Because you and you babies deserve you at your best.
Motherhood has a way of bringing out the spectrum of emotions in us Mamas. And we can often go from laughter to near tears in a matter of minutes (this happens to me often with my two going on 13 year old). It's a roller-coaster of emotions on a daily basis. And I find I often reach anger way faster than I would like. My little one is really testing me lately, she is always testing me and after a long hard day at work my patience is often too thin. And I often snap. Which results in Mommy becoming a monster. I literally throw a tantrum like a toddler should, not an adult. I am so embarrassed to say. I lash out and I shout and storm her into room, to think about what she has done (this is so I can have a moment of alone time to calm my *ish!). I mean guys, she is two!!! It is never the finest parenting moments when this happens. And I am left feeling frazzled and heartbroken. And so is my Sunshine. I feel like the worst Mom in the whole wide world when this happens. And I have instant regret and Mom guilt, as she will usually burst into tears when I shout and look at me with utter hurt and betrayal. It's the worst!!!!
Why does this happen? I mean am an adult, I am her mother for petes sake. Why can I not hold it together to help my little one learn and grow he emotional capacity? Why do I lash out? Why can't I just act calmly and rationally, resulting in a happier Mama and Sunshine? Why do I struggle so much with patience, anger and this huge range of emotions? I will tell you why Mamas...it's because we work hard. It's because we are constantly trying to do all the things. Juggling all the balls; working Mom, homebody Mom, Caring wife, house cleaner and organiser and and and...the list is endless. And heaven forbid we drop one of those balls. It's tough Mamas. We are often so busy making everyone else happy we forget to full our own cup and take the time to work on us. This results in a Mama that is spread way thin. This is where the problem occurs. This is when the Mommy monster rears her nasty head!
So I have made a list of tips to help us all become a little calmer and a little happier Mama. I hope this helps you Mamas out there. It really has helped me. In full disclosure I do drop the ball now and again, I am only human. But I am way better. I know how to control the anger now. I know how to extend the patience and turn up the compassion and empathy for my little one, who is just trying to learn how to control her own emotions. I need to be the one who teachers her this. And this is how....
1. Breath and walk away. Guys how easy does this sound. It's actually not, well for me anyway especially when I am angry. But if you master this simple step, it will allow you to regain composure and re-direct your emotions to a more calm and reasonable state. I like to call this a Mommy time out. Because Mommy is struggling to control her emotions and she needs a time out, to sit and think about this. Just like a naughty kiddies time out. I would even explain this to your child so they understand that when Mommy says she needs a time out, she needs to be left alone for a minute. This has really helped me! Like in a biiiiig way. Just a few minutes makes all the difference. I also like to step outside for my minute. Something about the fresh air and the trees and sky, helps calm me. This tip allows me to come back to the conversations calm and collected and when I do this we can resolve the argument rationally and even hug it out instead of shouting and tears.
2. Choose grace over anger. After your Mommy time out, this becomes easy. We can calm our mind and realize that our little people are just trying to find their place in the world. They are trying to learn how to handle their emotions. They are not necessarily trying to drive us to a metal asylum, they may just be struggling through something we can't see or understand yet. We need to find the grace in this without immediately acting out in anger. We need to rise above this and be easy on ourselves and our family. We are all trying our best and it will get easier. Kids will always push their boundaries, this is a given. But normally once they know where they stand and where their boundaries are, they will move onto the next thing. So a calm spirit can really calm your words and actions. Grace Mamas, grace. For you, your husband and your kids.
3. Ask for help. This is one I struggle with. I hate asking for help. I feel like maybe it makes me less of a Mom, woman and wife. Which is silly. We all need some help now and again. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact I feel you are a stronger person if you can do it. I mean if we try do it all, it can and will lead to a burn out and usually faster than we expect. So, in our home we all have chores. My Hubby does all the dish-washing and clean up after dinner. I cook, most meals. Sometimes I ask for help and he will cook or bring us take away. (which I love!) I also do most of the washing, but Hubby will also help with this now and again. (which again I love) I make Sunshine's lunch for school while Hubby baths her. Sunshine is only two, but she already helps me make our bed every morning, she puts her dirty washing in the washing machine, she puts her dirty nappies in the bin and she feeds the birdies in the garden. Her chores are not really super helpful yet, but I am grooming her to be a helpful member of this family. We all live in this home together and it is all our responsibility to make sure it runs smoothly. And she just loves to help, it gives her such pride and a sense of accomplishment. Which is fantastic. Another point I want to make here is...Stop comparing yourself to others. That Mama next door with the perfectly run home, the Pintrest worthy lunch boxes, magazine inspired lounge and happy little family, may just have 2 nannies, a domestic worker and a whole village helping her run that perfect little home. Why?... Because she asked for help, but that's besides the point. You don't need perfect, because no one else is, really let that sink in. No one is perfect! Social media wants us to believe that they are, but let me say it one more time, no one is perfect. Everyone has struggles, everyone has battles that we do not see. And everyone is just trying to their best for the people they love. And that is all you need to do. You just need to do what works for you. Comparison is the worst. And it will only set us up to fail. There will always be some one who seems to be doing better, who is making more money, who more put together and who is all round rocking Mom-hood better than you. SO just stop!!! You are incredible in your own right. And if you and your family are happy, then you are on top. Period! Also on a side note, a messy house is ok, fish-fingers and oven chips or McDonald's are just fine for dinner sometimes and a bit of screen time is not going to turn your child into a monster. Pleasure ;)
4. Call a friend. Calling a girlfriend or someone who lifts your mood and makes you feel good, is so beneficial for us women. Sometimes as a woman we need to vent. We need to gossip and we need to just say things to get them out of our mind. We don't need a solution or someone to fix all our problems, we just need someone to hear us. Someone to listen and someone to insert the, "Say what!" and "OMG"s in all the correct spaces. We need to feel heard. And this can be our husbands, sure...but sometimes we need to vent for 30 minutes on how our husband continuously leaves his shoes lying around the house and if you trip over said shoes one more time, you are going to strangle him to death with his own shoelace... sooooo, Maybe this should be someone besides your hubby. Also our lovely husbands have a tendency to to try solve all our problems. Which is sweet and can be super helpful. But not always needed, sometimes just the act of talking through these things can solve the issue for us. Chatting to a girlfriend, even if it's not to vent and just to catch up, relaxes us, it lifts our mood and this makes us a calmer happier Mama. So whenever you have had a tough day and you are feeling a little depleted, call up one of your besties for a chat. Better yet go have a quick catch up coffee together. Your inner zen with thank you, trust me.
5. Fake it till you make it! This is one of my favorite sayings! Because I am a firm believer in a positive outlook, even when life hands you lemons. I believe that whatever energy you put out into the world is the same energy that comes back to you. Sure sometimes we are dealt a tough hand and sometimes the last thing you want to do is be positive and plaster a dumb smile on your face. I do get that, sometimes it is easier than others. But smiling, even if you are faking it, can trick your brain into feeling happy. Guys, its actual science! Smiling has been proven to reduce your heart rate and releases chemicals that make you feel better. It does this by reducing the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine; increasing the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin. And it turns out that even a fake smile can have these significant benefits, as your brain doesn't know that you are faking it. So the simple action of smiling, even a smile without all the feels behind it, will render the same result! A reduced heart rate means lower stress and anxiety, both of which we would all like to feel less, more often, am I right? So even if it feels a little silly let's try smile and laugh a little more. Let's try put our negative thoughts on hold, (don't bury then, but try not to wallow in them for too long either) and smile. Or even just smile in traffic or at your computer screen like a crazy person, cause we all need some more happy vibes in our lives!
And that's it, my 5 tips on being a calmer, happier better Mama. These tips are really easy to incorporate into our busy lives. They are all simple enough to do and have really helped me as a Mama and wife. So try them out and see if they can help you too. If you do try them, let me know how you go. And what works and doesn't work for you. I would really be interested in finding this out. Also, as always, if you have any tips to add, please do! Always learning. Always growing. x
Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that's very important for good health - Dalai Lama