Mindful Monday: kick nagging to the curb

My Mindful Monday intention last week was all about creating routines to help us get through our days – so far the after-school, dinner and bedtime routines are taking shape nicely; we’re still tweaking the homework routine (with a bunch of kids doing homework around one table, it takes some experimentation to figure out whether to break them up, overlap, do it all together, or what.) I’ll write more about our routines tomorrow.

This week I’m setting my intentions on something less nuts-and-bolts and more emotional: the way I interact with my kids. So here’s my Mindful Monday for the week:

WHO: Me.

WHAT: Work on the way I speak to my children, particularly the older kids.

WHY: To put it bluntly, I’m turning into a nag. I’m not a mean nag and I don’t cross over into ranting and raving too often (though when it happens, it’s an embarrassing spectacle for everyone involved) but, especially since the school year started and we’ve just had more to get done in fewer hours, I’ve been noticing myself going into this broken record cycle of remind, remind, remind, direct, direct, direct, instruct, instruct, instruct…over and over and over and always with this sort of resigned, put-out tone. I hate listening to myself and I can only imagine how my teen feels.

HOW: Honestly, I’m not 100% sure on this one yet. A friend and experienced mom of many big kids gave me this wise advice:

“Talk less, expect more, make room for listening; when they mess up don’t solve it for them, speak from how it affects you and how you feel.”

I like her approach, and am going to work on ways to bring all these ideas together this week. I’m thinking the Kitchen Hour might be a key player in making it happen by giving us space to talk and be together without me feeling rushed or irritated. I’ll report back and let you all know how it goes.

EDITED TO ADD: I was just cleaning out the bookshelf next to my desk, and uncovered the book The Available Parent: Radical optimism for raising teens and tweens, by Dr. John Duffy. I received a review copy several months ago, but it was during a particularly busy time for me and I never got around to reading it. Seems like a perfect time to do so this week while I’m thinking about this topic! I’ll let you know what I think in a follow-up post.

What’s your Mindful Monday intention this week? I’d love to have you join in! You can leave a comment or link to your blog post on the topic below.

PS: Are you a mom of many, or are you hoping to have lots of kids one day? Or do you just like to gawk at people with four or more kids? My friend and fellow blogger Kristen Chase and I have launched a new site called 4 Kids Or More. (You know, because I have nothing else going on these days..ha!) I’ll be posting in the “life & home” channel once a week, and other contributors include Molly from MommyCoddle, Steph from Adventures in Babywearing, and Lylah from Write. Edit. Repeat. Hope to see you there, or you can like us on Facebook, too.)

 

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