This is step #2 in the 6 Steps To Go From An Angry To Happy And Confident Mom blog series. You can find the rest of the series here.
In last weeks post in this series, we discussed the importance of investigating the rules you have for yourself as a mom, and how those rules may be causing chaos in your parenting.
If this is your first time coming upon this series, I encourage you to start with last weeks post, Step #1. I share how I went from an angry, shameful, guilt ridden and frustarted mom to a carefree, confident, less controlling, and happy mom. You can find that here.
If you have completed the first step, awesome! Keep reading.
Step #2 – Evaluate The Rule Book You Have For Your Kids
In the first step of this series, you were evaluating the rule book you have for yourself as a mom. Now you are going to evaluate all the rules you have for your kids.
Below you will find some questions to help you reflect on this. Remember, writing these answers in a journal or notebook is the key to transformation (use this to help). You need to get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper in order to take a close look at them.
What expectations do you have for your kids?
What rules do you have in place for your kids right now?
What behaviors do you expect of them?
Now go through each rule, or expectation and ask yourself the following questions:
Do I like this rule/expectation I have for my child? Why or why not?
What do I really want when I enforce this rule/expectation? Why do I want this?
What does it mean about me when my kids don’t follow the rules/expectations? Is this true?
Why do I feel so strongly about this rule?
If you really want to do more in depth work with this, question every part of your rule or expectation.
The Rule Book I Created For My Kids
Here is my rule book for my kids:
- They shouldn’t talk back
- When I ask them to do something, they should do it the first time
- They should be able to entertain themselves
- They shouldn’t be super silly (my boys are 6 and 8, does this sound realistic??)
- They shouldn’t be falling down all the time – literally
- They should have excellent behavior at school
- They should want to read
- They shouldn’t say mean things about others or about themselves
As you can read here, I had a lot of expectations about how my kids should show up in the world and how they should respond to me.
And guess what? About 90% of the time, they didn’t follow any of these rules. This caused me to yell a lot, and to feel angry and frustrated.
Explore The Rule Book For Your Kids
I went through and looked at all the expectations I had for my kids and then I questioned each one.
If you have more than one child, you might need to create a rule book for each one of them.
Let’s use my example of having a rule for my kids that they shouldn’t talk back.
I can ask myself the following questions to dive deeper into how I feel about this rule:
What does “talk back” really mean to me?
What are some ways I believe my kids “talk back”?
Why is “talking back” a bad thing? Why is “talking back” a good thing?
I also had the rule that my kids shouldn’t be super silly. I asked myself if I really liked that rule, and then I started writing down my answer. What I came upon is not allowing them to be super silly doesn’t allow them to be their true selves. If I’m expecting them to be stoic and not expressing themselves in a fun way, I’m shutting part of their personality down.
I realized I didn’t really like that rule. My kids were young and being silly is part of their natural behavior.
How To Feel More Carefree And Loving Versus Annoyed and Frustrated
Once I reframed this in my mind, I was much more tolerable of the voices, and the potty words, and the loudness.
I also felt more carefree and loving towards my kids because I wasn’t hounding them as much about little things that reallly didn’t matter in the grand scheme of life.
I chose to believe these behaviors were part of who they are, instead of another thing that they needed to change so that I could be less annoyed and frustrated.
The rule book I had for my kids was as strict as the rule book I had for myself as a mom. Evaluating the rule books helped me to realize that neither of these books were realistic.
This work may seem like it takes a lot of time, but I promise you, spending 10-20 minutes a day journaling (this worksheet will help you) with these questions can completely transform how you feel as a mother, while strengthening your relationship with your kids.
Come back next week when I’ll share with you how to give yourself some grace and create a REALISTIC vision of how you want to show up as a mom.