By Amanda Delamer, MSc, ACC, CPCC

With back to school in full swing I am finding our family nicely settling into our “school year” routines and finding our groove. I am also noticing how intentional I need to be in order to create space for strong connection with my kids.

There are so many things that have an impact on our relationships with our kids. Yes, appointments, activities and play dates can mean time away from our kids, and being physically disconnected from them. But I’m also talking about those things we don’t see – things that can get in the way of us connecting with our kids – assumptions, expectations, judgements, perceptions, personalities and labels, for example.

I was thinking the other day about how “messy” after school pickup sometimes feels for me. I get to the school to pick up my oldest child, so excited to see and connect with her. With me, are my other two little peanuts, each having their own feelings and excitement around picking up their big sister. Just inside the door is my sunshine, waiting to burst out the door and share with us all about her day. Then “it” happens. My youngest decides it’s a great time to eat rocks and dirt, my middle one decides he is Spiderman who can scale and leap off the fence, the door opens and my oldest is running towards me ready to come in for a hug, the teacher is calling me over to talk about something great that happened that day, another parent wants to talk about arranging a play, and me, I’m a hot mess! I find myself standing there wondering: Where are my children? I need to connect with my oldest daughter! How long will it take to get across the park and strap the kids in the car? Did I leave the conversation with that other parent/teacher mid-sentence?

In the end, I find myself sitting in my car, sometimes laughing, asking myself “what the heck just happened?!?” When we get home, I might find myself still preoccupied with those questions in my head, and not being present and enjoying the connection I’m having with my kids as we’re colouring together at the table sharing about the day.

When I find myself feeling like this “hot mess”, I take some deep breaths and give myself permission to process and notice what just happened – meaning, I get “selfish” and grant myself permission for some self-care, some self-connection and some alone time. I get curious with myself, and explore how I’m feeling – without judgement. I realize that in the example I shared, what’s getting in the way of me connecting with my oldest daughter is expectation, assumption, judgment and guilt. I have an expectation of how after school pickup is supposed to go. I assume that my oldest daughter wants connection right at that moment after school to look a certain way. I judge myself for not showing up “better”. I feel a ton of guilt around not being a “good enough” mother.

My truth is, I am a great mother and the connections I have with my children are beautiful. Another truth for me is that I sometimes want time with my kids to feel and look a bit different, and that’s okay – I can get intentional about creating space for that too.

Three things come to mind when thinking about what I need to create space and time for connection with my kids:

1.  Self-Care – I need time to hear myself think, process my thoughts and get curious with myself – while journaling, at a yoga class, out for a walk, or conversation with people who support me in moving forward. This also means designing my days in a way that fulfills me, not saying “yes” to everything and everyone, and not jam packing my days with a “to do” list that leaves me feeling overwhelmed and drained.

2.  Acceptance – For me, this means really letting go of expectation and how things “should” be. Instead, embracing the now. This doesn’t mean losing sight of what’s important for me, but instead appreciating that connection can look and feel so many beautiful ways. There is no right/wrong, black/white for me when it comes to connection.

3.  Intention – Connection with my children is so very important for me, and it takes commitment to create space for it. I am intentional about leaving the dishes for later – playing Jenga and Uno, reading together, creating clay objects, rolling around on the floor, laying on the bed chatting about the day and not rushing through bedtime – that’s important for me.

What’s getting in the way of you connecting with your kids? Think about a time when you have felt like a “hot mess”. What was going on? What was getting in the way of you connecting with your child? What do you love about your connection with your kids? What do you want more of? What do you want less of?

Self Awareness Coach Northwest Calgary

Here’s to beautiful connection with your kids!

Want some support in creating space for connection with your kids? Contact me and lets get started! Make coaching part of your regular self-care routine, and let it support you in getting intentional. COACHING promotion – Sign up for 3 months of coaching and get a 4th month free! Book your complimentary sample session with Amanda today – Call 403-452-6262!

Amanda is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and fulfilled lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her loving husband and three inspiring children.