Before I had kids, I always pictured myself as a calm, loving, happy, and nurturing mother. I was sometimes. I still am sometimes.
I didn’t realize how hard I would have to work sometimes just to avoid coming completely unglued and falling apart right there on the floor. So, I refuse to put that pressure on myself or any parent. You probably put enough pressure on yourself that you don’t need anyone piling more on top.
Let’s name it: staying calm while parenting children who can morph from darling to devilish to delightful to diabolical can be a stretch.
For the sake of brevity, I have just two things to comment on as we strive to be calmer parents.
Some of us have a bigger hill to climb with staying calm, depending on our history, temperament, and current life stressors. A calmer self comes from having a kind voice inside like a “good coach.” One of the biggest changes people experience in therapy is a shift in their internal conversations. We can all start now by noticing little positives. It’s so easy for us to notice when we mess up. Somewhere along the way of parenting, I decided it worked better to give up on trying to be a “Perfect Mom” all the time.
I could never live up to my standard and kept disappointing myself. I felt calmer when I started aiming for as many “good mommy moments” in a day as possible. On any given day, I could find fault with my mothering. But when I started pointing out to my inner critic that I also had a number of “good mommy moments” on that day, I felt calmer inside. It felt like my personal expectations became more reasonable. That was calming.
The truth is that parenting is h-a-r-d, no one’s perfect and it’s important to give yourself grace and credit when it’s due.
One of the best parts about working with parents is seeing how quickly a shift in parenting strategies can calm down both the kids and the parents. When we learn one simple skill to stop fueling our kids’ habit of not listening to us, a calm settles into the moments that used to be hot points of stress and arguing. Here is an idea to help you find your “calm” as a parent…