Kids force us to step out of our comfort zone. When our daughter was a baby, I found unidentifiable substances on my clothes, my hands and in my hair. And I’m a total germaphobe. It was a huge lesson in acceptance that I’m still learning every day.
Now that she’s older, I’m faced with new challenges that constantly force me out of my comfort zone. Things like taking off my cover up at the beach to go in the water with an eager kid. Or meeting new moms. And playing games when, quite frankly, I don’t really feel like it. But I’ve found some ways and motivation to push myself into these not-so-comfortable territories.
Dance (or play) like your kid is watching.
I sometimes feel silly dancing around the kitchen to the “Moana” soundtrack. Or, I don’t want to make a fort right before bedtime because it’s right before bedtime! I’m also much happier sitting on the bench at the playground versus climbing up to the top of the jungle gym. But these things matter to my kid. Her eyes light up when I dance like a banshee to a song I’ve heard a million times. And guess what? It’s ends up being pretty fun for me, too.
Meet the moms. All the moms.
I’m new-ish to the area, and it’s the equivalent of starting a new high school. But I also realize that we’re all in the same mom boat and sometimes awkwardly introducing myself and (gasp) exchanging phone numbers is the only way to build my mom crew. It takes work to schedule playdates, and I get pretty stressed having them at our house. But I force myself to do it, schedule it, go to that thing when I’d rather stay home. It always ends up being a fun time and rarely stressful. And I’ve found some pretty amazing friends along the way.
No one cares about your mom bod.
Especially when you have littles, you sometimes just have to get in the pool. Or the ocean. I feel a million times better sitting in my beach chair with my coverup hiding all my momness. But body self-consciousness aside, I make myself wear that swimsuit and realize nobody is looking at me and judging how I look. And if they are, I don’t care. And they’re certainly not part of my mom crew. Playing with my daughter in the pool and jumping waves is fun, and it matters to her. Someday in the not-too-distant future, she won’t want to do those things with me. So I’ll jump in and get my hair wet while she still thinks it’s awesome.
Sure, we run a pretty tight ship over here, and we have dinner times and bedtimes like most families. But if there’s something fun going on, or we have older kiddos over who stay up later, I just let it happen. Maybe tomorrow will be terrible and grumpy, but these special treats are things our kid will remember. And that makes me happy.
Your comfort zone is probably different than mine, and maybe some of these things come easier to you. But stepping out of your circle and just letting go can be a recipe for a happy kid, and it can even be fun for you too.