When my 3rd baby was born, something happened to my 2nd-born. She transformed from a sweet, cheerful, optimistic and easy-going child into a needy, super-sensitive, irritating being. She was bugging the crap out of me. I didn’t like the way I was feeling, and I definitely did not like the parent I was being. So I enrolled in my first parenting class.
The parenting class was great. I learned a ton and gained many new tools. Our relationship improved, and her neediness declined. However, I am aware that my goal in taking a parenting class at that time was to change my child — to get her to stop being so irritating. Wrong goal.
Many years later, while training to become a life and leadership coach, I began to see my role as parent in a new light. For the first time in a long time, I took some time to reflect — not on my kids, my husband, my home or my career, but on me!
I began to reflect about what I needed to feel happy, peaceful, “on purpose” and fulfilled. I began to listen to my heart rather than always my brain. I allowed myself to let go of some long-held beliefs about who I “should” be, and began to explore who I really was. And in doing so, magically, my children started to become more easy-going, joyful, and cooperative. Huh?
It’s a lesson that you probably already know: when we feel more grounded and “balanced,” that confidence and ease breeds the same in others, including our kids. I’m not saying that parenting tools aren’t helpful. They are incredibly helpful! But for me, the real transformation happened when my goal changed: from getting my kids to do better, to getting myself to feel better.
“Children do better when they feel better” is a famous quote by Dr. Jane Nelsen of Positive Discipline. But it’s not just true for children. It’s true for everyone.
What do you need to feel more balanced and fulfilled? How can you get more of that in your life? (Life is too short to feel chronically stressed-out, bummed-out, exhausted, irritated or burnt-out!) Take some time to ask yourself these questions. Take a risk on having the life you dream of. What are you waiting for? You’ll feel better, you’ll do better, and that’s better for your kids, too.
If you’d like some help getting the process started, contact me to set up a 30-minute sample coaching call.