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Hitting the pause button

in Life Lessons, Parenting, Random Musings

Life has gotten busy lately. Between homework, school programs, seasonal activities, my husband’s work, family obligations, and my writing… I have been just a touch overwhelmed. Rather than griping and moaning about how another Christmas passed me by, I decided to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Photo by emitea on

I hit the pause button.

I have paused a lot of things lately. I have paused my self-imposed writing deadlines. I have paused my research into dyslexia. I have paused my relationships with my needier friends. I have basically paused the stress.

And in pausing the stress, I have found myself with more smiles, hugs, and encouragement to give the people I love most in life. Rather than checking my email while half-listening to my kids talk about their life’s drama, I am sipping on a cup of homemade pumpkin spice latte and making eye contact. I’m not just hearing their complaints, I’m listening.

This pause has taught me several lessons:

1. It is ok to say no. The school’s holiday store is perfectly functional without me. The teachers will still have their holiday spread, the HOA will still have its contest,  the world will keep spinning, and the house will remain standing even I take a break. While this could be depressing to some, I find it freeing to remember that I don’t always have to be in charge or have my hands in middle of the dough for the cookies of life to be baked. Perhaps the cookies won’t taste quite the same or have the same shape as when I make them, but they will still bake…with or without me. That’s a good thing.

2. It is ok to say yes. Today I said yes to a new book. It has been a very long time since I sat down and read a book that had nothing to do with Learning Differences, raising boys, personal finance, or writing. Today I said yes to a purely fun read. A few days ago, I completed a puzzle. I have baked cookies, done crafts, and had a dance party with my kids. We made gingerbread houses as a family. It is amazing how much meaning there is to seemingly meaningless things when we pause life and enjoy them.

3. My family deserves me taking a break. Yesterday is the first day that I realized that my kids see me hitting pause. Rather than coming home complaining about homework and the kids that picked on them at school, the first question my daughter asked was, “what fun thing are we doing today?” It made me smile.

4. I deserve me taking a break. I deserve a stress-free time too. I deserve to have a day in my pajamas, coffee mug in hand, “wasting” time on something as silly as making reindeer out of a candy cane. I deserve to laugh and to smile. I deserve to spend time with friends, write a blog post that may never be read, or just to sit on the back porch and enjoy the colder weather. This pause is healthy for me mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am reconnecting with myself.

5. I have a pretty awesome family. This Christmas, I am vowing to enjoy them.

I wonder how much more we would appreciate the holiday if we all used the pause button for the stresses in life. Christmas only comes once a year… why not enjoy it? Why not worry less about what is going under the tree and think more about the life going on around it?

If you plan to hit the pause button in your own life, do me a favor and click “like” below. That will share this post with your Facebook friends and family. I’m curious to see how contagious vowing to pause can become.

debbie ellis December 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Very good advice! I always enjoy reading your posts!

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