Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Staying in the Game

Fatigue makes cowards of us all.
This was one of football coach Vince Lombardi's well-known quotes. Yes, if I was a football player--a very tired football player--I think that I might take the easier route around the defense instead of through them. As a mom, I often live in fatigue as well. Making another lunch, breaking up another sibling feud, enforcing another rule, saying no. Fatigue causes me to waver, taking the easier route of not enforcing the rule, letting the feud go until someone gets hurt or everyone is screaming and yelling (including me), or saying yes against my better judgment.

How can we stick with it and avoid the negative results brought about from burnout?
  • Be resolved. Decide what is important and do that one thing. Parenting habits backslide slowly and you can't necessarily fix every mistake at once.
  • Be consistent. Once you've decided to focus on one thing, institute a zero tolerance policy. I might be focusing on eliminating the sassy tone of voice, and so every single time I hear it, I must act accordingly.
  • Be persistent. The problems did not crop up overnight, and they will not disappear overnight either. I'm reminded of the joke, "How do you eat an elephant?" and the answer, "One bite at a time."
  • Be inspired. Jim Burns at HomeWord ministries counsels us to have VIPs in our lives--Very Inspiring People. When we are drained by the hard work of marriage or parenting, having a group of people with whom we can discuss the issues at hand can replenish our resolve.
All of the steps work well as a group to try to stay the course. Whenever I am discouraged about a parenting mistake or a marriage hurdle, there are certain people to whom I know I can I go. I share the problem, and then share the solution or pick their brains for one so that I can resolve to change. Be sure that you are not sharing these problems with someone who will just commiserate with you or who will bring you down. Select those who always help you to be inspired, either as a result of their practical experience or unflagging emotional support.

This plan of attack is similar to what the football coach does during the game. He doesn't just give the quarterback the ball and tell him to score. He designs a play in order to enable the offense to outmaneuver the defense. A football game only lasts four quarters, and then the players have the week off before the next game, but parenting is a relentless battle--twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. If you have the ball, you gotta keep on running.


angeleyes Blue said...

My husband and I have been together 23 years...17 of them married--I just look at these things as hiccups in the road of life.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

Thanks for the encouragement. When you have young children, you certainly have highs and lows. We had a few lows today, so I appreciate your thoughts!

Susanne said...

This was a great post, Jennifer!

Dianne said...

I love the VIP idea. This is so true, what you've said about fatigue. And it just sneaks up on you.

Katrina said...

Great post, and so true. Fatigue affects me negatively more often than I'd like to admit, but I like your steps to hanging in there.

Melissa said...

It's so easy (and tempting) to just give in some times. I really have to remind myself that my strength (or lack of it) will determine my daughter's character. I'm thankful we have a COACH who makes the plays for us!

Melissa @ Breath of Life