Did you ever see that 90’s movie Groundhog Day (affiliate link) with that one guy whose name I can’t remember at this mom brain moment? Oh yeah…Bill Murray. (Thanks Google!) It’s a romantic comedy about a self-centered and arrogant big-city TV weatherman who gets trapped in the same day in a little podunk town and has to relive it over and over and over again.
‘Groundhog Day’ Can Teach You About Growth
The movie follows how at first, he uses the do-over days to take advantage of others with no lasting consequences for him: he steals money, steals cars, seduces women, grossly overeats, and generally behaves badly. After a while, he falls into a hopeless depression and tries all kinds of ways to end his life to get out of the endless cycle of repeating the same day over and over and over. Finally, he learns to start caring about others besides himself and reaches out to help them.
He changes tires for little old ladies, saves a guy from choking, prevents a boy from being injured falling out of a tree, and repeatedly tries to save a dying homeless man. He also spends time developing new talents, learning how to sculpt ice, play the piano, speak French, etc. In the end, he’s become a better, less selfish version of himself. And that’s the guy who gets the girl and finally wakes up in a new tomorrow.
Are You Feeling Stuck in a Groundhog Day, too?
Some days as a mom feel like being stuck in Groundhog Day. It’s the same thing over and over on repeat. Diaper changes, feedings, potty training, laundry, cooking, picking up toys, cleaning, toddler tantrums, and sibling squabbles – it can feel like those are the only things looming ahead for us stretching out into forever.
But did you know that the years spent with children at home are only a small portion of a mother’s life? Roughly 25-30%. That leaves 60-75% of her life without children at home. That’s a lot of years without kids. And just a few years with kids at home to learn to make the days count.
Struggling as a Stay-at-Home Mom
I always planned on staying home from work to raise my children. It was a priority for both my husband and I. But when the day came, I didn’t realize how hard an adjustment it would be for me to give up a fulfilling career to be home with young children. I had many days feeling frustrated and discouraged because I felt I had more to offer than just changing diapers, making meals and reading the same picture book for the 20th time.
I loved my children dearly and wanted to be the one to raise them, (and I’d make the same decision again today) but it was a rocky adjustment for me personally. I needed to learn some new skills.
One of the biggest challenges for me was adjusting my schedule and agenda to work around theirs. I would get discouraged because I had a list of things I needed and wanted to do, but the baby’s needs and wants always trumped those. I felt so unproductive. When my 2nd baby was born, I fully believed we would never EVER be able to leave the house before noon again. Between the 2-year-old, the baby and me, one of us always needed something. As soon as I’d take care of that, it was something else. It was exhausting. And so frustrating for a person who used to be a high achiever.
Growing as a Mom
It took a mindset shift for me to find happiness in being a stay at home mom. I had to learn to go with the flow more and to relax my expectations about what I could feasibly accomplish in a day. I had to learn to celebrate progress, instead of striving for perfection.
Since becoming a mother, some things on my personal agenda have fallen by the wayside, others are on the backburner, and some are moving along at a snail’s pace. I’m at peace with that because I know that being a mother has helped me grow in ways that have truly made me a better, kinder and more compassionate human being. I might feel like I get less “done”, but that doesn’t mean I’m not learning, growing and progressing.
I think this is what I like most about the Groundhog Day movie. It gives me so much hope. When we put in a little daily effort into learning, growing, stretching and becoming better, we can completely change into the best versions of ourselves. Instead of looking at life as “what’s in it for me” or as something to escape from, we can live each day to the fullest by putting effort into growing better and helping others along the way. That’s the path to a meaningful life.
Every Little Bit Helps
Change doesn’t happen overnight. But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. All it takes is a little bit of effort every day. Day to day we don’t usually notice if we are making any progress. In the movie, we see Bill Murray clunk out a few notes on the piano, and we see him take a few lessons. We don’t see how many days it takes, but eventually, and seemingly overnight, he’s a brilliant pianist. Same thing with ice sculpting and reciting French poetry. It’s a powerful illustration of how small things compound and can make a dramatic difference over time.
Which reminds me of a teaching story that goes like this:
If a man has one coin, does that make him rich?
Most of us would say no.
And if he added one coin per day, is he rich then? Still no.
But if he continued to add one coin per day, eventually his pile of coins would reach the point that we would all consider him rich.
In the same way, each day our efforts add up. With continued practice, little by little and bit by bit, one day we will be able to do well the things that we used to struggle with and become better versions of ourselves.
Happiness as a Mom
Today, I love being a stay-at-home mom. I find joy and fulfillment in serving my family and feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be home when my children are. Typically I get more things done now that my youngest is 3 than I did when my oldest was 3. I still don’t get everything that I need to do + want to do + want to learn “done” in a day. But that’s ok because I know I am making some progress. And that’s the lesson: Progress, not perfection.
Try This Small Thing Today:
Put a little effort into learning and growing today. Consider watching a YouTube tutorial, reading one chapter in a book, working on a section of a course you’ve purchased, reading an educational blog post or spending a few minutes doing that thing you’ve been procrastinating. Add a “coin” to your pile today.
What’s your favorite way to learn and grow? What’s something you’re crazy interested in right now? Let us know in the comments.
Enjoying Small Things Over Time?
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