Do you ever feel like you’re entitled to some sort of prize? I mean in the daily grind, where no prizes are awarded, sometimes I feel the most deserving.
I am potty training my daughter, who just turned three last weekend. Every time she goes to the bathroom, she gets a cute decal to hang on on the wall above her bed. It’s a (somewhat) effective system that tangibly rewards her efforts and progress. And it’s immediate.
This week has demanded more from me than most. With the birthday festivities, Easter and potty training, it’s not surprising. I am at a point where I would love for someone to say, “good job” and hand me a cute and colorful decal for me to hang on the wall.
I want something to show for my efforts.
Do you ever feel that way?
And life isn’t exactly designed that way. On occasion, its a nice little exchange: action = reward
But most often is more like: action… more action… wondering… more action… uncertainty… where is the reward… will there be a reward… does what I am doing even matter?
Now, I absolutely believe that what I am doing (and what you’re doing) matters a whole lot. Regardless of what the day to day looks like (potty training, working 9-5, pouring drinks, studying for exams, doing time, etc), our actions impact ourselves and people around us, and therefore matter. A lot.
But, sometimes the reward/payoff/outcome isn’t immediate. And we are left wondering.
What we need is a reminder, something to show for our efforts. We need a decal to hang on the wall. Even if we haven’t completed the project or made it to the final destination, it’s helpful to be rewarded for our hard work along the way.
The trouble is, assuming we’re all adults here, nobody is tossing us decals throughout the day. And we’re fools to expect anyone to. We’re even bigger fools to resent people close to us for not doing so. That’s a whole other topic, I guess. Bottom line, we need to reward ourselves.
In the midst of potty training and toddler rearing this week, I gave it my all. I was encouraging, intentional, attentive, and always on my toes. So, each day I rewarded myself.
Monday – I lined up a babysitter for Tuesday morning so I could go to Ekam Yoga with a BFF.
Tuesday – Once the Bodenettes were in bed, I zoned out to a few episodes of The Mindy Project… I laughed so hard that Isaac came downstairs claiming he heard a dog crying.
Wednesday – At 8pm Mindy and I were hanging again, but this time with a glass of cold white wine.
Thursday – At 5pm, the Bodenettes got to watch Frozen while I sipped on a glass of wine and made dinner without toddlers nipping at my heals (or sitting on the counter).
And finally, Friday – Nothing says, “TGIF” like an iced cold cerveza.
Did you notice the pattern of TV and booze? Two things that are, in my opinion, best enjoyed in moderation. But, given that my parent-in-crime had a long work week and wasn’t around to give me much of a break, it was the best I could do. And those little indulgences meant a great deal to me. (P.S. does everyone else think Mindy is the best ever, or is it just me?)
Given the right circumstances (and enough munneh munneh munneh) I may consider trading Mindy for: a meal at a great restaurant, a new pair of shoes/jeans/dress/workout wear, a class at a new studio, pedicure, massage, trip to Tahiti. You know, the good stuff.
Rewards will look different for all of us. For me, food is not a suitable reward – the lines get blurred when I start looking to food to relax/indulge/reward instead of to fuel and sustain my body. But, you may be different. The point is that we acknowledge our efforts and pat ourselves on the back now and again.
How do you reward yourself? And do you love Mindy?