Tackling niggles…

Family life can be full of little things that are calling out for our attention – whether it be the leaking tap, the rise in consumption of junk, creeping increase in screen time, bags dropped by the back door, tatty shoes, a paperwork mountain, a toaster that singes, split ends, fraying tempers, or runny noses.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and to lurch from one job to another.
It is simpler to attend to each job in turn and feel in charge.
Simple but not always easy.

Start by acknowledging that you are not superwoman and, no matter how hard you try, there will always be a long list of things that need your attention.

Next write a list – add every large and small thing that needs attention.  It is easier to pull them into submission when on a page than when whirling around in your head.

Prioritise – into three categories:

  • Urgent – things will fall apart if this doesn’t get done this week
  • Important – needs to happen this month
  • Luxury – I’d love to think that I’ll get around to this sometime.

Delegate – give some of them away!

Each evening, take one item from each of your urgent and important lists that you can realistically tackle the following day.

Next day – do it!

So often the niggles worry away at the edges of our consciousness and we feel too overwhelmed to see clearly what is needed.  Often, just writing them down, and deciding to give a couple your full attention can shift that feeling of overwhelm to one of being in charge.

So here’s an example of giving the problem of runny noses one minute of focused consideration: family bit run down, buy appealing fruit, make sure coats and shoes waterproof, toughen up on bedtimes (mine included).  The feeling of being troubled by the constant colds shifts to one of positive action and instantly the world seems more manageable.

Some problems run deeper and need to be broken down – a surly and distant teenager for example is not going to change overnight.  Every parent finds their own solutions but mine would include talking to co-parent, and other parents, making a mission of noticing when it is worst and considering what might be triggering the unhappiness, cooking a favourite meal, taking teen out to a film, spending time, wooing them back, whilst not tolerating rudeness, helping with what is important to the teen, expecting participation in family life, and little gifts of kindness (even when I’m feeling slighted or worse).

So three simple steps: write list, prioritise and pick, then do.

Try it TODAY!

I’d love to hear how you go.

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Posted on 30 October 2012
Musings: Parenting girls
Tags: , , ,

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