Embrace the Chaos
As a mom, one of the things that frustrates me the most is chaos. I resist anything that appears chaotic to me. If my kids want to attend a birthday party, I may say "no" just because I don't feel like being around the chaos. Maybe they are playing loudly, and I tell them to stop because - well, you know - chaos. We might be at their grandparents' house and they're playing with their cousins and squealing and running, and I tell them to play more quietly.
And then it hit me. Some of my greatest memories as a child are the "chaotic" ones. They are those with my cousins and friends, doing things that our parents probably thought were chaotic.
I grew up in a large family - my mom was one of ten kids. That made for a grand total of 23 grandkids (which means I had 22 cousins)! I can assure you that when we were all together, it was loud! We squealed, ran, made up crazy games, and were always creating whatever fun we could come up with. I'm sure our parents thought it was chaotic, but as a kid, it just felt exciting! My fondest childhood memories are the ones centered around the loud, crazy, energy-filled moments - the moments with friends and cousins, playing made-up games and savoring every second with each other. It was the not-so-quiet sleepovers and going to the skating rink. I cherish the times that I would now, as a mom, consider "chaotic".
Even today, when we get together with family, it is loud and there is always a buzz of excitement in the air. I can't imagine what my memories would be like if my parents constantly resisted any activities that felt like chaos to their adult selves, and I can't help but feel guilty for not allowing my kids the same opportunities.
So as we head into the new year, I vow to think about my kids' life experiences and the memories they are creating, instead of focusing on my stress level or lack of energy. I will let them run down the hall chasing the dog around. I will let them be loud while having fun with their cousins. I'll let them have sleepovers and parties, and I'll be silly right along with them when they're wound up. I no longer want to miss out on the moments they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, you just have to embrace the chaos, and make memories that will truly last a lifetime.