Chapter One: Emotional Climate

No, I am not writing a book. This is the first (short) chapter of a book that I’m reading, one that was gifted to me by my mother when I was first moving out on my own with my son (only one year old at the time).

The book is titled Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff With Your Family – Simple Ways to Keep Daily Responsibilities and Household Chaos from Taking Over Your Life written by: Richard Carlson, PH. D. I was ripping through an old basket of junk when I found the book tucked between some old envelopes and things. The title caught my attention and I opened it up only to learn that it holds one hundred chapters.

I’m going to try something new and hope that reading this book along with actually following the steps and then writing about it may actually help me tackle the daily chaos in my own household. Maybe the journey can help someone in theirs too.

Chapter One: Setting A Positive Emotional Climate

I’ve always thought of myself as an odd mixture of optimist and pessimist, which might sound like the two then cancel each other out and I would thereby be a “realist” but that’s not really the case. Somedays nothing can crush my overwhelming optimism and some things can really bring out the pessimist in me. Unfortunately household chores and trying to argue with a four year old and a one year old about cleaning or eating have a way of crushing your chipper spirit a little bit…

Setting a “positive emotional climate” apparently relies on a lot of different things. Some very little details like paint color and furniture placement and then some slightly more complicated things to control like noise levels. With three little boys, my boyfriend, the dog, the neighbors and everything else our home is pretty much always buzzing with thirteen or fourteen different noises. I’m not sure how to combat that really which makes me feel like step one might be more difficult than I expected.

“When trying to determine the ideal emotional environment for yourself and/or your family, there are several important questions to ask yourself…”

  1. What type of person are you? I suppose I’m a control freak with a relaxed side. An exhausted mother of three with ADHD that prevents me from ever really sitting still to do nothing. I’m loving and caring but it only takes a moment to make me angry and then, because my mood is just as stubborn as me, I’ll be stuck in a bad mood all day. So I’m a weirdo and a mom.
  2. What type of environment do you enjoy and thrive in? A calm, organized and loving environment.
  3. Do you wish your home were more peaceful? Only all the time.

I guess these questions are supposed to help me figure out how to “set the climate” in our house but I’m not sure how. I have three kids four and under and there is no sidebar about how to convince all of your kids to play 1, 2, 3, mum for an hour. The chapter further says that some time spent alone (for everyone), time together and less rushing around can help set a better emotional environment and I have to say that some time alone would surely do me a bit of good. And I know that days where we have a lot to do the rushing around can get really stressful…

So far I’m a little lost but mostly believing that I can learn to relax more at home and treat it more like family and less like work. It’s just going to take a little bit of work…

Tomorrow’s chapter is Give Yourself An Extra Ten Minutes.

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