This post comes from my podcast, Motivation For Moms episode 77, entitled "Fixing The Problems In Your Life | FAST TIP FRIDAY" Be sure to subscribe to Motivation For Moms to get the latest show episodes as they are published, and please write a review, which is the ultimate gift to me.
This Fast Tip Friday episode comes in response to my listener Shannon, who emailed me and said,
“My biggest struggle is sleep. My daughters just won't go to bed and stay there. I have tried being nice, being mean, setting goals and limits with no luck. Help! Because of the poor sleeping habits that goes into the next struggle. Health and fitness. I wake up so sleepy and no energy that getting up in time before work to workout is not happening. And lastly, we (husband, girls and myself) are home all day everyday now, I have noticed that there is something that husband and I disagree on or someone ends up mad before the end of day. Nothing specific, could be anything but it is guaranteed to happen. I am working from home and he is on a rotating schedule so one week work, 2 weeks off. I love my husband and my girls. I just want a peaceful, well rested, healthy family.”
I’m so glad Shannon emailed this in because these things are all so relatable. No one has it ALL figured out all the time. There’s always going to be something we’re trying to figure out or learn how to live with, and I think we all go through periods in our lives when things are just, messy, and we might feel overwhelmed from all of the things that just aren’t working.
I am not a sleep expert, I am not a relationship expert, but what I know for certain is that any problem we find ourselves dealing with on a daily basis, we can sort out. We may not know exactly how, but we need to give ourselves more credit for having the ability to figure out anything. As a life coach, when I work with clients one-on-one, my job is to be a safe container that gives my clients the space to sort out their problems and get really clear on what’s not working and what is working, what outcomes they WANT in their lives, and what the next steps are to break through to new levels in every area of their lives.
See the reason why our problems can feel overwhelming, is a lot of times our problems intermingle with one another, meaning, like in this situation, the lack of sleep is affecting Shannon’s energy and motivation to workout, everyone’s at home together, and perhaps the lack of sleep is making it more difficult to interact with one another, and so on.
It can feel like, we don’t even know where to begin in making things better. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by different things in my life, I like to start by handing my stress over to a simple worksheet I created called The Mama Miracle worksheet, which is a 2 page worksheet I designed to help you get clear on what you want and need, ask your higher power to help things fall into place, and empower you to do what you need to do create positive change, among other things. I’ve designed the worksheet to flow in such a way that it really does make miracles in your life.
In practical terms of taking the next step, it’s always helpful to determine 3 things you can do TODAY to make things better. So, if I were Shannon, I could consult with a child sleep expert, and that of course, might start with a simple google search. I might order a couple books on sleep solutions. I might talk to a well respected friend for some ideas. These are things you can do right now today to head in the right direction for change.
From one mom to another, my approach always comes back to embracing their needs in whatever phase of life they’re in. I just listen to my gut about what it is they’re needing, while also taking into consideration what I’m needing. If we’ve had a lot going on, and they’ve been forced to adjust to stress and change, then I try be a little more understanding and compassionate if it seems like they’re needing the extra connection and they want to sleep with us. But that’s just us, and that’s just me.
You have to do what works for your family when it comes to sleep, and always trust your gut because you know your kids and the context around their sleep, such as what else is going on in their lives, and whether they need more nurturing or discipline at any given phase of life, way better than any author sleep expert does.
Don’t second guess yourself, and don’t even feel guilty for what you may have done in the past that didn’t work, and don’t feel guilty if you are finding you need to draw a line with your kids about sleep and you feel it absolutely non-negotiable that they don’t sleep with you. YOU are the expert at what you and your family needs at the end of the day, and while I am a proponent of consulting with the experts when we feel overwhelmed or we don’t know what TO do, at the end of the day, trust your gut as well because you are the queen of your tribe.
And this goes for whatever relationship challenges you might be facing as well, Shannon mentioned that her and her husband were disagreeing or feeling mad at each other every day. Again, I would start by asking what’s worked when you had issues in the past? Could you benefit from seeking marriage counseling? Is there something that YOU can do, as a leader in your family, to take the initiative in positive change? Can you change the way you’re speaking to him? Can you change the way you’re reacting to HIS behavior and attitudes? What if just one small change on your end could create a cascade of positive effects between you?
Without knowing all of the details around where the issues are being created in your interactions with your husband, it’s likely that there are cycles being repeated between you, a lack of communication or a misunderstanding, perhaps everyone’s been feeling more stress and pressure than usual, and oftentimes, getting clear on what’s happening is often enough to motivate you to change the way you’re interacting or to interrupt the negative patterns and try a different approach.
In any relationship, we must focus less on what the other person is doing or saying, and take responsibility for ourselves, how we are interacting, and how we are reacting, because that’s the only thing we can really control.
So whatever problems or challenges or issues you’re dealing with right now, I want you to ask yourself, what’s 3 things I can do right now today, to be on my way towards positive change? You don’t have to have it all figured out right now today, but you DO have to always be moving in a forward direction. No matter how overwhelming or complicated it seems, you can figure out anything.