My goal with the book is to acknowledge that for many parenting can take you from feeling secure about your life and aspirations to quite the reverse, frantically asking yourself questions like: ‘where am I?’, ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘what’s that new smell in the house?’. Before we know it months have passed and we feel dazed, confused and a little bit lost. The map of your life is now lost or the pieces you have left over don’t seem to be relevant anymore.
Frantically asking yourself questions like: ‘where am I?’, ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘what’s that new smell in the house?’
I remember feeling that way soon after my first was born. It felt like an endless round of work, late (sleepless) nights, nappies being changed and wrestle with a thin layer of anxiety that seemed to inform all our decisions: should we do this? Should we do that? Should HE be doing that? And, naturally, does this ever end?!
More than anything else I get asked: does it get any better? I take a long breath and try and find the right delivery. ‘Well,’ I say. ‘I can’t tell you it’s going to get better, though for sure there’ll be moments when it’s better. What I can say for certain that it will change’. Babies won’t always cry. They won’t always need their nappies changed. And at some point you will experience a night were you get a relatively decent night’s sleep – just don’t ask me when that will happen!
I do believe that this feeling that your life plan is lost is reversible. Life may be going a thousand miles an hour but we can reclaim some direction and take some time to breath, remember and focus; halting the sensation of firefighting and actually having, some, degree of control.
To help readers start on this process I discuss a useful coaching tool that helps get clear away the day-to-day stressors and remind ourselves to what actually is important in our lives. It’s not an unfamiliar tool yet the Wheel of Life is a simple and effective way to examine what’s actually important to you and evaluate how happy you are with that portion of your life. It can be used to look at your life as a whole, or simply as is the case for the book, just to look at the priorities you have at home and at work. It’s such a useful exercise to get a handle on how your life is and what you need to do to change it.
To get clear on what makes up our reality we have to take the time to look below the surface, what we perceive to be true, and look at the deeper elements and get curious as to how valid these perceptions.
Rather than have an amorphous blob called ‘life’ we can break this down into the factors that matter to you. Naturally just starting by identifying that you’re not happy is the important step; we then drill down to see what you feel needs to improve. These first stages are the ways we map out our ‘reality’. When I’ve used this tool with clients it’s fascinating to hear how they’ll say that they hardly get any time to exercise, for example. Yet when we sit and look at grading how much time they do get it reveals it’s not as bad as it once appeared. Of course, it may not be as good as they like but often our perception can quickly differ from reality.
To get clear on what makes up our reality we have to take the time to look below the surface, what we perceive to be true, and look at the deeper elements and get curious as to how valid these perceptions. Often just by examining this we can notice that we may be doing better than we think. From the start then the book is there to say that life can get busy being a new parent juggling life and work and that’s ok, it’s quite common. It just doesn’t have to that way forever. By taking the time to stop and really look at our lives is the beginning of a really important conversation: with ourselves.
Give it a go, I invite you to try it out. This coaching tool can be applied to any situation you have in life it need not be limited to parenting.
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Ben Jackson is a registered counsellor, coach, and lecturer with nearly 10 years of professional experience. He helps clients with stress and anxiety, anger management, self esteem, confidence, and depression.
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