What If We Gave Up Jealousy?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  What would happen if we gave up jealousy?  I’ve been there, hundreds of times or more, and it’s not a great feeling.  I honestly HATE feeling jealous because to me that’s admitting I’m not content and that is a very unsettling thing for me.  Every day I strive for contentment, and jealousy says “come on. don’t you wish you…..”  I don’t know if it’s even POSSIBLE to give up jealousy, but I do think it’s possible to trade it for a different feeling.  What if we stopped being jealous and started being INSPIRED?

Now I want you to stop for a second and think about someone you are jealous of?  Do you have that person in mind?  Ok, now what is it about them that you wish you had?  Is it their figure, their wardrobe, their job, their home, their marriage, their kids, their talent, their eternally positive attitude, their vacations, their car, their FILL IN THE BLANK?  Do you have that figured out, pinpoint it, write it down, and now let’s get to work.

Ok, let me first say I’m aware you can’t make just ANYTHING you want happen with the snap of a finger.  You can’t always have what someone else has.  If I wanted a million dollars I can tell you right now I can’t make that money by tomorrow.  What I can do though, right now, is change my attitude about it, and it doesn’t cost me one single cent.  Jealous of someone’s wardrobe?  Look at how they put outfits together, be inspired and go through your closet and put together some outfits that you feel great in.  Their home?  Look at how they’ve created a space that you love and be inspired.  Spend some time tidying up your own space, rearranging furniture, deep cleaning it for a fresh feel, organizing your stuff and creating a space that you love to be in.  Their vacations?  This one has been a big struggle for me over the years, the funds have just never been their for us to do this, so I’m inspired by people being able to save and vacation and we figured out a way to take our family of 4 to Florida this summer for a few days.  Instead of dwelling on the fact that they get to do something that I don’t I decided to be inspired by them and take steps to get to where we wanted to go.  I encourage you to brainstorm ideas about how you can go from jealous to inspired and make a positive change in your life from looking at other people’s accomplishments!

The one I struggled with for THE LONGEST time was other women’s figures.  I spent so much time looking at other people and being SO JEALOUS of how they looked.  A good friend of mine posted the other day about her weight loss journey of dropping 50 pounds, getting healthy and working out.  Do you know how people responded to that post?  “I’m so jealous.”  I then just felt sad, one because I used to be there, and two because I want them to BE INSPIRED by her efforts and believe in themselves enough to know they can do it to.

What an uplifting life we could live if we started taking people’s accomplishments and being inspired by them instead of the secret jealousy that eats at you when someone has something you don’t.

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The Beauty in Differences

This past week we went to visit Andrew’s family and I was struck by how different his parents are than my parents and how much I LOVE that for my kids.  Some of the best advice we received when we were getting married was find your own normal.  I’m sure every couple deals with their family norms clashing, but for us it seemed even more exaggerated than some of our friends because we grew up in pretty different cultures.

One place we have found major differences was how our families took vacations. Our vacations were filled with activities: going to museums, seeing broadway shows, being total tourists and hitting all the must see spots and the must eat restaurants.  Andrew grew up with a much more laid back approach to vacations.  Renting a cottage, laying low and relaxing.  I think I used to try really hard to make trips out to his family’s house like my family vacations growing up and I think that I was trying hard to make my kids have a busy week full of “fun” stuff too.  And then I asked Ellery what her favorite part of her trip was.  Her response?  “Riding with Nana on her bike” and that’s when I realized how great the differences are!

My kids loved just playing around the house in the backyard, feeding their chickens, playing with cousins and seeing family they only see twice a year.  We did activities this past week: went to Plymouth (saw the rock), went to the sweetest little zoo, went out to eat, church and a surprise party, and went to her cousin’s softball games.  But the backyard on Nana’s lap, that was the best part.

I adore watching my kids with my in-laws and my parents and am so glad they get different experiences with each of them.  Lucky for them both of their experiences are positive ones, and I’m so fortunate to have learned to embrace differences in our families early on!

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The Encouraging and Devastating Truth….

I have been trying to put my current feelings about motherhood into words, and the best description of my feelings would be conflicted.  Here is the encouraging and devastating truth about each phase of childhood.  It doesn’t last forever.

Sometimes in the midst of a long day when the girls are particularly difficult, they’ve been fighting with each other, or we are cleaning poop out of the bath tub yet again I remind myself, this doesn’t last forever.

But then when we are all snuggled in our bed with our freshly bathed babies and we are reading books and singing Teddy Bear Picnic in unison at the top of our lungs, “at 6 o’clock their mommies and daddies will take them home to bed because they’re tired little teddy BEEEEAAAAARRRRSSSS.” it hits me, this doesn’t last forever.

So each day I feel relief AND sadness when I’m with my little girls.  And I actually don’t know what to do with those feelings.  I just keep thinking, what if all of those older ladies at the store or on the airplane are right?  What if I’m really going to miss this as bad as everyone says I will?  Am I soaking all of this up like I’m supposed to be?  Do I appreciate being a stay at home mom as much as society says I should?

There are so many things I want to remember that I know I’ll forget.  Things like how my kids smell.  I actually often deeply smell their hair and tell myself that I won’t forget it, and in 10 years I’ll be walking in a store or caring for someone’s kid and I’ll smell that exact smell and I’ll remember what it felt like to be caring for these sweet little innocent lives day in and day out and I’ll feel so grateful for the time I spent with them when they were home with me all day.  I want to remember how it feels to be told by my oldest several times a week that, “she has so much fun with me” as I tuck her in to bed at night.  I want to always remember what it feels like to hold a sleeping kid in your arms and just stare at them and be in awe that this child has been entrusted to your care for their lifetime.

I just have this sense that these are the sweetest ages and this will be one of my favorite phases ever.  And maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s just the start of a good rhythm we are falling into.  Maybe this is just a glimpse into what our future will look like and, if that’s the case, I’m really excited.

But don’t be fooled by this post filled with my mushy heart ramblings.  Most days, and I mean most days, it’s survival right now.  These ages are hard and exhausting.  After saying goodnight to our sweet little ladies they sometimes call us back in their rooms for the next hour.  It’s hard to get a moment to ourselves and even after they fall asleep usually at least one of them wakes up screaming at some point in the night and it’s in those moments that my head tells me “this doesn’t last forever” and my heart aches because therein also lies the reality that the sweet stuff like a warm little body crawling in bed to be comforted doesn’t last forever either.

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