Respond intentionally instead of reacting reflexively. The more you practice doing this, the more you’ll feel connected to the person you want to be in the life you want to build, and the less you’ll feel at mercy of working parenthood.Yael Schonbrun
Of course working parenthood is challenging, but there are benefits when we approach the overwhelm and guilt.
Yael Schonbrun is a psychologist and professor at Brown University. In her book, Work Parent Thrive: 12 Science-Backed Strategies to Ditch Guilt, Manage Overwhelm, and Grow Connection, she acknowledges that we need to have better support for families at a societal level. But instead of waiting for new workplace policies, she suggests strategies to not only cope with the overwhelm and guilt of working parenthood but help us thrive.
Dr. Schonbrun practices Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). Foundational to ACT is that humans experience a wide range of emotions–including ones that are unpleasant and painful. Instead of getting rid of them, you learn to benefit from them. The goal is to have “psychological flexibility.” More specifically, this means you work to be aware of your current state, accept your situation or struggle, observe your interpretations, make adjustments to the story you tell yourself, reaffirm your values, and commit to action that matters to you.
I appreciate is her reminder that…
Being psychologically flexible doesn’t mean you won’t be pissed off, tired, frustrated, or in need of that trip to Tahiti. You are going to experience all those feelings and thoughts, no matter how skillful you are. But now, instead of getting sucked into a downward ruminative spiral, and instead of acting on negative thoughts and feelings only to experience regret and more anger, frustration, and guilt, you can more intentionally choose your response.
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