With winter coming upon us (sooner than I would like!), the days are getting shorter and the weather is really starting to get cold, bringing in those brisk fall evenings and frosty mornings. Brrrr! Winter is definitely not my favorite season, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it! When I think of cold weather, I think of snuggling up in front of the fireplace, sipping hot cocoa (maybe with a little bit of bailey’s mixed in),and watching Elf or enjoying a good book while snowflakes fall gently to the ground. Peace on Earth, right? Ok, ok, maybe a bit unrealistic with kids in the house…but either way, you’ll definitely find me bundled up in leggings, warm slippers, and a big, comfy sweater.
I’m one of those people who hates being cold. Honestly, I can be kind of a wimp when it comes to less than ideal temps, i.e. anything under 70 degrees and sunny. So as much as I love being outside, I thought I’d share one of my favorite past times newly rediscovered activities: READING! I used to think it was impossible for the first year of my daughter’s life. And really, for me, it was. But I’m learning to do more things for myself, things that bring me joy, things that I want to do, things that help me be a better person. And one of those things is reading.
Reading a good book means I can focus on something else and temporarily forget about dishes and laundry and work and everything else that I’m constantly inundated with. It’s a way to “get away” from my everyday stress and to-do lists. It’s a way to get lost in a new story, learn about a new topic, or engage in the comedies of someone else’s crazy life. I never thought I’d have time to sit down and curl up with a good book again until my kids were at an age where they were self-sufficient. What I found out is that it’s really not that hard to manage. A chapter a night after the little one is down is all I need and is easily doable.
I was in yoga a few weeks ago, and the instructor quoted a couple of lines from Brené Brown. Anyone heard of her? She’s written quite a few books now, as well as leading some popular TedTalks. If you haven’t heard of her, read on. If you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I recently finished her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, and I feel that it really speaks to me on multiple levels. As a perfectionist, as a woman in today’s society, and as a mother. While I feel it’s relatable to many different people, it’s also a book that virtually
It’s a book about mindfulness, wholeheartedness, intuition, vulnerability, shame, and all the other “abstract” concepts, feelings, and characteristics that we typically tend to shy away from in our daily lives.
One of the concepts that really hit home for me was the chapter titled, “Cultivating Creativity”. While I consider myself semi-creative (when I have time), I’ve recently put it aside in order to make time for work, exercising, and playing with and being present with my girls. I’ve still tried to come up with crafts for the girls, with — I’ll be honest — a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. I’m back to keeping Hobby Lobby in business and incorporating seasonal themed crafts as a way to engage, learn, and have fun with my girls and as a family.
Brené goes on to talk about comparison, which is also very present in my life. I love the quote, “The only unique contribution that we will every make in this world will be born of our creativity”, and it couldn’t be any more true. While I’ve been very active on Instagram, which is a WONDERFUL platform for connecting with others, finding inspiration and motivation, encouragement and love, it is also easy to turn those concepts into a drive to do more and be better. Constantly comparing yourself to everyone else on Instagram: who has better photos, who has cuter kids, who has nicer brands of clothing, who has the seemingly perfect life, etc. If I were to say I’m not caught up in that, it would be a lie. As someone who had to work hard and be better than others to get where I am, comparison is a hard thing to quiet down in my mind. It’s constantly there, whether we want to admit it or not, and as Brené (I feel like we’re on a first name basis) says, “for most of us, it’s something that requires constant awareness”.
You may find another concept really speaks to you, and that’s great. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve themselves and to those who might want to take a step back and see how you can become more mindful in your life, especially in a world full of uncertainty. I hope to take some of these concepts to heart, in order to make a lasting change in my life and ultimately positively impact in the lives of my girls as a more wholehearted mother.
P.S. Make sure you still get outside this winter! Maximize the warmer days, and bundle up in layers on the cold days. Don’t let cooler weather stop you from having fun outside. If a cold-weather wimp like me can do it, so can you! J