Friday, 14 March 2014
Parenting Project Update
So I'm two weeks into month 1 of my parenting project. The 3 things I am meant to be doing to improve my mental health are going to therapy, practicing mindfulness, and listing 3 good things at the end of every day.
Therapy: I am loving this. I really wasn't sure about going when I'm not feeling depressed, anxious, or even particularly distressed. But I think this is an excellent time to go. Sort of like an inoculation against future bumps in the road. This week I really felt fraudulent walking in; I was feeling on top of the world! I still ended up having a good weep and dig around my psyche. It feels somewhat self-indulgent, but good. The type of therapy is Cognitive Analytic Therapy, and I like that it is time-limited. I think we decide pretty soon whether it will be 16 sessions or 24. 24 would fit nicely into the 6-month timeframe of this project.
Mindfulness: I am supposed to be meditating twice per day. Most days I am managing once. Not at all sure I'm doing it right, but I do quite like it. Difficult to know how/where to do it. The book says that a quiet place at home is ideal. The author clearly does not share a house with 3 & 6 year-old boys. Another assignment for the week was to choose different seats at meetings, the dinner table, etc. That's been sort of fun, though I am not convinced meaningful. The final assignment I have utterly failed to do. I am supposed to have chosen a habitual activity to do mindfully. For instance, pay attention when brushing teeth. I chose driving to and from work, but I find it near impossible to turn the radio off. Maybe I'll switch to the teeth brushing thing. But I like to check Facebook while brushing. I do not have a mindful nature.
3 Good Things: I have a perfect record of gold stars for this. It's nice to think through the day and list high points. I also like that this orients me to Good Things all day long. This morning I was looking at the book You Choose with both boys snuggled on my lap, and thought this is definitely a Good Thing.
The specific parenting strategy for the month is not shouting. I have slipped up a couple of times, but they weren't too bad. I would like for this to be like smacking -- a strategy that does not even cross my mind as a possibility. I have some way to go. I have to stop myself from lashing out frequently. It really is a pity that children are such annoying little creatures.