From Have To’s to Get To’s
There is no doubt that being a parent is not for the faint of heart. No matter how prepared you may be and even with only one child, life gets busy and everyone has rough days. We get going into our routine of caring for our family by having to do the endless errands, cleaning, work, play dates, cooking and homework. Round and round it goes while seeming that we never get a chance to come up for air from the nonstop list.
Before we even have a chance to realize what is happening we find ourselves living in a place of total discontment. While it may hide out of sight for a little while, it will eventually bubble up and show itself by stealing our joy and leading us to live in a state of a perpetual grumpy mood. This is not going to be beneficial for building up our family or even properly taking care of ourselves.
How can we adjust our way of thinking so that our joy is not stolen by all of the “have to’s” on our lists? In an article originally posted on Parent.co Susan Narjala suggests that it is a simple matter of changing our way of thinking by changing the two words we use from “have to” to “get to.”
- We don’t have to cook meals for our children, we get to feed our children.
- We don’t have to help them with their homework, we get to help them learn more about the world.
- We don’t have to stop cleaning to play with our children, we get to spend time investing in our relationship with them.
This simple change in the words we use can have a huge shift in the ways we view our families, to do lists and lives!
In Narjala’s article she explains how her family moved from their suburb in Portland, Oregon to India without the move having any effect on their income status or daily needs. Though their life remained largely the same as it was in Oregon, Narjala began to realized what a “blessed life” they had lived in America.
“Every single day, as a person of privilege in India, I come face-to-face with the fact that I “get to” rather than I “have to,” she wrote. “As I take my kids to school in an air-conditioned car, we pass by children sitting on mounds of sand outside construction sites where their parents work…They don’t have the option of taking their kids to school. My “have to wake up when my iPhone alarm rings at 6:30 a.m.” complaints seem horrendously petty.”
We don’t even have to travel far outside of our surrounding neighborhoods to come across families that are suffering. In our own hometowns there are children who go to bed hungry and sometimes their only meal that day might be delivered by a school cafeteria worker.
In some marriages there are couples who are pleading with God to bless them with a child just so that they can “get to” do the things we “have to” do everyday.
“Our normal is someone else’s dream. The fact that we are doing most of this for people we love is the biggest “get to” of all,” Narjala shared. “Instead of looking at our lists as chores, we need to see them as opportunities…My perspective changes from being a parent obsessed with just how crazy-hard my life is to one who acknowledges my abundance.”
Hopefully, Narjala’s message is one that we can all take to heart about being a parent. Praying that we all follow her simple act of changing our “have to’s” into “get to’s.”