Because sometimes, a shift in perspective is all you need.
Don't Forget the Figs!
It’s Monday morning and you’re tired from a busy weekend that came after a busy week of raising kids, running errands, and relentless laundry. You may have been less than patient with your kids, your spouse or even yourself. You may have even thrown in the towel on Tuesday and decided that the task of the week was to make it through, not really knowing what that really meant. So now, you’re faced with a new week. Seven brand new days ahead of you. You want to make the most of it, but you’re still tired and not altogether convinced that this week won’t turn out like last week. Sometimes what we need is a shift in perspective. A reminder of what we value and a plan to make those values visible.
Enter…the FIGS! Don’t worry. If you don’t like figs, you don’t have to eat them to be the parent you want to be. These figs are more for the heart than the body. F. I. G. S. Here's how it works...
You can’t move forward with the weight of last week’s shortcomings on your back. When you look back on your week, there may be things you wish you had done differently. Maybe you wish you had spent more time reading with your kids. Or getting outside for a walk to enjoy the fall weather. Or listening to your child more intently rather than checking your email. Whatever you wish you had done differently, forgive yourself! It’s done. Does carrying the guilt serve you well? Let go. You did the best you could. Period.
Now that you’ve done the hardest step of forgiving yourself, it is time for a small step on the path of intention. This path is yours, and yours alone. Stating your intention isn’t just wistfully wishing it into being. It is a mindful statement about what you value. For example, my intention for this week is to be present in a meaningful way with each of my children everyday. Just by putting this into words, it becomes a beacon for my week. A way in which I will bring consciousness to the decisions I make based on my values. In this example, I value individual relationship and connection with each of my children.
Stating an intention gives us focus and helps us to regulate our mindset, even when challenging situations arise. And creating simple, action-based goals helps us to make our intention tangible. Using my example of being present with my children, my goals may look like this.
- Limit my own screen time, and close any screen if a child comes to talk to me.
- Make a plan (and implement it) for spending time with each child. Snuggling at bedtime, playing a game together, reading a book, inviting a child to help make dinner or a snack. Knowing what is important to each of my children will help me to make the most of my time with them. Being open to spontaneous moments of connection is key but making “appointments” with each child will help to ensure that each child gets what he/she needs. It sounds somewhat contrived, but it is the same as planning a date with my husband. By setting aside time, I am sending the message that each child is important.
Stamina may be the second hardest part of “eating figs.” As the week goes on and the day-to-day threatens to swallow up your intention, hold on. Make time for what you value. Take an honest look at what is getting in the way of you living out your goals. Are the obstacles within your control? If they are, be creative. Find a way to work it out. If they’re outside your control, be creative. Your goals may need to be tweaked but your intention, your values, don’t. You value what is important to you. Stick with it. And don’t forget to forgive yourself when you don’t. You’re an amazing person and you’ve got this!