This morning, I woke up with plans for a beautiful day with my family.  We were going to have a lovely paleo breakfast to start the new year off right, the tiny humans would take a nap, and we would trek out for a hike with a good friend in the afternoon.  It was going to be perfection; we’d spend the entire day fueling our bodies and souls with goodness.

The hike part was particularly important to me because I have felt a consistent pull recently to be outside more.  To get to know the earth more. To connect to her on a deeper level. I feel my focus shifting towards biodynamics and finally growing a successful garden this year so eventually we could find ourselves owning a large piece of land with happy animals and thriving soil.  The hike was also going to be with a good friend and client, the type of person whose excitement and purpose brings me extra excitement and purpose. What a way to start the year, right?

But as you might have guessed by now, things did not go as planned.  

Breakfast was indeed lovely.  Lilian ate the grain free pancakes I put together from scratch with nothing but joy on her face.  She still wouldn’t try the sweet potato (despite her favorite pouch being made of this very veggie), and she used chocolate hummus instead of maple syrup, but I’ll take what I can get.  We used some delicious vital farms eggs that I found at Big Y. I kept hearing about them on Armchair Expert and they did not disappoint. 

When nap time arrived, everything seemed like it might work out perfectly.  I was happy. 

Then, Josie wanted to sleep in Lily’s bed with her.  It’s a teeny toddler bed but I thought, “Sure! I love their connection to one another, it’ll be fine. I can always move them after they’re asleep.”

That was my first mistake.

What followed was two and a half hours of chaos that paralyzed my ability to be a functional, positive parent. 

I’ve mentioned before that there’s a lot going on in my life and this time of year, despite the abundant joy surrounding me, carries a lot of past trauma with it.  I can keep my cool for so long when the big traumatic things are happening. But then something little like my kids refusing to nap throws me overboard. My body will literally shut down and I either uncontrollably cry, need to lay down and sleep, or a little of both. 

Today it was mostly needing to sleep.  I could not get myself out of bed. Thank God for my Superman husband who tried to tame the children while also coming in periodically to wrap his arms around me as tight as humanly possible because he knows that that is exactly what I need in moments like this.

Our Vases

Left to Right: Josie’s, Lily’s, and Mine (which started as polkadots but Lily determined it needed more pizazz and took over for me)

Eventually, we gave up on the nap, we cancelled the hike, and we all emerged from the chaos carefully and quietly. It took all of my remaining energy to put a smile on my face and find something nice to do with the kids- something that would help heal us all from a frustrating couple of hours.

We ended up painting three tiny vases that came in a kit.  The three of us sat at their tiny little table and we each worked hard on our own fresh start.  Lilian is really focused when it comes to her art, and watching her work is a really rewarding part of being her mom.  Josie did a great job challenging my anxious perfectionism by continuously dipping her brush into each color without first wiping it off.  I’m happy to report that I didn’t lose my shit or try to correct her more than twice. It turned out was just what we all needed to find ourselves again.  It brought me back to the present as a mom. It allowed Lily to calm down through intense concentration. It allowed Josie the fun and freedom she needs so much as a two year old.

Even at the end of this day though, I am feeling the weight of cancelling last minute on a person who is important to me, for leaving most of the hard parenting on Jesse, and for not getting the girls outside like I’d promised myself.

And so begins a lesson I think will probably be a theme for 2020.  How can I flex my flexibility muscle better? How can I find ways to work through those paralyzing moments?  How do I release the guilt of things not going according to my perfectly thought out plans?

Now that I know I have these opportunities for growth, I’ve got to figure out how to take them and run with them, so that’s what I’ll do.

P.S. I only reread this once and made minor changes! Progress already.