One thing I have always struggled to deal with is self control. As a kid, this meant I was a little rambunctious. As a teenager this was more focus related. I couldn't do my homework without having a snack and some music going while I worked. As an adult, this leans more toward emotional control. I constantly find myself lost in the moment, letting my emotions get the best of me. I give in to my temper more than I should, and I'm starting to see my kids mirror this activity. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of how we appear to our family. Picture someone you have a lot of respect for and ask "Would I want this person to see me like this?" Sometimes it's just best to walk away.
Temper feeds on stress. If you haven't gotten the right amount of sleep, nutrition, etc, your stress can contribute to the emotions of the moment. I have decided to take control of my life and my emotions. This is how.
I am going to monitor when I get hungry, and how much food it takes me to not be hungry anymore. I am then going to focus on not eating too much. I will also be eating more regularly. No more skipped breakfast. No more huge dinners right before bed.
Bed. That brings me to my next effort. I will be going to bed at roughly the same time every night, getting up at roughly the same time every day. This will have me up before my family, enabling me to have some time to myself but also to ensure I am doing everything I can to get everyone ready for work/school.
Work/School. Gotta leave at the same time. Early. Better to be early than rushed. I need to be sure I have eaten breakfast and taken care of all I need to be ready to leave before taking up side projects like starting a load of laundry or cleaning the floors, or any number of other chores that I am suddenly and randomly compelled to do. This will require a morning routine. For me, it will be as follows:
Bed time ~10pm. Earlier if I'm not feeling well.
Wake up ~ 5am. Later if I'm not feeling well.
Run. Get at least 1 mile in every weekday. (I started this today)
Get the kids up.
Start the coffee maker
Make breakfast for myself and the kids and my wife if she's up.
Get the kids dressed and ready for school.
As long as all this is done, I know that if I get side tracked by something, I can drop it and leave at a moment's notice, and do no harm. The point is to be sure we are ready and out the door without having to rush. This gets the kids to where they need to be with time to play, and gets me to work with time to write a blog entry, warm up my coffee, and start my day.
When I get home, things will be different. My family will be in various stages of the dinner/shower/PJ's process depending on the day, as my wife's work schedule varies. My focus will be to establish where they are in the routine and help if necessary. Otherwise it's make/eat dinner, wash dishes, and relax. Bed by 10pm. Do it again the next day.
Next on the list of changes: Diet. I'm not one to limit what I eat. I like to eat, and I am not picky. However, I do need to start eating better. This week I baked some chicken tenders and made a big salad with red, orange, and yellow Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, cheese cubes, and romaine. So in the morning all I have to do is throw some salad in a container with some chicken and lunch is packed! I think I will be alternating this with stew or Chili to keep things interesting. And I will try to have more home-cooked meals, less take-out. I'm usually pretty good about this, but not lately. And less food from the box. Hamburger Helper, Mac and Cheese... these are all things that could be made without the box mix. Get some noodles, get some cheese, get some ground beef, and get to cooking. This is my new motto for dinner.
Lastly, and most importantly, I need to change the way I address my family. It needs to be more about them and less about me. My kids need to know I love them no matter what I'm talking to them about. If they are in trouble, I can't just yell at them. They need perspective to understand what's going on, and I will provide it. I might still yell, spank, or generally be mad, but what I say and how I say it is crucial. I can't have my kids yelling at each other and arguing because they see me doing it. I am generally not an angry, short-tempered person, but when I get to that point, I need to control it.
So if you're out there reading this, and you look back on your day, week, or whatever and realize that you can make some improvements, know that you are not alone, and do what you need to do to give yourself the best chances for success and happiness. It starts with you.
And let me know how it goes. I'm happy to post any stories from readers who'd like to share.
As always, thanks for reading