4 Ways Embracing Chaos Is Changing My Life

Last night was monthly date night for the hubs and me. We ended the evening sitting on the patio of this little bar in our old neighborhood. The Ohio State football game was away last night, so most of the other bars were packed. Since this place had one tiny screen, the night was fairly quiet, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

It was beautiful. We watched the sun set around us. We could see the TV flickering in the hubs' old apartment across the way, and we reminisced about meeting each other online only to live a couple apartment buildings apart from each other.

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We talked uninterrupted for a long time, and it was such a relaxing evening.

I got to tell him how I was getting overwhelmed by trying to keep the house somewhat clean and not demolished by the kids, be a good mom, making a bunch of decisions surrounding the girls' health, run my business, support him, cook healthy dinners, and do my own self-care.

He told me, in so many words, what I've said to countless other moms with little kids whom I've worked with over the years:

"Erin, you've got to change your expectations. We have 3 kids. The house is never going to be perfectly clean and in good shape right now. You have to choose - have happy, healthy kids and an imperfect home or get rid of the kids." (Oh that Jack.. always thinks he's a comedian...)

This isn't the first time he's told me this, but this was the first time I was really able to listen and process.

So, when I came across this quote from Liz Gilbert for a post in my Facebook community, it seemed to hit a nerve. The Powers that Be seem to be reinforcing his words.

Crazily enough, ever since I have had 3 or 4 conversations around this same topic that other people have brought up. Then, I came across the same topic in a book I'm reading.

I GET IT!

Obviously, I'm not the only person suffering from a case of perfectionism disguised as "I don't need it to be perfect, but I just want to (in the words of Dorinda from RHONY) make it nice!"

Mamas, we have to let it all go. Own our mess. Embrace the chaos. And, here's the SUPER important part- embrace everyone else's chaos, too.

Now, I'm in no way saying we need to support other women's obviously poor decisions. BUT, let's spread some grace and not judge so harshly. Let's not throw that stone when we have no idea what is going on in her life. Maybe, just maybe, we could even learn from that mama whose kids are wearing mismatched outfits and hair is crazy. I bet those kids are super happy that they got to choose their clothes themselves. And, I'm sure that mama was happy not to fight one more battle and enjoy a little more happy time with her kids. I'm also willing to bet that she probably is cringing on the inside wondering what other people are thinking of her parenting abilities.

If you could take some of the stress off of yourself by shifting your mindset, how would that impact your day?

This is how it's impacting mine and many of my clients' lives:

1) I fall asleep more easily. I'm not ruminating about every little decision I made that day wondering what someone else thought about it or how I could make it better to change someone else's thoughts. Also, my cortisol levels aren't spiking from the panic that sets in when I put the kids to bed and look around at all I *should* do before I sit down and relax before I do to bed.

2) I make decisions more quickly and more confidently. My thoughts aren't being bogged down by what I should be doing or what my sister/mother/friend/neighbor may think. I make the decision that feels right for me and what I know in that moment.

3) I hear my intuition more clearly, so my quick decisions are better decisions. Women have been taught that we have this wonderful sixth sense that guides us in caring for our kiddos and ourselves. However, we've almost been socialized not to trust it, and often, we're not even sure how to listen. Our brains are muddled with thoughts surrounding unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves based on our perceived have to's and what if's. When we wipe clean this cognitive interference, we let our inner wisdom shine through.

4) I don't wake up with achy joints in the mornings. If I have a stressful day, I can almost guarantee that my feet will hurt and my knees and back will be stiff when I get out of bed the next day. If I have a few of these stressful days.. boy, I'm in for it. Like any busy lady, I don't have time for that! So, the more I can do to reduce my daily stress the better.

Comment below, and let's hear how changing your perception of stress would change your day to day life. I can't wait to hear your stories.

PerspectiveErin Collins