A lot of times—and I’ve been there—when things are crazy and we’re feeling overwhelmed with our children and our jobs and everything that’s going on, everything just seems a mess. And it’s really hard to find something that’s working well. But there’s importance in finding what is going right.
There’s got to be something that’s working well. As a coach, that’s my job: if you can’t find that, I help you refocus, to see what’s going on. I help parents relax, and get them to be able to take a step back, and get an overview of what’s really happening.
When you’re in that mess, it is so dark. It is so gloomy. It’s hard to see. When you’re stepping back, or you have someone else who can shine some light on what’s really happening, you see it from a different perspective. When you’re too close and up front, there’s no way that you can really see that there’s any possibility of good in the situation. So that’s how I partner with my clients—to help them focus, bring attention to, and relax around what’s happening.
Little Things Mean a Lot
What I want to share is that there are little things that are happening. Every day. Even things that maybe you don’t even realize. And it’s focusing on those little moments—it could be one interaction at breakfast. It could be that moment. For example, the other day I was upstairs, getting ready in the morning, and my littlest walked upstairs and just started crying, “Mommy, mommy, why are you getting ready? I wanted to snuggle with you.” And she was heartbroken. And in that moment, I dropped my makeup, I dropped whatever I was doing, and I said, “No problem, little one. Let’s go. We’ll hop into bed and snuggle for a little while.” And I snuggled with her. And it was that little moment that maybe changed the whole day for her. I don’t even know. But if I didn’t focus on that moment, and I didn’t realize that this was actually a great opportunity, it would have passed by. It’s about focusing on the small things that are really important.
The Potential Impact of a Seemingly Small Action
There’s an author by the name of Margaret J. Wheatley, who wrote the book Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. And what she says is, “When the system is far from equilibrium, singular or small influences can have enormous impact.”
Had that interchange with my little child not happened, it could have spiraled into a whole morning of her just not feeling connected. It could have escalated her to have a bad time at breakfast, the milk could have been too hot or too cold, or her sister would have got in her way, or a whole number of things, whereas that small change, that small interaction really made a big impact in her day. It set the tone for the rest of her day: she got what she needed right off the bat.
We can find those moments. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the day, it could be at the end of the workday, right before bed, it can be whenever. But finding opportunities for small, little incremental changes will have an impact on your family.
You may think, “Oh, I want my family to be this way,” and “these are my goals,” and “I want my family to look this way and that way,” and “I want to feel this way.” You know what? Those goals are important, and that’s part of what we do. We set goals. Big goals.
However, in order to get to that finish line, you’ve got to take a step. Every single step makes a difference. So, yes, have those goals, but just focus on that one step. Take one step, and see what kind of impact it has for you. How does that make you feel and how does that make your child feel? With that in mind, I have some questions for you.
WHAT IS ONE BIG THING, SMALL THING, OR EVEN A TEENY THING, THAT YOU CAN DO TOMORROW, THAT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD?
I know you’ve been thinking about it. We always have these ideas, like, “Oh, I’m just going to try to wake up a little bit earlier, so that I can have my coffee before my kids come and interrupt my morning.” Do that.
Maybe you've thought, "I am going to get through bed time without screaming." Do that.
Or even I am going to have a night out with my best friend. Do that.
You have great ideas. Trust your gut and trust your wisdom and know that you have those resources and those strengths to make change. Tap into that and take a look inside, and see just one little thing. Say, “Today, I’m going to make one change.” That one change may make a difference. And maybe it won’t. But know that you’re making an effort.
WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU'RE ALREADY DOING WELL, THAT YOU'D LIKE TO KEEP DOING?
I know it might be difficult—we’re in the middle of a chaotic situation or time with our children. I know it’s hard. But there’s got to be one thing that I hope you can find that you’re doing, that you can do more of.
WHEN YOU SMILE, WHY ARE YOU SMILING? WHAT'S MAKING YOU FEEL GOOD IN THAT MOMENT?
You’re making dinner, and it’s a hectic time, and you’re probably not smiling. But maybe it’s story time with your kids and you’re reading with them. And you feel a little smile come across your face. Why? What is happening in that moment that is making you feel that way? That’s really good. If you can tap into that, then you can focus on what’s happening. Ask yourself, how can I make more of that happen? That’s what you want. That’s what I know I needed to focus on when I was feeling this way.
AND HERE'S A BIGGER QUESTION...
WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL MORNING LOOK LIKE, IF MORNING IS THE PART OF YOUR DAY THAT'S THE MOST STRESSFUL? WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL BEDTIME ROUTINE LOOK LIKE, IF BEDTIME IS THE PART OF YOUR DAY THAT DRIVES YOU NUTS AND ENDS UP HAVING YOU SCREAMING? WHAT WOULD THOSE IDEAL TIMES LOOK LIKE?
Imagine it, really. Focus on it, think about it. How would it feel, what would it sound like, what would it look like? All those ideas from that bigger image will start the ball rolling in thinking, “How can I get there? How can I start to make some incremental changes?”