Let me begin by telling you that I am one of those weirdoes who actually likes change. In fact, I crave it. Believe me, I know the value of routine and continuity—they are extremely grounding. But there is something so freeing and soul-reviving about a new adventure, a fresh view, and an unknown ending.
As a kid, everyday seemed like a Choose Your Own Adventure book filled with critical choices like, “Do you want to catch tadpoles in the mysterious pond or build a fortress in the tall, untamed grasslands of the backyard?”
In college, there were the changes of classes every trimester, which brought with it new classmates, topics to learn about and a dorm room to rearrange out of pure procrastination.
After graduation, I jetted across the Atlantic to live and work in Germany for four years, half a world away from Minnesota, with diverse cultures and unfamiliar destinations just a short bus or train ride away. A spontaneous kiss from a border guard on an Italian train. Learning to polka with a Swiss skier in the Alps. Riding motorcycles to the North Sea in Amsterdam. Change and adventure were in abundance on an almost daily basis.
How is mom-life supposed to compete with that? Conquering toddler-speak could constitute as learning English as a second language. The unpredictable hormone washes that turn my sweet cherubs into warriors wielding pillows as weapons, always takes me aback. But it is not the same–not at all. But it doesn’t have to be either.
Mom life is full of crazy moment-by-moment, think-fast decisions wrapped in a scratchy-but-warm wool blanket of monotony. While I LOVE my non-glamorous life as a mom, I did want—no, need—to find some ways to change it up before my spontaneous-loving sanity became a buried treasure.
Here are some ways I found I could spice up the everyday:
Start wearing lipstick or find a few new shades to wear. Stretch the limits of your cosmetic couture and be daring and bold. No matter what, be confident and rock it! Confidence looks good on everyone. And so does lip color. I went from having ET-when-he-is-sick color lips to adding some pop to this kisser that my husband found intriguing, too. I felt a little sexier, even in my pajama pants. (Not that I wear them in public. Sheesh, did I just confess to that?)
Clothing—try a new style. Let’s face it. We have all undergone something known as maternal metamorphosis. Whether your precious little loves were housed in your body or someone else’s, your body is not the same as it used to be. Mom-butt is real folks. The girls need a little help getting boosted back to where they should be. And that “classic” style you claim to have may need a little refresh. Try something different. Edgier. More color. Less color. How about tighter? Show off those curves—all of them. You may feel like you see the Michelin Man when you look in the mirror but get a second opinion. Don’t get stuck on what you used to look like—reinvent the you that is here today. And again, choose to rock it. Confidence is so beautiful!
Discover the wonder of wandering. You may not be able to fly off to a vacation out of state, but a small change of scenery can get you by in the meantime. I often drive different ways to get home, just because. When we are not pressed for time, I even let my kids choose which way we go and see where we end up. They scream out, “Right! Left! Straight!” until we find ourselves somewhere interesting. We’ve discovered new parks to try, beautiful homes to marvel at, and ice cream shops to visit. Sometimes when I miss living in Europe, I go find a cobblestone street to drive on—just the feeling of the bumps beneath me is enough to transport my mind for a short break from the demands of today.
Just do it. Try a new restaurant to eat at or a have lunch in a town nearby. Dye your hair—permanent or washout for a little less of a commitment. Make an international meal. Experiment with spices and herbs. Redecorate or rearrange a room or maybe just a corner of your home. A new shower curtain or picture on the wall can make a real difference. Take up biking or tennis or another activity to stretch your brain to learn something new. Pierce your nose. Wear bigger jewelry. Try that high bun on top of your head that makes you feel like a misplaced ballerina. Have quinoa for breakfast and donuts for supper. Sign up for dance lessons. Show up at your husband’s work, with or without the kids, for a surprise visit. Try a different coffee brand or creamer flavor. Find a tantalizing tea that tickles your taste buds.
Not every day of motherhood can be like an episode of The Amazing Race. It’s not all glamour and excitement and that’s okay. If every day was jam-packed with action, we’d be exhausted! (Oh wait, we already are.) The point is that new and old ways each have their sweet points. Choose to embrace the goodness of what’s predictable and safe—a consistent nap time ritual, singing the same song during tuck-in time, that morning coffee while you fold 10 loads of laundry. Then, push past the norm and experience a freshness and renewal that acts like an Altoid for the soul.
Motherhood is overflowing with un-glittery, golden nuggets to be treasured. Grounded is strong; deep roots are steadying. Just don’t underestimate the power of newness and change. Life really is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Sail into uncharted territory–whether that includes a trip to Sephora or learning the Samba. It’s not frivolous; it’s fun! And it’s life-giving.
What are your favorite ways to counteract the monotony of motherhood and find new adventure?