The Family Mission Statement

The concept of creating a Family Mission Statement was something I learned about recently at a training.  It came back to me last night in a particularly rough parenting moment where all my patience was lost.  My husband, my rock, gave me a hug in our dark hallway while our eldest child continued to scream.   His actions were enough to give me some resolve.

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When re-entering the room,  I was direct with our child and she reached a state of calm.  While she then proceeded to read to us, my mind flashed back to that training a few weeks back.  The instructor’s demeanor and outlook on life were admirable.   And she noted one very important thing that aided in a positive turning point in her life; the creation of the family mission statement.  I had never thought of doing that with my family.  I find now a simple google search on the idea will provide you with many ideas on how to create one and show you different examples.

In the class I attended, our instructor was very open about how it helped strengthen a bond in her own family that needed repair.  As I laid in my daughter’s bed last night, I knew the points I wanted to bring to our family meeting when creating this statement.  A vow to not cause each other stress.  And with a positive twist, to encourage joy, love,  being yourself, and appreciating each other.  And throw in there… forgiving and accepting, as that’s always needed!

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So it’s a new day and I’m next to a bouquet of roses my husband sent me.  They were timely, and the note simply stated he wanted them to put a smile on my face.  Mission accomplished 😘.  As I sit here admiring them I can’t help but notice the wonderful thing about them is not only their different vibrant colors… but also their similarities.  Each rose while unique shares some characteristics; a lot like family.

The yellow rose: joy

The red rose: love

The white rose: new starts

The pink rose: gratitude

These roses and their meaning could be our family mission statement with no words needing to be said, and perhaps they will be if my family feels the same.

Because alone they are beautiful; but together they are glorious.   Embrace togetherness.  Embrace the love.  Embrace family.

Happy Mother’s Day ❤️

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Demons Demons Everywhere 

We all have them, in our complaining episodes, during gossipy moments, when frustration or cattiness takes over.  The worst demon I have is my ability to yell and run my mouth off, in particular with my daughter.  She has the ability to push every button and laugh while doing it.  Surely it’s amusing to a little girl to see an adult woman turn into a lunatic in front of her innocent eyes 👀, but not so amusing for me.

And sometimes later when the fight has calmed and I see myself I think, what happened to you? Where did your calm go dealing with a child?   This is when the inner judge-y demon rears its ugly head.  The one that makes you feel lower than low.  The one who allows every other bad thought about anything to invade your present moment and make it ten times worse.  The demon that makes you feel isolated and uniquely horrible.  And all you come up with at that moment is another judgment… how could I possibly have lost my cool like that?

What’s amazes me is that I don’t flip out with people I don’t know like that.  People who are flat out rude and disrespectful… and all of sudden, I’ve lost my voice.  And then where does that feeling go? The one of embarrassment, hurt, loss of pride… it feeds that damn Demon again!  So who gets the brunt of it…my most precious little loves ❤ <3.  They can stir up every emotion, and when their actions are not what I was hoping for or needed at the moment of weakness, watch out! The Demon is released!    So how exactly can such little beings evoke so much feeling out a grown adult?

My (at the moment) calm and rational self, thinks it has to be due to all this pent up negativity.  Not caused so much by others, but by my own outlook.   What if I were to change my lens?  Would I be able to squash those mean demons and prevent them from gaining any more power? Would I be able to remove them forever… or at the very least diminish their power of my own well-being?

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Lucky for me, I have attended multiple training and speaking engagements lately.  All of them touched upon or even centered on goals.  So, that’s led me to set a goal to be more patient with my children.  So, I have to smarten this goal up!  Let’s start with the Specifics:

S – Staying calm with my kids (even after a long day at work, even after a dispute, even after traffic, even with little sleep… and so on… phew)

Onto Measure! Well, this one is on me – keeping myself honest.   I think to start with counting the times a day I raise my voice and lowering it will be my easiest way to measure.  Perhaps using a visual measure on my phone or in my home will aid me in my quest to reach this intangible goal.  (more on what I used later!)

M – number of times I yell reduced from (yikes) 10 / day and reduce to  0 / day

Ok… action is next.  Well, this is where is can get crazy, so let’s keep it real.  I think I will take two to start:

A – Wake up grateful for the day and pursue a calm approach by: 1- not touching my phone first thing and 2- taking 5 minutes to meditate/ stretch and concentrate on 3 happy thoughts.

Realistic? If I can’t find 5 minutes in the morning, I’m kidding myself. Relevant?

R – So yes… suck it up and don’t hit snooze again! Ummm … if you don’t change your ways you’ll get more upset and unhappy… so yes again, your well-being will thank you.

Lastly… timebound. Here goes.. do you think I can stop yelling in a month?

T- Start 5/6/17, Finish – adopt new behavior by 6/6/17

This post (along with my mentor who pushed me to post it!) will keep me accountable.  Thanks for reading 🙂

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Don’t Miss the Magic

As we have all heard and those who live it, parenting is hard.  There are days when you lose your mind and days when you lack sleep and feel half alive (like today).   It’s so easy to harp on the negative, to think about all the things not done… the forever accumulating to do list. The challenges, the exhaustion, the LAUNDRY… ugh.

The key to achieving a more calm state, one I need constant reminding of, is to accept and on top of that… ENJOY.  There is magic to this time, to every age of a child, to every experience in family.  I find myself sometimes rushing the years ahead in my mind… oh I can’t wait until Little Man doesn’t need to get picked up constantly when I’m trying to make dinner, or Little Lady doesn’t need help with homework or endless answers to the constant chatter.   Moments later I think… there will be a day when they don’t need or want me like they do now.  I get glimpses when my daughter is sassy pants and wants to be left alone….   When you think about your own adult self and the independence you have now, it’s crazy to think you ever NEEDED anyone to survive… right?  But we did, we all needed someone.  If we were lucky enough, we had parents that loved and supported us… even amidst yelling and  stress and jobs and LIFE.. they were there.

So I strive for this and to not MISS the magic happening right now.  The sweet way my daughter still believes in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa…and adamantly defends them to the older kids at after care that tell her they are fake.  She loves the magic still, the princesses and everything that entails… she’s so innocent and sweet… and even when I was yelling my head off today, she patted my arm and said “It’s OK Mama” with her big blue eyes shining up at me.  I really hope she never loses that, that inclination to lean towards compassion instead of anger.   I pray she passes it onto her little brother who adores her and smiles every time she is near.  The magic between the two of them is already palpable.

So many moments can just pass us by if we don’t take notice to them.. if we don’t allow ourselves to feel them.  Not all of them will be rosy or end well.   I think that’s OK too, life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s real and amazing and getting hung up on the small stuff is just not worth it.

Take your moment today and flip it around… be appreciative of the hug at the end of the fight, the compassion you extended or that was extended to you… take the good feeling away, don’t hold onto the hurtful one… smile.  Take the approach to the day in which you live, laugh, and love.   I promise I’ll do the same… the world could use it.

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Puzzles

Have you ever faced a challenge that you couldn’t get to the root cause of, no matter how hard tried?  This almost sounds like a foreign concept to me based on my career of choice, which incorporates searching and unveiling hidden causes of stress and waste.  And though I am a strong believer in the “data doesn’t lie” statement that supports that data can tell the story of an issue, I realize that the data alone does not show the complete picture.  Nowadays I see there is another way of looking at things, an emotional, not quantifiable, way of learning the stories.  The anecdotal hints or reasons. These are equally important and should not be ignored.

So, when you are faced with a puzzle or challenge that is not easily solvable, what do you do?  And taking into account that your particular puzzle may be part of something or even of someone you hold dear, where do you go from there?

When it’s really scary and close to the heart, do you run and hide and hope it works itself out?  Or do you go after it head on and push fear aside? In my experience, I have done both.  In facing the challenge head on, there can be a lot of disrupt, lack of comfort, and all around uneasiness.  Who likes that?  So, maybe I have taken to hiding and hope it all works itself out.  Does it usually?  Truthfully no.  I have changed my ways in recent years and realized that most puzzles need to be faced head on and are worth the frustration.   What’s thrilling is when you can solve it and have that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!  On the flip side… when it’s an emotional puzzle, for instance,when the puzzle is a person you care deeply about, and you’re using your empathetic muscle to the MAX and feel like you are continually hitting a wall…OUCH !  The resulting overwhelming feeling of failure can feel like a sucker punch.

In my case, my recent puzzles of question are my kids.  My son who is still an infant took quite a while to figure out in regards to eating and sleeping… and I might note I’m watching him roll around in his crib as I type, even though last night and the night before he didn’t move an inch at this time.  Oh well, I will take the glass half full approach tonight and look forward to the snuggles ♥… I was not mentally able to do that months ago, luckily my brain gave up on fighting that battle and learned to accept what is right now.

As for my daughter, she’s tougher in so many ways.  You would think it gets easier as they get older, rationally they are now able to verbalize what they’re thinking and feeling.  Right?  Nada.  She just turned 7 and for the past several months she has been struggling at school.   It didn’t make any sense to me when she would seem to know her stuff at home and then fail when tested at school.  We’re still working out what’s going on there.

And her behavior has been all over the place at home, yet she remains an angel for her teachers.  I won’t even pretend to have her figured out on this front, but luckily, as in every complex puzzle, I think I am starting to find a few of the key pieces.  For one, when she flips out at home, I FINALLY got her to confide in me that she’s not getting along with a couple of friends from class.  Of course it breaks my heart to hear how she got her feelings hurt when one of her buddies was dismissive at recess.  In her world, that’s devastating to her and she really falls apart inside.   What’s so interesting is that she doesn’t let any of that out at school and promptly takes it out on me, Mama, within minutes of being picked up at the end of school day.

Now I know I am not alone on this one, but it sucks!  To have someone you love more that anything else in this world continually take out all their frustrations on you is rough; however, I gotta tell you… I see glimmers of hope.  I see the edges of the puzzle forming and now figuring out the middle will take some time and with any luck I’ll be able to figure out where most of the pieces fit and it will be worth every second.  I know I’ll never have every piece of this puzzle, I don’t think we really know anyone 100%… but I have faith that as long as she knows I’m trying to understand how she fits together, she’ll know she’s not alone and Mama will always be here, just hopefully not as the punching bag.

Until next time…good luck solving all of your life puzzles!

Photo credit: GT

 

 

 

 

The Best Perspective

Do you remember back to when you were a kid and what life was like?  How you viewed the world? Getting to relive that time is one of the things I love most about kids, their perspective on life. They’re so curious to see the world, to touch and feel and see and smell all kinds of things. They get excited for the ordinary stuff that as an adult I realize I take for granted. Like a new notebook or an eraser, who remembers being so overjoyed at receiving an eraser?!

Beyond their general excitement and curiosity, their resilience is amazing. They can have a whopper of a fight and five minutes later they are hugging you and apologizing, and believe giving you a kiss will make it all better. They can be hurt or excluded by one friend and find happiness with another one.  When did we lose that ability?  When did the answer change from a simple apology and a kiss, to a grudge?

We walk around mad or aggravated at people often. Or I should say, at least I do. I try my best at those times to channel some positive feelings, but it definitely is a struggle.  A decent amount of adult life seems to be dedicated to working through complex emotions, trying not to take things so personally, and realizing there’s a lot more to life.

To continue on this path for my own mental health, I recently started a challenge that I read about in Forbes.  The goal is to write down 3 positive things per day for 45 days. Lucky for me a few of my buddies are joining in. Today is day 1, and as my family and I are sitting in a ton of traffic on the way to Philly, I gotta admit that my mind is resisting.  Rather than complain I thought, OK, some now that I have some down time, work on a blog post!  My little man is just content as can be taking in the world through the window, and my little lady has been happily playing with the same toy and watching a movie.  No one is screaming, we actually remembered to pack snacks (Yay us!), and the world could be a lot worse today.  So I am holding on to a few moments of peace and doing something I enjoy… not too shabby.

And in closing, I thought this quote was perfect for being stuck in traffic 😊😬.  Leaving you with the hope we can all take a few moments to appreciate what’s around us.  To slow down, enjoying the bits of peace we get, and find something to be curious about today.