The mom’s I talk to often feel off kilter and frustrated dealing with the different personalities and demands placed upon them by their children. They may have a thought, or even a yearning, for something in their household to be better, but they don’t know what to do.
When a mom feels like this she can often express it through anger, hoping if she makes a loud enough fuss suddenly everyone will wake up and conduct themselves in a way that she needs and enjoys. Alternatively, she may feel helpless and give up trying to get anyone to live in a way she would feel is life giving to her. Neither of these ways of coping with frustration help her get a life she would enjoy.
If this sounds at all familiar, I am going to share some ways you can begin to make the changes you wish would occur.
But before I do, I want you to notice this picture of this mother duck and her sweet ducklings. I was fortunate enough to watch eight little baby ducks grow up this summer. From the very beginning the mama duck would brood over them, protect them, and teach them all they needed to know to grow and thrive. Because of that her ducklings attentively looked to her for guidance, direction and protection. At a quack or a signal from her they would follow her leadership and in doing so learned to glide on the pond, fly into trees, and as young adult ducks follow her lead and soar into the sky to migrate to warmer climates.
This mama duck was secure in her ability to guide and teach her babies, and we can be secure in our ability to lead our children. After all she was just a duck and we are daughters of the Most High God, to whom he has given intellect, imagination, and loving steadfast determination.
Our children are looking to us for leadership and guidance. There is no need for us to falter or doubt ourselves, giving away our influence through the yelling, whining, or cajoling that self-doubt can cause. We can trust ourselves, when we bring concerns to prayer, to recognize a need and come up with a beneficial, relationship oriented plan to meet that need.
So let’s look at some steps to do just that.
First, steal some time to write down everything that frustrates you about your family life. (not about work or things outside your home life)
Second, mentality step back and re-read the list. Then ask yourself some questions about what you’ve written.
Can you see any patterns in your list?
Do you see a majority developing in one particular area, such as the peace in your home, your need for connection, your need for more order in your life, the tone of your home, the need for a better spiritual life.
Third, once you’ve identified patterns, or confirmed an issue that you feel has the most weight, create a list of how you would like that area of your life to be. So for example:
My home would be a serene environment.
Our family would treat each other with respect.
We would work together to have an orderly space.
We would set aside scheduled time every day/week for connection and coziness.
This is just a list to get you thinking about your desires for your home life. Write your own wants in a positive, forward thinking way.
Fourth, starting with the one concern that seems most important to your well being, write small steps you can take to move your family toward the change you want to make. As you list them make them positive, encouraging, and connection oriented.
I’m going to illustrate an example, for two different stages of motherhood, using the wish for a more peaceful home environment, but the process would be the same for any identified intention.
If your a mom of babies and young children desiring a more peaceful atmosphere you might generate ideas such as:
I will only play peaceful music in my home.
I will invest in beautiful battery operated candles, that I will display out of reach of my little ones so that I can create a safe, serene atmosphere.
I will take 10 minutes each day to play a game with my toddler that lets him practice using an outside and inside voice in the appropriate settings until he masters this skill, and can follow my guidance.
I will set aside times during the day for both quiet reading or playing together, and energetic outside or playroom play so both needs are being positively met.
If you have grade school or older children you can involve them by discussing the changes over a calm meal. Letting them know the shift you’d like to make. Perhaps even asking them for ideas of things they’d be willing to do to create that change.
*Important note- You are not asking their permission to make your desired changes, nor are you lecturing them or trying to convince them to go along with them. You are simply making a statement. Then telling them the first small step you will all be implementing in order to bring your needed change.
For example, “I will be a happier and better mom with a more orderly and peaceful home, so everyday before dinner and again before bed, I will set a timer for fifteen minutes and we will all work together to bring order to our shared living space.” Then before you set the timer tell them what you need each of them to do. When it goes off thank them for whatever you all did together and move on to a pleasant next step in your day.
These are just examples to illustrate how to guide your family through changes that you feel would be of benefit to you and your family. The steps can apply to whatever changes are on your heart.
List for yourself areas of concern.
List descriptions of how you would like it to be.
List one or two small steps you could make this week to being moving toward the change you desire.
Implement the small change until it becomes part of the nature of your home.
After the small change is mastered, implement the next small change.
Repeat until you are living the change you desire.
Remember, you are the mom. Your children are instinctively looking to you for guidance and direction. If you are working for their good and your own and leading them through clear, calm, planned steps, they will follow your positive guidance, much like ducklings follow the movements of a mother duck.