Accomplishments of a Decade

Accomplishments of a Decade

In 2020, the new year brought with it a new decade. As you look back and reflect on your accomplishments of the past ten years, don’t forget to count the most important one of all…

This is my daughter, Kayla, with her husband and their four kids.

(I know…the kids are adorable, right??)

For those of you who don’t already know, Kayla’s a regular contributor to this blog and a huge part of my coaching business. I think she’s pretty amazing! In fact, if I had to rate her, I’d give her a 10 out of 10. 

I’m not the only one who feels that way, either, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to tell you about a conversation she and I had recently.

It took place right after the new year. Kayla called me one day and said, “All of my friends are posting about their accomplishments from the past ten years. When I look at what they’ve done with their lives, I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.”

I sensed that this was not a Mom moment, but rather, a “Coach Sandy” call, so I listened to what she had to say. 

“I mean, I know I’ve had four kids, but that’s ALL I’ve done! I don’t want the next decade to go by without accomplishing something significant.”

I thought about her comment before opening my mouth. I knew what she was saying, but I sensed a teaching moment coming on. Maybe it was a Mom moment, after all!

“Wait a minute,” I said, a bit of sarcasm in my voice, “are you telling me that all you did in the last decade was create human life four times?”

She was not amused. 

“I know what you’re saying, Mom,” she answered, “but seriously, my friends have kids, too. And they did a bunch of other stuff besides that. And it’s not like I had to do anything to get pregnant.”

I left that one alone.

But here’s the thing…

My daughter is the mother of four adorable little people. They are crazy and rambunctious–and I love them with all my heart. Not only did she grow these little humans inside of her body, but she also lost a significant amount of sleep while feeding them and caring for them in the first years of their lives.  

On top of that, she’s been teaching them to walk and talk and be kind to other little people. She does crafts with them and reads to them and holds impromptu dance parties on a regular basis. She bathes them. She feeds them. She dresses them. She gets them to school and their extracurricular activities.  Her life is devoted to helping these kids grow up to become responsible adults who contribute to society. 

If you asked any one of her four children about Kayla’s accomplishments, I’m pretty sure they would give a glowing review!

But I understand how Kayla feels.

I remember the days of being stuck at home with very little adult interaction. It was hard to carry on conversations at a toddler-to-preschool level for twelve hours a day. There were days I wanted to rip my hair out. There were days I wondered if I was going insane. There were also days when I just wanted to run away from it all! 

But there were other days that were cherished.

Those were the days that mattered–the days that made it all worth it.

Like the day I stood by and watched as my baby took her first wobbly step on her own.

Or the day my toddler came inside with a dandylion, wrapped his little arms around me and said, “I love you, Mommy!” 

Or the days when we were “snowed in” and played games and drank hot chocolate and just enjoyed each others company. 

Those days didn’t necessarily make the monotony any easier, but from where I’m sitting today, I can say it was all worth it. 

Kayla isn’t the only one I’ve heard these complaints from. As the social media craze of listing the accomplishments of the last decade spread like wildfire, I heard it over and over again from my clients. 

And yesterday, I heard it again.

I find it sad that society has created such a stigma around motherhood that creating human life and raising responsible children seems to have no value in our minds–even the minds of those of us who are doing it. 

And that needs to stop!

If you’re a mom with small children and you feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything, this post is for you. 

Because here’s the truth.

You have one of the hardest and most important jobs on the earth.

You are raising the next generation, the people who will someday rule the world. 

And that’s an accomplishment worth noting.

I get it.

You don’t think you’re enough.

You aren’t getting the accolades you need in order to validate the exhaustion you feel.

You want to do something that proves your ability to do more than have sex and talk to three-year-olds all day.

You want to feel worthy.

That’s fine.

Chase your dreams.

Be an example of what’s possible to the little people in your life (and the rest of the world, too!).

Create the life you’ve always wanted in the decade to come.

But do me a favor and don’t discount the accomplishment of motherhood. Because no matter who you are or how many kids you’ve been blessed with, you are tasked with one of the most challenging jobs ever. The job of creating and raising another human being.

And in my eyes, that’s an accomplishment worth noting. 

I’m pretty sure the little humans in your life would agree!

 

Snowy Predictions on Life

Snowy Predictions on Life

FIRST THING THIS MORNING, I CHECKED THE WEATHER. SNOW WAS IN THE FORECAST. SNOWY DAYS ARE NEW TO ME…BUT I’M CERTAIN THERE ARE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM THE FALLING SNOW. AND I INTEND TO DISCOVER WHAT THEY ARE…

It’s snowing as I write this. The flakes are coming down so hard, it seems light outside even though it’s nightime. As snow storms go, this is a pretty good one.

When I woke up this morning, I picked up my phone and checked the forecast. In Arizona, the weather was simple. The little icon on the weather app never changed.

It was just sun. All day, every day.

I rarely looked at the forecast in Arizona because–well, it doesn’t take much to predict sun.

But my family recently moved to Washington state and here, there’s actually variances in the weather. Usually, there’s rain. Sometimes, there’s snow. And occasionally, the sun will peek out from behind the clouds for a few minutes. I’m still getting used to this, so I usually check the weather before I get dressed in the morning. 

This morning, the weather app told me that it would be cloudy for a few hours, then at eleven, it would start to snow. The snow would continue until about two in the afternoon, then the sun would peek out for about an hour. We’d end the day with a light rain that would start around four and turn to snow by five in the evening.

When I looked at the forecast, I was intrigued by the complexity of it all. I mean, someone had a lot of confidence to put that much detail on the weather app. For a brief moment, I wondered if it would be accurate.

But only for a minute.

My husband and I talked about the weather, we both put on warm clothes, I reminded him to drive carefully on his commute, then I headed down the hall to my office as he headed out the door to work.

At ten-fifty, I looked out my window, just as the first flakes of snow began to fall.

It was crazy. And beautiful.

By eleven, the storm had settled in and huge flakes were falling from the sky. It was an awe-inspiring sight–creating a sort of winter wonderland in my neighborhood (I’m new to the snow so I still like it!). I watched it off an on for the next three hours, until just before two when the flakes started getting smaller, and then quit falling out of the sky.

(I have to admit, I mourned just a little bit at that point!) 

By two-thirty, the clouds had parted and patches of sunlight could be seen on my lawn.

I was in awe of the forecaster’s ability to predict the weather with such accuracy.

And it didn’t end there. Just before four, it started misting, and that mist slowly, but surely, turned to rain, which then transformed into big snowflakes right around five in the evening.

 So here I am. It’s nine right now and the snowflakes are still falling. The weather app tells me they’ll stop at about eleven tonight. I have no reason to doubt it.

I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon all day.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app on our phones to predict the condition of your life?

A smiley face icon would tell you when things were going to be good. A sleepy icon would warn when a nap would be needed. An angry icon would let you know when your patience would be running thin. A heart icon could predict a little romance. There could be other icons, too.

You could wake up every morning and glance at the app in preparation for your day–how to dress, what to carry with you, which mindset to fis in your brain. It could be powerful.

The more I’ve thought about it today, the better it sounds!

But then the practical coach side of me took over and I started thinking…is it really necessary?

The truth is, you create the conditions in your life by the thoughts you have regarding your circumstances. Those thoughts trigger feelings which drive actions which lead to results.

When you understand this, you become the ultimate weather forecaster for your life.

Although you have very little control over the circumstances of your life–those things that are outside of you–with control on the inside, you can create whatever results you want in your life.

So what kind of predictions do you want to make for yourself? Because you have the power to make those predictions come true.

That doesn’t mean life is going to suddenly be all sunshine and rainbows. The storms will come and sometimes, they’ll drop several inches of snow before the clouds start clearing away.

But as the ultimate weather forecaster for your life, you can be prepared for anything and make the most of every situation in your life.

The circumstances of our lives are about 50/50–fifty percent positive and fifty percent negative. But that doesn’t mean your life has to be fifty percent negative. Becoming aware of and preparing for the weather changes that will inevitably happen gives you all the control over the life you want to live.

How much would your life change if you were so aware of the things going on inside and outside of you, that–like the weather forecaster–you could predict and prepare in advance for those stormy days?

What if that awareness brought about acceptance and you could face the storms with confidence, knowing everything would be just fine?

Would there be a difference in your life if you could make conscious decisions, even when the rain is coming down hard and pelting you with all kinds of distractions?

How would it feel if you could simply trust that everything would work out? That like the clouds in the sky, the cloudy parts of life will eventually move on and leave you equiped with nourishment and sunshine you need to grow into your best self.

I used to get angry when storms showed up in my life. I’d be taken by surprise and have to gather my storm gear so I could wade out in the store and deal with whatever it brought with it. 

But lately I’ve been working on preparing for and accepting whatever comes. I’ve been honing my forecasting skills so I can spend my time being amazed by the beauty of the lessons I’m learning rather than bewildered by the shock of the cold air and gray skies. 

A weather app for life–that would be pretty awesome!

But perhaps, it’s not necessary.

By honing your awareness, being willing to accept whatever comes, and choosing to make the best of every situation, you can become the ultimate weather forcaster for your life.

It’s something to think about.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit here and watch the snow fall and continue to be amazed at the beauty and power a storm can bring.

I’m certain there are other metaphors for life in this storm just waiting to be discovered

Here’s to happiness!