An article landed in my inbox this morning and I felt compelled to read it right away (I love Medium Daily Digest if you don’t use it!). While I couldn’t relate on all accounts as I was incredibly blessed to have parents whose parenting style I wanted to replicate, I could totally relate on the piece about parent anxiety.
As the title of the article suggests, Hurt People Will Hurt People. But Healed People Heal People, Too, the silver lining is that we have control over ourselves. We are not perfect people and therefore do not make perfect parents. I know I over react. I sometimes yell. I have even grabbed Keener’s arm (on multiple occasions) in a way that I am not proud of when my brain was too muddled to think of any better options.
Happy Birthday Calm Chaos
Today marks the 1st birthday of Calm Chaos. In this past year, I have learned a lot about kids. But more importantly, I have learned a lot about myself. When I first started writing, I was thinking, “How can I change my language to help my kids with their behavior?” While this is still a lens I feel is important and continue to explore, I have expanded my thinking to: “How can I change my language, both outspoken and internal dialogue, to help myself as a mom?”
The difference being, I can’t control my kids or MAKE them act, say, or do anything. I can only control myself. And by controlling and helping myself, my kids are the direct beneficiaries (not to mention my family, colleagues, and friends).
The author of the article mentioned above, Courtney Christine, says the following:
“Here’s the one thing I do that keeps parenting anxiety at bay: I focus on myself. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s helped me be the kind of mother I can not just live with, not just accept for who she is, but actually love and respect.”
She goes on to say, “I can choose to be a mindful parent who works hard to reduce the damage by staying calm, collected, and connected to the things that are most important.
I can choose to be a truth-telling parent who chooses vulnerability instead of hiding her flaws or masking her insecurities.
I can choose to be a responsible parent who makes therapy and centering practices and self-care a regular part of her life — not just a lifesaver thrown into the ocean to keep us all from drowning.
I can choose to be a grace-giving parent who accepts humble apologies… and, sometimes, crappy ones too. In a gritted-teeth moment, I can talk myself into remembering that growing up is a process and that empathy is a skill. My job as a parent is to be empathetic, and behave in grown-up ways so my kids will know what that looks like.”
Holiday Mindfulness Tips
While the holidays are a time filled with many joyous feelings, they can also be filled with stress, grief, and anxiety. While I won’t set up an unrealistic expectation and tell myself I will never get stressed this holiday season (ha!), I am going to make it a point to focus on myself:
- I am not going to burden my kids with my endless to-do list. I will either include them in completing the tasks (who cares if the stamps are crooked on the Christmas cards!) or remind myself that the to-do list can wait.
- When a to-do list item can’t wait, I am going to increase our daily Peppa Pig watching and I’m not going to feel guilty.
- I am going to use positive self talk, just as I would want my kids to do.
- I am going to (attempt to) take a deep breath before responding to try and avoid yelling or using a negative/rude tone.
- I am going to look for the small joys of having a 2 and 3 year old during the Christmas season.
- And I am going to quickly forgive myself when I forget to do all of the above.
Check out my other recent posts related to parenting self help: