Overwhelmed, bored, lonely, stressed, anxious, frustrated, sad, concerned, depleted, stretched … these are all words that you may be feeling right now. This is the list that was generated when I recently asked a group of women (via social media) to share one word for how they were feeling about our current health crisis. I’m guessing you could easily identify with one of their words or you have your own word that would fit right into the list.
As a mom of two toddlers, I spend a majority of my days repeating myself over and over. This constant repetition typically happens for one of two reasons: one, my toddlers do not always listen the first time that I say something, and two, my toddlers are constantly learning—and learning comes with lots of repetition. I repeat words that they are learning, I repeat our schedule for the day so they know what to expect, I repeat stories that they want to read over and over again, I repeat expectations when behaviors fall short. You get the idea.
I don’t know exactly what your phone looks like or more specifically what you choose to keep on your phone. If your phone is anything like mine, I am guessing you keep pictures stored on your device. My phone actually holds an embarrassing number of photos and videos, mostly of my two toddlers, which I back up to a cloud-based storage system. Once the photos are backed up, I delete the files from my phone—which then allows me to fill it back up again with more pictures and videos. Honestly, this probably says more about the limits of my self-control than anything else.
The last thing that anyone wants to read right after the beginning of the new year is any kind of post about setting a goal or resolution, picking a word, or setting an intention. Conversations and social media become saturated with this language. While some people thrive off of conquering or mastering a goal, other people can be easily overwhelmed by the thought of even starting to come up with anything “new” this year.
Over this past summer, I potty trained my firstborn. In preparation for this, I read books and consulted my mom and other friends who had gone before me in taking on this same task. The plan was to spend three days at home near the bathroom until we figured everything out. At the time, we were in the middle of moving and living temporarily in a mostly carpeted apartment rental. The only non-carpeted areas of the apartment were the kitchen, eating, and bathroom areas. Our three days were going to be spent camped out in our kitchen and eating areas exclusively. Those three days were so hard for everyone. The learning curve for my toddler, my husband, and myself was significant.
Two years ago, on Christmas morning, my husband posted a picture on social media of us with his family in front of a Christmas tree. The picture was well received and “liked” by many friends. The tree we were standing in front of was in his parents’ church. The whole family—siblings, spouses, and children—was together for Christmas. What’s not to love when you see a picture like that?
Near my house, there is a hiking trail that is relatively flat and very easy to hike with my two young children. It is less than one mile in length and makes a nice circle that is simple to follow. Hiking is probably a generous term for this area, but we rarely complete this loop. There are large rocks to climb at the entrance to the trail and the path itself is comprised of very tiny rocks that my children love to constantly stop and touch.
Change and transition can be fun and exciting. Change and transition can also be difficult and tedious. In my family, which currently includes two toddlers, change typically falls into the “difficult and tedious” category more often than the “fun and exciting.”