Kick Back. Chill Out. Hang Loose. Have Fun.

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As a child, I distinctly remember a black pin that my dad owned, with this saying on it: “Kick Back. Chill Out. Hang Loose. Have Fun.” My dad wore this silly pin all the time and we always laughed at it (and, when we got into our teenage years, rolled our eyes at it). Yet thinking about it now, it was kind of genius.

When you are a kid, most of your time is spent being carefree, having fun, and not worrying about what others think of you. Why is it that as we age, we forget the very things that made our childhoods so magical?

We get so caught up in the errands, meal prep, laundry, grocery shopping, carting kids to various activities, bills, etc. that we fail to pause and soak in the moments of fun with our children and let the little things go. We often forget to be present. I find myself all too often, telling my daughter that I can’t dance with her because I have to wash dishes, or that I can’t snuggle and watch a show because I’m putting away laundry and then have to make dinner. Sure, these things need to be done, but why am I saying no to dancing and cuddling on the couch?

There will be time to do the “chores” but the time that our kids are young is just so fleeting. Could I take a moment, while my baby naps, and spread out on the floor with my three year old to play Candy Land, run up the play structure at the park and zoom down the slide, or leave the pile of papers on my desk and have a pretend tea party instead? Of course I can!

With this new year, I am going to be more conscious of the saying on that pin and think of it as a little less silly and a lot more true and important. When my kids think back on their childhoods, I want them to remember the dance party we had every night after dinner, the bubble baths we took that were long and comforting, the movie nights and relay races. What stands out in their minds should not be that our house was spotless or that we had a five course dinner every night. I want to be goofy and laugh with them, be truly attentive when we are spending time together.

I challenge you to consider doing the same. Forget everything else on your to-do list and make this number one; Kick Back, Chill Out, Hang Loose, Have Fun. Heck, make it into a pin and wear it as a reminder! I promise your heart will feel so full!

P.S. When I recently asked my dad if he still had the pins, he replied that he had them made into cufflinks (pictured above)!

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Janine is a stay at home mom of four, two on earth and twins in Heaven. She grew up in Stratford, CT and now lives in Port Chester, NY. After graduating from culinary school in 2010, she went on to be an executive pastry chef, a cake designer, then a corporate sous chef in NYC. Janine started her journey to becoming a Mom following her 2012 wedding. After struggles with infertility, she and her husband turned to IVF and were blessed with identical twins. Her twin boys grew wings on 6/26/14, after being born severely premature. Overcoming the darkness of infant loss and finding a new normal were very trying. Janine and her husband welcomed a rainbow baby in August of 2015, who’s name means “pure light.” Their daughter brought so much joy and light back into their world. In November of 2017, their second rainbow and miracle, a boy, was born. Janine works very diligently, as a mother of angels, to make sure her boys are always remembered. She is a facilitator for Hope After Loss, a support group in CT for grieving parents, and honors her boys every day in special ways. Janine loves to do yoga, cook for her family (homemade baby food and all), drink wine, and is always up for a cup of coffee. She is also in the beginning phase of co-authoring a baby cookbook with a dear childhood friend, and creates custom cakes and cupcakes for special occasions. Her sweet creations can be seen on her website www.neaniecakes.com.