*In a Nut Shell

So Lost!

I’m so flustered about this today, and I know it is so not worth my frustration because of how small it really is, but I need to vent and this is my only available outlet at the moment. (I hope I can type it out without it sounding confusing!)

How do you communicate things to people without them feeling like you judge them or are attacking?

For instance, we make our kids eat what is served for dinner. Dinner is dinner, period. We don’t have special menus for picky eaters. (Well, we wouldn’t have one if our kids were picky.) You eat was is served and if you don’t? Oh well. Your plate will be at your spot until bedtime, and you won’t get any extras or dessert until it is gone. And, if you don’t eat it by bed, you go without a meal. However, if someone else has a child who refuses to eat what is served and requests a sandwhich instead, that is great. We have a standard for our kids, but if another family has a different standard for their child(ren), that is okay.

But, how do you communicate that in general conversation without it sounding like “I do it this way, so everyone else needs to as well”? Apparently, I don’t know how to do it! There have been multiple occassions recently where I have said something about raising our kids, or how we conduct meal time, or even about our kids having chicken pox (yes, they caught it!). Just sharing our outlook or way of doing things, the way we want it or like it for our family. But, some people seem to think that because that’s how we do it means we expect everyone else to do it as well.

I’m frustrated with always having to back track and explain myself to someone everytime I open my mouth. Which raises a question that kind of ties in with this: What is the norm and who gets to determine it?? Our norm may be Family X’s definition of weird, and vice versa, but why does it matter? Why do people find the need to let us know how “wrong” we are about all the “abnormal” ways we are living our life? Anyway, I suppose, that in order to save some of that frustration, I will just need to zip it. I really do my best to not come off too strong, but I guess I’m sending that vibe to people these days. I haven’t changed how I communicate and say things. The only thing that’s really changed is my circle of friends. So, because they don’t know us well, does that mean I should begin or close each statement with a disclaimer? Should I become SUPER strategic in my communication skills? Should I keep my mouth shut? Ha Ha! Or, should I just let them figure it out?

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3 thoughts on “So Lost!

  1. Good luck and tell me if you figure out the secret. Most things I try to start with a “Something that’s working for us so far is” if I don’t know people well. Other times I think it’s fine to be a little evangelical. For example, when kids are sassy, I am disgusted and dread what they will be as teens. Then, if the opportunity comes up, I will say something mild but pointed like, “I try to make sure my kids always speak in an appropriate tone to me so that they will be in the habit when they are teenagers. Sometimes it takes a few tries before they say things correctly, but when I remember to model for them, it goes well.” And sometimes, when I’m really excited about something fringe (like having a big family or homebirthing), I can’t help gushing and have to shove something in my mouth to shut up. So far, I still have friends…. :)

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  2. Who cares what other people think? I have long since given up about what people think. Speak your piece and let the chips fall where they may. Do it nicely and perhaps you will plant some seeds.
    I find the best thing though is to lead by example. I can’t tell you how many times I have been complimented on the good behavior of my children in public after the stares of ” Oh, my gosh, please don’t let ALL those children sit near me.” They are usually pleasantly surprised by how well they behave. Let them know that managing a big family is do-able and God forbid, maybe even desirable!!
    Happy Easter, you sweet people!

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  3. Thank you, Rachel and Anita, I really appreciate your feedback. I know that really it is all trivial, but it is all mostly new (in the last year or so) to me and I basically had a nervous break down. ha! I refocused my attention on being God’s daughter and that my only mission is to please Him in this life.

    Thank you for your tips and words of encouragement!! I am not a beginner at this in some ways, but I am in so many others. So any help is always welcome because there is always something to be learned. Thank you!

    **(P.S. Anita!!! I AM SO HAPPY to hear from you!!!! I have been thinking about you SO SO much lately and have tried to email you mulitple times :)**

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