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Summary: Rising Above Household Overwhelm & Doing It All

This was a live Zoom talk with Avital Schreiber, founder of The Parenting Junkie and a mindful parenting coach. She is a homeschooling mother of four. All opinions expressed below are those of Avital's. 

Summary of the key points:

  • On a spiritual level, we have a huge vision of who we are and all the possibilities for our life. But along side this vision, we are living a human experience with actual realities (numbers in the bank account, hours in the day etc.), and bridging the gap between our vision and our reality is where we define what our 'all' is, where we can understand what it truly means to us to do it all within the confines of our own reality and our own circumstances. Everyone's "doing it all" is different and encompasses different things.
  • We can thrive in some aspects of our lives, and other aspects will just be 'good enough'. This is the reality of living a human life. And so we all need to figure out and decide for ourselves which aspects of our lives do we want to thrive in, and which aspects of our lives are we ok with good enough. 
  • For example, when it comes to her children and time spent with them, this is a non-negotiable for her and an aspect she wants to thrive in. And so she structures her day and her life, in order to thrive in this realm. Whereas, the gym and her physical body is something she can settle with 'good enough' so working out once or twice a week for example is fine for her, as opposed to somebody else who would want to thrive in this aspect and workout 5-6 times a week. It is key to compartmentalise your life like this in order to achieve everything you want to achieve. 
  • Know what it means to you to have a day you are proud of, a day that you stand behind, and feel a sense of integrity for, where the external experience of your day - the thoughts you had, the words you spoke - match the internal of who you are. 
  • Ask yourself daily - Do I feel good about how I showed up for the imperfect realities, the tantrums, the bad news? 
  • Right now in quarantine, a lot of parents are noticing what it takes to be with children all day and to run a home and the physical and emotional labour that goes into that. We are becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses to this end. People are experiencing either relief (from the morning rush and the slow down), or suffocation from confinement, or financial loss - there is a range of emotion right now. 
  • But now is an exciting opportunity to realise that teaching our kids is something we tend to outsource. And Avital firmly believes that we as parents are the real curriculum and are capable of teaching our kids the skills they really need in life, better than anyone else. 
  • Come alongside your children and reignite values like curiosity, and take interest in topics that excite your child. 
  • Establish a daily flow for your day in this time in quarantine. You want to get 7 elements into the day:
    • independent play time
    • focus time
    • movement time
    • messy time 
    • quiet time (our kids do not know what our burn-out limit is, but we know our own burn-out limit, and it is our responsibility as the CEO of our family to set those limits to ensure you do not burn-out)
    • screen time (embrace the magic of technology, have a fixed time, it's not a reward. Do your highly focus work whilst your children are watching TV to utilise the time where it actually serves you)
    • family time
  • Parents are the leaders of their families. And when you are leading you have to hold high expectations for the people you are leading, in this case, your children. This is a time to build resilience and grit, and an awareness that our children are capable and resourceful. Support the high expectations of your kids. "I expect of you....but I will also help you get there" - that is high quality parenting.
  • Get your children involved in your human life. Involve them in household chores. It's good for them to learn real life skills, responsibility, and learn cause and effect through practical chores (i.e. if you do not wash the dishes, you have no clean plates to eat from).
  • If you speak to your kids as if they have the intelligence and the resilience to rise to what you are communicating, you will see them rise up. 
  • Your kids do not need your attention all day. Encourage daily quiet time where they sit or play alone. 
  • We are the masters of our time. We can't control this pandemic but we can control what we start the day doing. 
  • You are the authority as a parent, but think about what effective authority is - it is not about bribes and punishments and rewards to get what you want. It's someone who really helps to influence habits and habit formation with their own consistency. If you want your kid to get their work done are you there to make sure it's happening? Ask yourself these questions. 
  • Our expectations have to match our resources, every day of the week
  • What will traumatise your children right now is not  3 months without school or endless screen time, but you falling apart. So do what you can with the resources you have, and work on the mindset of I can't do this to I am doing this. Ignore what you can't control and focus on what you can control. Ask yourself 'what is the most loving thing to do right now' - and do it.

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