Today it’s time to start contemplating what solutions and options are available for you to start moving towards your three most important aims that are causing you grief right now. One from your minor issues, one from your moderate issues and one from your major issues.
It’s important to start small and only concentrate on three of your aims so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed with trying to change too many things at once.
Chances are that the minor issue will be the one that will be the easiest to deal with, as it’s probably got less emotional charge attached to it. So let’s begin there. With your minor issue in mind, consider the following questions:
Step One: Brainstorm possibilities
When you start to put your attention on answers, you will be surprised at all the things that come up as potential solutions to overcoming these problems. Just start listing them all and see how many you can come up with. Here are a few examples to get you going:
My child is having a lot of tantrums
Potential solutions: Learn a discipline technique for handling the behaviour, ignore her and keep doing what I’m doing, throw myself on the floor and kick and scream too to see what she does, distract her, see the funny side of tantrums, give myself some time out, plan my next activity, whenever she’s having a tantrum, imagine I am on holiday at my favourite destination, think about all the fun times I have with her and how much I love her, take her for a walk outside, go outside for some fresh air after putting her somewhere safe to scream it out, put some of my happy music on, write a list of all the quick things that I could do to help me get through these tantrums.
I don’t have any support around me
Potential solutions: Find a local support group for mums. Join a social club that I can attend weekly and get a friend/relative/babysitter to look after my children, join a mother’s group, see my community centre for activities for kids so that I can get to know others, look into occassional care or child care options, go to the park to meet new people, allow myself to ask for help, make sure when the kids are asleep I do something fulfilling sometimes so that I feel like I am getting ‘time to myself’, let the housework go sometimes and opt for ‘me’ activities that I can do around the kids.
I don’t want to work full-time anymore, but we need the money
Potential solutions: Compromise on lifestyle, sell an asset, research work at home opportunities, find out if your job can be worked at from home some or all of the time, look for another job that is better pay for less hours worked, take some holidays in order to work out what you want, study something new, if you can’t afford to study, look into scholarships or funded programs, keep an eye out for other jobs that may come up doing something different, apply for that new part-time job anyway, even if it’s not in your field of experience, seriously consider and re-prioritise your budget to see if you can stop work or reduce hours, even if it’s temporary until you find something else or build a new business, take a loan out so that you can build your dream business.
I’m bored at home all day with the kids
Potential solutions: Plan activities to get you out of the house, plan activities that are just for you but can be integrated into your day with the kids, play your music sometimes too, do your housework while listening to the ipod, take up a new hobby, explore fun games that you can play with the kids that you might enjoy too, join mother’s groups to get adult interaction, Learn to cook, go for a walk, go shopping, try a new hairstyle, stop doing the housework and do something that you enjoy to break the monotony, set your child up with an activity and read your book instead of doing the housework. Create a schedule that incorporates all your chores, play time with your kids and time for you (both while you are looking after the kids and outside of looking after the kids).
Once you begin to brainstorm all of the possibilities to your issue, you will be surprised by just how many solutions pop up in your mind. It’s okay that some of them may not seem do-able right now, just list them anyway, because sometimes these are the very choices that end up being the most appropriate ones. When you have as many possibilities listed as possible, move onto the next question:
Step Two: Where can I find more information to help me move towards my aim?
Educate yourself. Where are the resources you need to help you learn how to handle this situation? Could I find them on the internet? Are they in library books? Can I call a child health nurse (if it is child related)? Can I call lifeline or visit a community information centre to get information on services that may be able to support me (for example if you were planning on leaving a relationship).
What you want to do in this Choices step of the TRACK process is to arm yourself with information. Seek out all of the resources that you can find that apply to your situation and that may create the pathway towards meeting your goals.
Explore some of the possibilities of the listed potential solutions and arm yourself with information on whether this option may just work for you.
Here are some examples:
My child is tantruming a lot
Perhaps you have been feeling overwhelmed by this behaviour, unsure whether you are handling it the ‘right’ way. While there is not real right or wrong way to handle tantrums (unless you are hurting your child of course) there are easier ways to handle tantrums. Research as many different ways as possible for dealing with this situation and look for what works and what doesn’t and why the resourced experts think it does or doesn’t work. This is going to give you information that will help you to make your decision on which approach to take. You can find this information in the plethora of parenting books available, internet parenting forums, parent help phone lines, child health nurses and parenting courses that you can attend that will teach you how to handle these situations calmly and also, teach your child not to tantrum, thereby accelerating their development through this stage.
I don’t have any support around me
This is where we need to get out of our ‘woe is me’ and start picking up the phone to see what services there are available for mums in your area. Husbands are not the be all and end all of support for mums, nor is immediate family. There are many women who are either single mums, or have husbands who work away from home or work long hours. You need to engage in a solution focussed approach by actively seeking services that may be able to help you in this area – for example, childcare, occassional care, neighbours, friends etc. Also seek out books, parenting blogs etc that touch on this issue that may provide other potential solutions.
I don’t want to work full-time anymore but we need the money
On a surface level it may look like you have no choice but to work full-time and put up with it, however until you start actively seeking out resources that show you an alternative, you will never see what else is out there. Look up career websites, job networks, job advertisements, new career prospects, new business opportunities etc
I’m bored at home all day with the kids
Research interesting activities for mums on websites, in newspapers in your area, community notice boards. What mother’s clubs are available in your area? What parks are there around that probably have other bored mums there that you could strike up a conversation with.
Step Three: What are other people doing? Who else has had this issue and overcame it and how can I learn from them?
Now start to look for what other people are doing to overcome your issue. Learn off other people’s adversities and let them give you their advice. Whether it be stories from celebrities or strangers, or whether you simply sit down for a cup of coffee with a friend who has had experience with your problem, or with a new acquaintence that you have come to learn went through your issue. There is a lot to be learnt from other people if you just take the time to listen to their stories.
Parenting forums are great for this if you are dealing with a child development issue. Money making websites have blogs and forums that help you to make money, start a new business or learn how to be a work from home mum. Read books and biographies that show you how someone went through a particular adversity and how they got to the other side.
Even if you find that their solutions don’t work for you, reading the stories of other people overcoming the issues that you have too can be incredibly motivating for you to remember that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and you too will see the other side of it soon enough.
Step Four: Finally, make a list of all of the potential solutions to your problem that will move you towards your aim.
Once you have thoroughly explored all of the potential options and solutions that may be available (whether do-able, feasible or not), list ALL of them down together, as tomorrow you are going to have a look through this list and review which ones could be the next course of action to take and why.
Tomorrow we will look again at the priority beliefs that govern your choices and why this is important when assessing your options. If you haven’t done so already, go back through these questions and list all the potential solutions to all three of your issues that you are tackling this week – the minor, the moderate and the major issue that you chose to work on.