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Becoming an Impactful, Energised Parent

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Have you ever heard the phrase "no pain, no gain"? Do you think it is true for parenting? Is it really the most difficult painful elements of parenting that yield the best results?


As parents we have the most impact, we are the most effective, when everyone involved is feeling good. When we are excited and enthusiastic to be somewhere and part of something, our brains instantly begin to connect with those around us and we become supercharged to teach and learn and share. Feeling drained and exhausted is therefore taking away your power as a parent to raise and guide your children. But do not despair, you can take control and change that around so you are both enthusiastic and effective in your parenting role. Below I have a clever little matrix that can visually show you where your current impact and energy is going and how you can change it to become the parent you want to be, but before we get there, I have 3 questions for you.

What impact do you want to have?

If you have a clear sense of what impact you want to have as a parent and what you are working towards, it will be much easier to gauge how your current parenting activities are getting you closer to that goal. Take a few minutes now to think about how you measure the success of your parenting.


What do you find energising?

We all have things that we enjoy and others that we find draining, and they are different for each of us. Parenting is the same - there are some parts of parenting that I love, but others would find exhausting. Knowing that about ourselves is the difference between reaching the end of the day and collapsing into bed, or contently curling up with a book (or whatever you'd choose to do). List a few of the things you do as a parent that recharge and reconnect you with your family.


What are you spending your time on?

Reflect on the last week and divide your time into broad categories. How much time did you spend organising your child, connecting with your child, providing for your child, taking care of your child, transporting your child... add more categories as you need them, and give approximate times in hours. This exercise is not exact, but more of a feel for what is happening, and there are no wrong answers!


The Matrix

The matrix is a simple, visual way to see how energised you are and how much impact you are having as a parent, and now that you have answered the questions above, it will be easy to use!

Think of each of the categories that you have included above and decide how energising they are for you (whether they leave you feeling energetic or drained), and how much they support the impact you want to have as a parents. When you have decided which quadrant they should go in, draw a circle there that reflects the amount of time you spend on that activity (a bit circle for a lot of time, or a small circle for a little bit of time).


The Red Quadrant - Waste of Time

The activities you have placed in the quadrant exhaust you, leaving you feeling drained, and don't actually contribute to your parenting goals. Ideally, the activities you have placed in this quadrant need to be eliminated as much as possible, or at the very least reduced significantly.


The Yellow Quadrant - Temptations and Breaks

These activities are OK as an occasional way of charging yourself up, so long as it is in moderation. You need to make sure you are honest with yourself that they don't have much impact on your parenting goals and that the time you spend here could be better spent somewhere else.


The Green Quadrant - Optimal Work

These are the activities that make you feel powerful, and productive. They fill you with energy and help you get closer to your goals. Ideally 75-80% of your time should be spent in this quadrant.


The Blue Quadrant - Obligations

Most things in life include some necessary obligations, and it is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate things in this quadrant completely. However, if you are spending a lot of time in this quadrant, you are headed towards burn-out and exhaustion. Below are some strategies for moving things out of this Blue Zone and into the Green.


Creating Change

If your aim is to spend 75-80% of the time you are parenting in the green quadrant, you are most likely going to need to make some changes, particularly for those in the obligations quadrant (blue).


Delegate

This can be a tricky one, and not relevant in all situations, but is worth giving a thought. Are you spending time helping your child with maths homework, but feeling really drained by all the maths? Consider finding a tutor, relative or someone within your network who might feel more motivated. Is breakfast time just beyond draining in your family? Maybe before school care is the answer. Is 'the washing' a constant source of contention? Maybe there is someone else who would happily trade you for ironing, or a service that you could use? It all depends on what you personally find draining and the resources you have around you to support.


Re-balancing your Time

Maybe you are spending more time than you need to on some of the more draining or less powerful tasks and simply shifting your focus through acknowledging which tasks are more worthwhile and energising will help you be more effective and uplifted.

Some of these tasks may also be batched so that the overall effect is less draining. This might look like listening to your weekly uplifting parenting/ADHD podcast while doing the dishes that you find draining.


Shift Perspective

This is the big one, and can have quite a few elements to it. Saboteurs are negative thought patterns inside your head, a hang-over from your childhood where they kept you safe while you interpreted the world from a child's perspective. These saboteurs lead you to judging yourself, other people and the situations you are in, and have a number of different response patterns associated with them. These negative thought patterns are draining and decrease both your enjoyment and your effectiveness in whatever you are doing.

Shifting to a Sage Perspective, where you see everything as a gift and opportunity, allows you to experience the same task with discernment, empathy, curiosity, ingenuity, purpose and pro-activity. Instead of judging yourself, you can have self-empathy, compassion and forgiveness and do a better job because you are not spending all the time on self-doubt. Instead of judging other people, you can make sure to acknowledge and encourage three positives for each suggestion of what needs to be improved, increasing both the impact and enjoyment for both of you. Instead of judging circumstances that you believe are truly bad, think of 3 potential gifts that could come out of this situation, and work to make their positive impact more powerful than the 'bad' circumstances.

A great way to sift this perspective is to use mindfulness. By being in the moment, and paying attention to one (and only one) of your senses, you quiet the negative thought patterns in your head. This might mean that if you find having a conversation with your child draining, you concentrate on just listening to the sound of their voice as they are talking to you. If you find the bathing process draining, be really present and concentrate on one thing at a time, the feel of the water from the spout as you fill the bath, the sound of the water splashing as the floor gets wet, the colour of their eyes as you tell them it's time to get out, the feel of the towel as you dry them off.


If you would like more information of how to shift perspective, or if you would like help going through the impact/energy matrix and finding a more effective and enthusiastic way to parent, book a free initial appointment


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