You’ve probably heard the saying, “If Mama (or Daddy!) ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”
There have been many points during my parenting journey when I was tired, cranky, and at the end of my mothering rope. When I’m like that, I’m definitely no fun to be around. The same thing happens when my kids are cranky or going through a major challenge–it takes every effort for me to keep a positive attitude going.
One piece of parenting advice that someone once gave me was “Choose your battles carefully.”
At first, I didn’t get it. I was the mom. I was in charge. Not this little headstrong toddler. Of course, things were going to go MY way!
It seemed like no matter what I did, my oldest kid turned everything into a battle. Why, oh why, couldn’t my kid behave? Why didn’t he listen to me? Some of it was my inexperience as a parent. Some of it was just the lucky dice of being a mom of a very determined, stubborn kid.
As I became a more seasoned parent, I learned little tricks to make my day go smoother. For example, instead of having a daily battle with a kid who wanted to wear what HE wanted, I simply put out two outfits and asked him which one he wanted to wear. This often translated to everything else: shoes, food, books, movies. The choices were always something that was acceptable to me, but it gave my child the feeling of being in control of the situation because of being able to make a decision of their own.
Another trick that lead to a positive atmosphere at home was the 10, 10, 10 guideline. I weighed decisions, situations, and lessons with that guideline. I had to determine if the parenting situation would matter 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years from now, then I would adjust my parenting accordingly. There’s no need to battle a situation that you won’t remember ten months or ten years from now.
One of my favorite ways of creating a positive atmosphere for my kids is through positive quotes or positive lessons. I have journals and journals of quotes that I’ve saved over the years. One of my favorite quotes for my kids was actually a line from the movie, “What a Girl Wants.” It goes like this: “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?” All three of my kids are deaf/hard of hearing and I wanted them to totally be comfortable with this as I struggled when I was growing up. So this I shared this quote often when they were growing up–to the point that they would roll their eyes at the mention of it.
The positive atmosphere rubbed off on my daughter–she ended up writing quotes on the walls of her bedroom as a teen. My only rule was that as long as Grandma could read it, she could post anything she wanted. Her room turned into a masterpiece as my daughter invited friends to write their favorite quotes on the walls. Every inch of her room is now covered in quotes.
And finally… one of the best practices for keeping a positive atmosphere at home comes from having an attitude of graditude. Anytime I’m stressed-out, I turn to the question of, “What’s good right now?” I examine what’s working right. I seek out the blessing and focus on that.