Remembering the process...

It’s been a week since I posted my lofty goals around sleep, screen time and self care.

I have not been very successful…  Turns out that it takes more that a public declaration of intention to make significant changes in your life.

I haven’t put the goals away, instead I am using them as a reminder that really life is about the process you go through for small improvements, rather than the actual end results.

This is so valuable when it comes to parenting our kids as well, right?  Often we get so fixed on the end result, we tend to forget to see the small improvements.  Instead, we are frustrated that problems aren’t solved, responsibilities aren’t met – and that takes us right into the funnel of criticism and disappointment.

This has been played out perfectly after school lately, at our house.  The kids have their routine, I have really tried to be hands off and hold a space of encouragement.  Except that I haven’t, I very often slip into the nag, frustrated and angry when the kids aren’t following through with what they have agreed to do.

And man, nag mom is so OBNOXIOUS!!!  She is such a drag, such a whiner, so disconnected and caught up in her emotions….  She fills my body and clouds my mind and takes over.  It really sucks.

After one afternoon of me “you never”ing my kids and blah, blah, blahing them in the car, it occurred to me that I was forgetting that this work is about the process.

Oh yeah, I teach people about this, duh.

So, I shut my mouth for a while.  Later that evening I owned my behavior.  I made it right with my kids and let them know how much I love them.

Then I asked, “What would help you in the afternoons?"

What followed was a conversation about solutions.  In this space, the kids were able to let me know what works for them, I was able to share my own needs (like, not wanting to be in charge of telling them what to do), and we came up with a new system.

Now, when they get home, their “after school routine frames” that they made will be on the counter.  Once the kids take care of all their business, they put the frames away.  We discussed more details last night during our family meeting, and my son decided it would help him to stay on task if he set the timer for 40 minutes.  He thinks that is plenty of time to finish his routine.

Will this “work”?  Perhaps for a while… 

Will the kids follow through perfectly?  No, that would be an unrealistic expectation.

Will this new plan be helpful?  Yes, I believe it will.  This was created after everyone voiced their needs and concerns and is seen as a solution.  The power of this lies in the process.

I know this.

Next Sunday we will review how this new routine worked for them.  They will tweak it as necessary.  No criticism, anger or frustration necessary. 

As for my goals?  Well, this week is a new week and I will continue to work hard to cut down on my screen time, get more sleep and take time for self care.

Maybe I need to make my own frame?


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