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Keeping Calm

May 12, 2011

I struggle with irritability.  And I try hard not to take it out on my kids.  I don’t want them to feel it or receive it.  I don’t want them to feel that their mama has a hard edge that pushes them away and makes them feel alone.  I know from experience that it takes a lot of self control to feel an intense negative emotion and to just hold a non-reactive space for that, to recognize that its source is not the behavior of others, and to still act with kindness and respect.  Some days I feel that I’m losing that battle.  But, still, I have found some things that help.

my little helper

1.  Go outside!  This works well no matter who is in a bad mood.  When either of the kids or I is in a bad mood, I move as much of life as possible outdoors.  Sun is good for the mood, obviously, but so are the sounds of nature, the fresher air compelling one to breathe deeply, the stillness of the trees, and the sense of freedom that comes from a lack of walls.

2.  Snuggle up and read.  When I’m irritable I often feel that I need space and quiet and the last thing I want to do is snuggle….but taking space for myself in another room is just not always possible.  I’ve found that if I grab a few books and head for the couch, everybody can get their needs met.  The girls are happy to have mama sit and read with them and they will sit still and quiet, which gives me a chance to de-stimulate and breathe deeply.

3.  Prevention!  I know I need sleep, sunshine, on-time meals, and regular time with friends in order to keep my moods reasonably positive, so I do my best not to sacrifice those things.  I also know that some other important-to-me things (exercise!) aren’t making it on the schedule these days, but self-care is a work in progress when you have young kids.

4.  Forgiveness.  Parenting gives us chance after chance.  I give my children the time they need to learn and grow, and I try to allow myself the same grace.

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