Welcome to the second Guest Post here on A Life In Practice! The lovely Zara Lewis has kindly returned, with another excellent piece of parenting advice.
This post really struck a chord with me, last year was particularly stressful, being reminded of ways to chill out a bit is something I needed!
Something, I might add, I felt particularly strongly about as a mother. I can’t stand losing my cool with my boys, sadly it happens more than I’d like. Fortunately, these pointers are good advice to help me (and hopefully you!) to find a little Zen in the day to day grind.
Here are a few familiar scenarios: a family trip and after just five minutes of riding in a car, one of your kids says they have to go to the bathroom even though you’ve asked them a million times if they had to go before you left the house; after a long day, you attempt to relax and unwind a bit and then in a few seconds – you get interrupted by yelling and screaming because your children started to fight again; your boss assigned you with some extra work you need to get done from home and the endless “Whatcha doin’?“ questions from your kids are about to trigger a Hulk in you.
We love our children with all our hearts but sometimes – being a mom is overwhelming and you simply want to bite everyone’s head off. You are expected to keep the family together and you are treated like a magical being who knows all the answers. Above all, you struggle with self-criticism and mom guilt and wonder if you’re doing good enough. Here’s how you can become more patient and efficient in managing your hectic daily schedules.
Above all, you struggle with self-criticism and mom guilt and wonder if you’re doing good enough. Here’s how you can become more patient and efficient in managing your hectic daily schedules.
Deep breathing and counting to ten
When you get suddenly irritated, your blood pressure hits the roof, which makes you snap in a second. Deep breathing exercises are beneficial for many reasons: they help you calm down and get a clearer focus instead of reacting in an impulsive manner and regret your behavior later.
When this happens, a very primitive part of your brain called the amygdala gets triggered. It is responsible for releasing adrenaline which is why your body experiences a chemical rush with an increased heart rate and blinding anger. If you breathe deeply, you can gain control of your body. Counting to ten helps in taming that initial impulse to yell at your kids.
Having some me-time
There is an old saying: it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it. Lack of patience may have roots in deeper frustration such as the lack of solitude and quality me-time. If you don’t have the optimal
If you don’t have the optimal balance to begin with, you’re likely to overreact even in normal situations. Society puts a lot of pressure on women seeing them as superheroes. The truth is, you don’t need to live up to this ideal. Ask for help and support from other family members so you can unwind and take time for self-care. Devote at least an hour per day to yourself. Exercising has proven to be a great way to de-stress, feel more confident and better about yourself. To stay motivated,
Exercising has proven to be a great way to de-stress, feel more confident and better about yourself. To stay motivated, consider hiring a personal trainer: they will help you to stay on track, set realistic short-term and long-term goals, and make an optimal nutrition plan. Don’t feel guilty about doing something for yourself: the only way to take care of your kids is to take care of yourself first.
Understanding your triggers
Whether it’s asking your kids to clean their room over and over again or handling siblings’ fights, you pretty much know what you’re dealing with. Still, it helps if you invest a bit of time and effort in identifying your triggers and also with whom you frequently tend to lose your patience.
Still, it helps if you invest a bit of time and effort in identifying your triggers and also with whom you frequently tend to lose your patience. Write them down: this way, you can actually prevent yourself from snapping out at your kids. It will take
It will take extraordinary effort to do so at the beginning but eventually – it can improve your relationship with your children. When you start feeling like you’re about to lose it, say something like “Mommy is very tired and would really appreciate if you tone down a bit“.
It is a better alternative to yelling and it gives you more time to calm down.
Set a time-out (for yourself, not for your child)
The moment you feel like you’re about to lose it, step away from the situation. This doesn’t mean you have to physically leave the place (although it would be the best) but sometimes it’s enough to mentally unwind.
If you have the opportunity, try isolating yourself for 5 minutes, even if it’s just to listen to your favorite song or meditate a bit.
The optimal thing you can do is to ask yourself two things: “What am I really angry about?“ and “How is my behavior affecting my child?“ Reframing the situation is important for your personal health and for the sake of the relationship you nurture with your children and others.
Pretend you have an audience
A bit of an odd trick in the book but it seems to work: when you feel like you’re losing patience, pretend there are people watching you. This way, you are likely to prohibit yourself from overreacting.
We are socially constructed to act appropriately in public and our brains are hardwired to ban certain behaviors when we’re not alone. If you trick yourself into thinking that the argument with your child is not happening in the privacy of your home but in a crowded market square – you’re likely to become more aware of the impulse and put things into a perspective.
These are just some of the tricks you can use in order to become more patient with your beloved rascals. Don’t be too hard on yourself and accept the trial and error philosophy: no one gets it right the first time.
There you have it!
I love this article, it has helped me gain a new perspective to get back on track with parenting the way I want. In particular I like the ‘time out for yourself’. I actually used this just the other day and it worked like a charm! The perfect ‘zen’ method among the chaos of children.
If you would like to read more from Zara Lewis, she writes regularly for High Style Life. Or you can check out her previous Guest Post for A Life In Practice here, with links to more of her great work!
Zara Lewis (Twitter: @ZaraELewis) is a mom, designer and a regular contributor to highstylife.com . Devoted to implementing healthy life habits in every aspect of life of her family and friends. She seeks for beauty in everything that surrounds her. Will start a blog about it once. Until then writes her diary occasionally. Romantic soul and tech geek in one body. She enjoys hiking, cycling, yoga and cooking.