Bumps

This past month has been tough for our family for many reasons. There’s been a few shocks, uncertainty about the future and the aftermath of emotion related to such things. We’ll be okay; we’ve weathered many storms before and have learned to be resilient. During dips in family life, I notice three main things that happen in family life.

Three things I notice when we go through a dip in Family Life

1. Reactive rather than proactive behaviour

I’m reactive with the kids (rather than proactive), my husband and I are reactive to each other and the kids bicker more. I also find that I can easily focus on the negative in the kids.

2. Unhelpful self-preservation tendencies

My husband and I are (very) different, and this is a good thing because we compliment each other.  It can also be a difficult thing because the way we handle things are at polar ends of the spectrum.

When things are stressful, I tend to micro-manage everything in my life (I talked about how I actively choose not to do this here). Micro-managing is my way of coping when things are tough. It’s not an edifying trait, but it tends to be my default position when I’m trying to get through.  In a rather warped way, I figure: if I can account for everything and everybody in my life, I can anticipate, and then compensate.  That is how it plays out in my head but it never works out that way because it’s not possible to control all the variables in life.

On the other hand, my husband copes with stress in family life by being laid-back and allows the storm to take its course.  Can you see the polars emerging? I fight to win and he perseveres to overcome. Same, but different.

Now, I can write about these things here because my husband and I know each other well; we laugh about our differences, pull each other up, compensate for one another and look out for each other.  Recognising our default positions and talking about it has to be an active thing, and it usually takes us a while to realise we are on a merry-go-round.

3. Family life isn’t fun

Last year when we went on a road trip, we realised how much we loved being together as a family, and how special our family unit is.  After this last month, family life is strained and the fun factor isn’t there.   Life doesn’t usually slow down to compensate for more difficult months, does it? So it can be hard to take the breather we all need.

While circumstances right now are in NO WAY extreme, cracks are forming, and if left untended, can grow into brokenness.

Three things we do when there is a dip in Family Life

1. We communicate

We come back to what we believe as a family, pray, re-group, and this gives us the wisdom for moving forward.  My husband and I talk to each other about what we need, what we are feeling and how we can minimise the polar extremes in our personalities by supporting each other. I talk with people who I trust outside of my little family, and my husband does the same. We also talk with our older kids, acknowledging that things aren’t all rosy right now but how we are working on it.

2. We slow down

Life doesn’t stop for anyone but there are ways to slow things down.  I try and cut out stuff in our life that isn’t immediately important. For example, that is why I haven’t blogged as often recently.  When Life’s road is smooth, we can keep up the pace but right now, by slowing down, we have time to compensate for the follow-on consequences of a few bumps in the path we’re on. I guess it’s a bit like when you’re sick; the best thing is to rest so your body has a chance to get better.  I see the same thing with family life; if we don’t slow down, it takes much longer to get back to where we were.

The other way I slow down is to invest time into enjoying little things as they happen. For example, practicing some of the 100 Ways to Love the Moment, going a little early for the school pick up  to sit under a tree for a quiet moment with a take away coffee and walking by a local lake to look at the swans with my son.

a tree

swans

3. We put positive times in our bank

As I type this, the kids are asleep.  Before bedtime, I lay down on the sofa in our family room with all my kids perched around me while I read The Shark Book by Dr Mark Norman.  After we read about each type of shark, we looked up YouTube for a video about the same shark on the iPad. It was a lovely, engaging time.  In these harder periods, it’s especially nice to put some positive times in our bank.

Reading about the Hammerhead Shark and we then watched a short documentary on YouTube

shark book -- hammerhead shark

My family is precious, and something worth protecting, investing in and nurturing. Sometimes, keeping family life healthy is more challenging, but we keep on keeping on by taking a little extra time and effort to mend the cracks. That’s all.

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s ironic that you’ve written this post….I’ve been mulling over some family stuff in our household as well. I can so identify with your points – especially micro-managing. I tend to switch into ‘control mode’ when the family comes into a stressful time. It’s just my way of dealing with things – if I can’t control the overall situation, at least I can control something. It’s not always the most beneficial way of coping, because I tend to get a bit overbearing with it. But yes, slowing down and keeping communication open definitely helps to ride these moments out.

  2. says

    I have been thinking of you and missing you. I love the way you describe your coping mechanisms v’s your lovely husbands. Same same same.

    Hope all is smoothing out. xxx

  3. says

    I can see so clearly how resilient you are Kell and how you are teaching your children the same techniques that will steer them so well in life. Wishing you lots of laughs this week xx

  4. Shannon says

    I can sooo relate to the micro manage mentality, it’s how I cope too. Sometimes you just have to hang on in life & remember that it’s just a dip in the road & from the next hill, there’ll be a lovely view.

  5. Yolande says

    Thanks Kell. I am sorry that times are hard, but it’s refreshing to have someone talk about them honestly. Life is often not a walk in the park lol, often quite the opposite. It’s hard, it forces you to find new strength, to become resilient and there are days (possibly weeks) when it does not seem attainable. Thanks for your honesty. :)

  6. Emily says

    Thank you so much for your honesty! Our God is an awesome God who puts people, songs, his Word and anything else we need across our path right when we need and for me today is your blog!
    I pray for continued strength and wisdom in your family as well as mine. Bless ya!

  7. says

    Kell,

    I had noted you were quieter than normal. I had wondered if all was ok. I’m sending some positive energies and vibes your way, in hopes that the ebb and flow of life will wash out to see a beautiful sunrise and new learnings and beginnings for a beautiful family.

    I love, love how you expressed the difference between you and Mr Fun Mum *wink* it’s relatively the same here. I organise it all, BMOC is calm and laid back – sometimes it drives me batty and other times its great for the difference and perspective.

    Hope today is a new sunrise for the Be a Fun Mum family – enjoy the beauty in each other and continue doing what you do best.
    Amz
    xo

  8. says

    Great post Kelly, I love how you describe issues you notice and then how you describe strategies. Your wise words and approach will help others I’m sure.
    I hope that these bumps reduce in size sooner rather than later. Spending those moments with the kids will probably be the thing that gets everyone because love overcomes all. <3

  9. says

    We’re going through some family challenges at the moment, so this post was really timely for me, Kel – thanks for sharing what gets your little brood though; I’ll be taking on your advice xx

  10. says

    Kelly, your post really spoke to me this morning. My husband was made redundant – out of the blue, total shock – a couple of weeks ago. We went through many of the things you spoke about. Thankfully, my husband started a new role today. However, this experience has certainly taught us to appreciate specific things in life and has brought us closer to our children and much closer as a couple. We weathered the storm and are so proud to have made it through, with a smile!
    Thank you :)
    Kate @whalespout.com.au

  11. says

    Loving your honesty, Kelly. Tough times as families can either weaken you or make you stronger. In our family we try to let them makes us stronger. Your positive plan to rise up out of the dip sounds very wise. Best of luck to you. x

  12. says

    Too timely Kel – going through a hard time with hubby working insane hours for the next 8 weeks and trying to come up with coping tools for this bump in the road – love your approach and sharing. Hope you get through your dip fine too!

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