On a daily basis, many of us experience stress in different forms. Perhaps we are trying to get out the door to make an early meeting. Maybe we have an unhappy client or a delay on a project that is out of our hands. Even a messy house or office can send us into a tailspin, depending on the day.
As the mom of three kids under the age of five, I can relate to these stresses. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been eaten alive, before I even open my front door in the morning. Other times I walk in my house after work and am tempted to kiss every bit of clutter and mess in my path goodbye. It’s times like these that we can learn from the innocence of a child. Here are some of the lessons my kids have taught me along the way:
- Wake up ready for the day: Every morning when Zoe (age 4)
wakes up she asks me, “What fun things are we going to do
today?” While I don’t always have the most fun and exciting answers
for her, I love this zest that she approaches each day with. Instead of
rolling over and hitting the snooze button, imagine what would happen if
we all woke up ready to take on the day! (Okay, I’ll let you have your
coffee first, BUT then you better be ready!)
- Talk to yourself: Yesterday Zoe was having a full blown
conversation with herself. I asked her who she was talking to and she
replied, “Me. Why don’t you ever talk to yourself?” What a great
question! Why don’t I? I’m sure I could work through a lot of things by
using this tactic!
- Confess when something
scares you or makes you nervous: Zoe never hesitates to express when something is taking
her out of her comfort zone. Whether it’s walking into a dark room or
trying to get down from a tall stool, she tells it like it is. Wouldn’t
relationships with ourselves and others be a whole lot less complicated if
we admitted when something scared us or made us nervous. Talk about a
weight lifted off of our shoulders.
- Embrace your inner
Landry (age 2) makes more faces and has more voices than an episode of
Looney Toons (I’m totally aging myself here). He’s never afraid to go for
the laugh – even when we are (attempting) to punish him. As adults, many
situations could be a lot more pleasant if we recognized the need for
comic relief. And also, if we didn’t take ourselves so darn seriously.
- Hug the people you care
When Zoe walks into her preschool, she immediately runs up to her friends
and they embrace. Life is way too short to wait for the perfect time to
tell someone you care about them. If someone impacts your life for the
positive, let them know. You don’t necessarily have to hug them, but
acknowledge it in your own way.
- Get excited about
kids are sweet-a-holics. They go crazy over cupcakes, cookies, chocolate –
basically anything with refined sugar. As adults, we need to get excited
about something and not be afraid to show it. Excitement is extremely
motivating and contagious. (Side note: We also need to EAT the cupcake and
not worry about it going to our hips the second it hits our lips!)
- Let out a good cry: Anyone who has ever been around
kids knows that they cry at the drop of a dime. Many times, they also stop
just as abruptly as they started. Maybe kids are on to something. As
adults, it’s okay for us to let out a good cry every once in a while. It
may the release we need to get over a certain hump or situation.
- Constantly take in the
world around you:
Milo (9 months) is just starting to crawl and never wants to be contained.
It’s amazing to watch his body and mind explore even the simplest of
things. I hope that thirst for knowledge that I see in my children, sticks
with them throughout their lives. We should all strive to be lifelong
learners and to see the world in different ways. To not feel contained or
restricted by the restraints we put on ourselves.
- Love the outdoors: Rain, snow, sun… it doesn’t
matter. My kids want to be outside. Milo is extremely content – even if he
can’t be crawling all over the place because he’s outdoors. There’s
something so primal and refreshing about connecting with nature. Think
about how good it feels when you take a break from work and squeeze in a quick
walk. We should all make a point to take advantage of the great outdoors.
- Sing and dance like you
can (even if you can’t): My kids love music. Zoe sings on
the top of her lungs and dances like Elaine from Seinfeld. Landry sounds
like a caveman when he sings, but he has some major moves. Milo smiles,
bobs his head and tries to follow along with the music. They are all
different, yet they sing and dance like they are the only ones on earth.
Happily, with huge smiles on their faces. As adults, we need to realize
that it’s okay to sing in the car at the top of our lungs or shimmy down
the aisle of the grocery store.
It’s not always easy or second nature to embrace what I’ve learned from my kids, but I’m going to be my best (each and every day) to approach life less like a stressed out adult and more like a fun loving, carefree kid.