Do you feel like you are apart of societies rat race, struggling to feel connected with you partner, kids and yourself? I was there too and made some realizations that helped to make our family a team who is working and growing together to make our family great.
Our family has been through a lot, I know there are families out there that have been through more, but our experiences have provided us with a different approach to life. We still have the typical struggles of children that don't listen, struggles with school, pottying issues, arguments about health with my husband, etc... however the roots of our family are changing and I am changing the narratives I pass to my girls.
“a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of view or set of values”
Our lives are shaped by narratives, received from many avenues: society, family, sports, etc... Many can be wonderful for example: 'my family always has welcomed others quite literally with open arms and included them as part of the family' and I hope that is forever passed on through the generations. However, some prove to be negative, unwanted, for example: 'societies construct of the requirement to make the almighty dollar and always be working toward that no matter the cost' or 'that you always need to be proving yourself to others and striving to impress everyone'.
I had to take a good hard look at all of the narratives that I was allowing to dictate my life and start choosing which ones no longer served me and which ones I desired to embrace so that I could change the overall narrative my girls would receive.
Narratives I have chosen to embrace:
One of the most important ones, and one I am still working on changing for myself is that the most important thing in life is to be kind, happy and enjoy what we have and each other. To stop striving to impress others and change what you do or how you do it in an effort to gain envy of others.
Strive to be fulfilled and happy in what you do, and there is not a time in your life that you are limited in what you can start.
Mental health is no different than physical health and we can be open about it and everyone deals with it in one way or another.
You truly can do anything if you believe in you can.
Be kind, no matter how you have been treated just be kind because we don't need to add negativity to the world there are enough people doing that already. This also includes being kind to yourself.
Be confident, it is ok to be confident because that just means you believe in yourself and don't let others fears and disbelief change yours.
Life-work balance, I put life first because I have learned that life is more important because that is what you leave behind.
Be active as it benefits both mental and physical health.
How WE have started to change our family:
“Team (Family) - More than one person working towards a common goal .”
When I became a parent it was one of the greatest days of my life, however now when I look back I realize that that little person was not seen as a little person it was seen as a baby, child, kid, less then an adult. That is the narrative that I was given.
As we all grew and went through many tough as a family I realized that we depended on those little ones just as much as they depended on us. We were and are a team. There have been times that they picked me up off the 'floor' while my husband was going through chemo by knowing when I need a hug or cuddles even at 2 and 5 years old.
This showed me they are little people and deserve to be treated as an equal part of the family. Don't get me wrong there are decisions that they don't participate in because it is beyond there current comprehension. However we make an emphasis to them that they are part of our team and we all work together to overcome our struggles. Similarly for our youngest struggling to potty train to myself dealing with mental health struggles. We work as a team and focus on living the narratives we want.
I also made some personal changes to suit the narratives I wanted...
I was tired of watching people I know do nothing but work so they could retire and either not make it to retirement, make it to retirement then shortly after fall ill and pass or have a life event that would not allow the retirement they worked for. So after decades of working they had nothing to show for it and never had a chance to enjoy their life and the family they have.
So in spring of 2020, I set to find a new company to work for and set expectations I wasn't going to waiver on. Luckily the first company I approached agrees so I went from leaving the house and dropping the girls of at 7:00am, commuting then working from 8:00am-5:00pm and getting home at 6:00pm to then rush dinner, bath and beds. To working from home, no commute, no daycare for the girls. Helping get them off to school, working from 8:00am - 3:00pm, picking the girls up from school and then having the afternoon to spend time and enjoy our family.
I not only increased our quality of life I also showed the girls that working is not the most important thing in life. We don't have to live to work or work to live we can find a balance where we just live our best life.
We continue to learn and adjust as we further realize what we want and are open to what is to come.