May 24, 2013 § 3 Comments
“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the home. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a parent, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” – Haim G. Ginott
Writing ‘Chaos and Recovery‘ was my low point. In the days after that post, I cringed to think at how I had totally de-mystified myself. Ironically, that post has had the most views on this blog so far! Now I am glad I wrote it, as it nudged me into a period of self reflection, and then into action.
I came across the quote above on Facebook. Oh, how deeply (and a bit painfully) it resonated with me. Taking a step back, and thinking about life in general terms, I realised how everything at home begins and ends with me.
The biggest issue I faced was lack of energy and motivation. I’ve begun to think of myself as a high-performance athlete, what with five children including a baby, running a household of seven, co-ordinating a playgroup, editing a magazine, and my own on-the-side creative business.
I have made a few little changes in my life. Enough that now a few weeks later, I feel I am gathering the threads of life back into my hand.
First, I Quit Sugar. I’ve been reading Sarah Wilson’s blog and cookbook of the same name for a while, and finally decided to try it. I feel better generally, and have more energy. I’m not militant about it (I have been that way in the past about food), but I am mostly there.
Second, I have made friends with routine. In the past, routines have been something to rebel against. I’ve never wanted to be predictable. But now, with a family and so much to do, routines provide a structure that actually gives me freedom. Now that I have better energy levels, I am able to do a tidying/cleaning/cooking routine each night that keeps the house running. Those jobs don’t bleed into the entire day.
Thirdly, and most importantly, ME. If I affect the mood of the family, the effectiveness of the household and the emotional health of the children, then it is my cup that needs to be filled first. This idea is not new to me. I think I have known it ever since I first became a mother. But a session of life coaching with one of my good friends brought it into the spotlight once again. I have to be thriving…. and for me that means lots of time alone.
The interesting thing is, that after a few weeks of this smoothly functioning, more organised and happier way, things are shifting in the bigger picture of life. After feeling we have been treading water for so long, both Sol and I are feeling ready to begin moving again, giving energy to our goals and dreams.