“The more I play, the less I worry. The less I worry, the more joyful I am as a mother.”
Somewhere along the way, I turned into a grown up.
My class likes to remind me of this. My two and three-year-old students often want to talk about all the categories I fall into.
“You are a grown up. But you are also a teacher. And you are Grace's and Tucker's mommy. And you are a girl. But you are definitely a grown up. Yea you are."
A girl grown up that is a teacher and a mommy.
I still don't think of myself as a grown up, even with kids, a mortgage, responsibilities, and an increase in smile wrinkles. I see college-aged women, and I assume I still look like them too. Until I look in the mirror. And I remember that I'm in my mid-thirties, an age that at a different time was old, or at least middle aged.
So, by all definitions of the word “Grown Up," I suppose I am one.
However. I refuse to act like one all the time.
Quite honestly, I think that is essential. Essential for health, happiness, and a strong family. Mamas. Listen to me. Put down the responsibility and play. Play. Play without reason, play without expectation, play with abandon. Whatever that means for you.
We grown ups have a tendency to get bogged down in the details of our responsibilities, to forget that life is actually supposed to be fun.
We are here to enjoy, to live in joy. Just watch your children on any given day. They are inventing games, laughing about words that sound funny, spinning in circles until they fall, rolling down hills, giggling all the way…the list goes on.
We aren't here to be serious all the time. We are here to live in love and joy.
To do that, ladies, we've got to play. At a certain point, I think many adults forget how to play. How to do something that doesn't have a purpose or a reason. It's uncomfortable at first, but imperative for the heart. What it is doesn't matter, but you've got to find something. A way for your mind rest, to become unaware of the passage of time, something that transfixes you into the present and lets your heart giggle. Hearts are meant to giggle, you know.
When my beautiful sparkling children and I are laughing together, I am reminded that is the important part. The mess in the family room doesn't really matter. The horrid news constantly happening in our world will be there the next time I check. The laughter, the joy, the silliness, can bring us to present moment and open the doors to deeper connection with both family and the world. When we spend our days seeped in the anxieties of the crazy world we live in, we disconnect from our deepest selves, from our children's innermost world, from the joy that is our birthright.
Go into the woods and watch for birds. Dance in your kitchen. Refuse to do anything you are supposed to today, and only have fun.
Play tag with your kids. Find some live music somewhere—if nowhere else but on YouTube. Plant a garden. Decide not to check your email or the news for the day. Invite neighbors over for a cook out. Be silly.
The more I play, the less I worry. The less I worry, the more joyful mama I am. The more joy I find each day, the lighter my responsibilities feel. With play I find deeper connection with my heart's desires, and deeper connection with my children's inner selves.
The family that plays together stays together and the mama who plays each day stays sane each day.
This I believe in my deepest, truest, silliest self.