The 52 weeks Simplify Your Life Challenge for week 3 was to create our family's mission statement.
It has taken me two weeks to sit down and type out how this works out for us.
Our household is complicated. Probably no more than most of the rest of the world. but there are unique challenges and issues and stumbling blocks. The idea of creating a mission statement which accurately reflects the values and beliefs for each member of this household is like asking me to shoot the moon with a nerf gun!
I am a recovering post natal/post teen depression person who has worked really really REALLY hard to let go of many control issues in my world. I used to clean my house like a crazy person. Up at 4am to domestos the bathroom each morning, the floor (and children) were vacuumed at least daily, if I sat down I felt sick because there was so much else I should be doing. I was an extremely uptight, over protective, over disciplining angry mother. I was a nasty screaming banshee of a wife. I didn't have many friends ( who'd want to go there??). I found it almost impossible to make the most basic of decisions, and so I would go along with things I didn't want because I didn't have the energy to stand up.
Then I got help.
I got medication.
I got counselling.
I got a back bone.
I have morphed into a messy, crafty, creative mum. I would rather play Nintendo challenge with my daughter than clean the house. I have been known to serve Apple Pie and icecream for dinner (Fruit, carbs, milk... what's wrong with that?) I have discovered that not only am I capable of making a decision, I am also pretty stubborn once I have chosen. I'm a hippie on the inside and think that there is more to life than just drifting through.
Sounds good doesn't it?
Except that my husband originally married a neat freak. A tightly controlled house proud compliant little wifey. He got his way in almost every instance because I didn't have the brain space to put together a legible argument ( imagine a screaming two year old having a tantrum.. that was me). Dinner was on the table at 6.15pm, children in bed at 7.30pm sharp.
So now, with the *new and improved* Lisa there are new things to negotiate. He is a neat freak, so he is NOT happy that I longer clean 12 hours a day. He is used to getting his way so he is NOT happy when I calmly say "I disagree". No longer can he argue that I'm not making any sense. This is not the wife he married, but this is now the wife he has... tricky. To his credit he stuck by me at my most outrageous, low points, and he stands by me now even when I make him crazy, even when the house is chaos and there is no dinner planned for the next fortnight. He doesn't like it. but he stands by me.
Add to this a child who has Aspergers, who has s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d through 13 years of school. And a daughter who is so dreamy and lost in art-world that she is hard to communicate with at times. And another daughter who is 13 and gorgeous but so so so "teenager" that she should be on Hannah Montana. And another littler daughter, an IVF blessing who is like a whole separate family really as she doesn't really fit with the teenagers at all.
So how do we all, such different creatures, find a single mission statement that we can live by? I have thought about this alot. I could create a mission board - husband would not be impressed - he doesn't do 'touchy-feely crap'. I could create one by myself, but then it's just my mission statement, not a family one.Can I write one and demand they accept it? Do they even need to know that in my heart one exists?
And each day for the past fortnight, simple words come to me, until they are screaming so loud I have to write them down for you. It's corny, and overly simple. But our mission statement, the simple mantra we live by in this house, daily, hourly, every nano-second is just -
Four words, but they sum up every step of our married life and parenting. From teaching the 2 year old to not belt his newborn sister, to choosing words carefully so they are not hurtful. From considering our actions and ensuring they will not be hurtful or harmful to the family, to teaching a 17 yr old to drive.
It is not flowery or oozing with gooey words of devotion. It's honest and it is the starting point of decision making in our home.. Our mission statement is that in all things we will do no harm.