It’s a tough world to be in these days and certainly a tricky one to navigate raising kids in. Here’s how one crabby lady reminded me of my purpose!
by Jordan Paul | Jordan Paul, passionately passionate about all the passions…and bread, comes at you with spunk and honesty as she’s trying to balance life as a tandem-breastfeeding mom of two girls, small business owner, and non-cleaning housewife. You can find her roaming the aisles of Aldi, mindlessly humming The Alphabet. Follow her on Facebook.
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Recently, as I primped for a long overdue family vacation, I took my three-year-old to get her nails painted while I got mine done, too. A woman a few pedicure chairs down started talking to her nail technician and I heard her mention that she is from Chicago.
Every midwesterner knows that if you hear that someone is from your neck of the woods, you stop what you are doing and give them a nod in solidarity. I said, “Hey! I’m from Chicago! Where are you from?!” She looked at me out of the corner of her eye, held up her hand, and said, “UGH! I don’t want to talk to you.” Ummm…
So then I took out my hoop earrings, got up, and punched her square in the face. Kidding! I remembered in that moment that I’m a mom now and I have little eyes and ears monitoring my every move, every word. Three years ago, I would have absolutely pushed the issue; like “why do you have to be so rude?” Or “I don’t really want to talk to you either- literally just wanted to know where I should send money so you could get the stick outta your butt.”
Anyway, the rest of the salon was taken aback at the abrupt response she gave, but my toddler wasn’t phased one bit. She kept admiring her sparkly blue nails. I was so thankful that in that moment I practiced self-control and mindfulness; to take in the response from the woman and repeat what we use often in our house- stay light, be light. In other words, stay grounded but fluid, stay consistent yet flexible. Stay realistic, yet stay optimistic.
It’s simple but holds weight. Tangled up in just four words are these three lessons I think are extra important when raising children.
1. It is not your responsibility to make others happy
I want my children to know that in moments like that when others are obviously having a rough day and projecting on others, it is not their role in this world to sidestep, walk on eggshells, or cater to the negativity that others have and find a way to them feel better. Instead, the catalyst of change can be in how we react to those situations. The best we can do is to go about our days spreading love and happiness to everyone we have interactions with, not trying to change them. Obviously, there will be moments when we want to throw our own hands up and tell someone our true thoughts but choosing not to will become a habit. Does that make us weak? No, it makes us kind. It makes us people who others want to be around. Being the light is hard work…but important work.
2. Don’t take the light for granted
Ever notice when the power goes out in your house and it’s time to go to the bathroom, the first thing you do is try to turn on the light!? Happens every time, right? We get so used to the light being a constant that we are derailed off course if that changes. Same goes for people trying to bring light into the world. It is easy to look to those who offer optimism and hope for guidance and direction but sometimes they also need to be reminded of their value. Pour into them so they can continue to pour into others. There will inevitably be people who bring darkness into the world but light will always drive it out.
3. Don’t give away your light
I always joke with people when they say I have a lot of energy. I respond by saying, “Oh, you think it’s exhausting to be around me?! Imagine how exhausting it is to be me.” I have been called non-flattering things all of my life for how spunky or energetic I am. It would be a much easier thing to concede to those descriptions of my personality and fade into the background. But that’s not what I’m called to do. I have been given great purpose in my life; we all have…and my girls certainly have been called to do great things, too. I want them to see me living out loud, boldly, energetically, unapologetically in all I seek to do. There will always be someone trying to tear us down and if they steal our brightness, we’ve actually allowed them to take one of our most important traits.
It’s a tough world to be in these days and certainly a tricky one to navigate raising kids in. If crabby-nail-salon-lady taught me anything, it’s that my innocent child isn’t yet effected by the naysayers of this world. There are much more beautiful things to be paying attention to; like sparkly nails and beautiful memories made with your family.
Stay light, be light, my friends.