Please welcome Sarah Koontz of Grounded & Surrounded. I love playing Candy Land with my kids… but not necessarily living it.
I just love family game night. The laughter, the squealing (I have two daughters, so there is always squealing), and the distraction-free time spent together leave me feeling full and satisfied.
Our favorite game right now is old maid. My 6 year old has a devilish laugh that bubbles out each and every time she is able to rid herself of the old maid. It is quite entertaining for all of us, and my husband and I like the fact that the game is simple and quick.
As a child, I used to adore games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. Didn’t we all? But as an adult, these games can frustrate me to no end. All of that hard work to get ahead, but before you know it you are moving backwards rather than forwards.
Motherhood is a lot like the game of Candy Land.
When you hold your baby for the first time, it is like you are transported to another world. A place where the colors are brighter, the food tastes sweeter, and everything is new and shiny.
You can’t survive in this new world all by yourself, so you reach out to other moms and before you know it you have found community. Red and Blue understand you, and you just know you will be together forever.
Then you start the game. It is a bit scary at first, but before you know it you are sailing through Peppermint Forest. Your friends are still close by and you feel optimistic about the future.
Then the unthinkable happens. Red draws the card that automatically transports her to Lollypop Woods. Red is good at everything, so you shouldn’t be surprised that that she is doing so much better than you in the game of motherhood.
Of course, on your next turn you get stuck on a licorice space and lose one turn. THAT FIGURES!
As you play on, you feel less and less connected to Red and Blue. It is like everyone is playing the game in their own unique way.
Everything comes easily to Red and she has nearly made it to Candy Castle. Blue’s progress has been slow and steady, but she is always moving forward towards the goal.
Your journey, however, has been full of highs and lows. You move forward on one turn only to find yourself unexpectedly transported back to the Gingerbread Tree on the next.
There are moments of pure bliss when you find yourself sailing towards your goals, getting ever closer to the beautiful Princess Frostine. You may never reach the Candy Castle, but you learn to accept the beauty that lies in the journey.
You never know what is around the next bend, but you know that this game has become your life. You can choose to embrace the uncertainty or you can waste your days away comparing yourself to others.
Motherhood differs from the game of Candy Land in this ONE crucial way: Motherhood is not a game to be won, it is not a competition, and there are no winners and losers. Motherhood is a season of life to be embraced, Chocolate Swamp and all!
On those days when you feel as though you are moving backwards, remind yourself of this important fact: Motherhood is not nearly as much about racing to the finish line as it is about becoming a better version of yourself.
The secret to winning the game of motherhood is to stop treating it like a game to be won or lost, and start looking for beauty in the unexpected. Celebrate the small victories, and have grace for yourself in the seasons of defeat.
Stop rushing through it, focusing only on the next big milestone. When you get stuck for a while, take that opportunity to rest and rejuvenate yourself for the next big move forward.
And whatever you do, don’t get stuck with the Old Maid. Oh wait, that’s another story for another time….
Sarah Koontz is a stay-at-home wife & mother of 2 beautiful little girls. She is passionate about writing, and loves sharing her advice and experiences with anyone who will listen. She has a blog with her best friend Sammi at Grounded & Surrounded where they write about all things Healthy! Heart, Home, & Habits. You can find Sarah on Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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