Saturday, January 1, 2011

How our family shifted out of survival mode into fun mode

As many can relate to, having children drastically changes one’s life. After my husband, Paul, and I had children, we unknowingly went into survival mode – a mode where we were just trying to keep our heads above water to keep up with all of our new responsibilities.
Survival mode is a very real thing, and unfortunately, too many of us get stuck there at some point in our lives. When you are stuck in survival mode, it’s difficult to have a positive attitude. You worry about things you can’t control. You spend too much time reliving the past and worrying about the future.
When you are in survival mode, it’s difficult to relax and live in your moments. It’s a state of living in constant stress, and you become burned out. That is most definitely where we were – burned out.
We were so overwhelmed by the job of parenting these two precious souls that we stopped living in other areas of our life. At times I felt as if I couldn’t even think to plan fun things to do, because my brain was so consumed with surviving each day. Thank goodness we had amazing friends and family who planned the fun and invited us along!
I’m not saying we didn’t have any fun at all – we most certainly did, but there was always this subtle, heavy heap of worry and stress that we unknowingly allowed to weigh us down. 
I started working with a life coach about two years ago, and that is what started our climb out of death valley and back into life. Paul also chose to work with a life coach, which really helped get us both on the same page. We learned a lot about living in the moment and being grateful for what we have.
It has been a lot of work, and a lot has happened in the past two years, but once again, we are finally living. In addition to the work Paul and I have done on ourselves and our marriage, our kids are getting older – they are not babies anymore – and they don’t rely on us for every sip of water or snack or even to get dressed. This feels like someone lifted a weight off our shoulders.
Before 2010 began, Paul and I committed to a year of adventure, and what an adventure it was. The biggest adventure was our move to Illinois, of course, but before we moved, we shared many new experiences in Florida, including, sleeping on the floor of a children’s museum with 50 Cub Scouts and their families, camping with the Cub Scouts, and discovering Disney theme parks for the first time!
Once in Illinois, we went to the horse races, started exploring the city of Chicago, visited a real pumpkin patch, raked leaves, shoveled snow, went sledding, cut down our very first real Christmas tree and more!
We are having so much fun and making many wonderful memories – even while we have been working on selling our Florida home. Let me tell you what a huge stress that is – it’s HUGE. But, we have not allowed that stress to stop us from living. We have learned to make the best out of every situation we encounter and to be grateful for what we have.
I am sharing this story to encourage anyone out there who may be experiencing challenging times. We all experience challenges, but it’s how you respond to them that really defines who you are. You know what they say, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” If you’d like help embracing this 90/10 principle, contact me!

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