A Mindset Shift for Moms: I Don’t Have To; I Get To

To my lovingly honest friend,

Friends build you up and make you feel better about yourself. Good friends point out ways you can be a better version of you. Awesome friends knock you down with a reality check when you need it.

Thank you for being an awesome friend.

I wonder if you realize how much I needed to hear the words you spoke over coffee that day. I wonder if you even remember the conversation.

We were just catching up on lives; it had been so long since I last saw you. Of course, our stories migrated to us talking about how busy we were – with all the kid stuff. You know, athletic games, athletic practices, school events, homework help, doctor’s appointments, church stuff…all on top of our full-time jobs.

And you listened to me.

Your life mirrored mine, – just as busy – but your attitude toward it has been a game-changer since this day. You told me that you, too, felt overwhelmed by all the mom-responsibilities you had and that you had begun to feel a little frustrated with how little time you had in life for quiet moments for you. At the same time, you knew your children were a blessing and that you needed to be grateful for this season of life.

And so you took on a new mantra: Getting to do something vs. having to do something.

Seriously. A game-changer.

Changing “I have to” to “I get to” reminds me that this is my season of life. Each moment of each day is as it is. I can either drudge through each day with a list of required duties, or I can approach each day as a gift knowing that I am blessed to live the life I’ve been given.

I have to sit up with a sick child through the night. As much as I love my sleep, it warms my heart that having me around to pat a back or to rub a belly gives my Little One some reassurance that he will be better soon.

I get to sit up with a sick child through the night and show him that Mama will be there when he needs me. Always.

I have to go to parent conferences today. It is nice to hear good things about your child when they are away from your watchful eye, but it is also necessary to hear areas that need improvement so that skills can be practiced at home to help your child be more successful at school. 

I get to go to parent conferences today so that I can help my child develop into the best student he can be.

I have to go to a chorus concert tonight. Our children have gifts and talents that may not match our own. Teaching our kids to be proud of their abilities and cheering them on (whether it be at a concert, an athletic competition, or a scholastic event) is a way to demonstrate that Mama values what they love to do.

I get to go to a chorus concert tonight to watch my child perform after all the hours spent practicing to prepare for this event.

I have to go to Target to buy poster board for a project that is due tomorrow. Assigned over a week ago, Big One decided today – the night before it’s due – that this visual aid would be most effective if it were on a poster board. Off to Target I trek, while Big One stays home to continue creating the pieces that will be adhered to said poster board.

I get to go to Target to buy poster board for a project that is due tomorrow and my Big One is learning that when you get a great idea, Mama supports it as best she can.

This paradigm shift is a conscious effort. There are days when I say “I get to” but my heart still feels “I have to.” And you know what? That’s OK because the days of required drudgery are decreasing in number, which means I am learning how to approach each day with a more grateful heart.

Dear friend, thanks for being a friend who knows I am doing my best, but also knows I can do better. Thank you for sharing your perspective and helping me better love the life I life.

I can’t wait until I get to have coffee with you again soon.



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Maricar (pronounced “Merrah Car”) is moved to Wichita in July 2014 from Virginia Beach. She married her college sweetheart, Chris, in 1996. Together, they have four kids: Will, Addison, Bekah, and Victor. Maricar and Chris are originally from Augusta, Georgia (the “Home of the Masters”, for any avid golfers out there) and have moved quite a bit while Chris completed residency/fellowship (and an eight year US Navy commitment). Here in Wichita, they are now planting some roots. Maricar is a chemistry teacher at Wichita Collegiate, who spends a lot of time cheering for her Spartans at sporting events. She enjoys a good inspirational book, a freshly brewed cup of coffee, scrapbooking, and dinner date nights. Eating out and going to movies tops the list of things the Harris family likes to do. Having a newborn at 42 has been life changing, but she recognizes the greatness of this blessing and is looking forward to this chapter of life.