The past month or so has been stressful. My schedule is jam-packed. Catching up, and staying on top of it all, continues to elude me. My three children have reacted to my intensity and have taken turns acting out in various ways.
About three weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, everything came to a head, when my family was in town. The morning started out great. I relaxed with my kids and their grandfather while drinking a cup of coffee. Eventually I noticed that it was time to get going on the day’s tasks and was frustrated when I had to switch gears.
We had plans to go sailing with friends and needed to leave in an hour and half. Regardless, I did my best to squeeze in breakfast, tidy up the house, do some food prep for lunch, and pack up what we needed for a morning on the bay. Through all of this, my older two children had massive meltdowns that I did not handle well. I am a parenting instructor, that teaches parents that yelling is damaging and ineffective. Yet, I have my bad days too and that morning I pulled out all of the parenting tools that don’t work, such as yells and threats.
I continued to rush through my tasks and rush the children through theirs. The more I rushed, the more irritated we all became, and the more they cried, the more I wanted cry.
There was a moment in the chaos that I experienced a sense of tremendous defeat and powerlessness. I walked outside and sat in my car because that was the only place that would be quiet. I wanted to drive away. I wanted to leave the responsibility of hosting family and caring for my kids to someone else. I briefly thought about a picture that a friend had posted on Facebook not too long ago. My friend wore a shirt that said, “I cannot adult today”.
I did not want to adult. I wanted to quit.
But I didn’t.
A bit later, I managed to get my kids in the car. I thought for certain the drama would end. Instead, things continued to intensify. I was at my breaking point. There was nothing left to do but breathe and go within.
Susie Walton, my mentor and Parent Educator and Family Coach, recently reminded me that chaos leads to change. The chaos I experienced that morning was signaling to me a need for change. It was time to slow down, simplify my life again, and reconnect with my children. And not just for that day, but in my life overall.
I drove while my kids continued to squabble. Then, I thought about a tool from a course called Freedom to Be that is taught by Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company. This tool guides us to shift from a problem-ridden focus to a vision of serenity. The following quote comes from the process of Self-Acceptance that is taught in the course Freedom to Be:
“Recognize when I have lost my vision of serenity. Am I concentrating on what I could do to make myself happier right in this moment or am I sacrificing my happiness through blame? Often instead of milking more satisfaction from this moment I would find myself creating visions of the future turning out differently than how I want it to turn out. Instead of worrying and giving visual and emotional stream to what I don’t want to happen, I can switch my imagination to how I want it to turn out.”
I pulled myself together, did some internal shifting, and switched my imagination to how I wanted the day to turn out. Rather than continue down the path of negativity and blame, I chose to evoke joy – from myself. Soon after my children were responding to my love and happiness. I remembered that what happens around me is a reflection of my inner state. After the tumultuous morning, the rest of the day was harmonious. Everyone loved sailing, we enjoyed a nurturing lunch with family and friends, and that evening I was able to go surfing with my son.
There are so many tools and strategies available for use when confronting chaos or conflict. And I encourage you to begin exploring all the various ways your relationships can be strengthened by taking the time to go within and connect with your sense of self.