I’m traveling with my boys today by myself, flying to the Midwest from chilly Florida in search of snow and to spend time with the grandparents. Amazing how it gets so much easier as they grow older and I grow wiser, more conscious about what I’m doing and the assumptions I make as a parent. I’m so much more mindful than I used to be as a parent and as a person, which really makes everything flow much more smoothly. For instance, it used to be that when someone (anyone!) woke up in a bad mood, I felt like the day was just over and it was going to be awful all day long. And I was right! Now that I have some perspective and some positive experiences with changing the energy in my family, I know that it isn’t necessarily a death sentence for the day. It’s really amazing how much just knowing that it can be different changes things for the better.
As we travel, I’m delighting in the joyous exclamations of my six year-old as he takes in the awe and wonder of what the world looks like from way up high. “Look at those little mountains! They look so small!” And there is real wisdom in those words. So many times, all we see is our perspective, looking up at the mountain of parenting we’re trying to climb. We can’t see the top and the journey can really wear on us. We can’t tell what is most important to focus on and what we can let go of. And even when we make a decision to let something go, we may struggle to change the patterns of interaction that seem hardwired, like it or not. We have our tools from our own childhoods to carry us through, but many of us are searching for a different set of tools than our parents had available to them. We need perspective.
When we can find a way to get some perspective by immersing ourselves in the latest and greatest parenting information, learning from all of the amazing people out there in the world who can teach us more about ourselves and different ways of interacting with our children, suddenly we don’t feel as alone anymore. And the journey doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Take the time and plot out where you’re going and what you want things to look like along the way, as well as when you arrive. In my new class, Consciously Repairing Relationships, we’re each creating our own parenting covenant. It is like getting out a map and compass before you set out on your journey. Then, we’re immersing ourselves in the research and adding new tools and understanding to guide our footsteps.
Every once in a while, it is helpful to stand back and get a new perspective on our lives and our parenting from 36,000 feet. Try it and let me know what you see! Then when we return to the day-to-day decisions, we have some perspective to carry us through!