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10 Small Grumbles Hidden In The Heart Of Every Parent With Kids

10 Small Grumbles Hidden In The Heart Of Every Parent With Kids

Quite a lot of movies, books, and even songs represent parents as saints or people with few personal needs. Meanwhile, in reality, most parents feel annoyed, frustrated, and even driven nuts when dealing with their children. We are only human after all. The little people in our lives are extremely proficient at finding our weak spots.  They seem to instinctively know just how to get our goat.

1. You never wake up naturally

I never wake up by myself. I never even wake up with the alarm clock. I’m usually woken up by a small face appearing in front of mine and loudly asking, “Are you awake, Mom?” From the moment you become a parent, the days of waking up naturally are gone. Everyone acts like that’ll change. Here’s a newsflash – it won’t.

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2. You never stop cleaning up messes

It never fails. Your little one asks for a glass of water or milk and two seconds later – it’s on the floor. Or down your shirt. Or in your shoes. You might think you’re clever and put the liquid in a sippy cup. It doesn’t matter. They will find a way to spill it.

3. You never get to eat dessert without sharing

My kids are experts at wolfing down their own desserts, giving me sad eyes, and asking for “just one bite” of mine. I have been known to actually shield my dessert from them with my hands while growling, “Get away from my cake.” It’s like Lord of the Flies when it comes to dessert and kids. Ever tried eating a piece of cake in front of your two year-old and offering them fruit as a “healthy snack option instead? You only try that one once and live to tell of it.

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4. You can’t leave home without packing half of the house

Leaving your home used to be so quick and easy. You’d grab your purse, maybe a drink for the road, and you’d walk out the door. Now you need at least 30 minutes to prepare. The world might end if you forget a sippy cup, a change of diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, bottles, a special blanky, a change of clothes, and so on. Leaving your home requires roughly the same amount of planning that some military missions do. There are no quick errands anymore. If you get brave enough (IE: crazy enough) and leave the house without the all important diaper bag, you know your kid is going to have a blowout so epic that they’ll be talking about it at the grocery store for some weeks to come. Trust me, I know this from personal experience.

5. You can’t have nice things

Do you have a beautiful and intricate rug? Not anymore. With kids running around, you might as well go ahead and rub chocolate all over it yourself. Perhaps you have a priceless heirloom mirror from your grandmother? Just break it now. That’s what it’ll look like in the near future if you leave it in your home with kids around. No matter how much you love your little rug rats, rest assured that they will trash everything in your home. It’s their job.

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6. You never pee alone

For some reason, young children think that going to the bathroom is a group activity. You think you’re going to steal away for 2 blessed minutes to pee in peace – you’re not. They will find you. And they will have urgent needs the minute you sit down. They need a snack “NOW!” They broke your favorite vase. They lit the kitchen on fire. If you don’t get off the toilet, what’s next?

7. You find that vomit is magically attracted to your body

It starts when kids are tiny babies. They spit up on you – a lot. And it usually happens right after you’ve put on a fresh shirt or dropped the burping cloth. Then they become toddlers and get the stomach flu for the first time. You know what comes next – they throw up on you. You tell yourself it’s because they don’t understand the feeling of nausea and what usually happens next. Then they become preschoolers and they come into your room to tell you they don’t feel well – and throw up all over you. Even elementary school kids seem to do this. Parenting is rife with puke. It nearly always ends up all over you.

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8. You repeat yourself 10 billion times

Ever tried to teach a small child manners? Or tried to explain why dragons can’t be pets? It takes a special kind of patience to torture yourself daily with explaining the same things over, and over, and over again. The next day it’ll start all over again. Ever had your four year-old give you a puzzled look when you say, “I didn’t hear the magic word” for the twelfth time that day? You patiently explain that when you ask for more milk, you have to use the word “please”. They will look at you in confusion. I swear.

9. You reheat your coffee at least 10 times before you drink it

Remember the days when you sat down to the paper and a steaming cup of Joe on Sunday mornings? You could relax and drink your delicious beverage while it was hot. Once you have kids, you have two choices. You either chug your coffee while it’s so hot you actually get third degree burns on your tongue, OR you drink it in small sips in between its trips back and forth from the microwave.

10. You face resistance to sleep every single day

No matter how tired your kid is, they will fight sleep. In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between tiredness and sleep resistance. As in, the more tired and hyper your kid is, the more viciously she will fight sleep. Your kiddo will always come up with some amazing reasons she can’t go to bed just yet. Ever heard the one about how there is a dragon in her room that only comes out when it’s dark and no parents are around? Or how he is so thirsty he might just die without water? Or how one more bedtime story will surely bring immediate and glorious sleep? Or how it’s not fair that grown-ups get to stay up late and do amazingly fun things like the dishes? I could go on and on… like an annoying little (lovable) kid.

Featured photo credit: Man and child at Occupy Wall Street/Timothy Krause via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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