Here’s a #tbt to just this past Thursday which was the day TOMs encouraged everyone to not wear shoes in order to 1) gain awareness to what it’s like for the millions of people who don’t have shoes and 2) help donate a pair by taking a picture of your bare feet and posting it. Usually they donate when you buy their products but last Thursday they gave away 296,243 extra pairs just because of the posted hashtag #withoutshoes. It didn’t seem like a big deal to go barefoot all day, and there’s even a romantic feeling that spilled over me at first until I learned that:
There are hazards everywhere! Instead of looking around at the people and scenery around me I learned pretty quickly that I should constantly peek down to take stock of the seemingly endless fresh bits of broken glass that my son and I could step on. This was in a pretty well maintained urban city so imagine what most people come across!
Even in Venice Beach people give you The Eye! I had people staring at me with this look that said “that girl in the wide-rimmed hat with the baby doesn’t LOOK homeless, but why doesn’t she have shoes on?” I really did not expect this, especially since we were just a few blocks from the beach. Snobs abound.
My feet are PANSIES! Okay, my feet have taken me on many adventures around this planet and through two pregnancies so they themselves rock, but my feet SKIN seriously needs to toughen up. This time conjured up for me visceral reminders of what my feet used to feel like when I was a kid running around without shoes all summer! Callous remover? Next time I’ll ask for callouses adhesive because I felt EVERYTHING and at first flinched just when I was on some light gravel. Toughen up, tootsies; I can’t wait for the next pieds nus day!
We had a shed built for which I ordered a tool sorter. Our tool bag was on the ground with many pointy and sharp bits inside and out. Even though the littles aren’t allowed in there, they are bound to find out how keys work and I might forget to lock it. Figuring out which pegs would go where was akin to playing with a Battleship board or Rosie the Riveter Plinko game, and I had honestly THE BEST TIME putting this together. I had a full force satisfied smile on my face by the time I was done.
Why did I have such an exhilarating time doing something rather banal? I had to stop and think about it because it was a feeling that I could tell I hadn’t had in a while. The reward of seeing the work done and feeling good about it was IMMEDIATE. Most of the work I do these days in the doula world and parenting is for the LONG TERM results. When I have to tell Valita not to pull toys away from her brother and when I tell Emil not to throw hard objects, on the best days I feel like a buzzkill and on the worst I feel like a total impatient, repetitive jerk. That furrowed brow I feel up there? Not so sexy! When I catch her sharing out of the corner of my eye, or when I see him deciding NOT to throw a toy train at the dog, that does give me satisfaction points. It isn’t immediate, but rather the result of me saying same things over and over and over. Some other positive parenting results I might have to wait even longer to see, or I may never see first hand, but hearing from other parents that your children have been helpful or polite every now and then sure is encouraging!
Now that I no longer have a job in which I have regular performance reviews for or spreadsheet-worthy results from, I’ll just get more work done in the shed or hang something with the drill when I need a very quick fix of satisfaction!
Inspired by a discussion group where Christine Lewicki spoke about her J’Arrête de Râler concept and books, I gave up complaining for Lent. Let’s be real, it was more ‘dialing down’ my complaining, just like a volume button down to the lowest setting. Overall I feel like my abstention was successful. I’m going to continue my quest even though the Easter season has come and gone.
I learned~1) there is a fine line between communicating negative information and complaining; it’s all in the delivery. If I tell you I got a parking ticket this afternoon in a manner that is too perky, I’m not complaining, but it will come off as sarcastic which isn’t much of an improvement. I can however, not whine and go on and on about it as if the world owes me something. I’m someone who historically bottled up any tension and anger which was not healthful for me, so even though I WILL communicate the bad things that went down I will not complain about it.
2) dialing down my complaints turned up the volume on everybody else’s. I didn’t judge anyone for it since it felt more like a Dorian Gray mirror image. It was the same when I have given up sugar or drinking during Lent; that is when I realize how abundant it is in my own diet.
3) gratitude was my key to the volume control knob and even though I fumbled quickly and often, I was able to dial down my complaining by keeping a list of the things and people I am grateful on my mind. I’m curious what you gave up for Lent and how it went?!
There are moments when I am touched-out breastfeeding the 1-year-old, the 3-year-old is jutting her hand in blade formation down the front of my shirt to connect with that bygone era, and the fur bébé that I singlehandedly trained to be a snuggly love monster is at my heels.
I grew up with two sisters in a huggy nuclear family, I am a marginal PDA offender and ‘physical touch’ scored highest when I read that love languages book, but there are those moments when I viscerally feel ooooover it. I feel like the center of our mini universe but instead of feeling awesome sometimes I feel the pressure of meeting everyone’s needs at the same time. Plus all three of these little ones are so freaking cute I can hardly stand it, so I really WANT to meet their needs.
I can gain my composure by thinking about how I will never be more popular than I am right now. I don’t think that realistically my kids will ever want to hang out with me more than they do right now, and they are SO sweet about it. Emil crawls so quickly to me when I come around the corner with that knowing smile on his face and Valita says things like “Mama, you sit next to me.” while patting the chair next to her, and “Mama, let’s do this puzzle together.” This is so much better than the empty popularity I pined for when I was younger because I still will want to hang out with all of these sweet beings for the rest of my life.
My daughter puts a tiara on my head and smiles and I’m telling myself that this is way more cool than if it would have happened in high school, except much less glamorous because I’m wearing yoga pants and just found a Trader Joe’s sticker on my booty.