….asked my 4 year old this week while I was preparing his favorite morning meal. As I racked my brain for a few seconds (minutes maybe:-) trying to come up with a smart and quick answer that would make sense to him – he turned to me and said “Mummy, I want to eat my oatmeal please.” The apparent importance of the earlier question had suddenly taken a back seat to the grumbling in his tummy! He had moved on while I was still trying to figure out my comeback.
In that moment, I realized that my response (or lack thereof) to Alejandro’s simple question and statement was similar to how we often are in life: trying to figure out our ‘comeback’ to situations that have ‘moved on’ (i.e. either changed, are no longer present and/or relevant or are stagnant).
How about you? Are you still figuring out your ‘comeback’ or response to things that have happened days, weeks, months, even years ago?
- holding on to that insensitive comment someone said about your child ages ago?
- still reeling from the initial trauma of having a child born prematurely?
- having difficulty coming to terms with your child having special needs?
- holding on to a work environment that stresses you out more and more each day?
- still trying to understand why your child’s school seems to be unable and/or unwilling to adequately support your child?
If you are, what is keeping you in this figuring mode as opposed to the action mode?
This month’s newsletter is all about calling you to action – especially during this time of year when reflection on the past and anticipation of the future is the norm. Whether you are faced with answering an origin of breakfast question like I was (ha) or with the stares and insensitive comments from others, don’t figure out your comeback – make your comeback by taking action! It can be in the form of a mental, financial, emotional, physical or social shift or change – doesn’t matter, as long as it is an action that moves you forward in a good way.
So often, we fret or panic over the things that appear important at a time when they no longer are or we mull over things that we know we need to do/decide upon but haven’t yet. The latter is particularly true with special parents because we are often faced with a multitude of interconnected and sometimes opposing situations that make making a simple decision appear nearly impossible, at the very least extremely difficult.
Situations like: mainstream education with support vs a more specialized educational environment or potty-training your child with special needs or explaining, yet again, to family members and friends about your child’s disabilities or balancing the demands at your work with your frequent absences due to the surgical and/or medical needs of your child.
All of these scenarios can understandably leave you feeling a bit stuck but I don’t want you to stay stuck. What do you need to do today / this month to get you from a ‘figuring’ almost stagnant stage to a ‘comeback’ action one? Let’s explore/consider three (3) simple questions:
1) What’s your gain?
2) What’s your loss?
3) What’s stopping you?
What’s your gain? – What are you gaining and/or have gained from staying in the figuring, mulling or inaction mode? Our actions (or inactions) usually tend to give us something, a little perk, whether we recognize it or not and whether it’s healthy or not. Does not taking action give you a sense of perceived control and/or make it easier to be a little freer emotionally? Do you think by not addressing something, then in some ways it’s not there? Jot down the 1st thing you feel/think when you start to mull continuously over something…..this is your perk.
What’s your loss? – What do you lose by either holding on to those things that have slighted you in the past or by not making a decision about something. Maybe you lose some of your power and self-control perhaps, because whatever it is you are not letting go of or not making a decision about is the very thing that is in control – not you. If it is important for you to have some level of control in our life, why give it away? Many special parents I work with do this unconsciously, largely because they are so overwhelmed with everything that’s on their plate, that it’s just easier, simpler and familiar for them.
Another thing to remember is that oftentimes when you decide to let go of or lose something, this is the very moment when you start gaining something else that often turns out to be far better and/or more important for you than you originally thought. Just like Alejandro let go (rather swiftly I might add) of his desire to know the answer to his question and gained something that turned out to be far more important and necessary to him at the moment – eating his oatmeal!
What’s stopping you? ….from taking action and moving forward? What makes you transform into the ‘deer in the headlights’ frozen pose when it comes to taking steps forward? Whatever you answer to this question will prove to be your catalyst for change because when you identify the things that may be blocking your growth (i.e. fear, uncertainty, uncomfortableness, etc), you remove their power and weight over you and open yourself up to an enourmous array of possibilities.
This is what I want for you during this holiday season and the new year – to be fully open to possibilities and opportunities – and be ready to step into them (i.e. an action) however they are manifested.
I know all of this is much easier said than done. For me, the one thing that really stops me from moving forward is my tendency to proscrastinate. I’ve recognized this for years and I’ve gained humor from it as I could always make a joke out of it – even my husband jokes about his ‘good intentioned but little to no action wife’. When I tell him over and over and over again, all that I want to do, know I can do, etc…..he just looks at me and (gently but firmly) says his code word for action – “Nike” (i.e just do it). What?? I gasp – just do it? – does he not know how much I need to do before I do what it is I want to do??????? Ha, sounds silly as I write it but when I’m passionately listing all of my reasons for my being slow to act, they all seem so legitimate…..and worth protecting/keeping, right? They are my perks.
My big loss in this though is that I’m giving away all of my God-given talents and inner potential and ability that I know that I have within me in order to act promptly, effectively and efficiently on things. I think part of my blocker is a little bit fear to put myself out there. Funny to hear that from a parent coach who by all accounts put the ‘e’ in extrovert! – but it’s there. My fear has been keeping me in the figuring stage and to use the breakfast scenario again, just like Alejandro moved onto his oatmeal after my delayed response, a few personal and professional opportunities for growth for me have also moved on too! The key for me is that now that I’ve identified one of my blockers (fear), then I must learn how to still take action in the midst of my fear.
During this holiday season, take a moment to prepare yourself, so you can be ready for anything that life (or a breakfast question) throws at you. As a special parent, you’ve already proven that you have the guts, knowledge, compassion and strength that’s needed.
Hope your holidays are wonderful and your children are fantastic (and that they stay well during this winter season)!