3 things that might just change your mood & your parenting forever

June 2017 / Self-help, parenting & even writing / 4 minutes (850 words & many numbers)


years ago I emerged stressed out and worn out and not really all that well from a tough few years of my life (discussed in a previous blogpost). Luckily  I had the opportunity to leave my job and become the full time parent for my

Number 2

children while chasing my dream and writing children’s fiction while they’re in school. I thought it would all be easy, but I was still burnt out. And parenting is not without its challenges. I  soon found myself overwhelmed at times by the day to day challenges such as a…


year old daughter who  didn’t want to eat all her vegetables and my son’s messy bedroom. Tiny issues mostly, but they felt big to me in my burnt out state. And writing was going slower than I hoped and not as well. My frustration started to overwhelm me quickly and I’d take it out on the kids. There was


time I slapped my hand off the wall in fury in front of them and many more times when I shouted. I wasn’t the parent I wanted to be. Nor the writer. But then again I thought I should be perfect at both of these tasks. I was being hard very myself for all these perceived failings. I thought the hard times were back again, but


night I watched a tv programme by Irish Psychologist Maureen Gaffney. She talked about developing the skills to take control of your mood and mental health.  One idea she suggested was that at the end of every week, you take a moment to think back and identify


good things that happened that week. She said that by doing that regularly you develop the cognitive skills to focus your mind on positives rather than negatives and you develop gratitude for what you have. You literally change your mind. Feeling inspired, I was sure that doing this


thing would fix everything. Plus I wanted a quick fix so I started doing it daily. But there was no immediate change. The only thing that I noticed was that I enjoyed taking that moment every night to list out those three things for which I was grateful. In fact I enjoyed this moment so much that I told my


children about it and started doing it with them. They agreed that each night before they went to sleep, they’d tell me


things from their day they liked and then I’d tell them


things I had done with them or seen them doing that I liked.  This became known in our house as the




thing I learned quickly  was never force my children to do them as the Three Things risked just becoming a chore for them. Sometimes my son was too grumpy or upset for whatever reason and didn’t do them. My daughter was hit and miss whether she wanted to them or not. Plus my son’s


things were initially always the same – TV, Books, Training – without any real thought. And just as often I just wanted those Three Things done with them so I could get them into bed and veg in front of the TV. But still I kept doing them with the kids at bedtime and just before I went to sleep at night. And

mathematics-1660859_1280night my son had a nightmare and he did his three things to help stop thinking about his bad dream. And he got back to sleep. Now that’s a technique he uses or I encourage him to use whenever he has nightmares or worries.


day I got upset over something that wasn’t very important and my kids cheekily told me to do my three things. So I did them. And we all felt better. And now I do them regularly when I feel myself drift off into worries or anxiety about my writing or anything no matter what time of the day. And they really help. During a


week holiday myself and my wife did the three things together with both children every night. We laughed as we remembered the joy and fun of each day.  Now we do this together all of our holidays. Nearly


years have gone by since the

numbers-1487226_1280Things arrived into our lives and my life and my household and my children is not


blissful, serene moment of bliss after another. We and I still argue, moan, get overwhelmed and upset. We are inconsistent with the three things. Sometimes my son still doesn’t do them. My independent minded daughter only wants to hear my Three Things about her, not do her’s. And my writing still seems to be going slowly, but the Three Things help me focus on little moments of progress towards my goals. And


thing both myself and my family are slowly learning is that we can change our minds and moods. We can focus on positives and be grateful for the day to day wonders in our lives. We have only

numbers-1487222_1280life and the Three Things are one of the things that I do and we do as family to help us get the most out of it. And they’ll be tools to use to help us keep going on days in the future when hardship does genuinely hit us and it’s hard to see the positives at all. They’re not a miracle cure all, but honestly I couldn’t imagine my life without them. So go ahead give the


Things a try! They’re as easy as

IMG_20170527_171500976 slightly enhanced

Have you ever tried the three things? What are the other little tricks you’ve used to help you in stay motivated in your life, parenting and writing? Send me a comment (or 3) and tell me all about it.

12 Responses

  1. Liberty On the Lighter Side - (LOLS)

    I think child rearing and writing are two of the most demoralising jobs in the world and every bit of help helps! At least with children there is a greater level of motivation to keep going. A bit of perspective helps me: ever since my sister lost her little boy to a brief illness last year I have realised that there are so many petty things in life that I stress over and the fact that my children are alive and well is enough to be tremendously grateful for. As to writing, each time I write I think ‘if this just inspires one person then I’ll be happy’. It’s a hard slog but I’m unable to sit on my hands for long so thankfully it just seems to keep going by itself, even when I feel as if I’m achieving nothing. As to which to prioritise, when I’m old I’d like to look back and think at least I did a good job on my kids, even if the writing went nowhere!

    Liked by 1 person

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