When I think back about my adult life BK (before kids) I laugh about how burdened I thought I was on some of my worst days.

“…a loooong day at work, then I have to grab dinner at a place that is convenient, but healthy… do you even know how hard that is? It’s been days since I’ve been to the gym! Then I have to clean my place and pay bills. Will it ever end?!”

Not to undermine the real stress of single, kid-free life, but it just ain’t the same as the demands that come with a spouse and kids. I actually thought eating out was stressful!!! Try cooking homemade healthy meals that kids will consume while not breaking the budget every day, for say… 20ish years.

But in the rear-view, I also see that I was missing out on a lot. I’m not talking about being well-off enough to travel when I wanted to, or the privilege of an expensive gym membership (that I rarely used)… Strangely, in some ways my single life was lacking meaning. I lived for myself. I would not have said that if you’d ask me then, but I had to go out of my way to think of others, which for the record I occasionally did with charity/volunteer events, or helping other family members & friends. But when I woke up, my day was primarily about me. (Disclaimer: there are single people out there who make each day about others—sadly, I wasn’t one of them.) Enter spouse and kids… my life is suddenly about giving of myself from the very moment I wake up (if I’m lucky enough to sleep through the night!).

With the great responsibility of family life comes… real purpose and meaning. I had memorable learning moments in my life before my family, but now, on the days I give myself with love to my husband and kids—wow! Nothing beats it. What does giving of oneself look like, practically speaking? I don’t have to explain it to any of you intentional moms & dads out there. Suffice it to say, it means forgetting ourselves as we complete countless chores, tasks, & errands each day. When I watch an old clip of one of my kids when they were itty bitty, I marvel at how much I have been blessed with, not how much I was burdened with at the time, or how chained I was to my infant child. I had maybe a ten minute window of freedom, which was an adjustment, but it was an amazing time too.

Those of you who don’t know me, my temperament is very melancholic—that’s a fancy way of saying, I’m a glass half-empty kind of gal. I often dwell on the negative. Interestingly, that became more clear in my days as a new mom. (Parenting is a wild adventure into self-discovery, whether you like it or not.) In order to curb my natural proclivity towards pessimism, I am working on training myself to be aware of it throughout my day. Often I have a birds-eye view when one of my kids tailspins, stemming from a negative outlook. On those rare days of self-awareness, I can see myself in them. If only they’d change their attitude… If only I’d change my attitude…

Recently, I heard someone recommend an easy twist of phrase that can reset a bad attitude which helps unlock limitless possibilities in a day. It frees us from the burdens of everyday life and directs us to experience blessings. This is a whole lot of build up for something so simple, but it’s been really helpful to me. 

Here goes. 

Instead of saying, “I HAVE TO…” start saying, “I GET TO…” Let me give you an example. “I have to make a healthy dinner for my family.” This magically transforms to, “I GET TO make a healthy meal for my family. I have to clean the house and straighten all of our stuff. I GET TO clean the house and straighten all our stuff.”

This simple twist of phrase is an intentionally positive way of living my life as a wife and parent. It’s giving true purpose to each task and act of service that I perform for those in my life who provide so much lasting joy and love for me. I’ll admit, I’m trying, folks. I’m never gonna love cleaning bathrooms, doing the dishes, or making meatloaf (for the 5 millionth time!) but I know that those actions are making me a better human being, a more loving wife and mom…and a person growing in order, generosity, and gratitude. I GET TO experience so much!

It’s amazing how simple some revelations can be. That’s the thing about TRUTH, when it hits you in the face, you think, WOW! How the heck did I NOT know this all along?? It’s so TRUE and SIMPLE! 

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