“Echo? Play Frozen.”
Perhaps the most common request in my household is the one to yet again bring the movie soundtrack echoing through our kitchen. And each time, no matter how recently we may have listened, my daughter’s face lights up.
At eighteen months, we can recognize the characters by both physical appearance and the sound of their voice. We recognize those first chilling (ha, get it?) notes of the album. And, of course, we have perfected the ability to twist our hands just right to show off our own magical abilities.
We’ve even stolen a pair of mom’s gloves to rip off as the notes build and our favorite character’s confidence grows.
Don’t get me wrong, as far as obsessions go; this one is pretty adorable. I can’t get enough of Olaf’s sweet grin and that totally inspiring outfit change. As a card-carrying member of the Hot Mess Mom Club (a complete “Britney,” as Erin so perfectly sums up here), I can respect something as totally killer as Elsa’s transformation (Is it even possible to get real hair to behave like that?? Asking for a friend, does 75% of your hair being dry shampoo pose a problem?)
But beyond the glimmer of ice castles, the flash of a sparkly dress, and those beautiful lyrics are the true reasons why I don’t mind spending my life in the Frozen equivalent of Groundhog Day. And I can sum it up in three little lessons:
Frozen reminds me that the words I choose as a parent are precious.
I have a love-hate relationship with Agnarr and Iduna. My husband can attest that the start of the movie leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Her father worsens Elsa’s fear, and there are few moments of reassurance. And while a cartoon may not be the best guide for parenting, there’s a powerful lesson here: As my daughter grows and learns and makes mistakes, my response to her matters. And as much as I want to protect her from feeling hurt or scared, it is also my job to build up her confidence in herself. Praise, love, and comfort must be part of our love language because the way I respond to her in those moments will impact how she feels about herself.
Embrace who you are, even through the fear.
I went to school to be a teacher.
Now, I work in a bakery.
It makes sense, right?
I liked teaching, but the stress that came along with the job was too much. And a series of coincidences, chances, and unexpected turns landed me in a job nothing like what I anticipated. And you know what? It’s perfect.
I get to nurture and develop a new skill and have found a creative outlet that brings me joy while letting me grow closer than ever to my mother.
It was terrifying – and radically different – but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Alright, this one’s obvious for any Frozen fan. Let it go!
Let. It. Go.
If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t control everything. It is an incredibly tough lesson and one which I’m still struggling to learn even as my daughter climbs on kitchen stools and tries to play in the toilet. Let go of the need for control (at least sometimes) and embrace the things that break you out of your mold.
I am not the picture-perfect sitcom Mom I always envisioned I would be. I am the Hot Mess Mom that picks my kid up from daycare with icing in my hair and flour on my pants. I’m the mom that still doesn’t fit back into pre-baby clothes and is trying her hardest to be okay with that. I’m the mom with a Pinterest board dedicated to mind-growing toddler activities, sensory boxes, and screen-free weekend plans who has done exactly zero of those activities so far.
I am a mom who struggles. And slowly, I am learning that it is okay.
There are plenty of lessons to be learned in the hour and forty-nine-minute runtime of Frozen. Or there’s a nice nap to be had if your child will let you (yeah, right).
But my final takeaway?
Be the snowman who loves summer.
Be wholly and unapologetically you.
Recognize the gift you are and the gifts you have.
And yes…if the mood strikes you, sing about it. (We’ll be in the car next to you driving to daycare with Let It Go on repeat!)
Thank you, Elsa, Olaf, and the rest of your Frozen crew, for teaching me these lessons so that I might pass them on to the tiny, rambunctious love of my life.