Finding My Mommy Zen

I issued a challenge on Monday – The Pay It Forward Challenge. You can go HERE and read all about it.

Because 95% of my waking days are spent in the presence of my children, my biggest goal was to fulfill #3 on the list: Show “I Love You” while avoiding the Darkside.

This meant when my husband left the wet towels on the floor after the kids’ baths – because he never hangs them up (hint hint, honey) – I stamped out the irritation that always hits me when I do the deed instead.

I ignored the dinner dishes that weren’t rinsed.

I hugged and said “thank you” even when he did fulfilled “jobs” that fall into his court.

I think he took the challenge to heart as well, because this week was one with much less sniping and sarcastic quips designed to piss me off.

Did I mention I only had four hours of sleep the night before, because I was up writing the poem for Lil Diva?

He stopped accusing me of “searching for his failures” with every question I asked and just answered.

It made for a more pleasant household all around.

When my son melted down, I got quiet instead of loud. And I hugged both children, even more than usual. When they smiled at me, I smiled back.

I mediated their battles and (mostly) avoided being sucked in.

I baked cupcakes with my son. We laughed.

I allowed Lil Diva to lick her first beater, even though I knew she’d make a mess.

Another milestone: the beater licking rite of passage.

I knew I could clean it up.

Plus, she’s two now. I need to remember all the things The Tackler did at two because he was an only child and it didn’t seem near as daunting.

It was the week of the (mostly) Zen Mommy.

I’m going to try to keep that mentality.

My successes at avoiding the Darkside and Paying it Forward outside my family were small by comparison.

I breathed deep and curbed annoyance when I was stuck waiting in line. For me, this is an achievement. I have never been a good “stand in line” person. I’d much rather take a number, sit down, and wait to be called.

I know where my children inherited it from….

I didn’t flip off the black truck that cut me off.

I added an extra $1 to the tip when I was out with my local blogging group.

Our server chose to automatically include gratuity (which is within his right). I waited tables for three years in high school and college and I typically chose not to add the automatic 15% to 18% tip for large parties. I discovered I often earned substantially more in tips if I didn’t include it and left it up to the customers.

The way I viewed it, I could either choose what I wanted for a tip, or let them choose, so when someone adds in gratuity, I never add to the required tip amount.

But I did that night, because I know how an extra unexpected $1 could make a server feel.

Or at least, how it did in 1995.

The day isn’t done yet and I’m hoping to do at least one random act of kindness.

Maybe we’ll eat at Chik-Fil-A which is having a fundraiser for the school my children attend.

I do not like their food, only their indoor play areas. The play area at this location is about the smallest and least child friendly play area out of the many locations I’ve experienced (my children had to run somewhere when driving over 900 miles across country when it was 100 degrees out).

The last time CG took the kids there, Lil Diva completely melted down on the top level because the set up isn’t very two year old friendly.

I still might go. Because they do receive proceeds from it and my children absolutely love their “school”.

That counts, right?

We just might stick to the drive-thru.

I haven’t made it to Starbucks yet to buy someone’s coffee because I don’t drink it.

Maybe I should buy someone’s sub at Jimmy John’s instead…

What did you do to meet the Pay It Forward Challenge?

Link up HERE from 9-16-11 thru 9-23 with your post of what you did this week to meet the challenge.

I cannot wait to read them.

As always, please pass on the challenge to others – the link will be live for a full week and I know I’m going to try to keep Zen Mommy as much as possible.

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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19 Responses to Finding My Mommy Zen

  1. Oops, I didn’t read Monday’s post, but I will. I’m trying hard to pay it forward and getting better at it the older I get.

  2. At open house, I didn’t strangle my son’s 7th grade social studies teacher who is a total poser. This may sound funny, but I go crazy when teachers send home stupid homework assignments that are riddled with errors.

    So instead of calling the school and demanding he be switched into a different class, I just listened to the dude and realized that Monkey is going to have an opportunity to figure it out on because this guy is not going to be much help.

  3. Katie says:

    I’ve been trying to channel my Mommy Zen today. Have given lots of hugs and kisses and haven’t yelled at anyone except the dog. Who pooped on my carpet so I’d say she deserved it 🙂

  4. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    I like that term. Mommy Zen. I’ve been trying to be nicer to my kids and husband this week. I’m inspired. Also, I did suck in my snark at the eye Doctor’s. The assistant was in a snit. I thought, maybe he’s got something going on behind the scenes. I laughed off his snit and soon got him to smile too. I like this challenge.

  5. John says:

    I hate to say it, but I never tip more than the amount when it’s added to the bill. And I almost always tip well-in-excess of 18% when I chose it on my own. That said, however, I was at a Mexican restaurant and the server forgot my tortillas for my fajitas. I asked him to bring them when he checked our drink orders. I asked another wait-person to bring them. I flagged him down about 15 minutes later and asked again. Then they came . . . but my meal was cold.

    And he added 18% to the bill.

    My wife had to talk me down from demanding to speak to the manager about being billed in the first place.

    And I’m normally a super nice guy at restaurants . . . but, my parent zen is kaput lately.

    • Daddy Zen can be achieved, but I so hear you on the service.

      Maybe they had a lot on their mind that day…

      I almost never tip more than when it’s added on, and I too usually tip more than 18% if left to my own devices.

      It’s why adding a $1 (it was just me on the bill) was something very out of the ordinary.

      Also? I have no issues waving down a manager. Ever. I’ve done it for bad service. I’ve done it for fabulous service. I’m equal opportunity like that.

      Just say no to the Darkside, John. For one day, try to let everything slide before you get angry.

      It’s really weird what happens when you do, I promise.

  6. I love this. I need to remember to be a little kinder, a little smilier, a little more affectionate lately.

  7. Pingback: Pay it Forward Challenge | Dances with Chaos


    I have definitely noticed that if mommy is calmer, so are the boys (most of the time). My mood can set the tone for the house, and the course of the day. I’ve got to remember that!!

    • It’s so true.

      What is tricky, is when they test our patience and push our buttons first thing. If we fail to meet it with Mommy Zen, the entire day can easily fall apart as the cycle repeats.

      If only we could bottle the energy of our children and take hits of it during the day to keep up with them…

  9. Anastasia says:

    You are more then welcome to buy me some Jimmy Johns. I want a gargantuan mmm k? I love the getting quiet when they get loud. Oh do I need to remember that one.

  10. Leigh Ann says:

    This sounds great, Kelly! I guess I was too distracted to notice that the waiter included gratuity. So he got a nice tip from me!

    C and I have both found that thanking each other for even the most mundane tasks that are our “jobs” makes things much more pleasant. It’s nice to know you’re appreciated for the little things you do every day.

  11. Pingback: Truth Behind the Irony | Dances with Chaos

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