Around the time my son was eight months old, his sleep got terrible. He was up every two hours, driving my wife and I to exhaustion—and to some heated arguments about how to fix it.
One evening I was talking to my dad about it on the phone. I lamented how my life felt like a tornado. Too tired to even clean the house. Or take a shower. Unpaid bills piling up. And every day unsure of what surprise was going to come up: The baby getting sick. The car breaking down. It seemed like every time we got some order in the house, another eventuality came up.
“I feel like my life is chaos,” I said.
My dad answered without a thought, without a single second of waiting: “Tyler, embrace the chaos.”
“Embrace the chaos,” he said again.
After a moment, I knew what he meant. He was telling me to change my mindset.
If I accept that I’m in the center of the chaos, somehow it loses some of its hold on me.
As busy parents, we often judge ourselves for failing to keep things in perfect order. We imagine some ideal parent out there who always keeps things orderly and neat—ducks in a row. We forget that the spaghetti on the floor, the rainbow-colored mess of toys in the living room, and all those bleary-eyed nights stumbling down the hall to the baby room are part of the adventure of parenting.
And at the end of the day, when you come home from work exhausted, and your 1-year-old son trots up to you with outstretched arms and a beaming smile, and you hoist him up and swing him in circles while he giggles with delight as though he’s on a wild rollercoaster, you know it’s all worth it.
After all, this is what we signed up for, didn’t we?
Embrace the chaos…