my home is my sanctuary.

Just the other day, I dashed out of the office to run home to my family after a long day of work. The only thing I could think about while on my way home was how much work was waiting for me once I got there. How was I ever going to get everything done (make lunches for school the next day, return calls, reply to emails, do laundry, write that report for work)? I pulled into the driveway, parked the car and started my usual rush toward the door. But for some reason, I stopped and just stood there. I wasn’t ready.

My head was still at work and I was not at all in the right place to be the calm, focused mother and wife I want to be when I enter my home, my sanctuary, and see the people I love the most. Frankly, I felt irritable and exhausted for a myriad of reasons and I knew that if I walked into my house at that moment, I would snap or say something I would later regret.

Just the other day I snapped at my innocent eight year old son who just asked me for some water shortly after I came home. Instead of responding kindly to him, I told him to get his own drink since I was obviously overwhelmed with tending to my sick 18 month old daughter and getting dinner ready for the entire family.

Standing outside my door that day, I realized that the transition from work to home was a difficult one for me, as I’m sure it is for many parents. I thought about how many times I took my frustrations out on the people I loved the most because of stresses that have nothing to do with them.

As I faced the front door, I tried an exercise that I so often recommend to my clients. I closed my eyes for twenty seconds, took some rejuvenating deep breaths and thought about the kind of energy I wanted to bring into my sanctuary, my home. I thought about how much I missed my children, and how much I was looking forward to hearing about their day at school, reading with them and cuddling with them before bedtime.

From that day on, I decided that before walking into my home to greet my family after a long, stressful day, I will remember to stop and have a moment of meditation (even if just for a few seconds) to acknowledge the blessings and stresses of my day and prepare myself to enter my sanctuary with patience, strength and love.

This is how I wish to greet the people most important to me.

Do you find that you take your frustrations out on the ones you love the most? What do you do to center yourself?

Written by Dr. Dahlia Topolosky

Dr. Dahlia Topolosky

Dr. Dahlia Topolosky is a licensed psychologist and parent coach. Her practice focuses on individual and group therapy, as well as psycho-educational evaluations for behavior and learning disorders. Dahlia is founder of the New Orleans Parents Club (NOPC), a group for parents to socialize and learn positive and effective parenting skills. She also provides private, parent coaching to parents struggling with the normal ups and downs of parenting. Dahlia loves singing, playing guitar and hand drums, and spending time with her husband Rabbi Uri of Beth Israel, and their 4 children.

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  1. Dahlia Topolosky says:

    Thanks everyone for your responses. Its often a challenge, especially during transitional moments, to be the person we want to be in front of the people that we love the most. Taking a moment to focus ourselves and be in the right space before we walk in the door not only helps the people we love but helps us feel better about ourselves.

  2. Thank you, Dahlia. I’m going to carry this with me.

  3. Great tips even for those of us that are stay at home Moms. Be the person you want to be at home.

  4. Ditto what Melissa says. One day in the midst of my frustration, a mother I did not know happened to walk by. She could tell I was having a tough time with my youngest and overheard me say something that I now regret. In a very kind and understanding tone, she just said to me: “She is your biggest fan”. I think of that all the time. I can’t imagine how hurtful it would be if the person I looked up to the most yelled at me or said something that made me feel undeserving of his/her love. It really made an impression on me and changed the way I viewed my role as mother. A very real lesson from a total stranger.

  5. Love this. Being a Working at Home Mom, I think that transition for me is a real struggle. I’m taking your advice. Before opening my office door and entering through to my family room, I will stop and shed the stress, breathe in the goodness and exhale the negativity, thus embracing my family with positive energy! Good point. Thank you for sharing.

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