How do you cope with the influx of baby gear and then all the plastic items which infiltrate your house as soon as you so much as announce there’s a baby in the offing? Goodbye neat, minimal, grown up living space, hello chaos!
Nothing really prepares you for all the changes children bring to the home, and at Happy Mandays Simon and Tom, who both work away, were discussing the challenges they’ve faced when returning home, and are greeted by a scene resembling the aftermath of a hurricane.
Recognising their somewhat harassed partners have been fighting a losing battle all week, they’ve got involved in the tidy up mission to restore order, quickly finding, however, that almost as soon as they’ve finished a job that it’s undone faster than it was completed. One example experienced was of a good few minutes spent cleaning a full-length mirror only to turn around, literally seconds later, and find a sun-cream smeared child laughing joyously as they danced against the mirror and smeared the cream all over it…
At that point it’s likely you find yourself getting cross and screaming “Do you know how long it took me to clean that?!” but let’s face it, chances are they won’t understand or care. In their eyes it was fun, a weird sensation of body on glass, not a deliberate attempt to sabotage your attempts to make the house sparkle.
That got us thinking, to save our sanity, is there another way of approaching such incidents? Can we take off our adult glasses and see things through the eyes of our children? Is there a way to change our expectation around what clean and tidy means when you have children?
Yes! The conclusion we came to is that you can, with practice, identify what your underlying thoughts and feelings are. Doing that helps us to understand what’s actually going on for us. Then we can decide if that’s what’s needed right now.
One technique based on the Mindfulness 3-step process is, when you find yourself feeling cross or behaving in a way which you’d rather not, pause and:
Gather up all the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing and notice where you feel them. You may notice that what you thought was the issue is not the actual underlying one.
Concentrate on your breathing, taking deep breaths and bringing the airdown into your belly.
Finally, as you exhale, use that breath to push out all the negativity.
It might sound like that takes some time but, with practice, it can become a quick way of giving you some headspace to see what’s really going on and help you prioritise.
After all, when all is said and done, as Tom perfectly summed it up, “Stuff isn’t important, people are”.