We live in the age of too much. We’re buying too much. We already own too much and owe too much. We’re doing too much. We can’t take care of ourselves because we have too much on our calendar, too much on our plate. We go to bed and can’t sleep because we have too much on our minds. Anxiety ridden, overwhelmed, and approaching a milestone birthday, I decided it was time to let some things go. I found a way to exhale, and so can you.
- Let go of what you thought your life would be. My entire outlook shifted when I started embracing this idea. I had a preconceived notion of what I thought my twenties and thirties would look like, and sometimes I still find myself grasping to that idea. The truth is, raising humans is a whole lot messier and more challenging than I ever could have imagined. It’s also a whole lot more beautiful than most people give it credit for.
- Let go of wishing the days away. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to get out of school. I couldn’t wait to buy a house. I couldn’t wait until my babies slept through the night. I couldn’t wait until they could crawl. I couldn’t wait until they were potty trained. I couldn’t wait until they could reason. I can’t wait for bedtime. I can’t wait for the weekend. I can’t wait for Summer. Stop. The years go by fast enough without us always looking ahead. It’s time to be present. Our time here is finite, and you only get to live this day once. If that means getting down on the floor to play with your kids for a while instead of cleaning, try it. Your sink will be full, but so will your hearts.
- Let go of expert opinions. Breast-feed or don’t. Sleep train or don’t. Work outside the home or don’t. Homeschool or don’t. The fact that you worry over these decisions means you’re already doing it right. Every child is different, and you are the only expert when it comes to your own child. We were born with instincts. Use yours to raise yours.
- Let go of society’s beauty standards. I could talk for hours about the beauty of a body that has changed and stretched to bring life into this world, but you know as well as I do that it’s easy to get caught up in what you see around you. Yes, many people are much taller and thinner than you. Yes, a ton of famous people have flat stomachs and perfect skin. Just remember that there are also people with enough training to photoshop a turd into a ribeye, so things aren’t always what they seem. Your children will think you are beautiful unless you teach them otherwise.
- Let go of your jam-packed calendar. Just by being a parent, you are already doing all the things. If you have a desire to volunteer, do it. If your child has a passion, follow their lead. If you are running ragged seven days a week to please others, I’m going to share a secret with you. It feels really freakin’ good to stay home all day once in a while. Learn to say NO. Moderation is key. If you want your children to be active, go outside. If you want to give them social skills, talk to them as equals. You aren’t making them better people by participating in every single sport and activity available. You’re making them tired.
- Let go of the clothes you hate. It will just end up on your closet floor again next time you try it on. If you hate it today, you won’t suddenly love it tomorrow. Let it go. If it doesn’t make you feel good, let it go. While we’re at it, let go of the jeans that don’t fit. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Simplifying your family’s wardrobe will change your life. Around here, less laundry means more Netflix and cuddles. Mama’s happy and everyone wins.
- Let go of toxic relationships. I saw a video the other day of Will Smith talking about surrounding yourself with people who “fan your flame”. You have to decide if the people around you are fanning your flame or pissing on your fire. If we are all here trying to become the best version of ourselves, doesn’t it make sense to let go of relationships that bring us down? When we talk about friendships and bullying, I tell my kids that if someone is making them feel bad about themselves, to just walk away. Sometimes, as adults, we need to hear the same thing. Walk away.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but you’ll find that letting go will give you the space in your mind and in your days for freedom of choice. You can choose what to do with your time and your energy. You can read, write, run, cook, paint, learn to sew, meditate, Netflix and chill, whatever. You do you.
This piece originally appeared on Chicken Bacon Ranch.com
Jessie Hoag is a Kansas mom of three. You can find her at www.chicken-bacon-ranch.com where she brings humor and edge to her stories about her misadventures in life and motherhood. Or follow her on Facebook.