Do you want to be a calm mom but constantly feel like you’re out of control? Here are some tips for becoming the calm mom you long to be.
Before I had children, I had this amazing picture of what kind of mom I would be. I envisioned myself as a calm mom. I imagined an even-tempered woman who would always speak in a slow and even tone. Basically, I pictured myself as a female Mr. Rogers.
Was I in for a surprise!
Am I crazy to think that I could ever be a calm mom? A calm mom… it could almost be an oxymoron couldn’t it?
Over the last decade of parenting, I’ve been on a journey to become the best mom I could be. This adventure of parenting two children has refined me. I’ve had my share of struggles. In fact, I went through a time when I yelled at my children. I’ve also struggled with balancing the demands of homeschooling, working, homemaking, and parenting. As I felt the pull of all these demands, I floundered in my role as mom. I was far from calm, yet I yearned for it with all my being.
Do you wish you could be a calm mom too?
I don’t know if I’ve mellowed in my age. Maybe it’s that I’ve begun to feel more comfortable in my role as a mom. Regardless, over the past year, my parenting style has become calmer. As a deliberate and reflective mom, I’ve contemplated this shift in my parenting style. I’ve come to some conclusions about how I arrived here. These insights may help you as you try to become a calm mom too.
Moms are notorious for putting their needs on hold. After all, when children are vying for your attention, the dishes are dirty, and there’s a looming deadline at work, something has to give, right?!
But by ignoring self-care, we’re only whittling away at the calm and peace within ourselves. Eventually we’ll snap.
Self-care is one of the simplest ways to maintain our sense of calm. Plus it doesn’t need loads of money or demand time away from your family. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles to proper self-care is that we’ve bought into the beautiful, “Instagram version” of self-care. We’ve learned to identify self-care as a weekend away at the beach or a day at a spa.
Unfortunately, this kind of self-care won’t to sustain you. The type of self-care that I’m talking about is far less glamorous, but has much more impact. It includes activities like:
- Eating healthy snacks.
- Going to bed a half-hour earlier.
- Taking breaks from social media.
- Writing in your journal.
- Prayer and/or meditation.
- Taking a bath or a shower.
- Daily exercising.
- Choosing water over soda.
- Talking with a good friend.
Little actions like these are easy, simple, and the effects last a lot longer.
I can’t tell you how many times I rewrote this particular point. We’ve all heard the importance of being present many times. In fact, the advice to “be present” almost seems cliché, but there’s no other way to define the action of living in the here and now. When you’re present, you’re not dwelling on the mistakes of the past or worrying about the unknowns of the future.
By not living our present moments, our reactions tend to be more emotional and our emotions play a huge part in how calm we are. For example, imagine my child asked for a cookie and I’ve told her not to take one until after supper. But then I discover that she took a cookie anyway. If I don’t live this moment in the present, my reaction to my child’s disobedience may get out of control.
Living in the past: She’s done this time and time again! What am I doing wrong? I’m failing as a mom.
Living in the future: She stole again! I’m worried this child is going to end up in jail. She’ll ruin her life because she can’t stop stealing.
By not being present, there’s a tangible threat that the discipline of my daughter may go overboard.
Yet if I act in the present and deal with today’s behaviour of my daughter stealing the cookie, it’s easier to control my emotions. By being present, this act of disobedience isn’t loaded with the emotions of failing my child (or her grim future as a convicted cookie thief).
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS
If you want to be a calm mom, it’s important to know what fires you up. Everyone has a trigger that threatens to disrupt their calm. For instance, I get easily frustrated when I’m interrupted while engaged in a work project. Since I know this is one of my triggers, I plan accordingly. For instance, I might schedule my work for first thing in the morning before the kids wake up.
OWN YOUR FEELINGS
The last secret to being a calm mom is to own your feelings.
As mentioned before, our emotions play a huge role in our sense of calm. In fact, if left unchecked, emotions can hijack our calm. That’s why it’s necessary that we own our feelings.
How do we own our feelings?
1. Don’t take your child’s behaviour personally. When our feelings get wrapped up in what our children do, we’re allowing others (and circumstances) control how we feel.
2. Take responsibility of your feelings. My daughter didn’t “make” me frustrated. I’m frustrated over my daughter’s behaviour. These emotions intensified when my brain started to imagine a scenario of visiting my child in jail ten years from now.
3. Label your feelings as they occur. Be specific. Try to stay away from terms like happy, sad, or angry. Get descriptive in labeling your feelings. For example, with my cookie stealing child, instead of saying I’m angry, I could say that I’m disappointed, frustrated, or overwhelmed.
4. Evaluate your feelings. Once you’ve labelled your feelings, try to evaluate them without judgment (aka: that little voice at the back of your head that only has crummy things to say about you).
5. Decide how to control your feelings. This is especially important if we’re distressed or infuriated. Avoid navigating the situation while emotions are heightened. A few minutes alone, or some time spent journaling may help you claim some calm.
6. Be honest about your feelings. When you see your feelings for as they are and share the truth of your feelings with others, you prevent negativity from building up within you.
Our feelings and emotions are a huge part of what makes us human. We need to own our feelings and avoid imposing our feelings on others (i.e. If I’m miserable, you should be miserable too).
PRACTICE BEING A CALM MOM
Being a calm mom takes practice. You’re not going to be calm overnight. You will need to practice these tips on a daily basis. Over time, you’ll realize that you’re calmer than you were months before.
Give it a shot! Try these tips and let me know if they help you to be a calmer mom.