There are mornings I can come out of my room and within five minutes have heard each of my kids yell, “MOM!” or really, “MAWM” only to follow with some complaint. They complain that their sibling touched their things, they went in each others rooms, so in so didn’t do their chores, they said something offensive, they teased them about whatever, they’re standing too close to the other, etc. etc. You can relate, I’m sure. It’s during these times that I feel so tempted to just turn around, walk right back into my room, and close and lock the door leaving them to fend for themselves all so I don’t have to listen to them complain. We’ve all had those Mom moments before, right? Those moments that you JUST CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!
As a mom and as adults we want to roll our eyes and sigh in frustration because it shouldn’t be this difficult to get along with one another. So instead of hiding away…which if we did hide each time there was an explosive morning like that we’d end up missing an entire decade of our lives. So we get to work putting out fire after fire after fire only to have ninety percent of our mental energy expended in the first five minutes of interacting with our children.
This is a problem and I can help
This is a problem. Let me help you out a bit. I want to offer 3 things to try on to teach your children to stop the blame game, save them from initiating chaos, and to save as much of your mental energy as possible so you can make it through the next fifteen hours and fifty-five minutes of your day.
The first thing to do is breathe. You heard that right, breathe. When you step out of your room and you see the madness that is ensuing all around you BEFORE you react and add fuel to the flame, breathe. Take a deep, deep, deep breath. Close your eyes for a second, block out the insanity for just a millisecond and breathe. This is a huge step actually. Taking that moment to breathe and gain composure keeps you present minded and the pause gives our brain an extra moment to collect ourselves so we don’t go right into default mode (aka yelling at our kids).
The second thing to do is the quick 2 question inventory – 2 second inventory: 1. ask yourself: WHO do I want to be right now? 2. HOW do I want to FEEL? Ask yourself these two questions AHEAD of time preferably. When I wake up in the morning I remind myself of my core goals for myself. Who do I want to be today? How do I want to feel? It’s much easier if you do this ahead of time so then you can devote an entire 3 seconds to just reviewing what you’ve already decided BUT…if you didn’t do that – better late than never – so do it now. Ask yourself those quick questions.
Decide AHEAD of time
If I decided that I want to be a nice Mom then in that moment my actions need to follow my wants and goals. I need to think NICE thoughts about my children – remember, your children are a circumstance – they’re neutral – nothing “BAD” has happened UNTIL you deem it so or in other words, UNITL YOU GIVE IT A THOUGHT.
If I come out of my room to find the kitchen a MESS and my kids are screaming at each other you may think it’s difficult, near impossible even to not react, yell, or lose it – BUT…that’s the great deception of our time thinking that we have NO control BECAUSE of what’s happening around us. Tis not so, my friends. I have complete AGENCY to CHOOSE who I want to be in ANY circumstance.
So, going back to my goal of wanting to be a NICE person. If that’s who I’ve decided to be – what would NICE look like in this circumstance? Maybe NICE is teaching them that their actions are going to land them in prison someday. Maybe NICE looks like sending them all to their rooms for a few minutes (hours – days). Maybe NICE looks like assigning more chores so they learn how you’d like them to behave. You decide what NICE looks like.
The second question: HOW do I want to FEEL? You DON’T HAVE TO REACT. You aren’t subject to feeling frustrated simply because the circumstance is less than ideal. You get to decide. Out of ALL THE FEELINGS available to us – HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL? If I want to feel peaceful, it doesn’t matter what’s happening around me. It doesn’t matter that my kids are screaming at each other or that they used every dish in the house – and maybe even the neighbors dishes too. I get to choose how I want to feel. We know that our THOUGHTS create our feelings – Choose thoughts that are going to create PEACE for you.
This might look like: I’m grateful I have a house and a roof and we’re safe. Kids are still learning. There’s enough time for them to learn. Plans are flexible. Maybe today, they’re going to learn the value of work instead of going to the library. I’m capable of teaching them. They are my children for a reason. I’m the perfect candidate to parent them – I know this BECAUSE I AM their parent. These thoughts might offer you peace despite what’s happening around you. You only feel frustrated and mad because you’ve decided that something has gone WRONG and it SHOULDN’T be this way. But what if it SHOULD be this way today. What if everything was happening exactly as it should. Not everyday is supposed to be a walk in the park – it’s supposed to be chaotic today. It’s supposed to be a learning kind of a day.
Different thought equal different outcomes
Do you see how having these different thoughts create a completely different outcome for you? In one, you’re resigned to feeling crappy and like things around you have all gone wrong. In the other, everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be and you get to feel at peace as you learn and grow together experiencing the negatives as well as the positives.
I spent a lot of time talking about this quick inventory but really it’s a split second thing to do. It’s quick and you can do it in the moment and recenter yourself to act as the adult you are and not get thrown right into immaturity and reaction like our kids do. We are not children anymore and just like we’re expecting our kids to behave more appropriately WE TOO need to act appropriately, as adults that take responsibility for how they feel and how they show up NO MATTER the circumstance.
The third thing you’re going to do is ACT. Now that you’ve walked out of your room and it’s been an entire 5 seconds since you took in the explosive scene around you. You’ve taken that deep, deep, deep breath preparing you to enter deliberate mode and NOT reactive mode. You’ve centered yourself with who you want to be and how you want to feel. Now it’s the time to ACT – to do something about the circumstance. Make sure you actions are in alignment with your thoughts and your goals. Your natural man/ego self will want to HIDE. It’ll want to take INACTION as it’s action but this won’t help you or your kids to move forward. So decide what you want to do from a place of integrity and collected space.
Your kids learn from you. They learn to mirror YOUR reactions, your behaviors until they’re older and can decide this on their own. So choose your actions wisely. What can you do that is in agreement with who you want to be and how you want to feel. Those things are ALWAYS available to you.
You don’t have to REACT instead ACT purposefully
You don’t HAVE to react. You don’t have to YELL. You don’t have to feel FRUSTRATED and helpless and reactive. You still might choose disappointment and that’s okay. But just remember that you’re choosing that. It’s not forced upon you. The circumstance is only a problem if you decide it is. So how do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be?
You can totally do this. You and your family will THANK you for learning to take this higher road. You will feel SO MUCH better and empowered. So to recap:
BREATHE – get out of reactive mode
2 Question assessment: Who do I want to be? How do I want to feel?
You got this!
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