April 4, 2014
Parenting can take its toll on our enthusiasm and zest for life. Even the most enamored of parents have times when they have run out of fuel and everything feels difficult and demanding. If even for a day, feeling cranky makes every little thing a challenge.
It is on those days that I would try to change my perspective to restore my sanity. I loved my daughters, took pride in being a mother, and did not want to feel the way I was feeling about my life. It is difficult to admit that I had a propensity for getting mired down in a gloomy outlook. Once that perspective took hold, it could be quite a challenge to get me to lighten up.
One pattern that could grab me in a heartbeat was to see everything around me as work…even if there was a fun side to it. For example, I would be reluctant to get out the play dough thinking only of the mess that would result rather than imagining the fun and creativity that would happen. Or when one daughter would grab the garden hose and soak the other, I would think about the change of clothes needed now rather than embrace the laughter that was all around me.
Another pattern was hearing myself say, “I’ve got to…” This sent a message of entrapment and lack of freedom, which felt like a heavy pack on my back. The truth is I was victimizing myself. Things shifted when I would challenge myself by asking, “do you really have to? Or do you want to??” This revelation came to me one day while packing up for a picnic and play day at the park. I was quite grumpy as I gathered everything together refusing to look forward to a fun, relaxing afternoon in the sun with my daughters. Wanting life to feel more like play than work, I gently would shift my perspective. Yes. I do want to go to the park and play.
Now well out of the thick of intensive parenting young children, I still confront my attitude and perspective. Just the other night, I went to get my cherished microwavable neck wrap; a personal treasure that eases my aching shoulders at the end of a day. It wasn’t in the basket in my bedroom where it belonged. With a deep sigh, I went to look for it in my daughter’s room. There it was in her bed.
In a moment, the crease in my forehead shifted into a smile. Was it really a problem to look for my neck wrap? Or could it be a sweet sign that she prefers to use mine rather than her own because of how close we have grown. Of course it could be she didn’t know where to find hers…and I think you get my point.
I like to consider this as morphing from an Eeyore to a Pooh. Slowing down and listening to your gloomy perspective then being curious if there is another way to regard the situation can accomplish it. Similar to watching a play and choosing to shift your seat because there is something on the stage you cannot see. Maybe..sometimes…there is something we are missing in the life that is playing out before us.
Is there somewhere you’d like to change your view?
Are you eager for a shift in how you feel and live?
Would you enjoy the relief of shifting from a negative, heavy perspective to a lighter one?
Check it out and feel free to share your experiences with all of us!