Monday, May 23, 2011

A Mama on a Mission

During a meeting today discussing marketing strategies, as I preached the need to remain "on message" or essentially to develop a mission statement — I realized, that what PDD and ADD, what these diagnoses have led my family to, is just that — a need for a clear mission statement.

My husband and I began our family as most couples. We eagerly watched as our incredible infants developed into toddlers. We moved forward expecting growth as a matter of course. Even when our son seemed not to understand us, when we realized he communicated almost entirely in silence; when we discovered him sleeping inside the case and beneath his pillow on a regular basis; when he no longer made eye contact with us; we did little more than turn to our friends and family for the typical parenting insights we thought we needed. It was a model that quickly failed.

It was at a breaking point that I left my salaried job. Then, with an ambition I once devoted to my career, I began to focus on their needs and my parenting approach abruptly changed, but not by design, just as a by-product of a desperate decision to change something. I was largely rudderless. Instinctively and over time I guess, I began to focus on them as a unique product, as my small enterprise in need of a competitive advantage. Of course, at the start, this was not my thought at all. At the time, I simply wanted to make myself more available to my children. I intended to support them and fight for them. I might have realized I was "a woman on a mission," true, but it has taken me this long to realize that what I needed was to create that essential ingredient I so often preached to even the smallest start-up businesses — a solid mission statement.

And so, that's my task. Having just realized it, I haven't penned the perfect statement yet. A good one takes a concentrated effort to create. But I think it will include these key ideas:
• make happiness a priority
• develop strategies to reach at least calm when happiness seems lost
• reduce anxiety
• realize how one's behavior, expected or unexpected, affects others
• value others
• practice tolerance
• act, perform and approach problems as a family
• know how to deal effectively with unhappy or disgruntled people

Silver Lining: We are working the problem, we really are. Our determination and focus have turned a bad situation into far far better. But my husband and I recently made the decision to truly commit to these beliefs at a level we have not before. I am glad to have realized that what I really need is to practice what I preach.

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