Life Isn’t an emergency. Point number 22 in Richard Carlson’s Don’t sweat the small stuff…Omnibus. I read the two pages this point covers twice, then a third time more slowly.
Parenting, being a mother specifically has managed to make me feel so inadequate. I take it so seriously, I forget I am only human, I have two hands, and only so much energy. Looking at a house cluttered with toys, snacks, shoes and feeling an urge that everything has to be in place, always. Each time telling my son not to pour this, return your books to the shelf, do that. Is having the house in order such an emergency? Whats the worst that could happen really? We manage to stress ourselves on things that should not even. I do not endorse clutter, but I am learning to let the kid play, he can put everything back in place when done. And if visitors find it too messy maybe they should come back years later when he is grown.
In my future posts, once in a while, I will be talking about some points in this book, and what I am learning so far from it, how I am translating the points specifically as regards motherhood, the category this blog revolves around.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Tied to life is not an emergency. Richard Carlson put it simply and perfectly, we spend so much energy sweating the small stuff we miss the beauty of what is going on around us, of raising our children. Now I know, this city of Nairobi manages to drive even the best of us crazy right from the traffic in the morning. For some, right from their gates. By the time you get to work you are irritated, then work, maybe a difficult colleague or client, by the time you get home in the evening you are ready to explode, snowball effect. How about you let it go? Why are you competing with that lunatic on the road? Why not let them go? Do you have to be the one who is always right in the office? Letting your colleagues be right does not in anyway mean you are wrong! Think about it.
Sounds too easy, case of easier said than done? It is easy I believe, just a mind switch. Making a mental note that you are not going to get worked up, seeing the bigger picture which is getting home calm, not a seething monster breathing out fire. I have noticed that when I am irritated from work by the time I get home I snap even on the smallest things. We spend so much time away from our kids, I think we should spend the few hours before they get to sleep catching up on their day not shouting at them, projecting our anger and frustrations. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It is all small stuff.
If he is not concentrating on the homework, I don’t shout, instead I tell him the importance of focusing on the task at hand. We finish quickly and then get time to play a game or for him to tell me something he wants to.
Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences. How annoyed do you feel/ get when someone does this to you? It’s easy not to pay attention to the fact that you probably do this a lot to your children, maybe even spouses, friends, but that is not my focus. I notice when my son speaks he does not always get to the point immediately, the story takes twists and turns at times I do not even get the message. But I am learning to listen, then ask questions when I do not understand so he can explain himself clearly. Becoming more patient. Listening without getting an urge to interrupt requires it. I have noticed how relaxed we both are when conversing. He notices I am listening, paying attention, looking at him, nodding, asking questions. It is fantastic. You are actually teaching them the same too.
Lastly, for today, Allow yourself to be bored. The authors friend put it this way to him, “People are no longer human beings. We should be called human doings.” I am not sure why we get this urge that we need to keep the children occupied all the time! From the moment they wake up, till they get to bed, every minute is scheduled. Weekends see us moving our kids from one activity to another, they are signed up for so many clubs their little heads must be spinning. How about we schedule time to be bored too. Allowing them to fill this time makes them create their own games, activities to do. I have heard Djasiri sing songs he makes up as he goes during this time, it is hilarious. But most importantly it shows me that he can come up with ideas to occupy himself. He does not need me to tell him or plan for him what to do. It obviously translates to parents also slowing down, taking a minute to just relax. Take a nap Sunday afternoon when you feel the urge to engage in an activity instead of just being.
I in no way do justice to how good this book is. Grab a copy if you can, hopefully you enjoy it as much as I am doing and that it gives you a different, better perspective. There are a total of a hundred points, I am thrilled and hope to put them in practice in my day to day and also as a mother. I will try at least.