The Little Known Way To Parenting Joy!
(The good kind that make you feel great about yourself not the other kind that make you want to stay in bed with the covers over your head and the door firmly shut. You know what I mean.)
And so in the spirit of new beginnings and fresh approaches, I’m going to suggest something new you can try on your parenting journey. A small change that can be simply incorporated into your daily life whilst changing you and your family for the better. So what is it? I hear you cry! Allow me to elaborate.
For many years, possibly since Adam and Eve came to the realisation that their newborn’s arrival was waaaaay more stressful than their banishment from the Garden of Eden, we’ve all pretty much followed the same approach to parenting. Sure, we differ in our methods and rules but overall, we’ve all been doing the same thing.
And what is this thing, I hear you ask?
Focusing on one side of the relationship to the almost exclusion of the other.
And the truth is; it simply doesn’t work. Yes we muddle through the days and weeks but ultimately we pay the price for ignoring ourselves. It’s the same with any relationship. If in our adult relationships, we focus solely on the other person, it really doesn’t end well for either party. We reach a point where we simply can’t keep giving without any return and as adults, we either make changes or walk away.
The problem of course, with the parenting relationship is that we can’t walk away. We’re committed for life so if we don’t make changes, the outcome can be a box full of stress, exhaustion and chaos wrapped in a general feeling of “what about me??”
So here’s where the change comes in. How about we make an adjustment and focus not just on our children but on ourselves too? Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I’d love to focus on myself but I simply don’t have time! Children require a lot of attention! ” Which of course they do. I have 3 of my own who take up vast chunks of time every single day! But the beauty of this new approach is it takes just a few minutes a day.
Five, to be precise.
So here it is: every morning when you’re having a shower simply spend five minutes focusing on everything in your life that brings you joy – that deep-down unmistakable feeling of happiness.
Maybe you’ll start with your baby or children and all the sweetness and light they bring and then move onto your partner and all the positives s/he brings to you.
Maybe then your friends will come to mind followed by all the things in your life that make you happy like your car or your clothes or whatever. And if it turns out that you’re at a place in your life where it’s only the material things that give you joy, that’s ok.
As long as it makes you happy then celebrate it. You see, as human beings we have a terrible habit of focusing on what’s wrong. We effectively train ourselves to automatically see the problems in our lives. But when we switch our focus to the positives for even five minutes, things begin to change. I promise.
But why take my word for it? Try it for yourself. For the next 30 days, I challenge you to simply spend 5 minutes of your time focusing on your own joy. Just 5 minutes. Before you know it, you could find yourself walking with a new spring in your step. (See what I did there?!)
Orla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and has also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.