“Of COURSE I love my kids…I take them EVERYwhere!
…unfortunately, they always seem to find their way home.” – Jaime Buckley
Just one more day.
That’s what we tell ourselves.
You can do this for…one…more…day.
…and then you tell yourself the same thing tomorrow.
And on and on and on….
That’s what happens over time.
We get worn.
We’re unappreciated, when all we’re looking for most days is someone to notice.
Sometimes we get flat out discouraged.
Yet something inside us pushes.
Insists that we continue.
Demands that we maintain.
Stand our ground.
…or for the crazy among us, do more even more.
(Anyone hear that humming sound, or is it just me?)
It’s like…a voice, from the heart.
Don’t sell the kids offfff…
Don’t put them up for adoption…..
Just kidding, but the voice thing IS true.
It’s there, encouraging us on.
And even though we feel tired or abused or forgotten…we continue.
Day after day, regardless of the circumstances, we continue.
No, you don’t have to worry about therapy here.
You’re not crazy.
…anymore than usual, anyway.
Self Talk is that little voice inside us that surfaces…raising it’s tone from time to time.
A voice we can hear both in our heads in in our hearts…and for some parents, it isn’t always a good thing.
Oh, I know I talk about the crazy voices in my head from writing my fiction books.
Wendell, Chuck, Dax…the gnome milk man…
—but I’m talking about the conversations in our heads that EVERYONE has from time to time.
So for today, we’ll both pretend I’m ‘normal’ alright?
Let me explain my theory here.
From my own experiences I believe there are three distinct voices you can hear at any given time:
• The Good
• The Bad
• The Village Idiot
The Good: This voice only tends to show up when you’re calm or you have the ability to find that calmness.
It’s when you’ve had enough sleep and the kids have, believe it or not, been obedient (yay!).
This is the voice that prompts us to do good things.
To be calm when we’re more agitated than we should be.
To consider the intent of the child, even though they deserve a punishment for the actual act.
This is the voice that helps us find peaceful, creative solutions rather than using the kitchen spoon.
GOOD KEY: This voice is always calm, always peaceful, always encourages and always prompts you to be be loving and kind.
Anything contrary to being kind and peaceful is a sure sign you are NOT hearing the Good voice.
The Bad: This voice is selfish, unkind and sometimes down right rude & cruel.
This is the voice that points out all the faults of your children and maybe your spouse.
It’s the one that whispers ‘you’re the victim here and you’re under-appreciated’ (which could be true).
The danger here is that this voice will almost always start with a truth and then twist it, sugar coating it with convenient lies until you swallow it whole.
BAD KEY: This voice will always attempt to focus your attention onto self, blame, guilt, anger, fairness, worthlessness & hopelessness.
This is self-defeating talk—so the moment you’re thinking negative, accusing or self-deprecating talk, you’re hearing the Bad voice.
The Village Idiot: I’m sorry to say it, but this is us, pure and simple.
We’re the ones in the middle.
The Village Idiot is the curious, the cautious and the catalyst.
Depending where we go in our own thoughts is where the first two voices are likely to jump into the conversation or take over altogether.
IDIOT KEY: How you speak to yourself is a matter of habit.
The good news is that this habit can be changed.
If you don’t have self confidence, you can develop it.
The bad news is, this habit can be changed.
If you’re not careful and diligent in moving forward, you’ll slide backwards—for nothing in us stands still.
You’re either going forward or going backwards.
The question is: Which voice do YOU listen to?
What Drives Us To Mumble & Self-Talk?
It would be easy to spit out a list.
All the things you’re irritated about, all the BIG issues that are the problem…
But that wouldn’t be the truth, would it?
It’s the small things that get to us.
Dishes not being done when your child is reminded a dozen or more times.
Garbage didn’t get taken to the curb and now the trash piles up for yet another week.
The last scoop of ice cream you were saving for that ‘down time’ moment has suddenly vanished (for the sixth time in a row)…and “nobody” did it.
(BTW, nobody is gotta be flogged when they’re caught…cause I’m starting to think it’s a neighbor kid climbing through our window when we’re not looking…)
It’s the casual way our children address us, or saying ‘yeah’ instead of ‘yes’ when we’re speaking clearly and calmly to them.
It’s that single Leggo that’s missing, cried over all day (because now the Super Duper Flying Machine can’t be built).
It’s that never ending argument or complaint that so-and-so got more, got better, got the blue plate, the pink cup, the yellow spoon (plastic—not because of mold)…and what they DID get is never enough.
My point is, what drives us to the edge of talking to ourselves is experiencing multiple small situations.
It’s when we feel pushed to our limits (or beyond) with little to no support.
So What Causes Us To Hope and Keep Going?
That’s the thing.
Just when we want to scream, run away or even give up, there’s always something that grabs our attention.
Something that reminds us why we were doing this [parenting] gig in the first place.
Sometimes it’s small and soft as an unexpected ‘thank you’ from a little one.
Sometimes it’s a breakthrough and a child suddenly complies, your patience rewarded.
At other times, you’re shocked into a reflective moment and you find a new perspective.
Life WILL remind you why you’re enduring and pushing and sacrificing for your children.
LEGGO UPDATE: Found it.
In the dark.
With my foot.
On the stairs.
Not the reminder I was looking for, but I had a painfully-reflective moment.
My kids LOVE Leggos…and they really do strive to take care of the bajillion we’ve bought.
My wife tells them, “One of the ways you show dad how much you love him is by taking care of the things he works very hard to buy for you.”
…and they do.
According to their limited capacity..
I’ll give you two other examples I experienced just yesterday:
A Sick Baby
There has been a great deal of screaming going on in this house for the past few days.
…and I mean SCREAMING.
That’s what happens when a newborn is ill.
They don’t have the faintest idea how to cope with the pain, discomfort and they can’t talk.
They can’t convey any of the yucky emotions they’re feeling to those around them, except through crying.
No matter what anyone tried, Roman (11 wks) simply wouldn’t smile.
Which is sad, because he’s such a happy boy and smiles at the drop of a hat…which tells us exactly how bad he actually feels.
I was at a point where my nerves were frazzled (wimp, I know), when I leaned in to his face, smiled and whispered,”I’m so sorry you don’t feel well, buddy…but daddy loves you sooooo much.”
Then he smiled.
In fact, when I snuggled him and laughed, he laughed back.
It went on for nearly 15 minutes.
THIS was a reminder that there’s a beautiful smile on the other side of those tiny tears…and though he can’t yet talk, he knew what I meant.
Daddy loves him.
I Was About To Give Up
Driving in the car with my oldest boy Evan, I shared some frustrations about writing Chronicles of a Hero without seeing the results I’d been hoping.
I explained how it didn’t make sense to me.
…working 12, 14, 18, even 20 hours a day, six days a week or five years…and not being able to take care of my family in the way I felt I should.
No more blogging, no more writing books.
I can get a day job at a local factory.
It would keep the roof over our heads, food on the table and I’d be an honorable husband and father.
My son stopped me.
“Have you ever considered, Dad, that this test isn’t about you?”
“That maybe this is about us? That it’s God seeing what we’re willing to endure or sacrifice? Maybe He’s testing our faith, not yours.”
(yeah, that’s my son—amazing, huh)
It’s times like these that life looks back at you, smiles and whispers, “I know it’s hard, but here’s a reminder of why it’s all worth it.”
There Will Be Blessings You Never Anticipate
You are a parent for many different reasons, but the most important reason of all is because you love the children.
You love them.
I’m not a new parent when it comes to Roman.
I’m a father at the OTHER end of the spectrum.
…with married kids and a handful of grandchildren.
It gives me unique perspectives at times—and the most important one I can share with you is:
The challenges of raising a child are worth it.
Every heartache, scream, tantrum, snotty nose, swear word, frustration, bad report card, speeding ticket & confiscated cell phone is worth it.
Every experience, good and bad…is worth it.
Even when it’s visitation day at the detention center, and you have to keep yourself from crying so you can inspire a child sitting in a prison cell.
It’s worth it.
The KIDS are worth it.
Knowing what I know now, I’d do it all over again.
…in a heartbeat, from the beginning!
It will give you experience.
You will grow right along with your child.
You will become so much more.
So much better for it.
If you let it.
So when you feel down…
When you feel tired…
When you’ve run out of reason AND duct tape to keep them in time out…
When you feel like you have nothing else to give and you can’t see the light at the end of this specific tunnel, just repeat after me…
Never give up.
Never give in.
Never, Never. Never!
Just one more day.
You CAN do this one more day.
Then tell yourself the same thing tomorrow.
You can do it.
I believe in you.
BONUS: FOR THE GUYS IN THE ROOM
Oh, and if you’re the man in the room, let me give you a tip.
Forget what all the moron’s with the capital letters after their names tell you.
Forget what popular culture tells you about equality crap and equal bite my shorts nonsense.
YOU are the mood and pace of your home.
YOU are the stability of your home.
Not your wife, YOU!
You set the tone by what you say, what you do, and how you interact with and support the love of your life.
You also TEACH your kids how to treat the love of THEIR life, by how you treat THEIR MOTHER!
(So be mindful and be careful little brother…)
Your #1 job is to be the rock and salvation of that amazing woman.
That incredible beauty who journeyed to the edge of death to bring your child into this world.
It doesn’t matter if that child smells like poop, eat boogers, streaks through the neighborhood naked and can’t talk politics intelligently.
Their your offspring, Einstein…and your sweetheart went through the pain, sweat and tears to give you that gift.
She sacrificed her body, mind and sanity…because she loves you!
This also means you get to be her HERO.
GET to, mind you…
Be the guy who saves the girl.
Day in and day out!!
How cool is THAT, buddy?
Trust me when I say that once you realize how valuable you are to that darling woman, you won’t want it any other way.
You’re the man.
…so BE the man.
…and for goodness sakes, be the GROWNUP she can rely on at the end of each day.
You’ve got this.
Your Biggest Fan!
2 Minute Action Plan
Would you like a 2 minute action plan? Something you can do, right now, to improve your day with your children? Then unlock the bonus section below.
Go love your kids.
Seriously, go now—walk away from this computer and hug them, kiss them, tell them you love them as you squeeze them.
Next, recall at least one thing that your child IS improving on because of your influence and support.
Focus on that today.
If you can’t think of one, then choose one to start on!
Author, Illustrator & Dad of 12, Jaime Buckley has published more than 30 books. He’s also written thousands of articles on the subjects of writing, worldbuilding, parenting, and how to suck Jell-O through a straw. Best known for his Chronicles of a Hero fantasy series, you can find Jaime on WantedHero.com or his parenting blog, JaimeBuckley.com.