“What do you spend time and energy on that you actually don’t care that much about?”
If you wonder what this picture has to do with this question or, are confused about what relation, if any, it has to parenting, I can explain. This photo is of my lower legs and how they look most of the time. Yes, I live in a culture that perpetuates the myth that beautiful female legs are hairless, smooth legs. For me, however, deep down, I don’t really care if my legs are hairy or free from hair. When I go to my gym class that’s filled with women with shiny calves and shins, the part of me that craves acceptance, quivers a bit and yells at me to “cover up those legs or at least trim the hairs so it just looks like you forgot to shave for a couple of days!” When I’m honest with myself, however, I personally don’t think that having hairless legs is worth the time, effort, or expense to make them that way. Also, I don’t think that my belonging or like-ability should have anything to do with the stubble-status of my legs. So that’s what the photo has to do with today’s question. But how does it relate to parenting or family life?
We’re human beings with limits. Though we can change them to some degree and I believe in abundance and possibility, we still have actual present-day realities to live with. There are 24-hours in a day and seven days in a week. We have X number of dollars in the bank, earn X in income, and have X in expenses. We have skills in some areas and few skills in others. We have a specific life experience and background that has shaped who we now are. So, while we can alter these characteristics of our reality or transform how we deal with the immutable ones, in this moment we are living with a specific reality. In our families, for instance, we have a certain number of children, we have a spouse or don’t, and we work to maintain a lifestyle (either for actual money or for the real production of the results of clean clothes or food on the table). In addition, we have a specific extended-family and personal history and we live in a culture and communities with certain spoken and un-spoken “rules” and expectations. It is within this context that we choose how to be and what to do with our lives, and thus, how to parent and how to lead our families.
“Think about what’s pleasurable, not just what’s possible.”~ Brene Brown
So, back to the question of the day: What do you spend time and energy on that you actually don’t care that much about?
What are those things you say “yes” to when you actually want to choose “no?” What ends up on your to-do-list that saps your energy or enthusiasm when you see it there? What uses up your money or time with little lasting reward? How are you trying to “keep up with the Joneses” when you think the Joneses aren’t good role-models? Whose worries have you inherited that don’t really resonate with your deeper self? Whose achievement list are you choosing to work toward completing? What are you trying to prove that’s wearing you out rather than inspiring you?
Okay, so those are simply different versions of the same question, right? Right. The point is to consider if you’re really living as you want to live or if you’re living as you think you “should.” Because if your life is crafted from a list of obligations, you’re not creating from a space of inspiration. And choosing obligation over inspiration affects your family now, and who your children become in their future.
“The past is gone, the future is not here. Now you are free of both. What are you choosing right now?”~ Deepak Chopra
Action: create a life that matters to YOU
To start moving more toward an inspired life and journey through parenthood, here are suggestions to implement.
- Write down 3-4 choices you’ve made in the last week that you wish you’d made differently (e.g., things you said “no” to instead of “yes,” or things you chose to do but wished you hadn’t, etc.).
- Write down 3-4 tasks you’ve recently spent time on that you didn’t enjoy.
- Write down 3-4 activities that you enjoy that you’ve not made much time for in the past month.
- Write down 3-4 gifts of “indulgence” that you’d love to receive AND use (e.g., someone else doing the laundry for a month, an hour to be undisturbed while reading a “just for fun” book, leg waxing at your favorite salon :-), etc).
- Write down 3-4 qualities of experience you’d like to have in your family (e.g., relaxing, playful, connected, joyful, undistracted, etc.).
- Now choose one — just one — of the specific items you identified above and change it so that it’s a choice that reflects what you really want and care about (i.e., any of the qualities you listed for item number five above).
We all do some things out of obligation and perhaps we always will. For me, and I’m guessing for most of you, however, inspiration is a deeper desire. I hope today’s question and my ideas have sparked your own creative juices and gotten you thinking about what you’re going to do right now that YOU really care about.
P.S. Are you getting stuck with any of today’s “Action” steps? Consider a complimentary coaching consultation to uncover your obstacles and find a smooth way to create what you truly want in your life and family.