How goes the battle?
Now that we’re part way through fall and our routines are pretty set…how’s it all working?
Are the mornings moving with relative ease? Is the homework getting done? Teeth getting brushed, piano getting practiced, kids getting to bed ontime? Sometimes? If you’re finding some kinks-in-the-works, like stress and worry every day at a particular time or a pattern of sleeplessness or problems arising due to a lack of ___________ (you fill in the blank), you’re in a good place!
What I mean is that you have been unknowingly collecting data. Now you can see a pattern emerging. You can feel the effects of something being off balance. It’s a great place to be, because now you can get creative and address the things that are grabbing your attention!
And it always takes faith huh? Faith is looking forward and having hope that you will be able to make the best of life’s challenges. Despair is feeling that there is no way out, that things are broken and that there is no cure. In parenting, it is particularly tempting to let despair and discouragement in the door of your mind, because so often you are taxed to your limits physically and emotionally and spiritually, and that can leave you vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed and then depressed and then despondent. Blaaaah.
Side note: I once wrote a goal for myself to master the depressive cycle. (What I meant was to really understand it and to recognize it in myself EARLY before I was in despair and didn’t even know how I had gotten there!) But re-reading my goal made me laugh and I changed it to read, “UN master the depressive cycle.” I already had mastered it. ; )
I’ve been at this parenting game for 26 years. And yes, I’ve lived with myself and worked with many women and this is what my experience tells me:
There is a moment of truth when you see that something isn’t working out like you had planned. You have a choice. A) you can think of all of the women you know who seem to be doing a remarkable job with the issue you feel is a problem for you. Then, you can go on to think of all the unlucky reasons it isn’t working for you and all the magical reasons it is working for so-and-so, the unlucky “comparison point.” (Do YOU ever play the comparing game?) If you’re a true pro, you might even go from comparing yourself on your maybe-not-so-strong-areas to others who have super strengths in every area you feel you are lacking! It’s a trippy, lop-sided game for sure! The comparison game is NOT about real data. It’s about crazy-making-goofy-unrealistic-garbage! Choice A almost always leaves one feeling in the dumps anyway.
So, choice B) then goes like this; something isn’t working so I’m going to think it through and see what is at the root of the problem. Maybe the problem is…. that the kid’s homework isn’t getting done. Questions to ask are things like; has there been a boundary set for when schoolwork is to be done? Is there someone available to help answer questions at that time? Are the kids accountable for doing their school work before other activities are an option? Is there a larger issue that will require a visit with a teacher or problems that might take outside help?
Choice A leads to victimhood, right? Choice B leads to change. Choice A hones your skills of delusion. Choice B helps to clarify things as they really are. Choice A may feel a little better initially, because in the unreasonableness of it, we justify our problems. Choice B may take a little more courage up front, but leads in the end to a feeling of personal power and accomplishment!
Choice B risks the possiblity that WE may be part of the problem, or even the biggest contributing factor! What if that is the case? What do you do now?
You throw a party! Because you’re now in the most powerful place to be….you CAN change things. You can change. We can change. We can learn to set boundaries. We can learn to be firm at the same time we are being kind, gentle and respectful. We can be taught!
So, here’s to you and to the challenges that are uniquely yours; have faith! In yourself, in your loved ones, in the future, in the changes God can help us to make when we are humble and ready to be taught. We will grow physical, emotional and spiritual muscle as we face our problems and humbly get to work.
As a health coach for families, this is the kind of talk that goes on in my office; working out the nitty-gritty-practical issues of making decisions, making plans and taking charge of your health and home. And I love it!
I wish you a terrific, faith-filled day!