TalkBack To Vicki Jardine

A TalkBack on Parenting Issues

Managing Kids When You Don’t Feel Motivated July 29, 2009

Feeling too tired?

Feeling drained?

Feeling frustrated about your job or the economy?

Just feeling like you are not where you thought you would be at the age you are?

Grieving the loss of a loved one?

Get the BIG PICTURE!

Get the BIG PICTURE!

Coping with a difficult relationship?

Struggling to overcome your own bad habits?

Managing an ongoing health issue of a loved one, or an aging parent?

Or simply feeling depressed and finding it difficult to snap out of?

How can you motivate yourself to be upbeat and positive for the sake of everyone around, especially your children?

No matter how you are feeling, parenthood does not wait for you to get it together.  It is literally 24/7 – ongoing.

Your child is counting on you to be a grown-up.  It will not have crossed your child’s mind that you are not the ideal model of an adult.  In fact, your child will most definitely model themselves on you (even if, as they grow older they really don’t wish to).

We parents need to be able to see the big picture.  We need to be able to view our daily life in perspective.  When we remember that we, ourselves are only part of the picture and all that we think we are suffering, will one day be ‘history’ much of which was of little real importance in the scheme of things, then we can begin to appreciate the needs of those around us.

I guess what I am saying is we only get one chance to parent our children.  They only have one childhood and it is truly only a ‘few years’ long.  In those years, we get to model for our children what it is to:

  • Care about others
  • Work towards goals
  • Be responsible
  • Be honest with ourselves and others
  • Contribute to sustainability of the globe

We cannot afford to get bogged down in the daily-ness of life with all its’ ups and downs.  We have to think about how we impact on our families and how they are looking to their parents to cope, lead, guide and inspire them.

We need to focus on being their sanctuary from the hardships they face on a daily basis rather than focusing on our own.  Because when we can do this, we have the knowledge that we are doing something great.  Something absolutely ‘invaluable’ that no amount of money can buy. 

We are giving our children the place of importance that they deserve, that builds their self-esteem, that teaches them how to value others needs and how to ‘focus-forward’, rather than on the way they are feeling at any given time.

They are going to need these qualities as they grow and mature into the magnificent adults that they will be.  You will find that while you may have been a ‘bit down’ some of the time when your children were young, that you cannot even really recall why you were down, in the years to come.  

Whatever the problem today, it is not made better by letting it get on top of you.  You will only look back and think about the days you wasted, rather than building your child’s bright future….and therefore your own. 

Once you are a parent, your happiness, sense of accomplishment and self-opinion does become inexplicably tied up in how you rate what you have done for your children, one way or another.  Your joy is very much dependent on how you perceive your children’s lives ‘turn out’, whether you like it or not.

So when you are feeling down, upset, out of sorts or stuck in an emotional black hole, you can re-focus your thoughts and motivate yourself to see the day through your children’s eyes.  I know it sounds simplistic and you are probably thinking I have never been unmotivated or ‘down’. 

I have though.  I have experienced what it feels like to just not be able to muster the energy I need, for one reason or another.  And one thing I have come to realize is that life is just like that.  Ups and downs. 

I am not saying that you don’t count or that the way you feel is not valid.  I am merely saying that in a day or two, or week or two, or month or two, the way you are feeling today will not be remembered. 

Feelings come and go. 

We dont have a lot of control over feelings.

But we do have control over thoughts.  We can think about things differently.  We can recognize that there is a ‘big picture’ and it is happy, rosy and filled with joy.  We can gain encouragement for ourselves to see how the big, rosy picture can motivate us out of feeling down.

Focusing on how things can turn out if we perservere and keep sight of the vision motivates because we all want to experience joy and happiness.  It is a need and a driving force within us.  And if that is true, then we can get the energy we need for today because we believe it will result in producing the end result that we are looking for.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Recognize the signs that you are ‘down’.
  • Admit how your ‘downer’ may be affecting those around you.
  • Decide to re-focus on the bigger picture and put the daily picture into perspective (think 5-10 years). Here’s how to re-focus:
    • Imagine what joy you will feel when you see you have raised healthy and happy children.
    • Imagine (really see) your life the way you want it to be rather than keeping on looking at it the way it is now.
  • Take actions consistent with your image of your happy life and family.
  • Remind yourself of the ‘big picture’ and know that what you do today is building that picture.
  • Re-focus every hour or minute if you have to. 
  • Never give up on your dream for your family.

I know it sounds too simplistic.  But what if it is just that simple?

I am reminded of a verse from the Bible that really is consistent with this idea:

Philipians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Think on these things. 

What if it is telling us not to dwell on how down we are feeling? 

What if we can truly become motivated to be happy, even when we are down, simply by refusing to dwell on what we are down about?

I believe that so many of us parents have been raised by imperfect parents who simply did their best, but didn’t know what to really teach us about managing our everyday lives. 

I believe we struggle as adults without children.  But then we find ourselves with children and suddenly, we know we have one chance to help them.  One chance to set them up for life.

Then we try to draw on our own imperfect experiences, like that is going to be enough. 

It’s not enough to just draw on the past.  We have to really develop some vision about the future and work towards setting our children up for that.

So next time you just feel paralysed by your own problems and feel unmotivated, try to think about the future and the needs of your children and take the steps to motivate yourself through it. 

Simplistic?  Yes….but nonetheless true….and it’s worth the effort, I promise!

TalkBack to me.  I value your opinions.  Everyone has either experienced difficulties such as these, or knows someone who has.

Let other parents know about your solutions.  Share your thoughts on this subject.

Bye for now,

Vicki Jardine

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