Simple Sunday- The Rhythm of Family

Some weeks we’ve got it, and some weeks we don’t.  By “it” I mean a rhythm to our family life.  I don’t just mean our routine because by necessity we follow a similar routine every weekday.  Get up, make lunches, get dressed, get out the door to school (me and Collin) or work (Dadda).  Then get home, cook, eat, bath and bed.

Our rhythm is that intangible synchronicity where we are all moving together comfortably.  We are working together to keep the house clean, food on the table and laundry folded.  It is when we all feel like we are able to get what we need and give what others are asking for.

Not that we expect perfection (okay, maybe I do sometimes but I am WORKING ON IT!) It doesn’t mean we don’t have goals or issues to work through.  It means that at the end of the day we are okay with what was left undone and happy with what was accomplished. It’s the steady drum beat of family life, calm and welcoming.  When the rhythm is missing its more like an alternative band at practice, you never know if you’re about to hear a lilting ballad or an all-out screaming anthem.  In short, without our rhythm life seems more stressful and less fulfilling.

As mothers we come to learn early on that “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.  Whether we like it or not how we feel, act and participate in our family has a large effect on the family ‘vibe’.  Through my beginning study on Nonviolent Communication I have come to realize that when I am disconnected from the rhythm of my family it is because I am not getting my needs met.  In truth this is often because I have no clue what my *real* needs are.  If I am overcome by disorder in the house I don’t always recognize that, instead it may come out as frustration with my husband for not picking up enough.  If I need a break for some me time, I may instead lose my patience with Collin.

I can’t force my husband to do anything he doesn’t want to do (and really he does so, so much already) and I can’t control the fact that my two-year-old is, in fact, acting like a two-year-old.  What I do have control over is how I speak to them and if I take enough time to center myself and feel what my true needs really are.  As mammas we all will have moments when we let things go for too long without checking in with ourselves.  We need to take inventory of where our emotions are coming from in order to give ourselves back the power to control how we react to our feelings.

I know I can help our family’s rhythm to keep humming along by recognizing what is bothering me and doing something about it.  I have found it freeing to say to my self, “Self, you feel like you want more order in the house right now, how can we accomplish this? By organizing that pile of papers?” Then I can choose if I really want to organize those papers right now, put it on a list or let it go.  I can let go of trying to control others as I may have done in the past (“Babe will you puh-leeze organize those papers? and um..do it now?”)

Having space to make our own choices and recognize what we all need  helps us all work better as a team.  In the hopes of helping us all (even the littlest among us) to recognize, verbalize and learn about our feelings and needs I have posted the following two lists on our refrigerator.

 Thanks to the Center for Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication Needs List 

NVC Feelings list

I know we’ll continue to come in and out of rhythm, have good weeks and bad weeks.  Part of getting back into the rhythm is just allowing yourself to be a little off sometimes and then jumping back in.

Thanks for reading! Heres to a great week 🙂

 Melissa

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Just jump in!

I ‘started’ this blog a few weeks ago and today I will write my first post. I don’t know what was holding me back exactly. Yes, I am a full time working mom of a toddler. Yes, I cook a home cooked meal most nights of the week. Recently I have become magically better at keeping up with laundry (is this as skill that just grows from within once you give birth?) Did I mention that I teach toddlers, all about the same age as my son, ALL DAY LONG?

But that isn’t what was holding me back. It is a fear or insecurity from deep within. Something that tells me “Oh no! What if you do it and it isn’t perfect?” or *gasp* “What if you do it and people think it sucks?”
Watching my son and his buddies play today I was inspired to let it all go. They know nothing of this world. Just tiny 18,20 and 22 month old babes. Giggling, running around the room with crepe paper ‘tails’ singing, dancing and falling all over themselves. As I joined in laughing and smiling right along with them I felt free. This is why I love my profession, why I love my life, why I feel so blessed to watch my beautiful boy grow up. Not one toddler in the group stops to wonder what another might think. To the contrary they are constantly pushing limits to see what happens. Why can’t I?
They jump in and explore the tastiest parts of life. The most exciting, the deeply emotional, the physical and the challenging. So WHY CAN’T I?

In honor of my son, Collin, the joy of my life. I will put fingers to keyboard. I will document our lives together. I will throw caution to the wind. No more won’ts or can’ts.
This is me learning to be a mommy, guiding many little hearts through the day and hopefully getting dinner on the table on time. Oh! I forgot the laundry! 😉