After 7 years of being my oldest child’s teacher, I bought him $127.53 worth of very specific school supplies as outlined on a list, and dropped him off at school. I had found the right double-pocket, mutli-color, 9 tab, folder-divider-thing and the rest of the items on the list. I even bought him the “iron knee” pants because he’s a boy in 7th grade. I gave myself a high-five for knowing a few things.
Quickly, I learned that the clothes and the school supplies were the easy part. The rest of this transition has been much more difficult. What I thought would be a seamless change, has been hard on me. Our daily rhythm is different and the role I play is brand new to me.
Here are a few things I’ve done, and am still working on, to find my groove.
- Acknowledge this is a new place.
For a few weeks, I would wake surprised and annoyed that my days no longer afforded lazy mornings in pj’s. I was mad that my new schedule wasn’t my old schedule. It wasn’t just the schedule either. It was that I missed having my son around during the day. My relationship with him looks dramatically different. I’m learning new ways to be a part of his life.
An easy way to set up something for failure is to be grumpy the new thing isn’t the old thing. That’s what I had been doing. My old rhythm was lovely. I missed it, but I needed to give it a hug, throw it a goodbye party, and thank it for serving our family well. It was great, but it isn’t the only rhythm that can be good. It’s time to search for something that works for this chapter.
- Find a mentor two steps ahead.
I listened to an interview on the Success Mentor Summit and Andy Traub said we need to be humble enough to realize what we don’t know and look for help. He wasn’t specifically talking about parenting, but the main idea still applies. If you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who does. There is someone out there who made this very change and lived to tell. Bonus points if it happened recently enough that they remember how they did it!
- Communicate with your home team.
Several years ago, I read a book by Shauna Niequist in which she talked about the importance of having a “home team”. These are your closest friends/family- the ones you drop anything for. Identify your home team and lean on them. Let them know how you’re doing. Two great outcomes will happen. First, they’ll understand why you’re crying or eating more chocolate than usual. Second, you’ll be heard. There is something magical about having a safe space to say all the things that weigh on us.
Have you ever stepped into a season of change that surprised you by throwing you off kilter more than you expected? Drop me a note in the comments.