Take notice that I didn’t ask “What’s the mood in your home?” I want to know what you do on purpose to make the mood what it is? It may seem like a technicality, but this small turn of phrase makes a huge difference.
Every parent has a million things on their list to do. Doesn’t matter if you stay at home, work part time, go to school, work fulltime, or anything else. You may often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. If you allow yourself to get caught up in this busy-ness and think only about your discomfort, you are likely to give off a pretty sour vibe. Life is complicated, I can’t relax, nobody appreciates me, etc.
Your family members might start avoiding you a little more, might act more tenative around you, only talk to you if they really need something because they don’t want to risk ticking you off unless it’s absolutely necessary. You see this as rejection and further proof that nobody cares. You get stuck in the bad mood and you continue to react to your surroundings. A merry-go-round of stress and grouchiness.
Here’s where the problem lies. You allow yourself to react rather than being proactive. Yes, stuff is going to happen to disrupt your well-laid plans. So what? It happens to everyone and that includes you. If you get your perfect plan in your head and get stuck on the fact that something didn’t work exactly right, you will be frustrated a lot. You have taken a passive role, allowing outside circumstances to dictate your mood. Whatever that is, your family gets.
Now you might be wondering, “Well, yeah. When something happens, of course I’m going to react with a feeling.” Yes, that is true. However, a negative reaction mood won’t have nearly the impact if you have a habit of purposely setting your own positive mood each day. If you make the conscious decision to make your home peaceful and warm as much as possible, then you will handle disappointment or disruptive change with that goal in mind.
That doesn’t mean you should never have a feeling when you are bothered by something. I’m not suggesting you slap a happy grin on your face and pretend nothing is ever wrong. I am saying that you can determine that the great majority of the time, you will be sure to not dump your emotional junk onto your family simply because you really feel it that day. You will handle it with more dignity, more humor, probably more honesty, and in ways that aren’t damaging to others. Just because you have a feeling doesn’t mean it’s always OK or necessary to share it.
You know, swearing about your boss in front of your children isn’t a good plan, even if it’s justified. In that case, do your best to make the kids feel comfortable when you are around them. Acknowledge then push aside your feelings for a while until you have a chance to talk with your spouse and get it off your chest. Or write it in a journal, call your mom, go for a quick run, take a hot shower, listen to loud music for a half hour, or whatever helps you handle your emotions. That’s YOU setting the mood in your home while still being responsible about dealing with your emotions.
Would you rather your kids remember that you were tense, isolated yourself, and didn’t seem to like being in the family? Or would you rather they remember a warm feeling of security and acceptance? Parents who set that kind of mood don’t necessarily have fewer problems than tense isolated parents. For the most part, they set the mood of the home on purpose every day. And they do their best not to let their moods set them.