Quarantine life has been overwhelming to say the least. We're meant to be mom, wife, teacher, employee/entrepreneur/[insert job title here], and through all of it, we try our best to remain happy, even though it's really really hard.

It's always been hard for me to embrace my "mom" title. I've always worked hard. I've always been independent. I've always done what I wanted when I wanted without having to check in with anyone. "Mom" was an identity swtich for me. For the first time in my life, my "free" time belonged to someone other than me. It became the time I nurtured, and cuddled, and made snacks, and tried my best to play and entertain, and not take life so seriously. But it's hard to mom without being so serious. There are so many things to do. With all of us at home, it's been extra hard for me to be anything other than serious.

The other night I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned most of the night and finally just lay there staring up at the pitch black ceiling repeating the words, "yes is a choice." Huh? I'm not sure where these words came from, but they were on repeat in my head that night. "yes is a choice". The next morning I still couldn't let go of those words. What did they mean?

I sat down with my coffee and my journal and wrote those words on the top of my page. As I continued writing, I realized that those words were a reminder that life doesn't have to be so hard all the time. We can choose to not be so overwhelmed because we can choose what we say yes to. We can choose to say yes to opportunities instead of obligations. We can choose to say yes to fun.

“Yes is a choice. And I wanted to choose to say 'yes' to fun."

It was a beautiful day so I asked the kids if they wanted to go on a bike ride. Without a beat they both ran upstairs and found socks and came back down ready to go. My phone rang, and I chose to ignore it. This was more important.

We put on our helmets and got on our bikes. We rode around each street and as we approached the front of the neighborhood, Nate said, "Mommy, Can we go on the main road? I've always wanted go. Do you think I'm big enough?" I looked back and saw Lucas and Jonathan. "Lucas isn't quite big enough to go. Let's go quickly before he sees us. We'll go for a short ride. Stay as close to the grass as you can. These cars go fast!" "Ok!!"

So we turned out of the neighborhood and hugged the edge of the road in the bike lane. I glanced over and Nate was smiling. He looked at me and said, "this is a little scary but A LOT FUN."

It had been a long time since I'd been on a real bike. When we came back to the neighborhood I looked at the huge hill in front of me and I slowed down. Nate looked at me and said, "Go fast, Mommy. It feels like you're flying." "That's what I'm afraid of," I thought.

Nate went for it and so did I. It was fast! It did feel like flying.

For a short moment I was completely and totally in the moment. No fear. No distractions. Just pure bliss.

When the world was open, I thought the only way to create fun experiences was to "do something". We'd go to the zoo, or miniature golfing, or a trampoline park. Those things are fun for the kids but un-fun for me. As parents, we're allowed to have fun too. Our lives aren't meant to be lived through our kids; they're meant to be lived with our kids.

So many of us are continuing to live as we had before. We're stressed. Our kids are fighting with each other. And we end the day feeling even more exhausted than when we lived and worked outside of our homes. I challenge you "go off the grid" one day a week. Say "no" to the obligations and "yes" to the opportunities. Choose to be the mom who plays rather than the mom who nags. Just one day. Choose fun.

xo Rachel

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