This is step #4 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.
Unfortunately, being a mom isn’t always as dreamy and joyous as you thought it was going to be. You might find yourself feeling angry, frustrated, and unhappy much more than you anticipated.
You are not alone! I created this blog series because I’ve heard so many moms talk about their desires to enjoy motherhood more instead of feeling constantly guilty and worried over how they are parenting.
Do you wish you yelled less and didn’t feel so frustrated and angry all the time as a mom? Then this blog series was created for you.
In case you missed it, you can find step’s #1, #2, and #3 below. Start at the beginning so that you get the full benefit of this series.
Download “6 Steps To Go From An Angry To Happy Mom” to follow along.
In steps #1, #2, and #3 we discussed the expectations you put on yourself and your kids, and how those expectations lead to frustration and unhappiness. You decided what rules and expectations you truly wanted to keep, and which ones you were ready to let go of because they were causing you frustration. Then in step #3 you created your REALISTIC vision for yourself as a mom.
If you have already been through step #1, #2, and #3, then let’s move on.
Step #4 – Be Aware Of Your Thoughts
When you find yourself reacting differently then you would like, give yourself some space to see what is going on in your mind.
I have found that creating space between how I am feeling and how I behave, has been really beneficial in calming down my anger, frustration, and panic.
For example, when my kids would not listen to me, I felt my anger physically rising in my body. I could feel my heart racing, and my thoughts getting louder. My body felt under attack. There was a deep urge to do something with all that emotion and that lead to yelling, and sometimes slamming doors…
This creates the “angry – yell – feel guilty/shameful” cycle we have talked about previously.
Something tangible you can do to disrupt this cycle is use a timer.
For example, most mornings, I am getting ready in my bedroom and my kids should be getting ready for school. But instead they are choosing to wrestle and fool around in the hallway. I notice that I’m thinking “they should be getting ready for school and not fooling around!” I then notice my heart starts beating faster, and I feel like I need to react to the anger I am feeling.
Meanwhile, the kids are still fooling around in the hallway and making a lot of noise instead of doing what I asked, “please go in your bedroom and get dressed.”
I feel the anger rising so I choose to set my timer for 5 minutes and I tell myself that within that 5 minutes I am not going to react. Instead, I’m going to sit with my anger and see what’s going on in my head. I’m creating space for myself in that moment.
I would notice the thoughts going through my head: “They shouldn’t be doing this!” and “They never listen to me!”
And then within 2-3 minutes, I was distracted by something else I needed to do, or I just realized they are acting as kids do and I would let it go.
Often times, within the 5 minutes I set for myself, my kids moved onto something else – like getting dressed for school.
The 5 minutes space allowed me to not get stuck in the “anger – yell – feel guilty/shameful” cycle.
In retrospect, I can see how I sometimes caused my kids to be late in the morning because I would engage in my yelling cycle, and then they would talk back. Then I would have to lay down a consequence like time in their room…all of this would take a lot of time.
The days that I gave myself the space before I reacted, I could see that them fooling around wasn’t that big of a deal, and no one was late or got hurt. And I didn’t send them off to school feeling horrible for yelling at them all morning.
Another exercise you can do is sit down with your journal or the notes app on your phone and write/type out everything you are thinking that’s creating the reactive emotion in you.
Maybe some of your rule books are coming up again?
Are your expectations for yourself or your kids not being met?
Go Easy On Yourself And Give Yourself Grace
Now if you do give in and yell at your kids, don’t beat yourself up.
Recognize that you are human with human emotions so these things happen. Life is made up of the 50/50, right?
Don’t get yourself stuck in the cycle of telling yourself you are a “horrible mom” and “I’m ruining my kids.”
Nothing good ever comes from beating up on yourself. When you are able to give yourself grace and forgiveness, it will be easier to grant the same to your kids.
I have noticed that my reactions to my kids are less fueled, because I wasn’t in the back of my head listening to that voice telling me “You’re a bad mom!” and “You’re kids will hate you!”
Next time you feel anger, frustration, or lack of patience, use it as an opportunity to set your timer for 5-10 minutes and go inward with your mind.
Ask yourself what you are thinking?
What story are you telling yourself about the current situation?
Is how you are about to behave in line with the vision you have for yourself as a mom?
Once you look at your answers, you can proceed however you choose. You may still choose to get really upset. Or you may choose to let something go, and if so, you will be able to see the after effects of being conscious with your emotions and how you react.
Stay Tuned For Step #5…
Next week we will discuss the most transformational thing you can do for your parenting. You won’t want to miss this important step that will help you go from feeling guilt about how your think about your kids, to feeling an immense amount of gratitude and love towards them.
And if you haven’t done it already, make sure to grab the free downloadable “6 Steps To Go From An Angry To Happy And Confident Mom”.