This is probably not new information, but you are not your best friend.
You’re not your sister, your husband, your know-it-all cousin or that lady at co-op who told you that kids who don’t read by age 4 are usually dyslexic.
And so, you don’t have to be their things, either.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about how everyone has their “things” — the things they love, the things they hate, the things that control them and define them.
Let me share a few of mine:
I love books and tea and my big, comfy bed. I love growing tomatoes and playing fetch with my cat and meals I don’t have to cook. I love travel and crushed ice and reading to my kids. I love really old men in blacks socks who buy one pear at the grocery store, salted chocolate, paper letters, small acts of kindness, warm hugs from loved ones and the way my husband’s hand feels in mine after all these years.
I hate cased meats and when the doorbell rings unexpectedly and listening to music that I’m not in the mood for. I hate milk and that poofy thing they do at the eye doctor and confrontation and artificial sweeteners. I HATE the sound of folding paper. And I hate “project toys” that never work the way they said they would and frustrate me and my child.
I don’t trust mayonnaise. I BELIEVE in butter.
I avoid using hand sanitizer, even when my kids have touched a turtle.
And yet, I can’t go to a waterpark with them without doing breathing exercises.
These are my things. They make me me.
But plenty of times, I have tried adopting other people’s things, because they were passionate or loud about those things, and they seemed to make sense.
I tried giving up paper towels like a friend who is incredibly passionate about the environment. I beat myself up when I would buy a roll, but I also had panic attacks when a pet would explode, because which is really worse, one roll of recycled paper towels, or a box of rubber gloves and a new washing machine when I have to burn the old one?
I’ve tried making all our bread products from scratch like another friend, and found us living on Amy’s enchiladas while I waited for dough to rise.
And I have tried being another kind of homeschool mom. I’ve tried doing what the fancy, organized lady on the Internet says. I’ve forced circle times and banned computer time and spent too much money on curriculum that made me, the kids, or both miserable.
I took other people’s things — what they loved or what they hated — and I tried to make them mine. And it didn’t work.
It rarely does. Because they are not me.
So this year, as you sit down to plan your school year, factor in your things. Think about what makes you happy, what scares you, what makes you want to throw your shoes, what makes you feel soft and safe on the inside.
Think about the power you have to make the year ahead good and positive.
Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Who knows — maybe their thing is being miserable?
But yours doesn’t have to be.
Only you really know your things. But I will say that every person I have ever met has them — the most stable people, the most boring ones, the crazies and the ones who seem to always have it together.
But you don’t have to worry about any of that anymore.
You have your things, and it’s time to start living more of the ones you love.