I was packing a bunch of boxes for our upcoming move, working on transferring our utilities while on a long telephone hold and was thinking of how I still had to write an article for work plus get dinner ready for the family. That’s when my 20 month old daughter decided she was bored with her toy and wanted only to cry “mommy” over and over again. Of course she toppled over a large water bottle also…It was a chaotic moment to say the least. It was one of those times when you just wish you could close your eyes and everything would be done and your child would be playing happily alongside you.
It was one of those “test your patience moments” when your insides feel like they are bursting.
“Just breathe,” I told myself and as I took a few deep breaths in and out, I watched Laila’s little teary eyes on me. She did the same. So we sat there, mother and daughter, taking deep breaths and I smiled. So she did, too. It was a magical moment to say the least.
But I know all too well that all moments don’t end so magically. Sometimes they end with tantrums, no matter how many funny faces and sounds you make, sometimes overtired runs in your toddler’s veins and you can’t get her to settle down.
And while I’m no expert on parenting, (I just share what works for me here), as a yoga teacher, I can say that I do have a few advantages on knowing calm…on finding center…on remembering presence. And of course, letting go of perfection, expectations and the oh so many things that feel like they are testing your patience.
Here are 7 things I have found to be effective to keep patience present in parenting:
1. Get on your oxygen mask stat: Breathing is your oxygen mask in mommyhood. Stopping and taking a few good deep breaths is a great way to refocus energy and collect yourself to cool that emotion that wants to just react.
2. Mantra: Mantra is not only for meditation. Keep one for yourself during parenting. It could be any saying that speaks to you. “I am calmness”, “I choose love”, or“this will pass”, just anything that will allow you to find clarity and act accordingly. Say it a few times in your mind, nothing will turn into a major catastrophe if you take a minute to do this for yourself.
3. Shake it up: Your little one cannot find her zen and calm in the moment for whatever reason so is truly looking to you to be that. Ask yourself, what will help right now? Maybe doing jumping jacks, getting into child’s pose in yoga, singing, dancing together, whatever it is, just shake it up and help them back to center. Of course, the good old, “hug it out” is a favorite in our home 🙂
4. Let go of anything that isn’t supporting your baby’s well-being: This is hard for any momma. And of course discretion is key. But there were moments, with work deadlines and even with writing for this blog, (this post was scheduled for yesterday, but my chai mommas are super supportive), where I felt like I had to get things done no matter what, because that’s who I am as an individual. When it comes to my work, I get it done. But as a mommy, I had to start realizing that nothing comes in the way of my little girl’s well-being. Yesterday she was sick, stuffy and coughing, she’s confused about all the boxes everywhere from our packing to move homes plus has some sharp canines piercing through her gum lines. She needed extra mommy love so that’s what she got. This post had to wait until today and I became okay with it. As a mom, my priority is my baby, the rest, is important stuff I be sure to get to, but never over her health.
5. Know your yes and find your no: Personally, this was a big realization and deal for me. My husband often said you are being too nice to her! I am utter love with her, because it’s how I choose to lead life. Open heart. If you are like me, it doesn’t mean you can’t find your no. Think of the reason why and power of why you need to say it. Don’t rush to just say no, because it’s convenient. So, if she is throwing all her food off her high chair, you can use no, but action out where you would like her to keep her food. Look her in the eyes and be firm, (but kind). On the same token, know your yes. Yes can be even more powerful. If she wants to watch another video on the iPad but it’s not time to anymore, you can say, “How about we read a book? Yes! Yes! Brown Bear or Ten Apples?” Say yes with affirmation, say yes loud and clear.
6. Stay present: This is of course the key to it all… parenting, relationships, life, you name it. Keep in mind that this moment will pass, that it is temporary and that projecting to all the things you need to do or haven’t done or can’t do will only make it worse. Just be present and be love.
7. Remember that it’s a journey: Share with other mommas, learn from them. Read books, like Momma Zen. And don’t ever, ever lost patience with yourself. You are a hero momma, the real deal of pure love…even in all the crazy moments.
What’s your most out-of-control moment with your kids and how did you handle it? Would love to hear below:)