Sunday, March 20, 2016

Life Planning & Living Forward

I am not unhappy.  I am struck with gratitude multiple times a day:  when I look at my healthy children, my family, the beautiful surroundings of where I live.

However, I am not feeling all that settled lately.  I think a lot of it comes down to what I wrote in yesterday's post.  I feel like I am always flitting, running, cutting corners.  And I hate that.  Perhaps it's just an inevitable part of being a parent.  Or having a busy job with a lot of (real, high-stakes) responsibility.  Or both.

I am reading Living Forward right now, which seems like a rather random pick in the personal development realm.  But it's interesting.  I have been listening to one of the authors' podcast (Michael Hyatt) for quite some time and find him intriguing and thought provoking even though I have my doubts about whether we would get along in real life (just . . . different ideologies, and probably politics).  Anyway, as part of my "Life Plan" (his TM, apparently) creation, I am making lists that look like this for the top 9 priorities in my life.  Here's an example for item #2 (most I do not plan on sharing publicly, but this one seems pretty straightforward).

Action Plan for Item #2 - A&C

Action Plan 2:  A&C

Purpose statement: My purpose is to be a present and engaged parent for Annabel and Cameron, to help them grow into happy and healthy older children and adults, and to enjoy the precious time we have together as a family.

Envisioned future:  Annabel and Cameron are school age, and they are thriving.  Both kids feel comfortable confiding and me and coming to me with real questions and dilemmas.  They enjoy spending time with Josh and me, alone or together.  They also have active social lives (friends), try hard in school, and each play a sport and do another activity.  We make the most of the days by seeking out fun experiences and opportunities to learn together.  We eat family dinner several nights of the week.  We plan a big family trip each year and look forward to it for months.  However, we also get a lot of joy out of the daily routine and things as mundane as a rainy Saturday at home reading or a movie night.

Inspiring quote:  “The days are long but the years are short.” — Gretchen Rubin

Current reality:
- Discipline can be a struggle, especially with Annabel.
- We do have fun times together after work, but it is tough when I am tired and the only one doing it for days in a row
- They have a great school and we have kind, hard-working and reliable childcare
- We are not quite at the age that trips/outings are all that easy
- We do have nice weekends together when we are off — a vast improvement over our previous schedule

Specific commitments:
- We will seek out experiences that will work at our children’s current ages
- I will treat time with A&C as precious as it truly is: no phone, no disengagement
- I will get enough rest so that I can be the patient and present parent that they deserve
- I will cultivate an open dialogue with each child so that they always feel they can come to me without judgement, and that I will listen
- I will work to create fun experiences and memories for our family to share, but I will also give attention to the daily routines that shape our lives
- I will read some more books on parenting, discipline, and communication to get a broader perspective and more ideas in this realm

So no, it's nothing earth-shattering.  But having to lay out exactly where things are in every realm, and detailing how I would like things to change (with specific ideas) has felt helpful.  And maybe seeing it all out there will help to demonstrate how some things really do conflict (CAN'T actually do it all!), leading me to make conscious choices rather than the aforementioned flitting/running/cutting corners.


Okay, going to snuggle with A on the couch so that I can be true to my action plan above.  It has been a really nice weekend despite the angst-ridden posts!