My husband has an expression he likes to use on our son when he's acting up. "Make a better choice, Hudson," he'll say to him casually. I love it not only because it sounds ridiculous said to a toddler, but because nine times out of ten, Hudson will stop in his tracks and find something else to do.
As he slowly begins finding his words, I started developing my own set of mantras for Hudson—two so far. The first is, "Uh-oh doesn't count if you do it on purpose, Huddy." The latest is, "When you hear 'be careful, Hudson', it means something bad is about to happen. So please be careful, Hudson."
As I thought today about this advice we give our son, I remembered some advice I got from my friend Sara a few weeks ago. She and I were on the phone and I was whining about some major changes that were brewing at work. She stopped me and suggested (in her patented Zen-like way) that I try and focus on the present. Specifically, on the things that are within my control. "How can you make a difference today?" she asked. I, of course, rebutted with a bunch of but... but... but!!! When I eventually got off the phone, I was convinced that she was suggesting the impossible. At least for me. I pride myself on focusing on everything but today, everyone but myself. And then being a martyr about it. (OK, so I'm not proud of that last part.)
All of this thinking took place as I sat on the living room couch avoiding eye contact with the dining room / office / kitchen that was full of stuff we'd yet to put away since moving back to our 900 sq. ft. house in VT after 7 months in our seemingly palatial row house in DC. Just days ago I gave Hudson a run for his money as I threw the biggest tantrum about how small our house is, how we don't have room for any of our things, and how horrible it must be to be a toddler living in a cage (admittedly a little dramatic.)
Then I got an email from my friend Anne featuring happy holiday photos of her not one, not two, but three kids and husband in their beautiful, tidy-as-can-possibly-be 500 sq. ft. apartment in Hoboken. And I thought, what the hell is the matter with me?
So, today I made a better choice and focused on how I could make a difference. Today I got off the couch, cleaned up, and finally finished unpacking.