Having made lots of sacrifices in the last year to be able to afford to stay home with Olivia, I sometimes struggle with being content with what I (We) have. Even though it makes me feel horribly guilty to admit it… Occasionally, I wish we HAD more, when the reality is, we HAVE plenty. In fact, we HAVE such bountiful blessings that it makes me sick to admit that I sometimes take them for granted.
One of my favorite mantras “BE, DO, HAVE” presents the idea that if we focus on BEing happy and true to ourselves, DOing what we love, then we will HAVE everything we need. Catching up with one of my best friends on the phone yesterday, I caught myself about to complain about the major adjustments we’ve made financially. When I looked in the rearview mirror to check on my precious baby girl, who was sound asleep totally konked out – I was caught dead in my tracks. I couldn’t bring myself to complain. How could I? My life is JUST as I’d imagined it. For the first time, I feel like I am EXACTLY where God wants me to be. It’s the most successful I’ve ever felt. On most days, I like who I am. I love what I do. Being a mom has made me feel more successful than any career could have. I don’t get a paycheck. Heck. I very rarely get positive affirmation from my tiny boss… but I love my job.
People tend to think that if they HAVE all the things that they desire, that they’ll be able to DO everything they want to do and that they’ll BE happy.
As a society we focus on making enough money to HAVE the lifestyle we desire (DO) thinking that this will make us happy (BE). Yet we all know that things don’t make us happy, and neither does a lifestyle that we think we’re supposed to have. The road to happiness requires shifting this paradigm. By focusing on BEing happy, letting our actions come from a place of happiness (DO) and the things that matter end up giving us what we truly desire (HAVE).
I’ve done my fair share of meditation on this thought and am constantly reminding myself to make BE-DO-HAVE my mantra. In 2009, in Mark Maier’s “Leading As A Way of Serving” class I was first introduced to the idea. In that semester, I learned to appreciate WHO I was over what I was going to DO or HAVE in life. Among many others, this is a life lesson that I would never have imagined to learn in a college classroom. Maybe because Mark’s idea of a classroom was a Buddhist retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains, a local ropes course, or simply parked underneath a giant shade tree. There is plenty of material on the HAVE-DO-BE paradigm shift online if you’re interested in further reading… but the idea is simple. In fact, you don’t have to DO anything. Just Be.
We all have things we say we’re going to do but know we’ll never get around to. When I was pregnant, I had high hopes for having more time to “DO” once I was a full-time stay at home momma. I even dreamed up a list of “Post Peanut Projects” that I hoped to accomplish in the first year. Who knew it would be so difficult balancing fun + entertaining activities for the baby with productivity + projects. No longer can I clean the entire house in one day. Liv will not allow it. She’ll sit patiently or hang in the exersaucer while I clean one room… maybe two. Never the entire house. I’m slowly figuring out how to “stay on top of it” and wiggle in one project at a time. I’m reminded of a quote that I first came across when reading, Mark Albion’s “Making a Life, Making a Living” in college.
The first step is to stop doing what is making (you) unhappy. Next (you) have to act on (your) desire for change. – Mark Albion
In no way am I unhappy. In fact, mommy-hood is the most amazing and wonderful experience of my life. I can truthfully say; I enjoy it more and more each day, even on the bad ones (and there are bad ones). That being said, I need to make a better effort (<—See, that’s me taking responsibility) at planning less and doing more.
I’ve mentioned before that I come from a long line of planners + calendar-a-holics. Most influentially, my mom. This past week left me with a whole new appreciation for her. Daniel was out of town for the better half of the week/weekend at a Microsoft conference in Seattle (Actually, Redmond, WA). To say I’m excited for him to be home this afternoon is an understatement. Just in case you don’t really know me or my family…. I’m the oldest of 4 – my brother Christopher (24) and sisters Bethany (21) Emily (19) and I are all between 18 mo. and 2 years apart. Growing up, I had NO idea what this meant for my mom. My dad is a top executive with a major retailer and has always traveled a lot (we’re talking 3 to 4 out of 5 nights a week) but still managed to coach little league on the weekends. My mom juggled 4 under 8 years old… multiple car seats… diapers…all of that laundry and grocery shopping. I just can’t fathom. And we were always doing fun + educational stuff (especially during the summer) – going to the beach, zoo, library, etc. She’s also one of the most creative do-ers I know. I could write an entire post about how amazing a mother my mom is but I’ll save that for Mother’s Day 2013 and just say “I don’t know how you did it mom – You’re my hero.”