When I’m in a wheel-spinning state, I find a reminder popping into my head: “Do the next thing.” As in, don’t jump 20 steps down the line, or start catastrophizing about what will happen if you don’t finish everything in time. Just do the next thing, and when that’s done, move on to the next next thing. Every time I reframe a frenetic moment in time with that tactic, I find almost immediate relief as I realize that no matter how many disparate projects and goals may be occupying my mind, I can almost always identify an obvious and often simple “next thing.”
Listeners LOVE our Week Of Real-Life Dinners series, and this month seven moms from around the country decided to play along! Read on to find out what they actually served and ate the week of March 8, 2021.
And in that relearning, I imagine we’ll be rusty. And vulnerable. And a little defensive sometimes. Do you remember how to make conversation with a stranger at a kids’ birthday party? Buy movie tickets? Plan a vacation? Do you remember how to navigate a professional conference, a mommy-and-me class, or airport security? I’m not suggesting all these things will come back at once (or that some of them should come back at all), but when you think about the spring and summer months to come, I bet you can think of a few situations that make you feel like I did that day in the hospital with Andrea: like, Wait, I thought I knew how to do this? Where did my confidence go?
Will and I are trying to navigate a transition that has happened billions upon billions of times, but for us, it’s happening for the very first time. William doesn’t know how to be a 17-year-old boy any more than I know how to parent this specific 17-year-old boy. We are a brand-new, unique mom-and-burgeoning-adult-child duo, trying to figure it out as we go, and hopefully giving each other as much grace as can be expected along the way.
This Christmas, the stakes were both higher (after a year like 2020, we all really needed this holiday to be pleasant and peaceful) but also lower (after a year like 2020, “pleasant and peaceful” were all we really needed.)
I hope tonight, after you’ve picked up the hundredth tiny bit of wrapping paper, or finally got that toy working after wrestling with the battery pack for an hour, or stepped on an errant piece of Lego, that you can look back over your day and identify a few moments of comfort and coziness.
There may have been grumpiness (yours, or your kids’). There may even have been tears (your kids’, or yours.) But likely there were also some brief flashes of comfort and joy. Let’s lean in on that.
I just got done filling stockings. They’re currently slumped against my bedroom wall, as full as they’re going to get. Likewise, the stack of gifts below the tree downstairs isn’t getting any bigger. The breakfast menu I’ve planned isn’t getting any more ambitious, either. The stores are closed, the night is over, my work here is done.
I didn’t hit all the marks, but that’s what next year, or the year after, or…never is for.
For now, all I can do is give myself thanks and gratitude for the effort I put in.