July was an interesting month. It was a month of a lot of personal ups and downs for me where I had to come to terms with a lot of fears that were building up inside of me. As I got mentally and spiritually stronger, facing my own fears and doubts, as in the past, I found the people, the articles and the activities/places that helped me start to move forward and grow again as an individual and as an exceptional parent. I realized that I wanted to speak my mind even if the words I said were difficult for me and for those around me. I decided that I could not tell Michael to share all his scary feelings if I was afraid to share my own. It is important to share anger, frustration and sadness with those closest to us and admit them to ourselves. I finished off July coming to this decision, and now have started August on this right foot.
So what does this have to do with exceptional parenting, you may be asking? Well, I was having a harder time being compassionate with Michael when I wasn’t in touch with myself. I was having a hard time being patient, trying out new things. As I took self-care to a whole new level, reminding myself why I had to make changes in what I said and did with my family, things started to turn around for me personally. Our family communication improved. Things began to look brighter. It’s not to say that it is easy. Change is never easy. It is scary and uncertain but exciting too. In trying things a new way, you are showing your child that they will be ok if they do things a little differently. The thing is that kids pick up when we are feeling scared or overwhelmed. Michael would ask me, “you are ok Mommy, right? You aren’t depressed.” He’d heard me talking to Dad about when I was depressed and burnt out over six years ago. I’d assured him that no, I wasn’t depressed, but that sometimes I would feel sad or overwhelmed and that’s when using my tools helped. If I wasn’t using my tools, I would struggle, just like him.
As I’ve said before our tools as parents may look different, but as long as you are doing things that balance out your levels of stress, help keep your mood optimistic and hopeful, you are on the right track. It’s also important to remember that time alone is as important as time spent with family and friends. Even five minutes reading at night means you carved out some space for you. A short walk after dinner or watching a favorite movie is another great way to recharge. Finally, listening to a great music cd or calling up a friend. I make sure to have all or many of the above on my to do list if I feel overwhelmed or stressed. Depending on how you feel, you’ll know which tools work.
Exceptional Parents, what do you need to tweak on the inside to feel like you can parent your best? Your heart knows what it needs. Remember to listen to it. You’ll know you did when the right people come into your life and your child’s, and things improve all around with you and with your child. Until next time.