Why Don’t You…..

posted in: Life 66 comments
Image via graur codrin on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image via graur codrin on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stop. Stop for a few minutes every few hours to just be. Breathe. Think. Sit. Stand. Look in the distance. Experience some quiet, inside and out. Close your eyes. Let your brain rest. Looking after yourself in small ways, pay off in the long run. I do this every day, in the midst of parenting two young children, working from home, doing household chores, and running around. If I didn’t, I’d be a heap on the floor by noon.

Start. Try something new. It could be a small thing, like a new recipe for dinner. Or a big thing like hang gliding. Life is too short to be scared. I toyed with the idea of starting my own business for over 10 years. What stopped me was the fear of failure. I failed before I even tried. In 2012, I took a leap of faith in myself, and have since learned so much from working for myself. It’s been nothing short of wonderful.

Cry. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of being human. It’s a natural self-expression for so many emotions – grief, relief, joy, worry, fear. Give in to your natural body responses. Ugly cry. Let it out. Yes, I do cry, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Forgive. This is a tough one for many of us, especially when we have been through big, traumatic, life-changing experiences. Forgiving is a slow process. Give yourself time and space to get there. But try. Forgiving is not forgetting. Letting go does not make you weak. It’s courageous. This one was a hard one for me. I held a grudge against my mother for many years, because I felt unloved. Allowing myself to forgive her, and myself, has lifted so much off my heart, and given me the space to bridge that gap between my mother and I. 

Smile. Easiest thing to do in the world, but we don’t seem to do it enough. Don’t save your smiles. Give it freely. Smile at your spouse, your children, your neighbours, your friends, your barista, your waitress/ waiter, the bank clerk, the grocery store clerk, the guy sweeping the sidewalk. Smiles are bursts of sunshine and they are free. When I was younger, people would say to me, smile more, who are you saving it for? I had no answer.

Be kind. Be kind to yourself. Don’t look in the mirror and start self-criticizing. Look at your beautiful eyes, your strong hands, your capable legs. You’re good, you’re strong, you’re amazing, you’re love. Be kind to your husband/ wife, ask them how their day is. Be kind to your children, don’t forget, they’re just kids. Be kind to your friends online. Don’t start fights, don’t name call. Disagree? Step away from the computer, and remind yourself that there are more important things than that. Now, I am not perfect at this. Some days, I’m not even a smidgen good at this. The important thing is, I know that. I know when I’ve been unkind, and I try again. 

Be spontaneous. A friend stopped by with a surprise birthday cake for me a few weeks ago, just after my kids went to bed. I couldn’t blow out candles or eat cake without my boys, so we woke them up. Best 20 minutes ever. Did we break some ‘cardinal parenting rules’? Probably. Did we care? No. It was worth seeing their smiles and their eyes lit up (yes, my boys love cake as much as I do). Go out for ice cream on a school night. Say yes to a last-minute dinner date with a friend. Buy yourself flowers just because you walked past the florist and something caught your eye. Dance in the rain and splash in the puddles. Take an unplanned trip to the park with the kids because the sun is shining. Live life. 

 What would you add to the list?


Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • September 2, 2014 Robin

    Love being spontaneous. Some of our best times have happened that way.
    Robin recently wrote…Science for Kids: Groovy Lab in a BoxMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I think of spontaneity as the Universe’s way of giving us those moments we need, when we need them.

  • September 2, 2014 Lindsey

    Great list. I may add laugh. Sometimes the dumbest stuff makes me laugh – a ridiculous riddle from my kids or an snl skit my husband and I watch on his iPad. It’s always such a great feeling, a belly laugh.

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Laughing is SO good for the soul. Yes, laugh, and abundantly so.

  • September 2, 2014 Christine

    Oh I love this post Alison. I’ve been thinking along similar lines over our vacation. I need to do all of this more. I would add laugh too. It goes along with smiling but it’s that good belly laugh that we all need more of.
    Christine recently wrote…High Five Friday: Still in MaineMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      How could I forget laugh? Laughing cures many things, if not all things.

  • September 2, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Right now, I would say crying would be on the top of my list, as I am truly down In the dumps that summer is pretty much over and on top of that Emma starts kindergarten on Wednesday now. Still can’t believe it and have been walking around with a lump in my throat for the last few weeks that has grown over the last few days knowing that kindergarten is indeed almost here now for her.
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…Worst Mom for Kindergarten OrientationMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I hope you did cry, let it all out. It truly is freeing and cleansing. And gosh, kindergarten. Such a big, big thing.

  • September 2, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    Love this list, Alison. Crying and forgiveness are often the hardest places to embrace vulnerability. I would add listen. I’ve had my most memorable breakthroughs by either listening to myself or others.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…Barely Peeking, But Still ThereMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Listen! Yes, that is a good one, thank you Rudri.

  • September 2, 2014 Chris Carter

    Love this Alison! Perfect to start the week off…

    Thank you for these wonderful reminders. XOXO
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Dear Teacherโ€ฆMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for reading, Chris. xo

  • September 2, 2014 Jennie Goutet

    I really needed to read this this morning. And you are the perfect person to give this advice because I know you – and you actually live it out.
    Jennie Goutet recently wrote…The Original Quiche RecipeMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so very much, Jennie. xo

  • September 2, 2014 Maureen

    Love this Alison! We all need to do more of these. I need to be more spontaneous too lol. I’d add grateful…it has been key for me lately.
    Maureen recently wrote…A Future Bride StoryMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Practicing gratitude is indeed a good and wonderful thing!

  • September 2, 2014 Allie

    What a great list Alison, very wise advice. I don’t know what to add, perhaps – take a walk? Clear you head and get some fresh air:).
    Allie recently wrote…Guest Post: Passings & CrossingsMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Taking a walk and getting some air is always a great thing to do!

  • September 2, 2014 Kerstin

    I can’t really add anything to this list – it’s perfect. However, I imagine you hang gliding now ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Love this, Alison!
    Kerstin recently wrote…Experience2014 – August Round-UpMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I have a fear of heights! But perhaps that is the very reason I should try hang gliding. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 2, 2014 Gina Jacobs Thomas

    LAUGH. And often. I guess this goes along with smiling, but often, I’m so wrapped up in whatever busy-ness my day has going for me, that I don’t give myself time to find something humorous – whether it’s enjoying a sitcom fully (without also responding to emails) or scouring the internet for silly stuff. Heck, even giving myself permission to laugh at the bizarreness of a spill, rather than being angry at having to clean it up. Laughing is one of my favorite things to experience, and I really need to make it a priority.
    Gina Jacobs Thomas recently wrote…Kids and Car CrashesMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Laughing is a good one, how could I have forgotten that? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 2, 2014 Tricia

    This is beautiful! Tears are forming I love this so much. Thank you for these beautiful reminders, Alison. I needed them today.
    Tricia recently wrote…Summer lessonsMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Aw, thank you Tricia, I’m glad this list helped you when you needed it. xo

  • September 2, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    Scream – sometimes I get so angry I just want to scream; and I do. Into a pillow – it helps. Then I feel relaxed. Naps help too ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes I have an overabundance of thoughts and I need to filter it out, naps help. Hope you’re doing well Alison! Take care -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Happy Blirthday (Blog Birthday) To MeEeEe!My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Screaming. Napping. Yes. Essential things for a mother to do in tough times. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 2, 2014 Kir

    I honestly wish I was as brave as you are. You inspire me every single day.

    I need to find my smile, my spontaneous, my deep heart again.

    (thank you for all these beautiful reminders)

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Oh I don’t know about being brave. I just do what I have to every day to get through unscathed. Love you.

  • September 2, 2014 anna whiston-donaldson

    So true! I love this list. It inspires me.
    anna whiston-donaldson recently wrote…Goings-on, Musings, and How to Help Launch Rare BirdMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Anna! xo

  • September 2, 2014 Kari

    I get so caught up in my life that sometimes I forget to do everything you listed.
    Thank you for the reminder.
    Kari recently wrote…Individual Seven Layer Salads. So If I Make Four, That’s Like One Big 28 Layer Salad. That Is How It Works.My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      It’s a reminder to myself too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 3, 2014 Charlotte

    Everything about this list ๐Ÿ™‚ Beautiful. And I love that you didn’t let your fear of failing stand in your way of pursuing your career dreams–I had the same trepidations before I got started. I’ve found that facing the things that frighten us the most has proven to be the most satisfying experience ever.

    Thanks for the reminder to dance in the rain and splash in the puddles. Love. XOXO
    Charlotte recently wrote…Book review: My Other ExMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I’m so proud of you and your new venture, Charlotte!

  • I love this, Alison! I can’t think of anything else. You’ve covered all the good stuff. I especially like the spontaneity.
    lisa thomson-The Great Escape… recently wrote…So, How Was Your Summer Really?My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Lisa!

  • September 3, 2014 alexandra

    Forgiveness. This is hard for me, especially when there is no remorse or care on the other person’s part. I know, I know. Be the bigger person. But I’m being honest, forgiveness is hard.

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I know, it is. Forgiveness IS hard. It takes time, and it takes heart.

  • September 3, 2014 another jennifer

    Love this, Alison. I try to practice everything on this list on a regular basis. That top quote really says it all.

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad that you do, Jennifer!

  • September 3, 2014 Laura

    I love this so very much! I have been noticing that I’ve been smiling less and that needs to change. I used to be proud of my continuous smile! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Laura recently wrote…Letter to a HairdresserMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      You have a beautiful smile, Laura, everyone needs to see it more often. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 3, 2014 Tamara

    I do cry.. more lately. Aside from a headache I can get if I haven’t had enough water, I never feel worse after it. Never.
    I want to be still more. Every day. It’s so hard to do it. I just tried it. And Des jumped on my stomach. Scarlet told me she had to poop.
    I’m only temporarily discouraged. I’ll try again.
    Tamara recently wrote…Let It Go.My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Yes, do try again. I don’t manage all of these things daily. Some days, not even one. But we can try again. And again.

  • September 3, 2014 Ann

    Do something unexpected for someone else–along the lines of a random act of kindness. I try to do that often–letting people in front of me in lines or on the freeway, holding a door open, picking up something that got dropped.
    Ann recently wrote…Fresh Brothers Pizza arrives in Newport BeachMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Yes, kind acts are beautiful, and the feeling of goodness goes both ways – to the giver and the recipient.

  • September 3, 2014 Jennifer

    Oh gosh. This is just lovely.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Hallmark Poster Cards for KidsMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Jennifer.

  • September 3, 2014 Lisa

    Great list! I would add: Love. Love completely and fully without fear of loss or hurt or regret.
    Lisa recently wrote…10 Parenting Skills I would Like To Learn {#TuesdayTen Linkup}My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Yes! Love. Love always and forever.

  • September 3, 2014 My Inner Chick

    Such wisdom!
    Such amazingness.
    Beautiful words.
    btw, you are well loved, Alison Lee.
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…A Letter To Her MurdererMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I am, Kim! I am so blessed.
      As are you. xo

  • September 3, 2014 Jen

    Love, would be on my list.

    Thanks for this great reminder to do just that and the other wonderful things you suggested!

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Thank you very much, Jen!

  • September 3, 2014 Allison B

    Yes to being spontaneous! Some of my favorite moments were when we just up and did something. Once my husband and I drove to DisneyLand on a whim. We got in the car at 7pm and we arrived at 11. We went the next day and it was so much fun.
    I would add roll with the punches. When things don’t go as planned don’t dwell on them and gripe about it. Roll with the punches and find a new plan.
    Allison B recently wrote…Twin Separation AnxietyMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Ooh, that is a good one. Definitely roll with the punches. Because some days, that’s all you can do, yes?

  • September 4, 2014 Elaine A.

    I would add Laugh and Don’t Fret. Sometimes we find ourselves fretting over the smallest, silliest things, you know? Okay, at least I find MYSELF doing that! ha!

    Love this post…

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Laugh, yes, definitely! Ah, fretting. The worrying over the small things. Yes, I do that too. Sometimes, we just need to let it go, yes?

  • Great advice!
    I would dare to add: if the opportunity for a nap presents itself and you need it, take the damn nap.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…My blog is growing up!! Can you believe it has been three years already!My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Hah! Yes. My husband is a big believer of that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 5, 2014 Leigh Ann

    Spontaneity is one of my biggest challenges. I would add “be silly.” We could all use a little silly now and then.
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…kids are so unreliableMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      I love silly. We could definitely do with more of that around here too.

  • September 8, 2014 Keely

    I so needed to read this today. God bless bloggy backlogs, right?
    Keely recently wrote…Crazy Easy Chalkboard Frame Gallery, AKA How To Make Your Spouse Cry.My Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, indeedy. Glad to be of some service. xo

  • September 9, 2014 Kimberly

    Ask for help or offer help ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kimberly recently wrote…The Evergreen TreeMy Profile

    • September 10, 2014 Alison

      YES! I used to be bad at accepting help. Not anymore. No sirree.

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