February 23, 2017
it’s nice to have goals as long as I recognize it’s not always gonna be like that
As you all may have gathered, I’m on the type A side.  Not about everything — for example, my standards of household upkeep are not terribly stringent.  But as a die hard planner, sometimes I get a little too attached to The Plan.  I get caught up in absolutes.  I miss subtler shades of gray in life — that sometimes things are not good or bad; they just are.
The Headspace pack I am currently working through is one on Acceptance.  It occurred to me this morning that I chose well.  I really do need to work on Acceptance.  When things do not go “my” way, I often don’t handle it calmly.  This is not to say that I should become a very zen doormat, but there is a difference between working actively towards goals vs having stiff expectations of how everything will or “should” go.
This morning, as soon as I finished my Headspace session, C woke up.  At 5:20 (and he went to bed at close to 9 after a bit of a battle).  We’ve been having a rough time in the sleep department for the last month or so, and I’m sure Disney/the total break in routine didn’t help!  I laid down on the couch next to him and counted 100 breaths, but . . . no dice.  He was still awake.  So I put him in front of Mickey where he has been for the past 35 minutes.  Annabel joined him at 6 on the dot – internal alarm clock?
Anyway, there went my plans.  My completely arbitrary plans, but they didn’t feel that way when I heard his moan at 5:20.  But what was the point of an internal revolt?  Nothing was going to change.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are Josh’s ‘early’ days, so the only option was to just accept the morning’s events, recognize that no disaster had actually occurred, troubleshoot a solution (umm . . . Mickey has actually worked very nicely; they’ve been mesmerized for 35 minutes and there are 10 left) and move on.
Then we’ll have breakfast together, we’ll have more time to hang out, and I can move my Acceptance practice to work, where I feel slammed (not sure how 3 days off created the backlog that it did . . . but it did) — but I can only do as much as I can do.  


  • Reply Irene March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    For me, this is probably the hardest part of the transition to being a parent – the total total loss of control. It it seems like even making plans is just asking for a cold or a terrible sleeping spell to occur and upend everything! As someone who is not particularly Type A but very fond of both routines and plans this has been hard even though I love my daughter so much she is worth it! I am trusting that I will become a better person in the long run as a result.

  • Reply Natasha March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I love you handwriting 🙂

    There is nothing like having a perfect plan that is then interrupted by the forces of nature (aka kids). I don’t plan as beautifully as you do, but it does seem that every time I have an idea of what I want to do, something happens to render that idea completely ridiculous. Getting up extra early to have some personal time to think and breathe? As soon as I move, there is my youngest child plopping on me, demanding hugs, food, to wipe her butt, more food, and more hugs. Horrible as it may sound – I get grumpy. I am not a morning person to begin with, so attempting to practice acceptance first thing in the morning – that’s so not happening. Maybe after breakfast 🙂

    Adaptation works better than acceptance for me. Sometimes, parenting is a wild, wild ride -and all I can do is hang on and do my best to enjoy it. It may mean that I need to adapt to an unplanned situation (kind of like you did, with Mickey) – and make an effort to to put my mind into the "this is joy" mode.

  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    You’re allowed to be upset when this happens. Possibly the expectation that you handle everything perfectly internally and externally is not realistic. Sure, try to be more zen. But it’s ok not to be perfect.

  • Reply Guest March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I”ve been working through some similar ideas with my therapist recently. I”ve had a series of health problems (at 30! WTF?!) that have really thrown a wrench into my “life plans”. The general theme of our sessions is: endless fighting that which you cannot change is a waste of precious time and energy. Life is finite. It doesn”t mean wildly swinging the pendulum to “fuck it and fuck everything” but it certainly means accepting things that are, as they are, and moving on so as to minimize its impact on other areas of your life. It’s hard though because, like you, I like to have control, make plans and have things go “my” way. To some extent I see acceptance as defeat.

  • Reply Jill March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Your recent posts are resonating with me so much lately. I have a three year old and one on the way (currently 34 weeks pregnant). I work 4 days a week, and greatly value exercise, alone time, cooking, family, social life -etc… pretty identical to you. I was hit with the flu- that just will not got away. The three year old and work are not helping, stressed about using sick days and anxious/hormonal/tired. None of these are life-threating or catastrophic. We have family, health, financial security- part of me says I need to STFU, part of me says let the tears just come, and part of me knows that a balance needs to happen. I may have to try this headspace app. Our expectations/wants are so great- and it just can not all be planned/met… particularly with kids. I keep telling myself this is just another season.. as I too embark on another bedtime/potty/picky eating batte. Thank you for letting me vent 🙂 I love all of your advice and hearing that I’m not alone. Keep sharing the great/practical and real-life advice and stories.

  • Reply shellychlan March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I love your posts too! They are honest and I really should comment more in support. I have a six (almost 7!) yr old and a 4 yr old. I honestly feel some days that I just don’t have any more patience in me. That the last 7 years have used it ALL up. Especially when I lose my morning time a bit more lately too. It can’t be weather related as we are fully ensconced in winter still but I feel like the precious bit of time in the morning is what keeps me going. And really I have you to thank as you inspired me to start getting up by 5 am most days during the week to have some time, so thank you for that (even if it doesn’t always go as planned!). I really have no answers but to say that friends who have older kids always remind me to have more compassion for my frustrations and to remember that it doesn’t last forever.

  • Reply Rinna March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Man, I love this! Why is acceptance so HARD???

  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    AAgh, my comment from yesterday never posted! It was amazing, I promise 🙂
    In short, I struggle with this same thing but am thinking that lately I’ve become just the tiniest bit better (maybe? hopefully?) at letting go of my plans and expectations. Thinking of my well-made plans as more suggestions on how I can spend my time vs. commandments that I have to feel guilt about not meeting. My struggles for this, like you, are more in the short term minute-to-minute vs. the long-term "life plan" arena. Its easier for me to let go of my ideas of where I’d be in my career at this age vs. the 5-minutes-cut-short meditation. due to pager going off. I’m sure there is an important lesson here about control but I can’t articulate it. I was reading a Zen Habits chapter about acceptance recently, there is a lot of good stuff in that book about the topic, though its all easier read than done for me.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      This one was amazing too, don’t worry 🙂 🙂
      That’s awesome about being able to let go more!! And I agree it’s definitely a SHORT term battle, not a longer one. I’m much more flexible about long term dreams, too. Maybe I just need to zoom out a little more like some prior commenters mentioned (ie look at a month at a time, not just a week or a day)

      I love Leo Babauta’s writings esp his older ones. THey really do resonate with me.

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