The latest buzzword around town is 'Awareness'. Why? What does it really mean? And how does it apply to my multi-faceted life? How can I be more 'aware'?
Awareness for me as a mother, has helped me to take a step back from fights, evaluate myself and grow.
You know all those times you have a "mommy fail" moment that you wished you didn't say what you said, or over-reacted the way you did. Those times that you swear it's the last time you're yelling at your kids ever, and then...and then there you go again.
I am not beyond those moments of course - there are always moments - but I can share with you my own Awareness practice path and hopefully it sparks a path for you too. My personal choice to be more Aware of my actions stems from just not wanting to be a mother that is always yelling after her kids. I am done with having the kids that had now grown high-tolerance to mama's drama. No more. This is how I started:
What triggered me to yell and what were my actions based on that trigger?
Just like we avoid the kids from being over stimulated or hungry so they don't have a meltdown. Controlling their environment can avoid an impact. Consider yours. What is it in your environment? In mine it was moments with lack of time, or too much happening at once, over-scheduling or not communicating with the kids or with my hubby as best as I could have.
So, a child taking too long to get dressed in the morning is a big one. Or maybe you also have a spouse who "escapes" (ehm) when he says he is just going to "read".
What do you feel?
What happens to your body when you're triggered? Tight stomach? Sweating?
I grit my teeth... yup, sorry for the unpleasant image.
So, I'm getting all tight, jaw is clenching - what conscious choices can I make in these moments to avoid acting out of habit?
This is tough because sometimes I just want to freak out as much as I don't want to. What works is drinking water, removing myself from the room, getting fresh air, or even smile (yes, faking it!). And sometimes I remind myself that it could always be worse. I have these kids that I love and explode my heart daily...I have them...it could always be worse.
Before & After
How do you feel right before it blows up? During? After?
This is a biggie: we can only take inventory of those moments if we take notice and reflect on what happened during and after. Yes, you will have to have gone through another emotional event but at least this time you can study it after the fact. That is Awareness. That is how we improve ourselves and our relationships with our loved ones.
It's not easy to look in the mirror and reflect on a time where I've yelled at the boys and I wish I could have done better. The pit in my stomach - ugh, sometimes I could just hang my head and cry.
But really, no judgment allowed at this time of reflection - just personal hugs of love for being human and doing the best I can. Reflection is a special opportunity to learn. I know I wouldn't feel so bad if I didn't care so much. It just feels so much better when I can check all that I've learnt, apply it in a real world scenario, and we all come out unscathed on the other side.
QueenBee self-care moment: Loving is healing yourself of the harsh criticism and creating a space for parental growth.
Instead of beating yourself up ask yourself - are your criticisms really justified and really true? Am I horrible mother? Do I never, ever get it right?
Instead of platitude statements, how about reflecting on breaking them apart.
I am a great mother when I... (fill in the blank). I got it right when...
You are now aware of how much you don't want to be in that position, aware of uh oh...this setup looks like a familiar trigger for me...I choose not to go there today!
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