I have several websites that I find fun to read as well as very informative. One of those is Simple Mom. I have found many of the articles may be aimed at one particular audience, yet I find them applicable to my life! One article that I found very enlightening is…..now, before I tell you the name of this article, let me remind you that I am the mom of a 7 year old and a 9 year old. I am a middle aged woman who is trying to gain control of my life. Yet I find this article very appropriate for me and my family. At the same time, I would recommend it for parents of new borns, parents of newly adopted children, or children who have taken on the care of elderly parents. The article I am referencing is Seasons in Parenting: The Newborn Baby Months.
Tabitha addresses 5 topics. Obviously her advice is aimed at new parents. But as I read it, I saw some similarities to my own life. I am not dealing with a new member in my family, but I am trying to rearrange routines and redefine our activities to reflect and deepen our values. The words in bold type are quotes from Tabitha.
1. Try Not to Panic
As new parents, or anyone facing a change in their lives, we plan and we set certain expectations for ourselves and those around us. She is suggesting that we let go of those expectations. Things are going to unfold at their own pace and in their own way. In my case, I need to not panic that yesterday my girls spent a huge amount of time in front of the TV during the day. I could have spent the whole day railing at myself that I was letting my whole plan fall apart. Instead I took her advice and did not panic – I sat down with my girls and learned about what they enjoyed watching, discussing the characters and the situations of the shows. We giggled together, we snuggled under blankets, and we just enjoyed being together.
2. Forget Previous Expectations
Tabitha reminded me that the panic of she spoke of above is the result of having unrealistic expectations. We have to let go of those expectations – it does not matter if we made them up in our own heads or if we are basing them on previous experience – expectations rarely reflect reality. The only thing we need to do is love and try. That is what my whole redo of how my family spends time is – my effort to show my love by giving my girls life experiences that reflect the values that Bear and I want them to be shown.
3. Give Yourself Time
My goal is to have my family doing more physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy activities. My impetus for those changes is that I have been seeing things in my girls and in their activities that are not what I want for them. As a result I want to make those changes immediately. But immediately is is not realistic. It is not going to result in lasting change. Within those changes I also have to change myself. I need to carve out time to determine and implement ways to create healthy changes for me. I need to be the one to set a good example for the rest of my family. So I need to give all of us time to change. Habits are created over time. So I have to guide instead of control and allow good habits to form.
4. Ask for Help
This was so important that she said it with emphasis…Ask. For. Help. This is super important. I have enlisted the help of several friends to keep me on track. One person helps keep me on track with my physical goal. Another friend keeps track of my overall plan and helps me keep it in perspective. I have many friends praying for me. Then there is the help of my husband – without his support I could never do any of this. There are friends from church who help me find appropriate activities for my girls. There are my on-line friends who make fantastic suggestions that I have not even thought of!
5. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Take it easy. You’re not alone and people do understand, so try to go easy on yourself. Just know that being a parent is worth everything you can give, and so much more. As I said before, the items in bold are direct quotes from Tabitha’s article. This is something that I really need to pay attention to and insert into my plan. When I get ready to start a project, in this case the lifestyle change for myself and my family, I go at it with everything in me. Unfortunately, when all does not go my way, or when I mess up, I throw my hands up and say that I am CAN’T do what I set out to do. I need to continually remind myself that this is a process, not a race. Processes require constant evaluation, constant revision.
So here is my Wacky Wednesday post – taking an article about adjusting to a new born baby and making it about life in general. Yep, I guess that is pretty wacky. But if it works, I will proudly be wacky!