I was starting to feel better this week, so I thought I’d give some reader-requested advice on toddler discipline.
Then we had a few bad days, and suddenly everything was my husband’s fault and my mother’s fault, and the fault of anyone who loves me enough to invest in my family.
It still scares me how quickly I can go from feeling okay – or even great – to plummeting into resentment and guilt.
As I vacuumed the kids’ room, grumbling about how my kids have not been trained properly to help out and even pick up after themselves, I remembered this important fact:
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
It might be too late to do things early, or do it right the first time, but it’s never too late to change direction.
CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
It might not be easy, but our actions got us here and our actions can change the course we’re on.
I’m a little obsessed with trying new systems and ideas, so I’ve had lots of chances to see how children (and husbands) resist change fairly strongly at the beginning.
It’s discouraging, but if I push through with a positive attitude, it’s often a matter of days (or sometimes weeks) before it becomes the new normal.
That doesn’t mean the end of complaining – we’re human, after all – but the first few attempts are always bad and require keeping a longer-term perspective to get through.
The trick is to pick one thing to fix and work on it consistently. I tend to get fed up and want to change everything at once. Obviously, disasters ensues . . .
It’s also important to pay attention to the feedback. I’d estimate that only two out of every ten “brilliant” ideas I have actually have the intended positive results.
Don’t beat yourself up about a good idea gone wrong, just drop it or adjust it and try again.
Last week I added a large table to the living room so the kids could have more drawing space, then created a new reading nook next to it with the bean bag.
Instead of drawing and reading the kids run and jump. (At least they keep the table clear!)
Sometimes good ideas gone wrong have unexpected fruits, like kids getting exercise in the reading nook.
(For the record, a few days later I did catch them reading in the reading nook.)
So here’s some encouragement to us all to not let all our troubles overwhelm us, but to take the next step to make our family life a little better.
Don’t forget to celebrate your success. I know I tend to think about what still needs improvement and forget to enjoy the progress we’ve made.