Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Whether it’s a toddler in the midst of a tantrum, a sassy sister, or a nasty nine-year old – difficult moments arise throughout motherhood. Your heart beats faster and the blood rushes to your face.
When we look back at these situations, they seem more harmless than they did in the moment. Often, we are embarrassed to even talk about them because they seem so silly after the fact. But, the truth is – that frustration, impatience, and even things not working out as we intended are inherent in motherhood. These (and more) situations will continue to plague mothers until time stands still.
There are many books on the market to help us cope with these seemingly chaotic moments. Whether you have a spirited, difficult, or indigo child – there is something out there for you. If you need advice on anger management, communication, or helping your child navigate life – there is a wealth of resources available to you. You can seek assistance from a psychologist, a class, or your friends.
All of the above mentioned ideas are tremendously beneficial, and each of them can offer you different pieces of advice, ideas, and sanity. Ultimately, however, each mom must find her own way. Here are some tips you may find helfpul:
Consider your child’s perspective. Children do not always understand our adult rationalizations. When children feel misunderstood, mistreated, or in need of something – they are not always able to express themselves appropriately. Try to refrain from placing adult expectations of communication on your children.
Consider your reaction. I often find that I am unable to change my children, but I am certainly capable of changing myself. It takes time and practice, but I am able to acquire more patience, more love, or more kindness when responding to moments that are pushing all my buttons.
Consider what is and what is not beneficial in this moment. Our instinctual reactions – like raising our voices or even yelling, of becoming angry, or of extreme frustration – are not always helpful. They are usually reactions with little thought behind them. Slow yourself down, make a calculated response, and you will be more pleased with yourself.
Prepare ahead. No matter what we do, we must know that those moments cannot be extinguished. They will return at some point – most likely, when we are getting cocky that it has been so long since the last one. Anticipating these moments takes place on several levels.
First, what triggers your child? For some, it is more difficult to maintain good behavior and solid choices when they are hungry, or tired, or antagonized. Watch for those triggers and try to move in – not to prevent them, necessarily – but to assist the child so he or she can move through it with more ease.
Second, many parents quickly learn that what worked yesterday will not work again today. Or, the thing that had been working for weeks suddenly stops being helpful. Anticipating the difficult moments also means anticipating how any given moment might unfold. Mom’s bag of tricks can never be too full.
Lastly, prepare your child. The best time to have a conversation about dealing with conflict is not in the midst of the conflict. Engage your child during moments of peace to help him or her come up with a plan of action for responding to challenging times. Use visualization, counting techniques, or make a plan to walk away.
Motherhood involves anticipation, recalculation, and endless surveillance. As hard as we may try, difficult moments are going to arise. When that happens, it is best to be as prepared as possible with your bag of tricks wide open and your meditation tape playing loudly in the background.