March 22 Newsletter 

Hi, Family Leader,

What a difference a week can make. Since last Sunday it feels like we’ve all been transported to a different world, don’t you think? Our Birth2Work team is spread out across multiple states, in big cities and small towns. Like you, we’re doing our best to stay focused, stay positive, but responsibly acknowledge/process the emotions recent changes have brought up.

We’re also thinking of ways to support our extended family, all of you. While trying to balance school closures and work responsibilities is going to take some getting used to, the fact remains that spending more time at home with our families also provides a great opportunity.

Let us explain … 

A few weeks ago we talked about 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

After listening to your feedback, we definitely got the message that while it looks good on paper, the whole process is easier said than done. You all asked for more details and we’re ready to share.

You can download the free workbook we created for that newsletter here.

 

What Do Families Provide?


We've always believed that families serve a vital role in establishing who we are as individuals and as members of a larger community. Throughout our lives, our family provides a source of strength and joy. They are the source of plenty of frustrations as well, but it’s the strength and joy that make sure we survive and thrive.

We rely on each other when times are tough, to share our greatest fears, to sometimes give pep talks, and to sometimes get a dose of reality. 

What is the basis for all that strength, joy, and frustration? Family values! Things we learn from our own families like punctuality, accountability, respect, fairness, and faith (and/or whatever other values your family upholds) become the basis from which we make most of our important decisions.

For example:

  • If you drive out of your way to go to your favorite coffee shop, you may value consistency, loyalty, and/or quality over convenience, your time, or cost.

  • When you chose to purchase/rent your home, you may have chosen based on a weighted measure of budget, amenities, walkability of the neighborhood, etc. Someone else may have chosen based on the level of architectural details in the home, the density of neighbors, or whether or not the home was located on a cul-de-sac.

    At one time in your life you may have chosen to live in a small apartment with no parking but with a huge closet and great restaurants within walking distance. But now, with a family, your VALUES have changed, you need space, you need a safer neighborhood, you need parking, and you may or may not you need room for an extra beverage refrigerator in the garage.

 

Applying Values to Your Family Decisions


Let’s look at some values-based decisions with our own children.

Preschool Enrollment:

Parents looking at enrolling their children in preschool often have to negotiate their final choice based on a  convenience of location, flexibility of hours, level of sanitation, tuition, school philosophy (play-based vs. academic-based or faith-based), and other parent recommendations. They will have to weigh their values against each other in order to make a satisfactory choice.

Age-Appropriate Independence:

As our children mature, most people agree they need to learn things like responsibility, respect for authority, and time management. The question we have to ask ourselves as parents is, do we value those characteristics enough to inconvenience ourselves and let our kids mess up more than once in order for them to learn those lessons? If the answer is yes, you value those traits. If the answer is no, you may value control, certainty, and predictability.

Coronavirus Work/life Balance: 

Your life is likely turned upside down at this point. What are you doing with your time? How are you explaining world events to your children? Are you and your partner working to maintain a calm family unit or are you escaping to work because that's easier than dealing with all the chaos?

There's no intended judgement in any of these scenarios. They simply illustrate how our values directly influence our decisions and reveal our priorities. Our values change over time and frequently as the result of major life events. 

Step 1 of the “big-picture roadmap” we mentioned directly relates to this topic.

When you define your purpose as a parent, you are establishing what kind of parent you want to be. In order to become that kind of parent, you need to think about your values and which ones may or may not need to change.

 

Your Next Steps


With our schedules upended and our family needing reassurance and guidance more than ever, we have a great opportunity to review that  super simple guidebook we provided two weeks ago and take a fresh look at the exercise regarding establishing our purpose as parents. (We provide an example statement to help get you started.)

Then go to step 2—list your values—and circle the words from the provided worksheet that make sense to you with your new perspective.

Next week we’ll jump into how to reconcile with the rest of your family, their values, and how your values impact your goals.

 

Cheers,

The Birth2Work Family

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P.S. Skipped to the bottom? We heard your feedback and dived deeper this week into what it means to establish your purpose as a parent and consequently align your family values. Our lives have been completely disrupted by COVID-19 in more ways than we could have ever imagined. On the positive side, the abrupt change in schedule and priorities has provided an opportunity for us to spend more time together. Take this extra time now to work on The Big-Picture Road Map we talked about a few weeks ago.

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