Have you ever felt lost, like you've lost your way? Perhaps you set out with a plan. You were going to keep your cool, set respectful boundaries, and model the values you want to instill in your children. Then life happens and you realize, as you yell at your kid to stop yelling (irony not lost), that you have wandered off track. That was me the other day. I was screaming from another room at my son to stop yelling and realized, "This is exactly where I don't want to be." I had been parenting from a place I didn't want to be for some time, but how long exactly? I didn't know. The small tasks of daily life, the hurrying out the door, the small priorities like getting to school on time, the conflicts, the weary routine had all imperceptibly blurred my perspective. Luckily I know that I'm not alone. I speak to lots of parents and know that this is a common challenge.
So, what is the solution?
What do I mean by inspiration? Inspiration is anything, literally anything, that reminds you of your parenting goals and why you have chosen the path you have chosen. Some examples of sources of inspiration include: reading a short passage from a book, listening to a podcast, writing in a journal, reading an article, meditating, repeating a mantra, referring to a "cheat sheet", talking to a support person. Visiting your inspiration can include a combination of many things. I often read an article or passage from a book several times a week, write in my journal every few days, listen to a podcast from time to time, and meditate often (not as regularly as I would like). Your inspiration may vary by day, week, or moment.
Tonight I was taking a calm moment, relaxing with my eyes closed, taking deep breaths. A reflection of the moment when I caught myself yelling to my son to stop yelling popped into my mind. It was quickly followed by a mantra, "Patience. Perseverance. Peace." This resonated with me. I will be focusing on this mantra this week. I may create a "cheat sheet", which is simply this mantra written on a small piece of paper that I can keep in my pocket. I rarely have to look at my "cheat sheets". The simple act of putting it in my pocket in the morning and taking it out again at night to put on my nightstand is enough to remind me that it is with me all day.
As you start surrounding yourself with inspirational resources, visiting your inspiration will become a habit rather than something you have to actively seek out. And with some inspiration, you may discover that you were never really off your path. Rather you were taking a detour that has allowed you to better define your path. Each time I return to mine I feel that I know it even better.