FOCUS ON YOU, UNDERSTANDING EMOTIONS

Raging at Kids is Signal: Need Self Care!

For the first few years of my kids’ lives, I thought that yelling at them was my way of disciplining and teaching them. But over time, I came to notice that 1) I wasn’t consistent in what I yelled at, 2) I had some specific triggers, and 3) while some things might have made a little sense to yell about, other issues were way too small to be mad at. Lastly, the fear and pain in their eyes were wrong. I hurt and scared them! As their mother, the one person who loves them most in the entire world, the one person who would do anything at all to keep them safe… *I* was causing them pain and they feared me.

It got me thinking.

And it got me digging.

It got me working on this issue.

I’d like to say that I quickly came to the conclusion that I could fix this by never yelling at them ever again, but it’s not quite that easy. There are so many levels of this and it’s very hard work to sort things out. But ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that something wasn’t quite working. And, while I was doing the best that I could, something needed to change.

Uncontrollable rage is never about the children. It’s about us as parents. It’s about our own insecurities and fears. It’s about our lack of control and our past traumas. Rage is what we turn to when we feel like there’s nothing else we can do. It’s our way of throwing temper tantrums. The problem is that rage literally does nothing to solve the problem at hand. If anything, it only makes things worse in the long run. It damages the relationship we have with our kids; they lose trust in and respect for us.

Raging at our kids doesn’t make us terrible people. It just means that we don’t have enough energy, headspace, or wherewithal to skillfully deal with the challenge in front of us. We feel so helpless that we can only rage.

It’s really a signal to stop and breathe. It’s time to remember the bigger picture. It’s a moment to love yourself and your kids. Once you find your equilibrium, then you can reconnect and communicate. It doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve a scolding or discipline. It doesn’t mean they don’t still need your guidance. It’s doesn’t mean you can’t be mad about what they did (or didn’t do). It just means you need to make sure that you are responding appropriately and thoughtfully rather than reacting in a knee-jerk manner.

But… when was the last time you had enough sleep? When did you get lost doing something you loved to do? When did you put yourself first? When did you pamper yourself? When did you have alone time to regenerate and rebuild your resilience?

If your answer is “I don’t remember…” then give yourself a break. You are running on empty and none of us are at our best behaviour when we don’t take care of ourselves. And guess what? The most vulnerable people around us suffer when we run ourselves to the ground!

So, without judging yourself for that rage, will you join me in taking care of ourselves first so that we can be the best version of a parent for our kids?

FOCUS ON YOU

Perfect Mama, Exhausted Mama

We hear this cliche all the time, we say it all the time, but how do we actually apply it to our lives as mothers? “No one’s perfect.” No one’s perfect, we say, when someone makes a mistake. No one’s perfect, we remind them, when they complain about a friend at school. No one’s perfect, we reassure a dejected kid who just cannot seem to understand a math concept.

Most Moms I know pretend to be perfect in front of their kids. We pretend to be calm, logical, organized, decisive, right, knowledgeable, strong, thoughtful, loving, honest, kind, emotionally stable, with it, put together… I don’t know about you, but I’m not all those things even half the times. I am such a flawed human being, I make mistakes all the time. I’m not even sure we realize how hard we are trying to be perfect for our kids, how we try to model the right behaviour for them. It’s exhausting! If we keep it up long enough, we end up blowing up or burning out.

We are all human beings. Therefore we are never perfect. And that’s why we learn, practice, and grow. That’s why our children push us to be introspective, self-critical, and eager to improve.

A wise mama friend said to me: We respect our children’s opinions, we apologize for our mistakes, and we engage them in decision-making. Then they learn to trust us. Pretending to be perfect is exhausting and not sustainable. When they see us do our best and own up to what we can or cannot do, it is much healthier for them and for us. We can develop better relationships with them when we are ourselves.

Signing off today as,

Flawed Mama, Happy Mama