good life by jaime mclaughlin
Part of cultivating a good life is enjoying the “in-between” moments of life.
What do you remember as a child? What did your mom cook and was your dad Mr. Fix-it? Did your grandparents play cards with you or did your auntie sew with you? Chances are the memories you cherish are the ones you have while watching your mom in the kitchen make her famous biscuits, watching your dad work on the car with his worn out, dirty hands, eating a Christmas morning coffee cake your mom made every year, or going to your grandparents’ house while the women prepared dinner together.
As a mother of two (soon-to-be three) children, I want to make sure I understand that I have eyes on me at all times. Too many times I see moms in the grocery store who are frustrated with their toddlers. Or I hear parents complain about staying home with their kids. I catch myself rushing through cooking dinner just because I’m ready for bed from a long day. It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re trying to bake and your kids are asking a dozen questions and little fingers are sprinkling flour all over the countertops and floor because “it looks like it’s snowing.” But in those moments, we have a choice. Do we get frustrated and yell at them because they are making a mess in our kitchen or do we grab a handful of flour and toss it up in the air with them? Can you picture the difference in their faces? Can you imagine the smile on their faces when you choose to engage in a snowball fight in the kitchen with them? To me, that’s worth the extra 10 minutes of clean up.
I have learned that the key to being able to enjoy these moments is margin. It’s making sure I have enough time to complete my tasks and a lot of the times, creating extra space to enjoy these moments within my daily list of tasks. When we are rushed and our schedules are filled to the max, are we really capable of enjoying the little in-between moments? Are we really able to allow our children to measure the flour or tighten the screw themselves? Or are we so rushed that we shove our kids to the side and bark out, “Mommy is trying to cook dinner,” or “Daddy is trying to put this grill together.” Either way we are creating a memory. Good or bad. I choose good. I choose a messy kitchen with handprints and flour dusted all over our clothes, hair, and faces. I choose to pass on the memories of Mommy and daughter or son in the kitchen creating new things and old traditional recipes. I choose to bring my kids to the grocery store and play games with them in the store.
My daughter is seven and her love of baking is one of my favorite things about her. Her passion for new recipes and her attention to detail when decorating is to be admired. Her dream one day is to open a bakery. This love of baking is something I have tried to nourish throughout the years. But sometimes baking together is a test of my patience. She is seven, but she sure knows everything already. She gets frustrated when I try to show her the proper way to do things or remind her to wipe up the egg she just dropped on the floor. But again, I have to remember that she isn’t going to remember how perfect the cupcakes turned out. She is going to remember Mommy giggling with her when she dropped the egg on the floor. She’s going to remember licking the bowl and all the spoons and spatulas that touched the cake batter. She is going to remember the in-between moments we had.
As a mom who works partly from home, it’s sometimes challenging to complete work tasks, in a timely manner, with the kids home — whether it be emails or phone calls, contracts for clients or preparing for a photo shoot. Trying to balance the mixture of household responsibilities, work responsibilities, and taking care of children is tough. But I have learned that when I’m on the computer writing a blog post and I have a little four year old tugging on my leg wanting my attention, I can choose to be frustrated because he interrupted me…or I can choose to say, “Oh, thank goodness you’re here. I really needed your help writing this post, buddy.” And he can sit on my lap, type in a document for a few minutes, and then run back to his race cars and dinosaurs.
Changing our perspective and choosing to enjoy the process of life is key to cultivating a good life. Whether you are a parent or not married at all, there are in-between moments all the time. Choose joy, choose laughter, choose to let go of perfection. Choose to enjoy the process and really document the good, the bad, and the ugly. Because, essentially, it’s all beautiful. All things work together for good. The spilled flour, the grill that took three hours to put together because your four year old took forever to screw in the screws, the dropped raw eggs all over the floor, the messed up blog post. They are all beautiful because they are all memories that are forming you, that are forming your children. And how awesome to look back and say that you thoroughly enjoyed the big moments in life and all the little in-between moments, as well.
Note from Becky
Oh, Jaime — This message is perfection. It’s a reminder we all need – in various stages of life. Our team absolutely adores Jaime. We were introduced to her by our visual manager, Kara. Jaime is a hair & makeup artist and she and Kara had some previous experience working together on photo shoots. Jaime has styled my hair & makeup a handful of times for video projects and let me tell you, the girl knows her stuff! But what I’ve come to know about her is that her heart is so, so, so good. She is stunning, but her inner beauty is what radiates and you feel that just spending a little bit of time with her. We love when she is around!
Interesting side note: Jaime and her sweet husband were part of our I am Project Life video and that part of the video with them together as bride & groom? That’s legitimately the first time he got to see her in her wedding dress. It was nothing short of magical to be there for that and for us to have that be a part of our video.