Over the last few weeks, I am continuously asked how I keep my cool, when I am angry, or how do I keep from yelling, or loosing it when I don’t feel peaceful or gentle at all. So I’ve decided that this information is too important for me to keep to myself, so here goes, without much fluff and with little buffer.
With 5 kids under 10, most people think that I loose it all of the time, but the truth is that I don’t. I actually rarely yell at my kids, and don’t feel the need to take a break as often as a lot of moms out there do, and the number one reason is simply, I take care of myself. Now, when I say that I take care of myself, I don’t only mean that I drink smoothies and eat veggies all day, but what I mean is that I listen to my body and I’ve learned to my listen to gut feelings or instincts. To make a long story short, I no longer do what I don’t want to, or what does not bring me joy. Now, I must clarify, I do not mean things that are necessary: like child care, or meal preparation – even though sometimes, I want to throw my stove away and hire a cook :D – but I mean, giving more of myself than I can. If someone asks me to do something for them, and I don’t have time, I say no. If I am tired, I go to sleep early. When something bothers me, I say so. THIS, this is a biggie for me. We are so used to keeping things in, that we don’t realize the damage that we do to ourselves by not admitting: because when we leave things that bother us within, it has the tendency to take us over and spill into our lives with our children.
I also take care of my physical body in the sense that I sit and relax when I am tired. I don’t often react negatively to being tired, but exhaustion makes me grumpy. When I feel like this, I take a break. I cannot afford to keep going and spill that over into my children. My house will always need to be cleaned, I no longer have delusions of a perfectly clean home. I can’t put that in front of my children and our harmony – I will always have dishes, laundry, floors to mop, and food to cook, and those things will always get done. I no longer hold myself to the standard that my worth is tied to how clean my house is…leading me to the next point - when I need help, I ask for it.
I refuse to continue to be a martyr. I realize that I need help. I cannot do it all alone. I do what I can, within reason, but when I need something done, I ask. I refuse to allow myself to fall victim to the mental trap of having expectations and the not asking for help, and then feeling disappointed when the other person did not meet the expectations that I have, but never ask for.
The next thing is that I take responsibility for my feelings and moods. If I am grumpy due to hunger (which is the biggest reason for most of my grumpiness), or any other reason, I admit it to my children. I tell them that mommy is hungry and as a result is a little grumpy - I hold myself accountable to my own emotions and feelings.I tell them that I need a few minutes to eat before I do anything, or that I need a few minutes to take care of myself. I own my feelings and become as quiet as possible, so that I don’t push my feelings onto anyone, and on the case that I do, I usually apologize for the reaction.
I let moments be that. Just a bad moment, I don't let it take over my entire day. To get over a bad moment, I might listen to the radio, sing, play, make monkey or animal noises - at the spur of the moment, to get the funny back - call someone who supports me, or who will lend me an ear and listen. I take it to my TRIBE for support. I get out of the house, and take them to a park. Or anything at the moment to lighten the mood.
Finally, I do my best to remember two things: one, that my kids are not trying to upset me on purpose, my emotional reactions, are reactions to old stories or memories of old stories, I know that they usually just want my attention, and need me to help them or just want to be around me. And two, I try to remember that the way that I treat them, is the way that they treat each other, others, and the way that they learn to view themselves in the world.
This might not be all of the things that I do to keep from loosing it, but it is where I start. Let me hear your thoughts below.
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