My mind has been thinking through a lot of things these past few days. I'd almost go as far as saying that I've had a revelation. I think I am actually giving myself permission to be happy. I have had a pretty bad cold since Saturday, so I've been laying a lot with Blanche (she has had a cold as well) and reading through several different blogs on my phone. One blog that I read was about the topic of unschooling, but the details that stuck with me were a few things he said about his daughter and what they "allow her to do." He talked a lot about their journey to unschooling, some of the parenting choices and philosophies they took on, and the experience of it all. But what captivated me was how he talked about how they use to only want wooden toys for their daughter and only healthiest organic food and so on. This reminded me of myself. But as the story went on, he talked about how one morning he could barely believe his eyes as he watched his daughter watching her dvd, eating potato chips and playing with barbies at six thirty in the morning… well to read the whole article (which is definitely a liberal and creative approach to education and parenting) click here. This article though made me think about some of the decisions I have started making for Blanche. Which I do honestly believe is out of love and wanting the best for my daughter. But last night as we were playing in her room, I looked around and noticed that I had set out all her "educational" toys and the ones that I thought were nice to look at. The few stuffed animals she had and a few barbies were all shut in her toy box. When I opened the toy box she was ecstatic to see cookie monster and big bird. I decided that maybe it would be nice to rotate her toys. And maybe to not focus on the constant teaching, but rather her learning through play. And maybe letting Blanche learn through what she finds fun and beautiful, rather than trying to get her to sort different objects by shape. Don't get me wrong, if there comes a time that she wants to learn about shapes and sort them, I will be right there to help her.
This idea transferred to this morning when I decided to get out all my old barbies for her to play with. I had put most of them up as to not "over stimulate" or "clutter her play space" but today I thought, I think I should give Blanche permission to have fun. Permission to carry around a plastic doll in a prom dress if thats what she wants to do. I don't want to look back and wish I had let go of more while raising Blanche. I want Blanche to become who she wants to be, not into someone I have tried to mold into the best version of myself.
Giving permission has also meant learning to give myself permission as well. In my recent blog readings, I've stumbled onto people that are complete strangers, but after reading, I've seen that their lives are very similar to mine in some ways (children, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, etc) but in others ways their lives are different. or maybe just inspiring. On one blog I've been looking at, she has a separate place for her writing and pictures of hooping. Watching these videos made me think, "She has given herself permission to be happy." I mean, I'm not saying her life is easy or full of moments like this all day, but it made me want to do embrace life to the fullest.
All of these things have been running through my head today, and I guess I keep thinking about how I should give myself the permission to enjoy the life I am living. I think that it is both my personality and my culture that puts so much weight on all the things I either should be doing or need to be doing. Im also sure living in the Bible belt doesn't make it any easier. I'm not saying going to church or attending a weekly Bible study is bad. I think those things help me see how much I need God's help. But sometimes it can seem overwhelming with the amount of things available to moms and their kids. Plus a lot of times being a Christian seems to become about what you do and dont do. But when I think about what being a Christian really means to me, the heart of it means that I am able to accept God's love, and that with that love I can turn around and love those around me. Really, its that simple. And so all of the sudden I just have this mindset where I want to tell everyone else, "you win." I am not the thinest of all my friends. I don't have the greatest social life. Our family isn't the wealthiest in our town, and we aren't great Christians. I don't make dinner most nights, my husband does. I sometimes don't get out of my pajamas all day. I get stressed easily. My tub needs to be scrubbed. My kids will probably not win beauty pageants or spelling bees (maybe if they get Andrew's brain). You win. All the other moms and wives I am competing with win. And the truth is, most of them probably don't feel like winners anyways. But even if they do, I want all I them to look at me and say, "yeah, but you are so happy." I tend to be competitive. And I still will strive to accomplish things in life, but I want to do it while embracing life. While having the freedom and permission from myself to be happy. To buy a hula hoop and learn how if that will make me smile.
The bottom picture is me trying to be more organized, but having fun in it (this is the schedule from the mother in Little House in the Big Woods). I think maybe if I can know what my task is each day, I will feel way less overwhelmed.