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How to Identify Common struggles in your Family

ron and cathy tijerina identifying common family struggles

Getting organized, poor communication, balancing work and home life

Every family struggles.  Yes, even healthy families struggle.  The struggles of parenting and managing relationships are real. You have to know that just because you struggle doesn’t mean your family is falling apart.  You are not alone in dealing with the complexities of managing your family.

We have all had those days that everything seems like it is falling apart. Your kids are running around like crazy, there are toys everywhere, you are upset with your husband because of something he said (he has NO idea what your days are like out here!), you have to be at work tomorrow until 5:00- but your son has a game that starts at 4:00; you name it, you are dealing with it. You feel like a complete failure as a mom and begin to wonder why your family is falling apart.  Here is the good news, all of that is normal family stuff.

Learning to set and stay on a schedule is a challenge for every family.

It gets even more complicated when your children are in other activities.  Balancing time between work and home life is a constant battle for working moms. And learning to communicate effectively with your spouse is a challenge every couple faces.  All of this is normal stuff—but it can feel like it is swallowing your family up in the midst of dealing with incarceration at the same time.  There are things you can do to reduce the stress and get your family back on track.

When you feel like the world is crashing down around you, the first thing you must do is to identify what is going wrong. In order to see clearly, you need to take a step back.  Find a place to be still, close your eyes and breathe deeply.  What is happening that is creating the stress and anxiety?

Ask yourself these questions to help you identify where the stress is coming from:

1 - Is it situational?

Maybe it is just one really tough day.  You can take it for what it is, and know that tomorrow is a new day with a clean slate.  But maybe you are facing a longer term situation that is causing your schedule to be stretched too far? Perhaps something is happening that is creating extra tension in your home right now. If this is the case, you get to make a choice between preparing to manage the situation in a healthy way, or eliminating the situation. I know families that get so overbooked with activities as they try to compensate for the absence of Dad while he is in prison that they increase the stress on their family.  Eliminate some of the busyness if that is you.  If it is a situation that you can’t eliminate, slow down and set a plan so you will be prepared without compromising your sanity.  The holidays are a perfect example of a situation that can become overwhelming; if you don’t set some boundaries (spending, events, company, etc.)  Once you set limits, you will be able to enjoy your time and manage your family with confidence.

If you’re anything like me, then you have spent many a night trying to figure out what to do for fun, only to discover that by the time you think of the perfect activity it’s time for the kids to get ready for bed. Sometimes thinking of the activity takes longer than the actual activity. Then you’re back to square one.

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2 - Is it relational?

Are you dealing with a difficult relationship right now? When there is discord between you and any member of your family, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the little things in life. Learning to communicate effectively is really important in order to resolve the conflict and make the best decisions for your future.  Practice Oh-K; Open, Honest, and Kind communication. Oh-K goes a long way in reducing relational stress.  Sometimes, you just need to have that courageous conversation with someone to start the healing process.  If you need to learn new communication skills, sign up for a class, read a book, or connect with a mentor to help you sort it out.  It will then become clear if your issue is just poor communication or if it is something deeper, once you begin to practice healthy communication.

3 - Is it personal?

 Is there something you are dealing with that is causing added anxiety? When you are dealing with a personal issue (health, eating right, employment, budgeting, procrastination, etc) it can weigh on your mind and create a lot of displaced stress within your family. You have to confront the internal issue you are facing and find a solution. If you don’t, you will not have the strength to manage everything that is happening outside of you. Friends and mentor are a great resource for both problem-solving and for accountability as you put a plan of action in place.

Summing it all up

Whichever one of these is causing the struggle in your life right now, it is simple to fix.  By identifying what the source of the problem is, you will be able to put a plan in place to solve it.  You are not striving to have a perfect family.  You are working to develop a permanent, healthy family.  When you keep that in perspective, it is a lot easier to NOT sweat the little stuff and stay focused on creating a lasting legacy.

I am rooting for you!