who realizes that there isn’t a need for the mom guilt that sometimes can plague us all. You who looks in the mirror and instead of thinking you need to change to be happy or to be better decides to invest in her heart. Yes, yes, yes your heart. It’s so easy to put it on the back burner in this life. It’s easy to think I’ll take care of that part of me tomorrow or when the kids are older or when this gets fixed. But I’m here to tell you that the time is now.
Brush the tears. Push away the fears.
No more changing.
You are enough. Truthfully. We don’t need to change to be loved or to be valued or any of that – our friends love us for us. All of our silliness or moments of crazy or times when we stumble and fall flat. I’ve fallen flat. My December was a month of me just feeling like I wasn’t enough or measuring up and that I was the issue and I lost sight of all the awesome that I did and simple that I did and ordinary that I did and that for my family and friends they loved me for me. I was enough.
So this year, I’ve decided to be me and to not necessarily change me.
If I want to change something I want to do it because it makes me happy NOT because I think it’s the thing I need to do to be this perfect person. In fact, my tidying up challenge is something I’m doing because I WANT TO. Not because I think I HAVE TO.
I’m going to love me for me and all of my quirks and idiosyncrasies and things that I’ve tried to fix over the years. Instead of apologizing for the what I thought was the too emotional part of me I’m instead going to realize that these things are the gifts of me. I’m going to live without the fear of what others are thinking of me but rather with the intent to fill my world with joy and to bless others.
I just can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate you reading this words. Finding Joy and happiness isn’t about chasing joy but might just be in learning to love ourselves and cultivate that space in life. It’s not fixing us, but loving us.
You can do this. You, my friend, are beautiful just as you.
Don’t change you.
I have a feeling you are pretty awesome already.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt (my 2016 inspiration)