Most days we are going through the motions, trying to get from point A to point B. We are thinking about what we have to do during the day or stewing about past events. The day rushes along as we hurry to school, work, activities, even running errands.

What happens when we get in to this busy, chaotic, fast-paced way of life? People begin to irritate us, we get annoyed faster, and our anger is at an all-time high. It’s not only the strangers we interact with in traffic jams or stores, it’s the people closest to us that get the really lashing out.

It all seems to stem from the mentality of “it’s my way or the highway.” When things aren’t acting out according to your plan, your loved ones pick up on that negative vibe and throw it right back at you.

Love and Gratitude Really Works.

Lately, I’ve been working on finding things I love about the people in my life, really feeling gratitude for everything and not letting the little things irritate me.

What I realized is that I was irritated a lot. I would always think of myself as a happy, go-lucky person, but man, those negative thoughts had their way of creeping in. What I used to think of as annoying still might come at me the same way initially, but then I remember to flip it to love. My eye rolls could compete with that of a teenager.

Once I paused to let go of the negativity I was projecting in my life and started focusing on everything I loved, it became easier to relax around my children. I no longer get irritated when they interrupt me while I am working because I know in their head they have something important to tell me. They want to share their revelation with me. Their enthusiasm for everything is one of the many things I love about them.

Let the Inner Control Freak Go.

I was (am/recovering) a control freak and got irritated, disappointed, and angry when things didn’t go as planned. I like to be punctual and when people are moving like sloths in my house, my anxiety rises. Schedules are my jam: bedtime, mealtime, getting to school on time, you name it I love to stick to it.

This is no way to live and it puts me on edge around my kids. You know the phrase, “Don’t cry over spilled milk?” Well, usually I scream and yell over a drop of water on the ground.

I let these little irritations get to me and then become frustrated with the people I love. Sure, people are going to do things differently than I would but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing it wrong.

The thing that really gets me is that I’m letting my emotions get the best of me. This isn’t the true me. It’s the one looking at the worst possible situation and worrying about what is going to happen. The real me is the happy, easy-going, loveable, grateful one who is trying her hardest to shine through a feeling of lack.

This Doesn’t Mean I’m A Pushover.

Relaxing a bit, focusing on what I love about the person in a moment of frustration, and living in a constant state of gratitude has helped me flip the switch. But this doesn’t mean I’ve let my kids off the hook.

They still have to have manners when asking for things. They have to clean up after themselves and will never walk all over me.

What I have seen in even a couple days of focusing on the good is that they react differently in situations. They have begun feeding off my positive energy and aren’t being snarky back to me. I even caught my youngest being helpful without having to ask him.

All people, even kids, pick up on your energy, good or bad and will throw it back at you with the same intensity. So if I want my kids to do something willingly then I need to come at them with appreciation and kindness, instead of demanding them to fulfill my request immediately.

This all sounds good in theory but what does this look like in real-time?

What Parenting With Intention Means to Me:

1. Less irritation among all members of my family
2. Less fighting with my kids
3. Letting go of controlling each situation
4. Really paying attention to my kids when they speak
5. Single-tasking, i.e. slowing down
6. Complete awareness that each child needs me to parent differently
7. Independent children want to do more when there is less nagging
8. Appreciating good deeds and acts of kindness
9. More hugs, kisses, and cuddles reminding myself of what I love about them
10. Mutual respect
11. Teachable moments in a calm manner
12. Spending more time together
13. Not forcing my methods on anyone
14. Embracing their individuality
15. Remembering to be mindful of the way I make requests. They are not demands.
16. Being in the present moment instead of worrying about future/past events
17. BREATHE before reacting (Is what happening right now the worst thing ever? No mess is worth the anger.)
18. Stay positive, think positive, feel positive. Love and gratitude towards everyone and everything will trump all negativity.

This post originally appeared on Medium.