I see you. I love you. And I have a message for you and it is this: sometimes doing more is actually easier. Sometimes we get in ruts and can't even see that we are because we have built a whole world down in the valley and think that this is everything that there is. But if we only walked over to the ladder, just waiting for us, we could climb up over the ridge that blocks our view. We would be amazed to see a whole dazzling world of possibility right there available and free for taking.
There are choices that will make your life sweeter and happier. They are not very difficult things although they do take a little effort. And actually you already know them because they are things that you felt naturally before you slowly grew into a Not-so-new-Parent. Remember that feeling when your baby was born? How you just stared in wonder at her while she mirrored your expression - both of you soaking each other up. Recapture that feeling; awaken it inside of you again. Just because your kids are bigger now does not make them any less miraculous.
Do you remember? I can help you. You were connected, still almost one person. You would take him, curled up in a ball and place him on sleeping, soon-to-be-delighted Aunts - a living present offering hours of entertainment. As he grew and more children were added to the family there were tickles and giggles, games of hide-and-seek in which the hider jumped out saying, "here I am!" with such enthusiasm that you didn't have the heart to break it to him that he wasn't exactly understanding the basic idea of "hiding".
But somehow things got more difficult and complicated over the years than you anticipated. Work, school, sibling spats, dinner, homework, bills, disappointments... they all slowly piled up, obstructing the view of the new world you first glimpsed so many years ago. Was it real? Or were you just in a new-mother haze? Maybe you are just remembering with rose-colored glasses and things weren't really all that great even then.
Wait! Come back - it's not true! It really was that wonderful, exhilarating, and life-affirming and you can have it back - just climb up this ladder, I PROMISE it's worth it! Get out of that lawn chair and come over here. Your children are waiting for you at the top - they still climb the ladder from time to time because they haven't forgotten it. They want you to join them so badly - but more and more lately they keep you company down in this valley-rut because, well, they miss you. But I know that you want them to live their lives out on the mountain peak, where the vistas stretch as far as the eye can see and the world is their oyster.
Come, on - climb with us. You can set up camp with them and see if you like it. If you don't, this comfortable (but somewhat boring and stifling) place will still be here waiting for you. But I think you will like it up there. The air may make you dizzy and first but you will get used to it. You may be tired at the end of the day from all of the work and play that you do, but... you will be happy.
You just need to climb this ladder.
I love you and I'll see you soon.
ps I have plans to re-read the book Playful Parenting, by Lawrence J Cohen. I read it long ago, but I'm feeling the need for a refresher. I have a feeling that I will find lots of ideas in there.