I emerged from March into April feeling somewhat defeated and now quite possibly embarrassed. My goal to laugh more in January rewarded me with the ability to let things go. Life is a series of complications. It is how we react to those complications that determines our character. Learning to relinquish the guilt often times associated with being a mom gave me the freedom to accept what may come. The house did not have to be spotless all the time. Celebrations were less about the fluff and more about simple fun. If the kids had a meltdown in public I was under control. In return I became a more relaxed mom capable of giving more.
February’s goal was to express my love more. I am convinced that I could not have accomplished my February goal without having successfully reached my goal in January. Research has shown that when we (parents) are high strung our kids tend to act out more. The more our kids act out the more frustrated we become and the less likely we want to tell them how amazing they are and how much we love them.
Then came March. I thought January and February were stressful. I playfully accused the Gods for trying to test my resolve. I certainly was not expecting what happened in March. March started out on the positive. We were still ill and unable to make plans with our friends most of the month. The times we could come out and play our friends were busy juggling hectic schedules. I was not successful in fulfilling my resolution and that worried me. As I write this I have come to the understanding that not all of March was a failure. We faced some pretty tough days. Had I been the business-like realistic perfectionist of 6 months ago I am not sure I would have escaped with only a terrible migraine. The ironic thing is I had to go through March to better understand my son so that in April I would know how to better meet his needs as his mom.
Which brings me to my April resolution- Family. In April my goal is to help my family reach their potential emotionally and mentally. Even the most loved kid or spouse will feel as though they do not matter. When we feel important and worthy we have the confidence to succeed. Knowing we are loved and that our feelings count is the first step to feeling important.
— Make sure they know they are loved. Express your love and admiration daily. Do not just say it….mean it! For some this may not be an easy feat. With practice you will begin to find the words and the emotions needed to connect with your loved ones.
— Leave little love notes filled with encouragement. Express what you admire most about them.
— Take time to really listen. It takes a loving ear to distinguish what is really going on.
— Linger a little longer. Make one on one time a priority. Allow your child to choose the activity. Keep the mood light and fun. This is not a time for reprimands. Value weekly dates with your spouse as a time to reconnect.
— Provide opportunities. Be cognizant of the hobbies, interests and talents your family members have an interest in. Provide opportunities to help them grow in these particular areas. If your son is into science you might want to search for science projects you can do together one on one or as a family. If your daughter dreams of being a ballet dancer rent movies or enroll her in dance class.
— Encouragement. For every time you have to correct negative behavior in a child you must find 5 positive things to praise them for. Be very careful when correcting a child that you do not cross over into criticism. Positive encouragement gives them the confidence to want to do better. A marriage and family counselor once said that men are actually weak inside. They need our encouragement to help strengthen them not our nagging and negativity.