Hello Everyone! Who’s getting excited about the holidays? Yeah? No?

I find myself a mix of serious-adult-must-get-things-done and also dropping into some of the wonder, awe and excitement my kiddos are bringing, as usual. 

I’ve said before here, but again… I LOVE kiddos and always have. I’m a mama to 5, I used to teach handwork to a Waldorf homeschool co-op, I’m an auntie, I became a parent coach, I really love understanding more and more about the world of the children around me. 

I see how as a culture we really put a lot on their shoulders as far as taking care of the adults.

The Purejoy view has really supported me to notice where I get stuck in the seriousness of life, of my mothering, my adulting, and then to open up to what is available to me when I’m willing to see through my child’s highest value of play- of delight and curiosity and exploring life as a gift all around us!

Kids love to have fun- to play and laugh!

I remember when I was a younger mama, I had these long lists of things for us to do. It was all centered around accomplishing things and getting them done. It was one step then another, even play time was scheduled! I was trying so hard to bring some resemblance of ease into our busy and full days. Most of the time I was barking at the kids to do this or that, to move to the next thing, to finish up, to start now. It was quite the agenda! I can see now how they were not able to meet my expectations, or my values, of order and accomplishment, of being able to end the day with a well-checked list. It wasn’t their job to make me feel better about my serious business of being an adult!

When I was able to slow down and look at this, I could feel the pushing and pulling in me.  Part of me seemed to feel it was dangerous to relax, have fun, and enjoy my kiddos. I had an old story that we had to be productive, and efficient, and get things done. We had to prove ourselves. 

As we often do here in this practice, I decided to at least try releasing the expectation, not make a list, take a deep breath and join their high value of laughter and playfulness. I made a commitment to learning from them!

I’ve cleared the schedule for long wanders following kids when there was shopping or errands to get done.

I’ve played video games with my big boys when I could have been napping with little ones. 

I’ve braided, knit, and sewn new creations with my daughter when I could have been working.

Early on in this practice I colored and drew pictures rather than dishes and laundry.

It blew me away!  The things still got done!

By the end of the day, or the week or the month, I recognized that I was far more open-hearted in our relationship than my previous form of pressuring myself and my kids to be so darn serious! 

I often interact with folks in my community and the Purejoy spaces who feel the same pressure I did back then. That the kids needed to learn to be responsible, and I was on a mission to do it!

What slowing down and noticing their delight did in me was that I actually saw that they were very responsible for the things that mattered most to them. When my agenda eased up on them and I began to own the things that mattered to me- i.e. toys picked up, garbage is taken out, school work finished a new creative energy emerged in me that supported us to work tougher more on the same page. If I was willing to consider their high values, I could actually work with them to get their cooperation with mine. 

We mixed my adult high values for some order and accomplishment, with theirs for connection with others and play!  I think that’s what the secret sauce was. We released the pressure to perform on that one, we made space for the reality of our days, and we were able to see it for what it was and engage with what supported us to all get along in them.

It’s not perfect by any means. It’s not always easy to link our values and work together. They let me know how much they don’t like to pick up their things or start their bedtime routine. What I notice now is that I can listen to their disgruntled expressions, and their whining and not take it as a personal attack on my serious attempts to accomplish my agenda and feel like a good mom. 

The BEST part is that I found out that I had a lot of fun when I entered into my kiddo’s world in this way. I actually had a blast playing video games, coloring, and creating!  When I turned back to my duties my heart was full and light of kiddo time I moved through those chores quickly in hopes to get back to something fun!

Now, after lots of practice, I’ve narrowed down my high values too! They never were checklists and rigor! That was learned. My high values are about learning, reading, and teaching so I make sure those are in there too. Fun time with kids, of course getting the responsibilities of adult life done, and then some minutes for me to read, think and write!

My encouragement this week is to take some time to consider what are your high values. See what it is like to honor play and laughter for your kiddos, but also to drop a dose of seriousness and pick up something you truly love to do!