It’s just another typical Monday evening. I’m zooming out of my office parking lot, rushing towards the kids’ school to pick up carpool. My grocery list is running through my head. My heart pounds as I remember that e-mail I was supposed to send. I bark directions at Siri to remind me to pick up cookies for my son’s class party.
LIFE IS STRESSFUL. Our lives as parents are full of To-Do’s, just to keep our families afloat and the daily details of life in working order.
In the midst of the daily grind that is Parenthood—the diaper changes, the bedtime routines, the homework battles—where’s the Big Picture? Am I parenting on auto-pilot, or with intention? How do I take a step back and reflect on my goals as a parent?
These are tough questions—ones I struggle with often. And in the mayhem of my family’s life, I don’t expect that I’m EVER going to be an uber-Zen Mama that is calm and reflective about her every move. But I do believe in taking steps towards becoming more intentional in my parenting, and I’m sharing a few baby-step strategies to help you in YOUR journey to become a more intentional parent:
Set aside time to reflect on the Big Picture
Find some quiet time with a notepad and pen to jot down some thoughts on these questions:
– What do we stand for?
– What values are most important to our family?
Create a vision of your future child
What kind of person do you want your child to be in 6 months? 2 years? 10 years? Write down some of the qualities of character you hope your child will manifest: Kindness, artistry, confidence, athleticism, social consciousness, etc.
Assess your family’s current lifestyle
With this Big Picture vision in mind, take a look at how your family spends time together. This is where the rubber meets the road: How do the intentions we’ve set for our family match up with our daily interactions and activities? What’s working well, and what’s not such a great fit for our family? What changes should we make?
Plan your family’s time intentionally – Make sure your “Most Important Things” are plugged in FIRST. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls these the Big Rocks. He suggests that if you don’t make sure these Big Rocks (important things) are scheduled and attended to, then all the Little Rocks take over. For my family, our weekends are our most precious time so we’ve created an intentional family weekend tool for our fridge. This helps us plan our weekends so important activities like outdoor playtime and self-care time don’t get overthrown by laundry and errands.
In my family, we’ve done these baby steps many times, every few months—a “lather-rinse-repeat” cycle of assessing how we’re doing, and we’re certainly far from perfect. Life still needs to be go-with-the-flow but with a roadmap to guide us in the right direction. I wish you the best in creating YOUR family’s roadmap!
For further inspiration:
Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, parent coach, child development guru, writer and mom. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband (David) and two children (Maya and Jacob). Her website contains more information about her parent coaching services: www.familytoolkitcoaching.com.