I pulled out my journal and opened it up to these exact words: “Don’t they know they’re making this harder than it needs to be?”
I looked at those words scrawled across my journal pages and remembered how I felt when I wrote them. It was the end of the day. I was beyond tired and feeling behind in just about everything.
The evenings go a little something like this:
Get home after being out of the house for 12 hours (that have already sucked me dry). Clean up. Help get dinner made and on the plates. Repeat a conversation that usually involves a little: Stay at the table please. Eat the food on your plate before you get something different. No, we don’t have any banana bread today.
When the kids finish their dinner, I have exactly 5 minutes before they grow restless. And restless kids with dinner on their hands and faces make messes.
Don’t they know I just want to sit down and eat my dinner?
Don’t they know they’re making this harder than it needs to be?
When it’s time for showers and brushing teeth and tangled, curly hair, they’re everywhere. They’re running down the hall naked and dripping wet, requesting their favorite towel, and insisting that they can only wear the red pajamas, not the blue ones.
Don’t they know that it doesn’t need to be so hard?
I laughed as I read those words again. A) Of course they don’t, and B) they could be saying the same about me.
Doesn’t mom know it doesn’t have to be so hard?
Doesn’t she know you’re not going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of 8:30?
Doesn’t she know how much I love my monkey towel?
Doesn’t she know how fleeting this time is?
Doesn’t she know that this is how we learn and grow?
Doesn’t she know that we just like playing with her?
Doesn’t she know that she was just like this?
I’m 99% certain this goes for my husband too. When he leaves dishes in the office or socks on the floor or sits down to read for a few minutes after watching the kids all day, I think doesn’t he know how much harder he’s making this…for me?
And he could say the same about me: Doesn’t she know how hard she’s making this for herself? And doesn’t she know how hard she’s making this for me?
The thing is, my perspective on how things should be is not the only perspective. Sure, my kids need their teeth brushed. They need to get enough sleep. They should probably have more than banana bread for dinner. And yes, my husband’s sense of urgency kicks in a whole lot later than mine does.
So, I’m not really wrong, and that’s what makes this so hard to let go of. The feeling of being “right” is delicious. It’s comforting to feel right, especially if doubt or guilt are lurking behind every situation.
Of course, the whole truth of this is that I while I’m not wrong, I’m also not exactly right.
Because it’s not all about what’s in my head.
The funny thing is that this is exactly how we can make it harder than it needs to be. We get stuck in our own head and our own perspective, and we do it to do and be better for everyone. We put pressure on ourselves to do it all because it feels like we’re the only ones who can or should be doing it. Enough has stopped being enough, and superhuman has become the new standard.
We take things personally and ourselves so seriously. Everything can become an example of how we do or do not measure up.
Stuff gets personal when maybe it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t need to be so heavy or so hard.
When it feels like this is harder than it needs to be, stop and ask yourself how you can bring more ease into the situation. How can you ease the stress? How can you ease into transitions? How can you be at ease with things as they are?
Ease means being mindful of how you’re spending your energy, finding acceptance and appreciation, practicing self-care and self-compassion, and finding room to feel a little enthusiasm about all of this. And that’s not always going to look the same as what would be easier.
Honestly, yes, it probably would be a lot easier if there was no whining, if everyone listened, and if the house cleaned itself. But maybe there could still be a sense of ease without that.
When you’re feeling like things are harder than they need to be, here are 3 steps you can take to bring some order (and ease) to the chaos:
- Breathe. (Repeat.)
- Stop what you’re doing. Stop talking, stop cleaning, stop chasing, stop planning…stop and imagine that things already are exactly as they need to be. Say it out loud: Things already are just as they need to be. Sit with that for a minute.
- And then, name the one or two things that actually make sense to do right then.
The trick is starting from a place of calm and acceptance before you jump in to all the doing (and doing it all). You might be surprised at how much easier it can all be.
Need some more ease? Download the printable Ease Inventory from the Free Library (go to the worksheets section). Identify how you naturally like to find ease in life and give yourself a challenge to bring more ease into your life.