A Lesson Brought to You by Back-To-School-Shopping

As a self-proclaimed shop-a-holic, every year I volunteer to do the shopping and get the girls ready for back-to-school. Their Dad is more than happy with this arrangement and I get the fun of helping my girls search and put together the outfits that reflect their personalities.  

My daughters have picked out their own clothes for a very long time. I'm sure in the future they’ll hate the “outfits” in the photos I’ve taken but I cherish the creativity and artistry with which my children approach their personal style. I’m also in love with how it’s evolved along their growth path.

I’d love to say our time together was dreamy, fun, soul-filling and just plain awesome. Truth be told, after more than 12 hours of school shopping with an 8 and 5 year-old, I’m exhausted.  2 Haircuts, 2 pairs of sunglasses, 2 backpack, 5 skirts, 6 dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, 6 leggings and 12 shirts later - I’m toast.

Over the course of the three separate trips this past week, inevitably my youngest would find a point in the day where she turned into a super grump and could no longer walk around. I wish I had a picture of me schlepping shopping bags, a purse brimming with water and snacks with a 5 year-old on my back.

While it was definitely an exhausting experience, I wouldn’t trade it for the world for all of the following reasons:

  • I’m proud that I didn’t yell.

  • I’m proud that I didn’t really shop - I tried on 3 things and bought 1 (a fun black & white dress from H& M = $12.95).

  • I’m proud of my daughters’ fashion and how much I encourage them to be themselves and to buy stuff they love.

  • I’m proud that they were as excited about their second-hand clothing purchases as they were about the ones from the “fancy” stores.

  • I’m proud that I did a figure-eight with my heart and my money before shopping and didn’t feel any anxiety at the total on the cash register or feel my 1st chakra freak out at all.

  • I’m super proud that my eldest has a very strong sense of who she is and what she really loves and what she only likes.

  • I love the way my youngest looks in her fairy princess dresses because all too soon she'll be too "grown up" to wear them.

  • I love the look in my eldest’s eyes when she sees herself in the mirror and she lights up from the inside because what she sees is beautiful.

  • I love the way my youngest dances about in the mirror to express her joy about the way she looks and feels in her outfit choice.

  • I love watching my girls think through the clothes they have at home already to see if what they are buying “fits” into their wardrobe.

  • I’m grateful for how sensitive they are to what we are spending, $ amount wise, because I know that they are beginning to learn about the “cost” of things.

  • I’m proud that they made some tough choices.

  • I’m proud that I planned ahead well enough that no one was hungry on our shopping trips and I didn’t have to spend money at a restaurant.

  • I’m proud that at the end of each day, I still managed to find the energy to make nutritious and healthy meals for our family.

Doing anything for kids, regardless of how old they are can be exhausting. As a parent you don’t often get the “thank yous” and appreciation you feel like you deserve after the time, effort and love invested in your kids.

When I’m feeling less than full after our time together, I’ll sit and make a list like this one, because it’s often when I make the list that I realize I’m blessed to witness the greatest joys of being a parent in action.  

Action: When you are missing out on the appreciation you are more than ready for, think about the draining experience and then make a list of everything you are most grateful for.

Benefit:  You'll feel the love you so rightly deserve, you'll have a fresh perspective on the "incident" and you'll realize that intrinsic validation is just as good as external appreciation - and sometimes even better because it requires no one but you.  You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are enough - always.

This week - Feel: Appreciation