When you’ve fallen off the wagon

by | Feb 28, 2019

How often do you start off with good intentions to stick to a plan, but within a few weeks (or maybe months) you’ve fallen off the wagon.  I’ve done this with (to name a few):  

  • dieting (a lot!),  
  • exercising (again, a lot!), 
  • my parenting style and,  
  • my intention to keep the house tidy.  

I know I’m not the only one.  Once you’ve fallen off the wagon it can be hard to get back on, particularly if you feel like you’ve failed. 

I know as a parent how hard it can sometimes be to ‘get it right’.  I still don’t all of the time, but if I’m getting it right most of the time then that’s fine with me.  I heard the example of getting it right 60% of the time and you’re doing well, so if I do that I’m doing well.  I know that when I do get it wrong I repair and we move on.  Yes, it’s not great to make mistakes but we’re all human and I’m not trying to be perfect.  I also don’t want my son to grow up thinking he has to be perfect all the time, because he doesn’t, life isn’t like that.  For me, the important thing is to know what to do when you make a mistake.  Every time I get it wrong I apologise and repair, and in modelling that my son is learning at the same time. 

Sometimes it can be hard to realise that we are not getting it right until something happens that acts as a wake-up call.  Other times we realise our approach isn’t working but don’t know how to change it or get back on track. 

I understand that, and have been there.  I don’t think I know a parent who hasn’t (although I know some who wouldn’t admit it).  When things are going wrong it can be really hard to get back on track.  I struggle sometimes and can find myself in a bit of a rut that’s hard to get out of.  The key to getting back on track is to not beat yourself up.  You’re where you are and you can’t go back, so don’t be hard on yourself, accept it and decide to start making changes.   

Here are some of the ways that I get myself back on track: 

  • Talk to my brother – he’s great for a gentle kick up the backside! 
  • Go out for a walk and rebalance.  This clears my head and enables me to think straight. 
  • Focus on my self-care. Often when I’m not parenting how I want to, it’s because my self-care is lacking. 
  • Start with one small change. 
  • Revisit my ‘baskets’ to remind myself of the priorities. 
  • Do a reconciliation gesture for my son. 
  • Remind myself that I’m a good person and a good parent and getting it wrong sometimes is ok. 

These things all work for me and I use different things at different times dependant on the situation.  Like everything there isn’t a one size fits all solution, you have to work out what works for you but hopefully these suggestions will spark ideas on your own mind. 

The list above isn’t in any particular order but if I was prioritising it, self-care would go at the top, and I’m sure that’s no surprise to many of you.  I know from my own experience, and that of many of the parents that I work with, when we don’t look after ourselves well enough we start to fall off the wagon.  

Sometimes it’s a slow drop off that doesn’t seem noticeable at first, other times it a sudden drop.  Either way, we’ve fallen off and the best way to get back on is to start looking after ourselves again. Remind ourselves that we are good parents and get back on the horse so to speak.   

Pick one aspect of NVR, whichever feels easiest for you, and just start doing it.  You can do it and you’ll get back on track faster than you realise.