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Don’t Rain on Their Parade

Rain stormI was a bit of a grump when I got home last night.  I hadn’t gotten the things done that needed to be done and I had a lot going through my mind.  To say I was there but absent would be an understatement.  Since Kelly was at a meeting, I made a quick supper while the girls set the table.  I was still in the mode of getting things done and was being a bit barky.

We had been sitting at the table about 20 minutes longer than I wanted when one of my girls started telling me about a cat cartoon she had seen several weeks ago.  What she was telling me made no sense but as she told the story she and her sister started to laugh.  They remembered the cat putting muddy foot prints all through the house and her laughter just exploded.  She was holding her stomach, tears running down her cheeks and her dimples were in full bloom.  They both laughed and giggled and told the story when they could and were having a great time.

My problem: I didn’t feel like laughing.  I just wanted to be done with the meal and getting things done.  The good news is that for once, I didn’t let my mood win, I watched them laugh and then I suddenly experienced joy and laughter.  I still don’t know what they were laughing at but I was laughing because in the midst of my stress and worry, there is laughter and joy.

I’m thankful that my mood didn’t win last night.  I did need to get things done but I also didn’t need my whole family to be living in a cloud just because I was.

Last night it took a magical moment from my five-year-olds to break up the storm but I’d like to think that there are better ways to hit the reset button before I get home rather than after.

Here are a few ideas that I’ve found keep me from bringing the storm home from work.  I’d also like to hear what you do to keep from bringing a storm home with you.

Spend the last 10 minutes at work preparing the next day.   I have a hard time feeling settled when I dash out of the office without spending time reviewing and planning for the next day.  Take a few minutes at the end of the day to review what you were able to do as well as review your next day and schedule in your priorities.  Peter Bergman in his book “18 Minutes” suggests that you end your day with the following questions:

  1. How did the day go?  What success did I experience?  What challenges did I endure?
  2. What did I learn today?  About myself? About others?  What do I plan to do – differently or the same – tomorrow?
  3. Who did I interact with?  Anyone I need to update?  Thank?  Ask a question of?  Share feedback with?

Don’t be in office mode all the way home.  Don’t use your commute time to work in the last phone calls and messages.  This will reopen the door you just closed when you prepared for the next day.  If you want to call people, make calls to friends and family to encourage them.

Turn off the news/talk radio on your way home.  Use your commute as a time to refocus on your priorities for getting home.  Yes, you need to accomplish a bunch of stuff at home too but what do you want your kids and spouse to remember about you.  Are there ways of working with your kids to get things done?  If you want to listen to something play some music or listen to something that inspires you.  I typically listen to Podcasts in my car and find that if I’m really grumpy that a few minutes of listening to Car Talk will bring me back to civil pretty quick.

Remember, it isn’t their fault.  Finally, your kids and spouse don’t know what’s going on in your mind and they most likely aren’t going to be able to fix what is concerning you at work.  They may be an easy target for venting but they are not an appropriate target.  It isn’t their fault, so don’t make them pay for whatever it is.  If you feel like you are still in a mood in which you are going to say or do regretful things, then let them know that you need a bit more time before you interact because you want to be safe.  If you can, get some exercise, take a bath, read something inspiring, or in my case, listen to them laugh.

Question: What do you do to make sure your mood doesn’t rain on their parade?


Image credit: sfexaminer.com

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