Do you ever have times when you feel discouraged? When you do and say things that you wish you hadn’t?
Maybe even secret moments when you feel like you are a hopeless parent? That you can’t seem to get things right and do them the way that you want to, the way you imagine in your head?
Do parts of your life as a mom or dad ever feel like the comparison pictures of Pinterest perfection and the real-life effort that looks more like a kindergarten craft?
It’s not just you – we ALL feel that way sometimes. Sometimes often!
But its not a fun place to be and I would like to share with you three ways to fight those demons, to get them out of your head and out of your life!
But, it’s a process – not a magic pill!
In my last blog post I shared how Intentional Parenting can bring peace to your parenting. Today, I have a question for you.
What spoils your peace as a parent?
What are the things that chip away at your confidence or even at your hopes of success?
For example: who yelled at their little person last night at bedtime? Or, whose little kiddo pushed all the wrong buttons and saw their grown up have a mini meltdown sometime in the past week?
Nobody? Are you sure?? Crumbs! Now I feel like a total failure!
Oh, wait, I think I hear a whisper from the side. A brave soul speaking out, oh, and another, and another and another!!! The voices are getting louder and now there are so many!
Because, hey, guess what? You are not alone! WE are not alone!
The truth is that we all have a hard time
– some more than others (some seem to naturally have more patience!). This was my truth too, and sadly, sometimes still is.
However, after a bazillion hours – aka 72 collective years of in-home parenting (they all have their own houses now!) – I have spent countless days analyzing
- what works and why
- why didn’t that work when I was so sure that it would
- what changes do I need to make
- where and how do I make those changes
After many of my own meltdowns and disasters, I have distilled how to recover from them in three steps for you to try today.
Three things that can help you to transfer from feeling bad to feeling like you are a good parent who is trying hard. Three things that can put you on the path to being the best person that you can possibly be.
And really, that’s kind of our life goal, isn’t’ it? Not just to be a great parent, but a kind, thoughtful, and patient person in general. But for parents, its more than a life goal. We need to live and model good behaviours in order for our kids to see and copy that behaviour.
These three steps will help you recover from parental meltdowns and disasters, and grow in kindness, thoughtfulness and patience.
- Name it
- Make a plan to turn the tables
- Find encouragement and let it seep into your soul.
Step One: Name it. Name that stress-er.
Name and call out the thing that made you yell or have a meltdown.
Try to figure out why that one stress button is in your life: where did it come from and why is it ready and available for your kiddo to access and push and push and push?
Don’t feel bad if f you happen to have more than one stressor – lol – who doesn’t?? – but for today, just look at one. Do one at a time. There’s no need to make yourself feel even more discouraged! We can usually only deal effectively with one thing at a time!
It is incredibly helpful to understand why you react in the ways that you do. There is usually a history or story of an unmet need (yours!) behind it. Or maybe your parent(s) reacted in a similar way. The good news is that you don’t have to keep falling into this pattern of behaviour! Even if it is behaviour that you grew up with.
Step Two: Make a plan to turn the tables.
Good job for having recognized, identified, and named your stress button, and for trying to understand what it is and what’s behind it. Doing this one thing alone can take away a big chunk of the secret power that this stress has within you.
But now you want to take away even more of its power, and maybe over time, eradicate that power completely – anything is possible!
Now it is important to think about a specific course of action, thought, or plan because, if you don’t, that old reaction will creep back in when you are not looking!
So, what are some specific steps that you can take to dis-empower that stress?
This can be easy or hard, depending on the person or the stressor.
(PS. this is where my secret sauce is! I’m good at this stuff! I help parents to identify their problem. Sometimes, they don’t even know what it is, but an external perspective can bring so much clarity!)
A good way to think about reducing the problem is to ask questions but remember that they are not rhetorical! Try to answer them!
- “Why do I keep yelling at my kid every time that they________?”
- “Why do I threaten them with things that I can’t (or shouldn’t!) follow through with?”
- “Why do I feel so frustrated over ____________?”
- “Why don’t they listen?”
- “Why do they always spill their milk?”
- “This isn’t rocket science! I’m an adult – this should be easy – why does it feel so hard???”
Try to answer them but don’t worry if you can’t think of an answer straight away – these thoughts might need to rest in your mind for a time before the answer comes to you.
When you do think of an answer to your question, you can let that answer lead you through these questions:
- Is there a specific step to take?
- Is there another question to ask?
- Is there anything that you can do to soften the situation next time?
- Do you get irritable when you’re hungry, ready to snap at your little one while you’re making dinner? Have a secret snack ahead of time to calm your blood sugar and lift your mood.
- Does your little someone always cry in the car or car seat? Try a special toy that is ONLY for when they are in the car seat. (Resist the temptation to let them have it outside of the car)
- Does someone’s dinner always land on the floor under the table? Try a shower curtain or old sheet under their eating space and shake it outside after – the clean-up is easier and you can say you are feeding the wildlife.
The simplest things have potential to become big challenges when a small child is involved! But the good news is that
sometimes big problems can have simple answers.
Here is some kudos for you: even making an effort to think about these things in constructive ways is so very helpful and is a reminder to you that you are a good parent!
Which brings me to
Step Three: Seek & Accept Encouragement!
It is so easy to feel guilty about so much stuff, and to feel like a failure. That whole thought process can be a terrible downward spiral which makes step three pretty important. Why is that?
Its hard to be a good parent when you feel like a bad parent (now don’t start feeling bad about feeling bad!!!).
Is there is someone in your life who can remind you of
- your worth
- your value
- of all the things that you really are doing well
- that are good, right, and true in your and in your life
- of how much you are loved by your little one
- of how much you love them (which by the way is why you feel sad when things don’t go well)
- of how much you want to do your very best for them
You can call them and straight-up tell them that you need two minutes of encouragement please! If you don’t have someone like that in your life,
- take an inventory of good things that you know you are doing well
- record it on your phone
- send your self an email
- write it on a sticky and tape it on your bathroom mirror
- better yet, put stickies with positive note and encouragements in secret or public places all around your living space, just to remind you of what you are doing well and what is going right!
It’s not fake positive thinking; it is a reminder of reality.
I can make a list for you right now:
- You love your kiddo
- they love you
- you want the best for them
- you’re trying hard
- you make mistakes but you try to grow and get better at the things that are hard for you.
It takes courage to think about these things. Courage can lead to confidence to step out and try something new, something that can give you a new “button” for your kiddo to press. This can be a button that triggers not yelling, but a calm and reasoned response. Be Patient. These are big changes that time. Cheers to you Mama or Papa, for embracing good change!
Here is a summary of three steps that you can take to recover from parental meltdowns and disasters!
- Name it. Learn to recognize and understand your personal triggers for anger, parental meltdowns, and other bigger or smaller stuff that you don’t want in your life anymore.
- Think it through, figure it out. How can you turn the tables on those things, to use your understanding to make these struggles your strengths?
- Accept lots of encouragement and support! You deserve it and you need it!
It is truly possible for you have peace in your parenting and I can hardly wait for you to have the success that you want!
What has worked for you? Leave me a comment.
If this post speaks to you, let’s book a free 15 minute call. Let’s to find out how we can work together to make your parenting experience better.