Isablog #17 – Monthly Challenge

Before I start, I will say that I’m not totally feeling this weeks blog. I know that’s not the first time I’ve said this, but sometimes I feel like I have too much I want to write out, and don’t really want to ramble. So instead you get a shortened, slightly rushed version of what I’m actually trying to say. I have thought about doing a podcast, that way I can sit down and actually articulate what I want to convey in a lengthened, drawn out way. I understand that this might not interest many, but for those who are interested, then you will be able to take a lot more from it. Anyway, on to this week, which I will start with a picture of Isabelle with a slight mark on her head after taking a bump. We’re not perfect parents, nor do we ever pretend to be:

 Isabelle Bump Face

 

So last month, not that I mentioned it on the blog or the social media sites, I decided to have a month without eating any sugary snacks. I like doing little challenges like this for a couple of reasons: Firstly, I like trying to improve myself as much as I can, so doing these challenges will help me in that never ending goal. Secondly, I like doing stuff just for the sake of it. Last January, I randomly decided I wanted to walk 100,000 steps in one day (just for the FitBit Badge) and these monthly things kind of come from the same place. It’s about doing something, purely for the sake of doing that something.

For December, I wasn’t totally sure what to do. I’ve been toying with the idea of not watching TV for a month, doing something a little harder like a 5K every day for a month or even something simple like doing ten minutes of meditation every day. I have a note on my phone where I keep adding stuff whenever I get an idea for a monthly challenge. But for this month, I’ve decided to do something a little bit weirder and give Rachel, my wife, a ten minute foot massage every day for a month.

 

Why Would You Want to Do That?

Yes, as you can imagine, Rachel is totally behind this idea. And whilst it might seem a little pointless from my perspective, I do have my reasons, so let me explain a little. The past week myself and Rachel have been bickering a bit, which is something we don’t usually do. I think Rachel had a little bit of cabin fever (I had the car for work every day), she felt I wasn’t as present as I usually am when I was home, and she’s also a little bit anxious about going back to work. All of that manifested itself in a little bit of edginess and angst that inevitably got directed at me. In turn, I didn’t really handle it too well and simply went into defensive mode and spent my time countering her points and trying to shut them down. Bad idea.

My solution for this? Give her a foot massage every day for a month. Do you know what you can’t do whilst giving someone a foot massage? Be distracted with technology. Another thing is you really don’t want to argue with someone who you then have to dedicate time to rubbing their feet. So it’s a win-win. Even if it’s mostly a win for Rachel.

I’m a very reflective person, and I’ve already thought back on the arguments and how we both handled it, and more importantly, how we can adapt to make things better going forward. A lot of what I’m going to implement has come from this book I’m currently reading called The Whole-Brain Child. Yes, it’s technically about raising a child, but it doesn’t take a genius to make lessons taught there transferable to other situations. If you’re after a parenting book, I highly recommend you get that. I will review it in the future, so look out for that.

I could go in depth here about what the book teaches and how I’ve implemented it. But to save you the time of reading hundreds upon hundreds of words, I’l shorten what they suggest. Basically, when someone comes in with a hot emotion that seems like it comes from an unrealistic place, for example, a child showing severe frustration because they’re not Spider-Man, your best response isn’t to pursue a logical argument, at least not at first. But it’s best to connect, emotion to emotion, and make that child (or even person) feel felt. In other words, describe the emotion first, empathise with that emotion, and once the situation has calmed, then you can move on with the logical side.

I will go into more of these parenting philosophies at a later date, but for now, I want to keep this a little shorter, and more readable. Suffice to say, I didn’t take this approach with Rachel when we argued. But it’s something that I’m going to try and incorporate going forward. The more I practice it now, the better equipped I’ll be for using it with Isabelle when she inevitably finds a reason to be frustrated over something seemingly trivial.

Isabelle News

OK, I guess I should mention Isabelle in this post, this is supposed to be about her, after all. So I’ll just say that she currently has her first tooth coming through. I found this out the hard way with her clamping down on my finger. I probably will talk about teething at some point in the future, I should try to cover more parenting topics, since this was what this blog was meant to be about.

I’ll be honest, there are so many topics I want to talk about, and so much going on with so little time, that I’m genuinely struggling with trying to get it all out. I have no idea how parent bloggers with loads of children find time to do this. I guess I could take myself off more to write, but I feel that would defeat the point of having a parenting blog. I am supposed to parent, after all. Even as I’m writing this, Rachel is feeding Isabelle, something I could be doing instead. But no, I’m here, writing this.

I will try to find the balance between work, home life and the blog life, but it’s all new, and there will be bumps in the road. This is probably why a podcast may be a good idea. Either way, I’ll likely be taking a beak from the blog over the Christmas period, last week may be my last one of the year, so maybe I can regroup, reassess and come back better in the new year.

Until then, I’ll see you next week for another poorly constructed, miss-mashed blog post that covers absolutely nothing in 1000 words! Perfect.

Oh, and here’s Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you want to stay up-to-date with this stuff. I have no idea why you would, but that’s your choice.

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