Breaking the rules

Sometimes you have to learn to break the rules

 

1. Perfection 

Get rid of the idea that someday it will be perfect, complete, done. This is an impossible goal. Perfect is the enemy of the good. Nothing will ever be perfectly organized, perfectly clean or perfectly flowing along. There will be bumps and bruises along the way My significant other really taught me to relax and enjoy my life and what I was doing, rather than worrying the details to death. I used to be filled with a lot of anxiety and this quest to get it all right.  It wasn't until I let go of all of those ideals that I was able to start really enjoying my life and my family. My motivations are a lot different nowadays. I wouldn't have a website or even a business if I hadn't let go of this rule. Too often we spend time worrying or not acting because it won't be perfect. The key to my own success is working with what I have rather than waiting until I can make it perfect. 


 2. Perfection in chores. I had an epiphany one day. I've had a few over the years of course, but  this was a game changer for me. I've been a stay at home mother while  working on projects and houses for 10 years. I finally realized that if I  always kept score based on whether the dishes or laundry were ever finished, then I'd  always be losing. As I searched for this elusive rating system by which I judged my effectiveness as a mother, a person, a significant other never coming close to a 100%.  Let's face it-the things we do daily, over and over will never be done. The work we don't see or get a gold star for is by far more important. Instead of did I get the house clean or did I  remember to wash their school shirt it became did I love my kids today?  Did I make them laugh, did I make them smile and feel loved? Did I listen to them? Did I play with them when they asked me?


I  sure wish I had been able to see this when they were little. I was  completely overwhelmed when I was a new mother and everything was always  a mess. Laundry and dishes felt like mountains I'd never conquer. This  new perspective would have completely changed things for me. I made a  decision- I decided I'd do laundry on Thursdays and that was that. Every  time I walked into the laundry room and see piles of laundry I'd just  shake my head and say, it's not Thursday.And turn around and walk out.  Once I set this new routine in place, which worked with my schedule and  may need adjustments in yours, everything changed.   I set a loose  routine and my kids pitch in. Sometimes they help fold the laundry or  match socks. I resist the urge to refold their items and just appreciate  the help. Who cares if the shirts are folded the same ways or if they  don't out it into drawers as neatly as I'd like? My kids are learning  the routine in life, the joy of contributing to a family, for hearing my  thanks and appreciation without the relentless pursuit of perfection  lording over them.


You have to do it all

 My kids pitch in with the houseBecause we all do it, it only takes a few minutes so  we all enjoy our weekend.  They are responsible for emptying their  basket on friday, right after school. They get a weekly allowance of a  few dollars and this has to be done before they get it and they know it.  They straighten their room and everyday after school they hang their  own jackets, and bring their lunch kits to the kitchen.
They  don't do it everyday without fail but it's mostly ingrained in all of  us now for the most part and we all keep the system going.   I added  Tuesday for an extra load or 2 otherwise forget it . I'm not thinking  about it anymore. It won't ever be done so I've stopped using it as a  basis to keep score.I do one chore a day besides making our bed daily,  and doing dishes.   Perfection is the enemy of the good.  I have no idea  where I saw this quote, but it's good and it's true. My house isn't  ever going to look like a page in a magazine, except for maybe a few  rare moments of life. The fact is I have lived in houses more in need of  renovations than completed ones. Kids keep wearing clothes, and dirty  dishes keep multiplying like they are mutating so set it into a routine  and forget about the elusive perfect house and perfect score. It doesn't  exist.  

#3 Pinterest Parties, Houses, LivesAs  a mom of two boys, I spent some time stressing about birthday parties,  Christmas and following the crowd in scheduling our lives to revolve  around more lessons and sports teams. Over the years, I have learned to  embrace what is most important, rather than what looks good. A good  party needs a fun activity and good treats, more then it needs perfect  decor and invitations.  Christmas gifts around activities-family games,  outings, active toys rather than more plastic crap fuels the soul of  your family far more than wasting boat loads of money on more plastic  crap.. You will regret filling your basement or playroom with all the  latest and greatest toys of the moment. You will start smuggling that  shit out of there in black garbage bags under the cover of darkness.  Don't do it. Ask what activities your kids most want to do. We focus on  making Christmas baking and I let them go nuts with decorating sugar  cookies and a gingerbread house. The kids deliver samples to our friends  and neighbors, and show their friends their creations with pride. We  share with everyone.  Our boys don't play a lot of recreational sports  for two reasons. One we travel to our family regularly and out to our  cabin as often as possible. Our weekends are free to do as we please.  The boys have been in soccer and gymnastics, but they are not driven to  be involved yet in a way that isn't us pushing them to do it. So we  assess each time them mention what they would like to do. Our oldest is  interested more in the idea of cadets and beavers than sports teams. And  my youngest has tried karate, soccer, gymnastics, swimming along with  his brother. None of this really stuck for them so we just keep checking  back in. I used to worry I was doing my kids a disservice but now I see  how letting them decide what interests them has been far more  important. They have a list of things they have chosen and we have  actively sought out ways for them to be exposed to their own interests.  We are far more open to opportunities than being stuck in a structured  and demanding schedule of teams, practices and forced travel,  fundraising and let's not forget the expenses of all of this. This frees  us up to channel money, time and energy into things we enjoy rather  than keep up with the Jones's. I focus on spending time with my family,  and what things will bring & keep us together.  How can I support my  kids in their own interests, how can I build their skills while hanging  out together? What kinds of things can you do for yourself to expand on  your own interests and goals? We often forget about ourselves when we  become caretakers of others-a spouse, a child, an older parent and I've  given up that idea as well. Now what I want and need is just as  important and scheduled into my life as my kids activities and interests.  

 

Carrie Sansom
 

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