important nothings


Hopping in with a quick post today that I hope will bring you some inspiration.

I’ve been trying to implement mantras—well, a form of mantras, I guess—in my everyday life, and I love it, so I thought I’d share what’s working for me.

I first started trying to use a mantra after hearing a yoga teacher talk about them a few years ago. Naturally, I went completely overboard and tried to choose just one mantra and use it all the time, and I wanted it to fit the true definition of a mantra (whatever that is). It was a whole thing. Lately, I am too tired for whole things and just want things that work. And these work.

I started using the phrase “done is better than perfect” a while back as a way to help me get things done without getting too caught up in minutiae or perfectionism. I still use that one all the time, but I’ve since added a few more.

“Flexible routines”   People ask about schedules a lot when you have a baby (i.e., What’s his sleep schedule like? Do you have him on a schedule? My kids loved being on a schedule). Maybe it’s the schoolteacher in me, but when I hear “schedule,” I think of bells ringing and start / end times and everything being down to the minute. I’m all for the baby having times he usually naps, eats, takes a bath, etc., but I know I don’t fall into the camp of a true schedule. Even so, I also don’t fall into the camp of being okay with every day being totally different and not having any idea when he’ll be hungry or asleep or awake, so I’ve found that flexible routines work best for us. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact. Aloud.

“Low maintenance”   I’ve drafted a few posts to this effect, but none of them have turned out quite right, so I’ll just tell you now that my word for 2017 is low maintenance. Awful, right? It sounds like I have just given up! I haven’t, promise! I just realized that some of the everyday aspects of my life, especially what I wore, cooked, and read, required more of me than I wanted to give to those things. Shirts that absolutely have to be ironed? No more. Recipes with a million steps that leave my kitchen a disaster? No, thank you. Only reading works of literary merit because I’m a snob and I think I’m too good for a light cozy mystery? Not this girl. Aurora Teagarden or bust.

“For tomorrow morning”   Okay, I know I’m truly an adult now because I actually take care of things I need tomorrow the night before. You know how you keep getting older but never really feel like an adult—or maybe that’s just me? I thought once I finished college I’d feel like an actual grownup, but that wasn’t the case, so I kept coming up with other milestones: getting married, buying a house, having a baby, putting up holiday decorations, knowing what a 401k was, so on and so forth. As it turns out, none of those things made me feel like an adult. But when I get up off the sofa, load the dishwasher, pack the diaper bag, wash my face and put on night cream, I’m like, people, my childhood is finally over.

“Just do it now”   See above. Very similar, only applies to stuff that comes up throughout the day. Like this blog post I could’ve put off for another week or so “to get it right.” This is a blog post, Lauren, not the next great American novel. “Done is better than perfect” works well in these cases, too. ; )

“Agape” (the Greek word for unconditional love, lest you wonder if I’m always telling myself to stand around with my mouth wide open)   If I’m being honest, I really can’t complain about the baby. He eats well, he sleeps well most of the time, he’s got a sunny disposition (plus we waited so long for him that my experience with motherhood has been shaped by overwhelming gratitude more than anything else, so there’s that). But every now and then we have a long night or a teething situation that’s got us both down or a day that just isn’t going quite as well as I’d like, and I find myself saying “agape” to myself. It’s a reminder that I want to show my child the kind of amazing, unconditional love God shows me. It reminds me to be patient, to take a deep breath, to smile and sing, to think about how little moments of difficulty pale in comparison to the big picture. And I’ve found myself using this mantra with others, too, even strangers, because it’s all part of the way we’re supposed to treat one another. It’s a good one.

Any favorite mantras out there?

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