I'll confess something to you... I've been noticing my impatience with the kids lately. I try to notice and tell myself to do a "re-do". What I used to do when I blew it was walk away and beat myself up in my head. I'd say, "What's wrong with you Michele? You think you'd know better by now!" But guilting myself out only keeps me in a negative cycle and is so unproductive. I find it much more helpful to just stop and observe my negative behavior rather that judge it, and then immediately retrain my body memory by having myself do a "re-do". I tell myself exactly what I'd tell my kids if they were impatient and disrespectful. "Whoa, you want to try that again with respect?" Then I take a deep breath and do a "re-do". If I've blown it with a person, it also involves an apology on my part. It's so easy to form a negative habit, but I'm learning it's just as easy to replace them with positive ones. I also try to make time at some point to think about what might be driving my negative behavior. What am I feeling? What do I need? What is causing the stress or fear that is driving my negative behavior?
Lately, I think I've been short and impatient because I've been overwhelmed. I'm doing too much and not getting enough sleep. Recently, I took on a side job to help a neighbor decorate her daughter's room. Also this week, my husband is out of town for work. The girl's spring sports have just started and if that's not enough, all our family's dental appointments and annual doctor appointments happen to fall in the next few weeks. I'm adding on extra things, with one less set of hands, and trying not to let go of any of my normal responsibilities. I think when I take on extra projects every now and then, or Keith is traveling and I lose my extra set of hands, I need to reassess and choose to lay down, for a time, a few things that I normally do. At first glance, it can appear that there is nothing I can put down, but if I look a little more closely and am honest with myself, I realize there are a lot of things I can delete from my schedule, even if it's just temporarily. For instance, I can lay down cooking, cleaning, bathing, sleeping... hee hee hee. Okay, seriously, I can limit my time on the computer. (...after I finish this of coarse.) I love to read and write and there are so many great resources that can eat up my time on there. For me, it can be like a Calgon bath and take me away. I get on to just check a few emails and then 2 hours later... Whatever did we do before computers? I can forgo staying up late to watch some of my favorite shows that I taped. Whatever did we do before we recorded shows? I can turn off my cell phone. Whatever did we do before cell phones? I can simplify the meals I plan that week. I'll still cook, but just make simple meals. The kids favorites are the easy ones anyway.
In today's world with all it's distractions, I'm convinced that if we are not intentional about what we give our time to, we will not have time for the most important things. My goal is to give my husband and each of my children at least 10 minutes of 'focused, fun, all about them time' each day. I want them to genuinely know, without a doubt, that they are precious, cherished, and valued! It's not easy with a husband and 5 kids (4 still at home), to make time for each of them every day, but there is really nothing more important that I could do with my time. Not only does it fill their love tank, but it fills mine as well. We are created for relationships, we are created to love one another, there is nothing more fulfilling! We sometimes think, I just don't have time, but I've learned that we always have time for what's most important to us.
Last, but certainly not least, if my love tank is empty and not getting filled, I have nothing to give. I need time with my Father every day. Not in a legalistic way, but in a father / daughter taking their daily walk in the garden kind of way. My Father offers me ' focused, fun, all about me time' each day as well. I look forward to our special time when He assures me that I am precious, cherished, and valued, not because of what I do or don't do, but because I'm His daughter. Those times with Him fill me, sustain me, and overflow to those around me.