When we’re feeling good, we can usually handle minor bumps in our day without much trouble.
Someone spills a glass of milk and we respond by saying, “Oops, let’s get that cleaned up” instead of yelling, “Why can’t you be more careful!?”
Unfortunately, we don’t often sit back and think, “Wow, I’m having a great day. Let me figure out why.”
But the answer to “why” can actually impact your parenting in a huge way! If you can identify what makes a good day GREAT and a tough day AWFUL, you can work on adding more of the good and getting rid of the not-so-good.
Not sure what I’m talking about?
Let’s start by looking at 10 things that may be impacting your parenting in a negative way
1. Lack of sleep
2. Poor Nutrition/Lack of Exercise
7. Lack of Intimacy
Make Your Own List
Do any of these ring true for you? What would you add?
Everyone’s list will look different. You may be more sensitive to different clothing fabrics, struggling with migraines, or caring for your elderly mother. This list is just the beginning. There are no right or wrong answers, just what’s true for you.
I’m a huge believer in acknowledging things, putting them down on paper or saying them out-loud. I find that putting words to things takes away their power and helps us feel more in control of our circumstances, thoughts or feelings.
Take a few seconds to write your own list. You could make a list of things that impact your parenting negatively or things that help you feel like a super-parent!
What Can You Control?
Now that you’ve acknowledged this list. It’s time to see what you can eliminate (or at least decrease) from your life….and in turn, help you parent the way you want to parent.
Look at each thing on your list and decide if there is something you can control about the situation. For example, if you’re tired during the day, you may want to move the TV out of your bedroom or maybe it’s time to see a doctor to address your sleep concerns.
Take little steps, don’t feel obligated to make huge changes in each area. Sometimes, spending 15 minutes picking up clutter at the end of the day is enough, rather than deciding to completely reorganize your whole house. Decide what’s practical for you.
What Do You Need to Let Go?
Sometimes, there are things beyond our control. Long, cold winters, for example, affect many people. While you can’t change the weather, you may be able to change how you respond to the weather. Maybe you find a cozy, cute sweater to wear. Or, maybe you invest in a special light to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Are there things on your list that you could let go? Can you temporarily give up the dream of having a well-organized home? Can you live with the fact that your income is less than you would like right now, but be thankful that you still have enough to buy food and clothing?
Review Your List Often
Next time you feel angry or frustrated, glance at your list. Is there anything happening in your environment right now that may be contributing towards your feelings or behaviors? Are the kids being especially noisy? Do you have a headache? Did you fight with your spouse this morning?
Take a quick assessment of things you can control and things you cannot control. Maybe you play the “freeze” game with your kids, where everyone has to stop what they are doing and freeze for 10 seconds. Maybe you text a friend or decide that the dishwasher needs to be loaded to help you feel calm.
It’s ok to take care of your needs first. Realizing that you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, then giving yourself time to do something about it will help you be a better parent. Granted, life does not always work on our time schedule, but most of us can take 10 seconds to do some deep breathing.
How about you?
Does your list seem long and daunting? Does it feel impossible to find any way to control or change your circumstances? Most parents can use a helping hand along the way. Parent Coaching is a great resource for parents who want an outside perspective, and someone to walk with them through the challenges of raising children. Please contact me for a free, no obligation phone call to see if Parent Coaching may be a good fit for you!