I’m usually a really happy person by nature. 
My mom called me her “Ray of Sunshine” when I lived at home.
I love to laugh, and I consider myself a positive person.
That’s why it surprised me when I found this photo on my phone:
This is a picture taken by my 3-year-old as I was taking my phone from him. I wasn’t happy with him because he wasn’t listening. (Remember my last post?)  Sometimes it feels like he doesn’t have ears at all! (I’m sure you can relate.)

But, what really strikes me about this picture, is the perspective it gives me. I thought,

“This is how my child sees me.”

Then I realized that this is often how I look (and feel) when I’m with my kids. Not because they are bad kids, but because it’s stressful to be a parent. We don’t have a game with all the pieces in tact anymore. None of our videos are in the right cases. Clothes are strewn all across the bathroom floor right now, and there is NO WAY that I can keep up. Sometimes I let that get the best of me and forget what’s really important. Because honestly, no matter how many times I pick up the living room, sweep the kitchen floor, or scrub the toilet, it will probably all go back to the way it was within 24 hours.

You know what will never be the same?

My little boy.

He’ll never be 3 years 7 months and 11 days again.
In fact, before I know it, he’ll be dating and driving.  (I really don’t want to think about it!)

Why is it so difficult sometimes to allow myself to be happy in the chaos? I can hear all the wise women who have gone before. “Enjoy them while they’re young!”; “These are the best days of your life.”; “I wish I could go back some days.” – they say. I’m crying now just thinking of it. How could I know all of these things and still, day after day, feel overwhelmed? The pressure of wanting to enjoy it all the time and the unfortunate fact that I don’t always enjoy it is discouraging. I know they’re growing. I try to capture every moment. (I wrote a song about it!)

So, I’ve made a decision to change one thing. This one simple thing will change the way my kids see me. Because I don’t want them to see the girl in the photo my 3-year-old took. I want them to see this:

I’ve decided to smile more.

There’s something I tell my kids every morning before they leave for school.

“Do your very best, and be kind!”

It’s time for me to do my very best, and be kind.
Being a parent has been the hardest job I’ve ever taken on in life. But because it’s the most difficult, it’s also the most rewarding. I’ve decided it’s time to stop feeling so guilty for what I cannot control and start living a happier life. Every age and stage is so much fun. I’m so grateful for these beautiful souls.
I invite YOU to smile more.
Sometimes when you don’t feel like it, is when you most need it.
Don’t forget how amazing you are!