Your child will never be the same as they are in this very moment… their mind, and body are constantly changing and developing. It really is wild to think about! Even though these thoughts may bring on sadness because our children are growing up so fast, the reality of things being temporary can really help with many life situations while parenting.
I don’t know about you, but life with a 3-year-old can be pretty interesting. My son is a relatively easy-going child, however, he can fall apart just like anyone else. When this happens, it is a true test to what my threshold of patience is. And this varies day-to-day. When I am able to stay calm and centered, he definitely benefits in so many ways. If I can remain somewhat neutral to whatever it is that is happening, his overall mood can shift somewhat easily. But honestly, how is this possible every single time? Maybe I need to cultivate more patience, or be “less busy”… but it IS a challenge to remain calm 100% of the time. And you know what, that’s OKAY. I am coming to terms with the fact that it is completely acceptable to be where I am at this moment in my own journey, and to support my son in his own journey. Yes, we are journeying together in life, but we are also separate individuals. What I have found to be one of the most helpful tools in my parenting “toolbox” is to be REAL, and honest. So, if I yell, we talk about it later. We talk about how it made him feel to hear my voice really loud. And it hurts my heart to hear his answer sometimes, but it is necessary. He is helping me grow, and learn, and change old habits.
I’ve recently been on a book buying spree (thank you Amazon.com) for both my son and myself. One children’s book we just received is called Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! written by Mem Fox. In this book, a little girl named Harriet continues to make messes all over her house. Her mother doesn’t like to yell, and tries to be so patient and calm, until finally, she erupts! What’s nice in this book is that Harriet and her mother talk about what happened. They both listen to each other and share their feelings, and afterward, they are able to be silly together again. There is resolution, and there is change.
Our children’s feelings and emotions change so many times throughout the course of the day. It is really helpful for me to remember this and to tell myself: “Ok, he may be really upset right now, but it is only temporary and this, too, will change.” I find that by trying to be mindful of this, it helps to diffuse any extra “reaction” I may have within a situation that is unfolding. It allows me to stay more present with my own feelings, as well as with my son, or whoever I am with. It can be so easy to become overwhelmed by the intensity of situations, so just remember: All things are temporary. Breathe.
It blows my mind how children can be so incredibly intense and emotional one minute, and then shift into being completely silly or playful. Children are masters at “moving on.” We (adults) have so much to learn from them. Children are also incredibly forgiving and caring. They have such incredible imaginations and are always up for an adventure. What a way to live. Intense, loving, adventurous, forgiving…
So, I know life can be a rollercoaster at times. And sometimes events happen that really do challenge us and force us into this area of unknown territory… but I promise, if you remain open and receptive, you will learn something from that experience.
A few years ago I was talking to a Tibetan Buddhist nun named Venerable Robina Courtin. In our conversation, it quickly became clear that I was struggling with feeling like I wasn’t doing enough- basically, I expected WAY too much from myself and it just wasn’t necessary. Venerable Robina very kindly told me to do something every night before bed: To write down or tell myself that I AM ENOUGH. To forgive and let go of the things that do not serve me, and to know, truly in my heart, that I have done a good job that day… as a mother to my son, and as a human being.
And you know what… doing that really makes a difference. Every day we have a clean slate, a new opportunity to grow, practice, and cultivate the attitude we wish to have in life. So, my fellow parents out there… try it out. Try being kinder and more forgiving with yourself and do something GOOD for yourself this week. Perhaps take a little time to yourself : go for a walk, take a nap, read a book, have a hot bath, sit in complete silence, start a gratitude journal (self-care article). Do something that is beneficial for your overall well-being because it will DIRECTLY affect your children and family… for the better (try to relax for 2 minutes).
Share about what you have done for some self-care and let me know if you notice any differences with your interactions with others, especially your children. Good luck… and remember, you ARE doing a great job!