Moms are the most prepared people on Earth. I can anticipate my family’s needs and be over-prepared for almost every single outing we take. We’re going to the pool? Ok, I need: swimsuits, swim diapers, sunscreen, aloe vera, sunglasses, sun hats, towels, an extra towel just in case, change of clothes, regular diapers, water, more water, snacks, toys and medical bag (which includes tylenol, teething tablets, baking soda in case of wasp sting, band-aids and Neosporin). I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more prepared.
Here’s a real difference between moms and dads that regularly baffles me. Here’s the scene. We’re preparing dinner and I’ve asked Caleb to take the seeds out of the poblano peppers. The trash can is nearby with the lid off as we’re in the throes of dinner prep. The Girl Foster, 2.5, walks up to look into the trash can and asks what we’re doing. I have moved on to the sink but whip around at her voice to immediately catch her touching the peppers, then putting her fingers in her mouth. Ouch. All the while, Caleb is standing within inches from her, but so focused on the task at hand that he doesn’t notice. I hastily snap, “how could you not anticipate that happening?!”
This is NOT to say my husband isn’t an attentive, doting father. But the reality is unavoidable. I am more in tune with what my kids are thinking and may do next. Not only am I in tune, I am prepared for their next 5 steps, 90% of the time. I just cannot help it, it comes naturally.
I love planning our outings as a family. Planning and to-do lists are my love language. I enjoy coordinating details and especially love planning our road trips or family vacations. My mind just works that way. Summer bucket lists, things to see, birthday parties and new places around OKC to check out are the kinds of things that keep me excited.
All this to say, I’ve been really in touch with my thoughts this summer as we’ve been on adventures. I’m proud of how prepared I am in scenarios and love watching my kids enjoy their time without worrying they are missing anything they may need. But I’ve realized something incredibly upsetting.
I planned all the fun, but I forgot to participate.
I love my role as planner. I do, and I’m certainly not diminishing that gifting. But somewhere along the line I’ve lost sight of WHY I do such extensive planning. I strive to be sure we have everything we need so we can enjoy carefree adventures and create memories. Memories aren’t made just because everyone ate their snacks in their coordinated outfits. No, memories are made when we’re spending time together as a family, enjoying each other and our surroundings.
Oftentimes, I’m so caught up in what might happen next and whether or not we have everything we need for the next item on our agenda that I forget to live in the moment. I’m in my head, anticipating what’s to come and I miss what’s right in front of me.
I believe caring for my family by being prepared for their needs is a part of my role, and I’m happy to fulfill it. But I can’t keep sacrificing engaging in the fun because I’m so stressed and worried about what’s to come. That’s no way to live.
Mommas – join in on the fun! You helped get your family out the door and to your destination with a diaper bag full of back-ups. Now, put all the worries and what-ifs to rest and play! Live and enjoy the moments that are right in front of you, instead of thinking about the ones that come next.
It’s all passing so quickly – I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want you to miss it either! So HAVE FUN!