March 29 Newsletter 

Hi there,

We're writing this week's newsletter to you, but we're also writing it to ourselves. We all need a boost right about now. Another week of sheltering in place has been overwhelming and exhausting, and yet, we're still doing the best we can. You're doing the best you can.

If you're attempting to maintain your usual workload, and homeschool, and keep up with all the regular home maintenance but having a rough go of it, it's not because you're lacking in skills, it's because it's an impossible set of tasks.


A Little More Empathy

If you're normally calm or patient child is acting in unusual ways (extra tears, moodiness, aggression) know that just as you're experiencing the pressure and uncertainty around you, your child is too. Children absorb the emotions around them.

Setting boundaries is still an important task but do your best to empathize first. Give extra consideration for their feelings and let them talk about their frustrations to the best of their ability. If they're too young to process what's happening but still feel like "something's wrong" you can verbalize for them. 

"I know things feel different right now. The things we normally get to do aren't available and it's really disappointing isn't it? It's ok to be sad, but we're in this together. We're all on the same team. We're going to do our best as a family to help each other, ok?" Then follow with lots of hugs.

Empathy at this level shows that you value your emotional connection with your children. You want to help them feel protected and cared for even if you don't always feel that way yourself. 

PRO TIP: Finding the right time for that discussion will determine how successful the conversation turns out. For many children the best time is right before bed. For teens, discussions while you're walking around the block or driving to the store, any time when you can talk without facing each other, can help relieve any embarrassment or tension that eye contact might otherwise bring.


Moving on ...

With that in mind let's continue on from last week.

Last week we began a deep dive into the The Big-Picture Road Map and how following its four specific actionable steps can help you become a more confident parent:

  1. Define Your Purpose as a Parent
  2. List Your Values
  3. Set Long-Term Goals
  4. Take Action and Do Self-Assessments

We specifically looked at items one and two and left the discussion with the promise of looking at how to reconcile your identified purpose as a parent and your identified values with those of the rest of the family. 


Establishing Values With Your Partner

  1. Print out another copy of the super simple guidebook and have your spouse do the first two exercises.
  2. Compare your answers. Did you circle the same values? How different were your choices? Determine if a larger discussion is warranted.
  3. If you're interested, use this Guide to Get In Sync With Your Partner and learn a bit more about the possible sources of your differing family practices and values.
    Download the FREE guide now


Establishing Values With Your Children

  1. At your next family dinner, use everyone's focused attention to ask what they think your purpose as parents are. Then share what you wrote down and compare. It may seem simple, but this exercise can prove immensely valuable to your relationship.
  2. If the purpose as parents discussion goes over quickly, allow everyone to pick their favorite value, either from the provided list or from their own imagination, and share why it's important to them.
  3. Continue going around the table until you have 10 or so "family values" chosen. The resulting choices make a great list to keep on the refrigerator and remind everyone of the discussion.

    The key to success in this situation is to listen and share with no judgement. There are no right or wrong answers. It's about what we feel and believe.

PRO TIP: Don’t underestimate your very young children. Three-to-five-year-olds can contribute meaningfully if we explain what our values are as adults and why they matter. Asking your young child to tell a story about something that makes them feel good (or bad) might allow you to interpret that they value honesty, friendship, sharing, hugs, and so forth.


Keeping It All Together


What keeps us sane is knowing we each have purpose, a set of values that guide our decisions, the willingness to learn everyday, and knowing that our children and family are looking to us to help them turn chaos into order. 

Purpose, values, and goals...hopefully the unplanned family time and our 4 step road map will help you lay the foundation for bringing order out of chaos!   

Until next week!

The Birth2Work Family

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P.S. Skipped to the bottom? Have your partner complete the first two exercises in our 4 step road map. Compare your answers and see if a larger discussion is warranted about values and your purpose as parents. Use our Get in Sync Guide to help facilitate a discussion about the origins of your individual habits and values. Use family dinner time to ask your children about what values are important to them and talk about it together. You're sure to learn valuable information about the things you think you've been teaching your children versus what they've actually absorbed.


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