Now that sounds like quite a title doesn’t it?? Like, no pressure to perform here, people! Just be so calm that you inspire others to be calm as well. Of course, you can…
Well, believe it or not, I was told this a few months ago. That the calm way that I handle my kids as we go into school late (or only just on time!) is inspiring to another mom at school.
So let me paint you a picture of what I remember of that actual day.
The kids woke up a bit late. The younger was awake earlier, which was good so that she could have some time with me, but it meant that the one who needs to do certain things in a certain order in the morning to get himself ready for going anywhere was not likely to have the time that he usually needs.
But I had all the clothes ready. The bags were packed with everything in them, and the shoes and uniform blazers were sitting right next to them.
I had showered, had my cup of tea and even some breakfast. So I was doing ok.
But it did take quite a while to get the boy up and ready.
And we were late into the car.
With a fifteen/twenty minute drive ahead of us.
I should say that we have “shoe music” as our cue to get our shoes on and get ourselves out the door. Shoe music had gone and he had wailed “Nooooooooo….! I’m not ready!” which is never a good start to the trip.
And then his sister beat him to turning off the music on my phone.
It’s an alarm if you are wondering. If I see we are running late, I adjust it accordingly so that we are sticking to our routine without sticking super closely to times. It is the best thing we ever started. There are far less arguments since we started using alarms for leaving in the morning and getting to bed. The kids have chosen their own pieces of music for their own alarms. And much like the shoe music, we alter the times to suit what is actually happening, so that there is less frustration and much more buy-in!
So the kids get to turn their own music off… but shoe music is a tricky one. We try to take turns. I sometimes forget whose turn it is. (Yeah, I know right?? HOW COULD I??)
When one turns it off and the other was sure that it was their turn, it’s not pretty. I have often fallen for putting shoe music on one more time so that the injured party can have their turn. (#suckermom) Ah well.
So after I reset the alarm so that he could also turn off the shoe music, there was a degree of calm. We got into the car without me shouting. Which is always an aim of mine.
I did need a couple of deep breaths.
But we did it.
Then he decided that he did need to have an ice block for breakfast.
After I had turned on the alarm and locked the door. And he wasn’t going to leave without one… not without shouting about it. He was in his car restraints by then, but he can still manage to reach his sister from them, even if not me in the driver’s seat any more. And she would have undoubtedly said something to annoy him in his current mood. Heading into school crying and shouting is not what I am trying for.
So I went back in and got him one. Which I do not usually do. I usually take more time and work around it. Pick your battles, right?
But all of this added another ten minutes to our leaving time. Which I might remind you, was already late.
Then the drive was typical. We were able to be calm and go into school nicely together. I then had to go to the office to sign the kids in late.
And it was as I was coming out of the office that this other mom commented on what an inspiration I am to her when I come into school calmly with my kids, even though we are late.
I laughed. And felt like a fraud.
But it made me think A LOT.
You see, I think our focus determines our actions.
Our family focus is CALM.
When we are calm we can do so much more. We can get around the limitations we have much more easily. Our brains actually work with us, rather than pulling against us because of the stress of heightened emotions.
And if my focus was being on time for school, I would do things differently. Yelling wouldn’t matter as much since it would get my immediate goal achieved. Even if the kids arrived grumpy and stressed.
(Disclaimer: being on time is important! We actually have “shoe music” set early enough to allow for these kinds of mornings… usually!)
If my focus is getting the kids to school calmly so that they have a good day and can be happy enough to learn, well then we may be late sometimes.
And we have a focus for our family of calm as I said.
But my husband found someone had said that the goal of any parent should be to have 18-year-olds of good character.
Good character in my head would be someone who could manage to organise themselves to be places on time, yes. But that they did so in a calm manner so that they can actually be fully present when they arrive at their destination.
I want my 18-year-olds to have felt deeply the value of living in a calm way whenever possible. Then they will want to organise themselves enough to make sure that they can be calm as well.
So I ask myself often in doing everyday life – which gets pretty crazy sometimes – what is my focus? First answer is: CALM. Second answer is: 18-year-olds of good character.
Then I can decide how well I am doing. And not beat myself up so much if I think I didn’t do so well! Coz hello #momguilt … but often it means I can look at what I am doing a bit less emotionally and a little bit more kindly.
Which also helps me to be able to be calm.
The nastiness things that have ever been said to me came out of my own brain.
So when I am nicer to myself, I like myself more, and I can actually like my kids more. (Coz I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves their kids but sometimes struggles to actually like them, amirite??) And all of that helps me to be calm as well.
Joyce Meyer has a book about the Battlefield of the Mind. You may have heard of it or read it. There are SO many others producing similar things. Basically, what you think will shape your actions and your life.
My focus is a calm life. It really is. (Are you sick of the word calm yet?? I never get sick of it, sorry-not-sorry)
To have a calm life, I need a calm brain. And I need to feed calm to my brain to get that… so I am super intentional about what I listen to and what I read and what I watch. But mostly I make sure I remember my focus: CALM. And then sometimes I get the surprise of inspiring others to be calm as well!
So do you have a family focus word or motto?