Stop and Smell Your Children – ENJOY parenting!

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One thing I realized, when I was overwhelmed with a baby and a toddler, is that I couldn’t change my circumstances. Every day was chaos. Every day was full of nonstop work. And often working in the night, too! Whew! I felt like a rat on a spinning wheel that couldn’t jump off.

I knew I couldn’t change my circumstances. BUT I could always change my attitude. I could enjoy this season of young children, if I shifted my outlook.

I started reading books, and interviewing mothers and grandmothers that I admired. They helped me change my perspective.

Now I have three children, age 5 and under. I still feel like a rat on a spinning wheel that can’t jump off. BUT, I try my hardest to proactively find ways in my busy days to enjoy my little darlings. And this is one of them.

There is a big mirror hanging in our entryway enclosed in a gold frame. Whenever I am holding baby Hannah, and I pass by that mirror, I stop. I make myself STOP and break out of that mean, caretaking Dragon Mom mindset. I get baby Hannah’s attention by snapping my fingers in front of the mirror. After a few snaps, she focuses on our reflected image, and we silently smile at each other in the mirror.
I try to take a mental snapshot of how happy I am as a mother in that moment. I try to focus on the good (this squishy, two-toothed baby girl is all mine!), and forget about the bad (like a fussy baby at 3:15am last night).

I try to etch these magical parenting moments in my mind. So someday, when I am a big-haired Texas granny, I will look back and remember these glorious, ordinary moments.

Find your moments today. All it takes is shifting your outlook.

“Enjoy the little things in life, because someday you will look back, and realize they were the big things.”

ZOO PERSPECTIVE

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We went to the zoo yesterday, with everyone else in Texas.

My favorite moment was this. Riding brightly-painted plastic horses with my baby girl Esther.

I was horse crazy growing up. I mean HORSE CRAZY. I read every horse book in our local library – i.e. I read horse series like the Black Stallion three times! I didn’t care about boys – I just wanted to be in a saddle with my black velvet helmet and tall riding boots!

My little horsewoman loves horses, too. (I may, or may not, have tried to brainwash her about loving horses from a young age – I think I had bought her at least 10 My Little Pony stuffed ponies by the time she was one, and themed her first birthday ponies, and we even had a real pony at her party. ???).

Back to the zoo. Esther took a long time searching for the perfect horse to ride. Finally she settled on this flat-eared, angry-looking yellow horse. I normally just stand by her, but today it was only Esther and me (Samson and Hannah were at home), so I swung up on the cheery grey mare beside her. (More like awkwardly mounted in my mom activewear – I’m not as nimble after birthing three children in five years).

The ride started and we alternately rose and fell silently on our plastic steeds. (I hadn’t had coffee yet). Suddenly I stopped and looked over at my proud equestrian. She was very intense and took it seriously. “Mom!” She gasped in concern. “Hold BOFF hands!!!” I smiled back and grabbed the gold pole with BOTH hands and sat up, ram rod straight, like my baby girl. Up and down we went, her eyes big and happy.

And I thought about all the stress to get to that moment: Samson had pink eye, Hannah was fussing, it took forever to get out the door, we were running on empty in the minivan so had to stop at a shady gas station, the horrible traffic to the zoo, etc. And I thought, I’m so glad I “dumped” a whole morning to be right here. At this moment. To experience this fleeting happiness with my three-year-old sweetie pie.

In my dream world, someday Esther and I will ride real horses, side by side. But today, I’m savoring each creak of this wooden carousel with my tiny riding partner. These are the happiest days of my life. ❤

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What do you do when your three-year-old daughter wants to wear her scratchy, stiff “beautiful!!!” blue Easter dress every single day? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. #timeflies

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Samson knows it’s not real, but whatever. TONIGHT I GET TO BE A TOOTH FAIRY FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!! 

ENJOY each parenting “first”!!!!! xoxo

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Sometimes when we are driving home in the minivan, and the tired baby won’t stop screaming no matter what we do, I’ll finally turn to driving Dave and say, “Hon, do you hear anything?”

Dave: “No. Do you?”

Me: “No.

 

Want more like this? Order Leah’s new Amazon Best-Seller book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years now on Amazon here or on her site here.