11 Apr Lessons From the Zoo
Last week the sun was shining (a rare thing this time of year in the Pacific Northwest). I packed up me and the kids (which, if you have small children, you know is no small feat) and took them to the zoo.
There are rare times when I’m able to enjoy the moment…and I mean REALLY enjoy the moment…where I’m able to let things go, forget about the mess in the house (because there always is one), forget about my to-do list (which is a million miles long) and just focus on what is going on RIGHT NOW.
For me, spending time with my kids is PRECIOUS. They are growing so fast. These moments are fleeting. My daughter will be going to kindergarten next year (with I can’t even really deal with) and not to be cliché – but I literally feel like we just brought her home last week from the hospital. And my son will be 2 in a few short months…ahhhhhhhh!
*Just a quick side note for all you moms out there who are glaring at me through your computer screen right now – I do get frustrated with my kids. I do lose my cool and I do have days where I ask my husband to watch them because I just NEED some time to myself. BUT, overall, I try to remind myself that they will only be little for a little bit and I need to soak up as much of it as I can.*
At the zoo last week was one of those rare times where I was able to pull myself away from all of the hustle and bustle and TRULY be with my kids. It was amazing because I really enjoyed our trip to the zoo. We didn’t go anywhere fancy for spring break. We didn’t go to the beach or a different city or anything like that. We just went to the children’s museum and the zoo. But it didn’t matter.
Being with them, really present with them, in those moments, were worth more than any amount of money I could’ve spent on a trip to the beach.
Here’s the sad part of all this – while I was busy BEING with my kids, there were SO many other parents busy yelling at their kids, yanking their kids, losing their patience with their kids and threatening to spank their kids. Their faces said it all- the lack of joy, patience and the overall look of stress plastered across their features was a sad sight to see. They clearly were not enjoying themselves and I seriously doubt the kiddos were having a whole lot of fun either…
And there’s one more thing that struck me hard – the way these parents were talking to their kids was just plain UGLY. I doubt they would talk to their friends the same way they talked to their kids because if they did…they wouldn’t have any friends.
Who knew that an ordinary trip to the zoo could teach me so much about life and what’s truly important?
Here are a few lessons I learned that day:
- You can CHOOSE how your day is going to go. You can make a mindful decision to have a good day or a good trip or a fun time playing with your kids. (As I was packing our stuff up for the day, I thought to myself that this was going to be a special, fun day – me and my kids and the zoo and the sun…and guess what…it was!)
- Talk to your children with KINDNESS. Talk to them as you would talk to your best friend.
- Ask yourself – is it really that important? Is it really necessary to get all stressed out about this…(“this” is whatever situation you’re in at the time)
I have to practice this stuff DAILY. I have to remind myself DAILY that this is how AND who I want to be. I’m not perfect at it. I don’t get it right every time. Sometimes I forget…
BUT, I will tell you, I am more conscious of it all and I do catch myself more often and I do, as often as I can, keep in the forefront of my mind who I want to be for me, my kids and my family.