More and more these days I find myself having to work really hard on letting things go. I was thinking about this the other day as my head was about to blow, and realised (yet again!) that all of the stuff that was getting under my skin was only there because I was letting it be! So (again) I resolved to change this!
*VERY IMPORTANT NOTE – I keep adding “again” because I teach this stuff. I know it inside out – BUT I still totally and completely get sucked back into old ways of thinking. The most important thing is to keep intentionally pulling yourself back on track and not stressing about veering off.*
I decided to start picking my battles. This began with my toddler Charley. When he wanted to crash his pirate ship at full force into his train table I just let him crack on. When he wanted to scrawl all over his magnets on his whiteboard, I grinned (through gritted teeth, but hey!). When he wanted to chase (imaginary) Peter Rabbit around the house while pretending to be Farmer McGregor I washed the pots and turned the radio up. However, when he wanted to take his jam sandwich (strawberries are DEFINITELY one of his 5 a day) to the toilet I have to say no, even though he “can just balance it on the sink Mummy”. When he wants to throw his cuddly toys down the stairs, that’s fine. When he wants to throw my iPad down, that’s again a no. When he shares his sandwich crust with his brother I can handle that. When he tries to force miniature Buzz Lightyear into Finn’s mouth I have to step in.
These sound trivial, right? But I found myself saying no, and getting stressed a hell of a lot less. Maybe part of it is because we’ve moved to a new house and I can now close the doors to the playroom. Maybe the mess would have pissed me off a whole lot more in the old house.
Anyway – the experiment continued. I carried on practising. I’d try and ask myself in my head “is this a big deal?” before I opened my runaway mouth. I definitely nagged my husband less as part of this.
A by-product of this was that it also made me look at what’s important. So for work – half of my blogs are missing images as they were lost when I ported my site over to a new theme. Before I’d have spent hours procrastinating and reuploading them. Now, although I will at some point, it’s become less of a priority. It doesn’t move my life and my business forward so it’s just not that important.
My top tips to help you pick your battles
- Ask yourself firstly “is this dangerous” and then “does this even actually matter, or am I emotional?”
If it’s dangerous then it probably is worth battling over. The second question is so interesting. The emotional issue is a big deal. We’re not able to be logical when we are working in our emotional brain. I’ll explain why in a blog coming very soon!
- Get informed.
So, I’ll be “going to battle” soon with schools and local education authorities as I’m not sending my son to school next year at age 4 and 2 weeks. Not a chance. I’m not going to get into the argument here but there’s a clause for summer born children in the admissions code regarding this whole thing. So I intend to get myself informed so that I can be ready to do what I feel is best as a parent for my son, and have all of the information that I need in order to fight if I need to.
- If it’s a really important decision weigh up the pros and cons.
Again, this is only for important things – telling Charley not to shove his cereal down the back of the radiator does not warrant a pros and cons list.
- Choose the right time.
Ripping into my darling hubby for leaving an empty toilet roll on the holder when he’s hungry or rushing around for work isn’t going to get me the best outcome. However, telling him I’ve just bought some new makeup when he’s absorbed is a totally different outcome as he’s not even listening….. Just saying!
- Serve it as a shit sandwich….
I love this analogy. It’s not just for battles but for any kind of criticism. The idea is that you start with a positive, go in for the kill, then end on a positive. For example:
“Tom, thanks for always making me breakfast. Would you mind popping me a new toilet roll in the bathroom please as I think you forgot? Ooooo you smell lovely – I love that aftershave! ?
“Charley setting Fireman Sam’s alarm off on repeat and yelling “there’s an emergency” looks like so much fun. Could we try being a bit quieter as Mummy’s head’s hurting. Shall we do a jigsaw?”
Now you can totally read the underlying sarcasm and general passive-aggressiveness there, but if you deliver the lines properly I promise you that they definitely won’t!!!
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