Older Moms have been around the block a few times. We’ve skinned our knees and taken wrong turns. We know which house has the dog that barks as we walk by, and we know that the fence keeps the dog in. Us Older Moms are eager to help Younger Moms, to ease their journey and avoid the scraped knees. One of our advantages is that we have [hopefully] learned from our mistakes, so we can help you learn how to change your perspective. Here’s a small, but powerful, principle that could change your everyday walk around the block of life.
Now that I’m an Older Mom, I can look back on my life and see where my “have to’s” were really “get to’s.”
- I got to clip tiny fingernails that were dirty from enthusiastic play.
- I had the privilege of bending over the bathtub to wash silky toddler hair.
- I had the honor of serving a little person by wiping their bottom before they were old enough to do it for themselves.
- I still have this precious, fleeting season of educating my children and reading aloud to them and helping them understand the world.
Can you see the difference perspective makes? It’s completely different from “These fingernails are so disgusting” and “Arghh, I have to get up out of my chair and go wash his hair.”
At the time I thought “I have to.” And it was really “I get to.”
Anyone who has lost a loved one understands the aching longing to have that person back, to have a do-over with wiser perspective.
It can be the same with the little children from our past, who rise like ghosts in our thoughts when we are reminded of our mistakes.
There’s no rewind button on parenthood. Boy, sometimes I wish there was. I wish I could mother my children as the person I am now, rather than the person I was at the time.
But God is not surprised. He’s not scratching His head and wondering “Now what do I do?” when He looks upon our lives and our mistakes and the fruit from them. He heals and restores and makes crooked places straight, if we will ask and repent. And to repent means to change the way we think.
So let’s change the way we think about the have to’s. In fact, let’s get practical. Every time you notice yourself thinking or saying “I have to….,” stop and change it to “I get to….” It causes a shift in perspective and a change in your energy.
“Get to” comes from a grateful heart. “Get to” implies honor and thankfulness and privilege and excitement.
“Have to” comes from a fearful heart. “Have to” creates overwhelm and victimhood and dread and anxiety.
Sometimes we change our insides by starting with the outside. Disciplining our words can help us discipline our thoughts. Yes, out of the heart the mouth speaks, but words have power and it can work the other way, too.
“Stop showing your anger and you will soon stop feeling anger.” ~ Rabbi Daniel Lapin
What do you “have to” do today?
I have to catch up on the piles of laundry and clean the dirty kitchen. I have GOT to get those emails sent out this morning. Grrr, can’t believe I don’t have that article done yet, and the deadline is today. I don’t know when I’m going to get it done, I’ll probably have to stay up late tonight.
What do you “get to” do today?
Yayyy me, I get to catch up on my family’s laundry in my working washer and dryer. I get to load the dishwasher and wash a backlog of big pans in hot soapy water, while listening to good stuff on my iPod. I get to send emails to customers and team members that I’m so grateful for. I get to meet a deadline for an article today—writing is something I’ve always wanted to do!
If you’re wondering how to change your perspective when life gets messy and tiring, make this simple shift: “Have to” vs. “Get to.”
What “have to’s” can you shift to “get to’s” today?
Tips From a Mom of 12
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