"We need to talk..."

With the endless needs of your children, schedules and life daily needs, it's easy to forget about the stranger in your house...your partner.

When things seem to be too much, you are overwhelmed with your schedule and you can't seem to agree with one another, something drastic has to be done.

The most important relationship to nurture is the one with your partner.  You are each other's team mates in all parts of life and if you feel like you aren't it's time to have the dreaded "we need to talk" conversation.

Why is it so hard to understand one another?  Why are you never on the same page?  Why do you feel like your relationship isn't equal or that you are doing most of the work?

One word..communication.

The only way to truly understand where each other is at is to communicate.  It's very easy to get distracted by your phone, tv show, computer, children, that you feel like putting it off for later.

Sometimes later is too late and you have lost that connection with that special person.  Don't let the distractions get the best of you!

Action Plan time:

Turn it all off.  Everything.  No Phones, put them in the bedroom, office, wherever is out of sight and turn it off.  Shut down the laptop, tablet, device of choice.  Turn the tv off and unplug it if you need to!  No distractions, just eye contact.

Send the kids to play in another area, they need to understand that your relationship with each other matters and is a priority.  Sit with each other and start talking.

If you need to have a list of talking points with you to stay on topic, great.  But..don't get caught up in topics you want to complain about.  No one wants to listen to someone rattle off things they are struggling with.  If you need to, also keep a list of positive attributes to boost your partner up and show them you notice the good as well as the bad.

Be open and honest with each other.  If you feel like you are taking the brunt of the work say it in a non confrontational way, seeking a new plan.  If you want more connection time, be intentional and schedule a babysitter or swap childcare with a friend and get out of the house ALONE!  

You should never feel guilty for taking a night to yourself away from your children.  Our children deserve our best selves and we can't do that without a break from them!

Check your demands list.  Are there things on your to-do list that don't have to be done that is causing tension in your relationship?  Do you really need to volunteer for that position?  Do you really need to host that event?  Make yourself and your schedule a priority and just say no!  You are important too and you matter!

When you have a free schedule you have more time with your family to do fun things and more time to focus on your partner and where they are at.  Men and Women express themselves very differently and approach things in their own unique ways.  Some people openly express how they are feeling and others hold it inside.  Make sure you are nurturing your spouse's way of expressing themselves and check in with them to see how you both can improve each other's well being.  Don't assume you know how they are feeling or what they need.

If you are feeling like you need support communicating with your partner get help!  If your relationship is deteriorating and you feel like you can't do it alone, don't!  Seek a therapist, counselor, Parent Coach, spiritual adviser, friend whom you trust, anyone who you feel could help you through your challenges appropriately.  Sometimes all it takes is hearing the words come from someone else to connect the dots.

Make your relationship your number one priority.  Your kids need to know that there are other people in the world besides them.  They need to see what a healthy relationship looks like, struggles, disagreements and all!  They also need to see how you work through things and compromise, make resolutions and work as a team to get through daily life as well as the big challenges.

Communication is powerful and completely necessary.  Start today, push forward every day and see how many things improve.

If you need help and you are interested in my services to help you get started in balancing your family life and working through it's challenges, let's get started!  

You Are Just Like Your Father!

Have you ever found yourself the recipient of your spouse saying...

"You are just like your Father, you get so angry so quickly!"... or

"You are just like your Mom, you baby her too much..." Yikes..

Something to keep in mind before you say things like the above is, was the way I was parented the best way?  Do I have different expectations than my spouse?  Why are we always on different pages!?  

This is a very common scenario in your typical household, but why?  Because our parents all raised us differently.  Chances are, if you are a Male you were taught to be tough, not to be coddled or doted on too much and to not cry too much for fear of your weakness.  If you are a Female, chances are you were given more patience and understanding or attention when sad.

When you are facing differences in Parent Styles it can create quite a barrier between you and your partner.  The first thing you need to do is DISCUSS IT!

And when I say "discuss it" I don't mean have a conversation about why your parenting style is better because of...

I mean, actually discuss it, talk about your differences.  Express why you feel the way you do about how you parent and think about how it affects your children.  Having an open dialogue is important to feel like you are being heard and understood as well as let your guard down and really listen to what your partner is telling you to better understand them!  Give them your full attention with no distractions as much as possible.

After you discuss, come up with an action plan.  Talk together about how you can blend your parenting styles to create harmony.  Also, talk about how you will hold each other accountable for change or improvement in the most productive and positive way.  If your partner is coming across as too demanding or harsh when talking with your children you don't want to blurt out, "Hey!  Remember what we talked about!" (cue condescending voice...) You want to talk about how you personally want to be given a cue or reminder when in the moment to bring you back to your conversation of change.  

I learned this the hard way after having a conversation, feeling like real progress was made with my Husband and then my moment of truth came.  In the heat of the moment with my Husband and child I found him resorting to his routine of getting a bit too loud and not having quite enough patience and I responded in a way that he felt was threatening and undermining.  Keep practicing, apologize to one another and try again.  It is so important for your children to see this as well.  Our kiddos need to know that in life there are differences and compromises, and most importantly, no one is too big to say, "I messed up."

Clear some space in your calendar this week or weekend to really work on this together, you will be amazed at what a difference it makes!

I have put together a PDF for you and your partner to work on to see if you can work together to create harmony and understanding.  I suggest printing a copy for each person, fill it out individually and then discuss it with each other.  The important thing to keep in mind is this is a discussion, not an attack on each other regarding what you are doing wrong or why you are not a good parent.  Keep it positive, take breaks if you need but keep the conversation going.  Be honest and you will see what a difference in your life this will make! 

Throw Your Calendar Away.

Do you wake up and feel overwhelmed by your day before your feet hit the ground?  

Do you find yourself going through the list in your head, trying to figure out how you are going to get it all done?

Take your calendar and literally throw it away....there, now don't you feel better?!

Okay, seriously, don't do that, but, get your white out ready!  Or for you technologically inclined people, get ready to hit that delete button!

In today's society's mind it is completely acceptable and even encouraged to over stuff your calendar, over committing yourself at every turn.  

Our children are feeling the stretch.  We become irritable, rushing from one event to the next, often yelling at our kids, "hurry up!" "get your shoes on!" "we are going to be late!" and for what?

Research shows our kids are seriously lacking in the Free Time department.  When kids are free to "go play" they learn so many skills and feel the true freedom of childhood.

If you struggle with a child with Behavioral Disorders, Mental Health issues or Special Needs, this is even more important!  And we owe it to them to give them this time to celebrate all of their youth.

I want you to take a hard look at your calendar.  Are you committing to things you don't enjoy?  It's time to let that go.  Are your kids in activities they don't enjoy?  Take a serious look at if it's worth it to continue and why you are truly doing them.  Are you a member of every committee and board, responsible for everyone's success?  Does that bring you happiness or a feeling of obligation?

I give you permission to put yourself and your family first.  Once you start to see white space on your calendar you will start to feel the relief, and don't stop!

We as parents sometimes feel the need to always be doing some sort of activity, keeping our kids entertained and busy...it's okay for them to be bored!

If you want to dig further into de-cluttering your life and calendar check out Allie Casazza, http://alliecasazza.com/.   She has great tips to get you out of overwhelm and on the path to simplicity and joy!

She has a podcast at https://www.thepurposefulhomepodcast.com/ with Kelsey and they have some awesome ideas to get you moving in the right direction!  

Go check it out, and hopefully you don't run out of white out or end up with sore fingers from pushing the delete button!!

 

 

What does the back of your phone look like?

Is this you?

Is this you?

 

When I think about my childhood I remember the beautiful pink and sparkly phone case my Mom had on her smart phone that I stared at when I talked to her....

Oh wait, that wasn't my childhood...was that yours?   Is it your child's?

One major difference between our childhood memories and our child's?  Having to push buttons on a phone that never left the wall attached to a cord or carrying around a huge chunk of plastic with a large antenna....and getting out a tiny device out of our pocket that never leaves our side...

The explosion of the internet and smart phones has drastically changed how our children act, think, play, relate to each other and evolve..

Technology is an amazing thing connecting so many people, thus you finding me! But the major problem that researchers are finding out is that it has become an addiction, one that we would like to think we are in control of but, sadly, we are not.

Children need to understand how to use technology but they also need to understand they matter.

When I think of my childhood I remember looking into my Mom's eyes when I talked, knowing I was important and what I was saying mattered...

Too many times I have found myself talking to my kids without being present with them in their space and with their thoughts.

Each day lets remove ourselves from the pull of social media, the overstuffed calendars, the over commitments of extra curriculars and overextending ourselves to things that are not important to us.

If you need a great resource I would suggest Rachel Macy Stafford.  Her Website is called Hands Free Mama and she has a couple of books available to purchase or rent from the library. You can find her here: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2017/02/24/the-best-way-to-get-kids-to-put-down-the-device-do-whats-needed-and-dream-big/  

Removing ourselves slowly from technology over consumption is very difficult but can be done and is so important.

Remember, I am not saying technology is bad, that you should not  enjoy it and you cannot use it...it is great when scheduled properly and taken seriously.  Having a family "tech time" scheduled will allow you to relax because you know your time is coming and your kids can enjoy it as well and look forward to it.  With scheduled times you won't have them asking you all day if they can play with their tablets or watch a show...they will know.

Good luck on this path, it's a hard one but such a rewarding one.  

Comment down below with how you plan to be intentional with technology and any success you are having!

Remember, the most important people you need information from, connection with and attention to is right in front of you, the texts, IM's, DM's etc. can all wait until you are good and ready to respond.

Be a ninja with your time and keep it sacred! 

-Jenny

The Special Needs in your relationship no one likes to talk about

When we focus so much of our time and energy on our "Extra" children what's left for us?  Our relationships?

Special Needs children are complex, wonderful, frustrating, overwhelming, funny and challenging.  I often found myself so exhausted at the end of the day that I didn't have much to pour into my relationship with my husband.

Is it fair?  Nope.  Is it a real struggle?  Yep.

In my personal experience the professional field wants to know,

"How is your child doing in school?"

"How is therapy going?" 

"What are the most recent challenges"

And that is great and all, but couldn't help but to think, "Wait!  What about what is happening to my relationship!?"

"What about our struggles to understand each other, that we are always in conflict about discipline and how to even do that with an "extra" child.."

It made me feel selfish, like I wasn't concentrating on who was really important, my child..

But who takes care of my child?  We do.

Who has to work hard to pay for all of the medical needs, appointments and expenses?  We do.

So isn't in the best interest of everyone to build a strong foundation in our relationship to get through the immense struggles, the stress of parenting an extra challenging child and the draining tantrums?  You bet it is!

If I was to give advice to you today it would be this...

Don't forget about yourselves, if you are a single parent, it's especially important to take time for yourself!  I know we hear it all of the time, but there is a reason for it!

Ever since I truly started taking the time to be intentional with my husband I have noticed a major shift in our relationship.

Ask your family for a couple of hours alone with your spouse.

Don't have family close?  Hire a sitter for a couple of hours.

Don't have the funds to hire a sitter?  Reach out to your community of other fellow parents with Special Needs children to swap nights...more on this to come later!

Even if you have to put the kid(s) to bed early and put it in your calendar, do it.  And do it regularly.  Put it in your calendar like an appointment that is to be taken as such, no cancelling!

You're worth it!  Let me repeat, YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Take care of yourself, your child(ren) will thank you for it! 

 

This is worth fighting for!

This is worth fighting for!

When it's time to give up..

After the 4th thing is broken for the day....

After the last tantrum, over.....well, you don't remember what exactly...

After yelling at your child yet again and regretting it...

When exactly is it the time to give up?  Never..

Before you roll your eyes at me and click away, listen, you are the one!  The only one who knows your child the best, that your child counts on to stay strong in the wake of another epic meltdown..you are the one that they love more than anything in their world..and you are going to mess it up!

You mess it up all of the time,  you don't handle something like you wanted to, you yell when you didn't mean to and regret it afterwards..That's the way it goes when you have a child with extra struggles & challenges and guess what?  It's okay.  Whether someone said those words to you and you didn't believe them or your spouse tells you and you brush it off, let me tell it to you.  It's.Okay!  

Hold your head up high and know you gave it your all and that is the best you can do.  People told me that and I thought to myself, "but I can do better," "I shouldn't have yelled over something so stupid, but it was my last nerve I had left." But you know what, you did the best you could at the time with what you had left to give.

Parenting children with extra energy, resilience, stamina and tantrums is extremely exhausting, mentally draining and can have you find yourself feeling quite resentful and angry.  Don't let your struggles with managing an "extra" child make you feel like you are failing, you are doing your best with the situation at hand with the skills you have. 

I am so proud of you and your journey that has led you here!

If you find yourself looking for more, needing more help or looking for something that is missing, I am here for you and that's what I do best!  

Whatever your needs, wherever you are in life, I am here to support you and your family to bring the happiness back into your family, environment & home.  Contact me today to let me know how I can help you and let's get started!  I can't wait to help get you back on your path to finding yourself, your family connection and smiling more than you have in a long time!

 

Let's do this together!

Let's do this together!