Four Mantras to Help Moms Keep their Cool
Because happy and healthy mothers make happy and healthy children.
We all want to be good parents. But let’s face it: parenting is hard. It takes some character workout and honest self-reflection, a dose of wisdom, and a whole lot of self-control not to growl at your children, throw your teen's iPhone out the window, or otherwise allow your inner witch to emerge. Here are some mantras I try to keep in mind to help me maintain calm while facing the daily hurdles inevitable in the life of a mom.
1. You are not superwoman.
I don't have a cape and I don't fly. Respect and embrace your human element. Take care of yourself. Have a support system at the ready for rough days. Go ahead and buy yourself a little piggy bank and use it to set aside store change for the days that you'll need extra help. Don't be bashful; ask for help if you need it and gracefully accept a kind offer.
Get sleep! Not enough shut-eye can do funny things to the brain, especially when the house is a mess, dinner is nowhere to be seen, and your kids are writing their names with toothpaste on your bathroom mirror. Keep your mind and body nourished with healthy foods. Don't forget to eat three meals a day.
2. Self-care isn't selfish.
Your kids won't hate you for taking care of yourself; happy and healthy mothers make happy and healthy children. When you feel like your wires are getting a little loose, it might help to take a step back and ask yourself why you're unhappy and whether your basic needs are being met. Ask yourself whether you're overtired, hungry, or simply run down.
Take a break from your kids. Get out of the house and chill with friends, read a book, do yoga, or polish your nails.
3. Empathy is an antidote for anger.
Empathy helps you put yourself in someone else's shoes to try and understand their perspective. It helps you tolerate another's weaknesses, failings, and plain, old humanness. My children don't have capes and fly either; they are just regular kids with regular child-like behaviors, kid brains and kid mood swings. When I am empathetic, I try to give my kids the liberty of being kid. I try to understand that when my three year old is having a tantrum on the floor of aisle three at the grocery, in his little brain, it’s a perfectly legitimate reaction.
Empathy helps takes the edge off the anger element and tackle a problem with calm logic. It might be difficult to keep in mind in the heat of the moment, but practice certainly helps.
4. Don't react in the heat of the moment.
Talk when you're angry and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret. If a situation does not demand an immediate reaction, then it is best to hold off until you begin to feel a bit cooler. Try walking away or telling an older child, “I'm too upset to speak to you now, so I'm going to walk away for a few minutes.” Take a few slow, deep, breaths. Count to ten. Try singing the ABC's before yelling.
No parent is perfect. But with every challenge we overcome and every flex of our character muscle, we become closer to the people and parents we dream of being.