When my oldest son started kinder, we entered the world of playdates. Oh my goodness, did I find this stressful! If my son was invited to a playdate, I felt like I needed to immediately host one in return. My son begged me to host, and I was constantly looking at my overbooked calendar to see what I had to cut to to make the play date work. This anxiety started before the play date even began. Once the play date started, I realized I had not three boys, but usually four (sometimes I’d get lucky with a calm girl), bouncing off the walls of our intimate house and fighting over toys—not to mention little brothers feeling territorial and ignored by their oldest. And every time I would think to myself, ‘Wow, this was entirely self-induced!’ Like most of you, I would forge ahead trying to make play dates work, while secretly feeling thankful when they came to an end.
Something had to change. My son looked forward to these play dates and I wasn’t about to stop having them all together, but these kiddie sessions were giving me grey hairs! It became clear to me that I had a lot of expectations about play dates, including how frequently they should take place, how often I should host, how my children should act during them, what I should do with the kids… the list goes on and on. I reminded myself that when I attach to an expectation, I usually come up short because I’m so focused on how the “should” should look.
One of my mentors, Steve Chandler, makes a great distinction between agreements and expectations, and this distinction made me realize that I can shift my perspective, and ultimately my experience, of play dates if I make an agreement with myself.
A few definitions:
Agreement: An arrangement that is accepted by all parties.
Expectation: The act or state of looking forward or anticipating. Synonym for anticipation.
Imagine if you do away with putting pressure on yourself to “do it all” and stop expecting play dates to look and go a certain way, and instead you make an agreement with yourself along the following lines:I will do my very best planning playdates, and furthermore, I will do my very best enjoying them. I will detach from all expectations and accept that whatever is for my children’s and my highest good will emerge, allowing us to experience whatever it is we are supposed to, for the highest learning of all concerned.
Bam! I’ll be honest. I host less playdates and I’m okay with that. And when I do host, I enjoy them more because I’m more relaxed and unattached to the outcome. My children seem relaxed too. Voila. Give it a go!
Where in your life can you let go of an expectation and make an agreement either with yourself or with someone else, instead of having expectations?
Where in your life are you holding on too tightly? Answer this question truthfully. Can you imagine for a minute what would happen if you surrendered and let go? How might you start to experience life differently?
Hold that thought and let the below post by Rev. Saphire inspire you:
She let go.
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
What was the first thought that came to mind? Where are you holding on to tightly and where do you require to let go, so that you can experience the true fullness of who you really are? Tell me, I’m eager to hear from you. Either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR if you feel comfortable, you can post it in the notes section for other working Mamas to read and support you.
I’m thinking about each of you from the mountains, where I’m spending spring break with my family. My husband and I decided a while back that we really wanted to take the boys skiing for a week. This was something that I personally felt very strongly about because skiing is a passion of mine, and it’s something that our boys really enjoy learning. I love the idea of us doing a sport together as a family.
As a working Mom, you probably can relate to what a big deal this is since it means taking a week off from work, as well as factoring in all of the expenses. Prior to leaving, I had set a very clear intention for our trip: experiencing every moment, feeling engaged and present and not being attached to an outcome. A big part of my intention was to allow myself to really ‘be’ in the mountains, not be tied to my laptop and holding coaching sessions.
I have to admit something. It hasn’t been easy. The first couple of days, I found myself not working at all. Then, all the sudden, anxiety would sneak in, and I’d start to wonder, “what am I missing? What should I be doing?” These thoughts didn’t feel good and they were an obstacle to fully participating with my family the way I wanted to and had envisioned.
Tell me, do you give yourself permission to truly take time for yourself? How do you turn off your work? I mean really turn it off to the point where you’re not envisioning your inbox filling up.
I found myself answering this question repeatedly the other day:
“What’s the worst thing that will happen if I don’t answer emails, take client calls, or prepare for my upcoming launch?” Once I cut through the sarcasm, I realized absolutely nothing would happen. There was no need for me to dramatize the situation.
Then I answered this question:
“What will I gain from surrendering to exactly where I am and just allow myself to enjoy the down time?”
Wow, did my inner voice have something to say about that! She went on and on and on…. It became very clear that the pros outweighed the cons. Now that our trip is almost over, I’m feeling rested, inspired, and reconnected to my family. I’m so thankful for this week away and most importantly giving myself permission to truly enjoy it.
Tell me about you. Do you gift yourself holidays and, most importantly, how do you experience them?