Category Archives for "Personal Peace Blogs"

Are you okay? I wasn’t. I was struggling!

By now, many people know about my meltdown. I was completely immersed in the cycle of anger, yelling, crying (me and the kids) and feeling like the worst parent in the world, which ultimately led me to my breakdown in order to get my break through.

It was ‘the knife incident’. The day I got so angry I slammed a knife on the bench so hard that it almost hit my (then) two year old. Then I proceeded to run to my room screaming how much I hated my life, all with my (then) 6 month old on my hip.

Was I okay?

No I wasn’t. But would anyone else but my husband, have known that? Absolutely not!

Why?

Because I was meant to be that perfect mum. I was meant to love being at home with my children, wasn’t I? I was meant to be the achiever who got life right. I was great at so many things before kids. Why was I struggling with this? As a woman, this was meant to be my forte. Didn’t having children mean that I automatically knew what I was doing and that it would come naturally?

What sort of mother throws knives at her child? What sort of mother gets this angry at her children, screams at them and completely loses it, scaring them and making them cry? The one person who is ‘supposed’ to be the one who makes her child feel safe and loved and nurtured. What sort of parent does that?

You are definitely NOT alone

Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few of us, as we continue to discover every couple of months when hundreds of parents join our online 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge, which was born out of my own struggles with anger.

But sadly, as hard as we are trying to let people know about our programs, just like I was, too many parents are still sitting behind closed doors, hating themselves, trying to change and feeling like a failure because they can’t.

I have written this blog to let you know that I was at that point where I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t coping with being a mum and I was stuck in the mindset that it was just too confronting to let anyone else know this was how I was feeling. I honestly believed that I must have been the only parent out there who felt this way on a daily basis.

But the statistics are stating otherwise. Currently 14% of parents experience postnatal depression. Countless more deal with parental stress to varying degrees. We are on the front line of speaking to those very parents who are coming out in our groups to speak about the realities of parenting.

I cannot stress to you enough, how important it is to find your safe place to talk about what’s going on for you and to share with people who you can trust, what you are feeling (and sometimes that might be among strangers who are going through what you are).

We know from speaking with hundreds of parents every day, that what you are feeling and thinking is going through the minds of parents everywhere. You are nowhere near as alone as you think you are and you don’t need to travel this road alone either.

The lonely road of stress behind closed doors

How far down this road are you already?

Firstly, you experience the various challenges of being a parent and start thinking about how annoying, frustrating, or difficult this moment is. You start to think that because the moment is not the way you expected it to be, it’s stopping you from being able to do something else (achieve something, get things right, enjoy parenting, stopping you from having a bond with your child).

You start to look for why you are finding this so hard and you start to blame. You blame yourself for not doing something right. You blame your kids because they ‘should know better’, or your partner for not supporting you enough. Once the mind is on this bandwagon, you start to look for what it all means about you. I’m a bad parent. I’m hopeless. I’m never going to get this right. This is ruining my life. What’s wrong with me?!

But it doesn’t just stop there. The brain is geared to look for evidence of where you have your attention, so now you start looking for evidence outside of this moment to support the belief that things are going wrong.

You start to compare how others seem to be getting it right or doing it better than you. Then you start to think about other areas of your life with this same viewpoint. You look for evidence to support the belief that ‘life is going wrong’ and how it’s stopping you from feeling happy about your life.

You begin to see this viewpoint in other parts of the day with your kids, your work, your relationship, your friendships, your finances. With the evidence mounting you begin to draw conclusions about your life and settle on one major assumption that explains it all – EVERYTHING is GOING WRONG. I am such a failure!

Your brain is now starting to get used to this concept and you are now finding evidence everywhere, all the while making you feel worse and worse. Your self-perception continues to head south and life becomes more and more painful.

Now it’s time to react to your perception of life and how you feel about it. You get angry when you can’t control it. You cry because you feel so helpless, useless and can’t see a way out of it, and your enthusiasm to keep trying to change, is starting to diminish. “Why bother. Every time I try, I just keep getting it wrong.”

Because you believe it’s only you who has these disgraceful, embarrassing and unforgivable flaws, you try to hide how you’re feeling. “What would they think of me if they found out how bad I really am?” So you keep it quiet. Only the thinking/feeling loop and the evidence finding missions continue, and you sink lower and lower and lower.

But what you don’t know, is that you are certainly NOT the only person out there feeling challenged by parenting. You are not the only one who experiences stress, anger, sadness and loneliness, and those safe places to share your thoughts and feelings without judgement do exists.

But knowing this is only the beginning. There’s more work that needs to be done to alleviate this level of stress altogether.

Making the important Shift towards Freedom from Parental Stress

It’s great to find like-minded parents – friends who keep it real and tell you honestly what’s going on for them, but here’s another problem I see parents running into. We do what I call ‘rolling in the mud’ and you don’t get clean from rolling in the mud.

Now that we’ve found that safe place to vent, what now? Has it changed how you feel? No. What often happens next, is we become friends with our stress. We subscribe to it being a natural part of our existence that we just have to put up with.

We find security in the knowing that we are not alone. We continue to find evidence of our ‘sucky’ day so we can tell our friends, our partners, our loved ones, and we can feel momentarily better because we are sharing our experiences with someone who understands and it temporarily lifts us from its emotional grasp.

But behind closed doors, you’re still thinking with the same mindset! The same feelings are still bubbling within, bringing us down and making us miserable, regardless of finding our new allies. It’s still effecting your relationship with your kids, your partner, yourself and how you feel about your life.

The only thing that’s changed, is that now you don’t feel so alone.

There’s another step you need to take – Changing your mindset.

We need to find a balance of finding a group of parents who do keep it real, but who are also working towards changing that mindset and working on themselves to create a different way of thinking and feeling about parenthood and building connections with their children.

After that defining moment of my meltdown, it occurred to me that no one else was going to change how I felt about my life. No one else was going to suddenly wave their magic wand and miraculously change my day to day responsibilities. I knew that it wasn’t the kids, or life that was causing my stress, it was how I was perceiving that life.

As parents, we are often making our children a priority. We put them before ourselves in a pursuit to be ‘a good parent’. But what parents don’t often realise, is that the more you make yourself a priority, particularly in terms of your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, the closer you actually get to that ‘good parent’ goal you are seeking to obtain.

We need to make a shift in the parenting community because right now we are seeing quite a significant shift between parental stress being ‘taboo’ to parental stress being celebrated, accepted and embraced, like a badge of honour we wear having to experience the woes of parenting. We are starting to adopt perceptions of parenthood where we expect that it will be hard. We expect that we will feel stressed and the only way to deal with that stress is to laugh about it or complain about it with those who ‘know what it’s like’.

But remember, the brain looks for evidence of what you have your attention on. If you continue to see parenting in this way, you will continue to experience parenting this way.

What if you can change how you feel about the challenges of parenting?

But what if you could train yourself to become like that ‘born to be parent’ you see at school or at daycare. You know the one that does it all with ease and genuinely loves it. That could be you. That parent is not better or worse than you. She just thinks differently. She perceives what she’s doing with a different mindset.

What if we go beyond the struggle, beyond the stress and beyond sharing our parenting woes, and what if we turned that struggle into CHANGE?

What if you could learn a way of dealing with life’s challenges with a mindset that could draw the value and the learning from these experiences instead of seeing them as wrong. What if you could teach yourself to be present, stop personalising your unwanted events, find your sense of self-worth, learn to be solution focussed and NOT get bogged down with life?

What sort of flow on effect do you think this would have on your relationships with your children and the type of adults they turn into. Do you think that would be moving towards your ideal of a good parent or away from it? It doesn’t seem like such a selfish endeavour to prioritise yourself now does it?

The pathway to change

We started this story with struggles, painful emotions, being bogged down with the challenges of parenting and connecting you to the emotions we all feel to varying levels, behind closed doors. We started with a mindset that argued with our reality and blamed events, ourselves and others for our ‘wrong life’.

We then elevated those emotions with a sense of connection, togetherness and being part of a sameness, rather than isolation. We showed you how to make friends with your stress, laugh at it even and accept it as part of you life.

But what if we took another step? What if we used this connection with other parents, banded together and helped each other to learn and continue to CHANGE the way we perceive life as a parent, and thus how we feel about it.

THIS is the mission of the Parental Stress Centre of Australia. This is why we exist. When you join our programs you become part of a group of parents on this exact mission too.

No longer are parents happy to just feel like ‘every other parent’ and make friends with their stress. they are committed to eliminating it and they are all working together (even after the programs are finished, via our past participants group), to help each other to keep it real, but elevate their emotions to align with a new way of thinking. They want what the ‘born mother’ has and they have realised that it all starts with changing their mindset, not rolling in the mud.

Are you ready to challenge your mindset and lift your parenting approach to a whole new experience?

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Kids Are An Interruption To My Life. Ouch!

One day, my children were mucking around. My husband was working away at the time and I was trying to get them into bed.

They were laughing and giggling and jumping about. At first I was playing along, but then I wanted them to settle down. I had a lot of work to do when they went to sleep and my focus was on doing that. I’d had enough of the play. It was time to sleep and I was attached to the picture of them calming down.

However, they weren’t playing the game and kept mucking around (as children do). My blood started boiling as the conversation in my head started to roll around in “they’re not listening to me”…I just want them to stop….”They need to go to bed NOW”….blah, blah, blah.

It escalated until I came to breaking point and shouted at them in my clenched-teeth way when I lose control. They instantly quietened down and went to bed, but I felt awful! That’s not the way to end the day. However I’d done it and I couldn’t take it back.

Knowing what I know in regards to the teachings of The Parental Stress Centre, I knew I needed to find the core belief that drove my anger to begin with. What was really going on to make me react this way? Was there any pattern to my thinking that causes me to react like this in other times?

I got to journaling, like I get my course participants to do when we’re trying to establish the beliefs behind our emotions, and after a while of looking at my ‘story’ behind my anger, it hit me. My core belief was:

“My children are an interruption to my life!”

WTF, are you serious? I couldn’t believe this is what I had thought. How terrible that was to think that way. But there it was right there on the page, and I knew that’s what I believed, because I felt it to the point of tears stinging the back of my eyes.

Oh dear, that was one belief I definitely needed to upgrade. I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were interrupting my life.

So here’s the upgrade:

Nothing can interrupt your life. Every experience IS your life. It’s just one event giving way to the next. There is no event that is more important than another. Everything is valuable. My children were in the moment, something I need to do more of. Parenting is a part of my life experience, too and I need to embrace every moment with my kids because, just like every other moment in life, it will rise and pass away. They will grow up, leave the nest and I will move onto other activities. My children are not an interruption to my life. They ARE my life, and a big part of it. Enjoy the moments while they’re here.

Change what you think about and what you think about changes…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Money Stress Makes Me An Unhappy Parent

A constant theme that runs through the info that you read in my programs, is this:

“Stress is never caused by events. It’s how you perceive those events and what you perceive them to mean about you/your life!”

Money, or the lack of it as the case may be, is not causing your unhappiness. It’s what you think the lack of money means about you, your life, or your kids’ life. My proof of that is, does everyone who is not rich feel the same sense of lack and the stress that comes with this feeling?

If it were lack of money causing people stress, then wouldn’t everyone who were poor feel unhappy? But that’s not true. Sure it may be the majority, but there’s still a minority who really don’t care about their financial status. They have other things that they’re focusing on that make them happen. So it can’t be the money that causes unhappiness.

And therein lies my point.

What this minority are focusing on is ‘something else’. They don’t even have their attention on the lack.

Your stress over money doesn’t even come from your money situation. It comes from your perception of the lack. It’s a classic missing out lens. Look at what I don’t have. Look at what I’m missing out on because of that lack. I’m missing out on how life should be.

But this may be the very perception that is keeping you stuck in this current financial position.

This thinking is in conflict with reality! Your financial position is your financial position. That’s reality. Your judgment is what causes the stress.

So, what to do now you realise that?

Figure out what you want. What would be the ideal scenario for you in regards to money? Be specific. What impact would this ideal have on your life? What would life look like if you had this ideal?

Immerse yourself in the imaginative process of how it would feel to have a different financial picture going on in your life.

Now, how can you get it? Where is the information, the resources, the tools and the experts that can teach you how to get where you want to be?

See how you are now a lot more solution focused about how to get ahead, rather than rolling in your story of how bad or lacking your life is?

You won’t change your position by wishing it wasn’t so. You’re at where you’re at. Period. So what are you going to do about it now you’re here?

Stop holding yourself back by thinking…

 

Jackie

Get It Right. You HAVE To Be Perfect.

Who on earth made that rule?!! Umm, I hate to say this…but you did.

We often hear in the parenting community that there is so much pressure on parents to get it right and do everything perfectly.

But who’s actually judging whether you’re doing it right or not?

The thing about judgment is that someone may have an opinion about what is right or not, but your reaction to their opinion comes from your beliefs, not from theirs.

No one can MAKE you feel any particular way. What they do though, is trigger something that already exists within you! They trigger the beliefs that you already hold about yourself and your life.

If you are feeling pressured, it’s because YOU believe you have to meet a certain standard in order to look good or be perceived a certain way.

YOU are the one setting the bar, so you can be the one to change it.

The only reason why other parents don’t succumb to the pressure of parenting is because they have a mindset that believes that they aren’t perfect. They know they are doing the best they can. They are continually looking for solutions to their problems. They don’t think it means anything about them if they can’t get it to be perfect or if they have an off day and they don’t believe other people’s opinions define who they are as a parent.

So when they hear about the ‘pressure of parents today’, it doesn’t trigger a response.

Adopt this mindset too, and your world will be a much more relaxed space.

Change your beliefs and you’ll change your reactions…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Drowning In Parenthood? Start Here.

Quite often I read the posts of people introducing themselves on my Live programs, and I think “Wow, you’ve got so much going on.  Where should we start first.”

So this post is to help those of you who are feeling this way about your life and parenthood.

What do you want?

A seemingly simple question, yet one that is not often answered with specifics, or if it is, it is answered as more than a wish then a serious goal or expectation.

But this by far is the most important question to ask yourself when you feel like you’re drowning, because we often get sucked into the vortex of seeing everything we don’t have.

I can tell you that there are no solutions down that road.

What is it that you want in your parenting experience?
What is it that you want in your relationships?
What sort of relationship do you want with your kids, your family, etc.?
What does the ideal work/life balance look like?
What sort of person do you want to be?

Sit down with yourself and look at every area of your life and think about what the ideal would look like. What sort of life do you want to create for yourself? What would make you happy?

When you’ve done that, ask yourself whether you have been specific about these wants. When you look at those wants, would you be able to tell that you had achieved them?  Or can you be even more specific?

Knowing what you want is the first step to changing your life, because it gives you a direction to go in.  From this point, you can then begin to focus on how to get this information, where you can find the information that will help you to get there and who can teach it to you.

Struggles in life don’t mean a failed life. They just mean you lost your direction, or you haven’t yet learnt the skills required to get you there. Don’t waste time thinking about that though, just focus on what you want and how to learn so you can get there!

Free yourself and redesign your life.

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

No Time Out? Then This Post Is For You.

Time becomes a luxury when you are a parent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy time for yourself.

But here’s the problem….

You know how I always say that what you put your attention on expands in that direction? Well, if you keep looking at your life with an “I don’t have time” mindset, you’ll keeping finding evidence of how you are lacking in time!

Focus on what you do want and how you might get that to happen, because when you do that you often find a pathway to getting it.

Ever been stuck for time, madly racing around and then something else really urgent pops up and suddenly you’ve got to fit that in too? What happens? Often you get it all done. You managed to fit it in, or you let something not so important fall by the way side.

This is because you made that urgent thing a priority.

You see, having the time to do something (like take time out) is never about time, it’s about priorities!

If you are not making yourself a priority, you won’t make time for your personal time out. You’ll keep putting yourself last and get more and more miserable in the process. Then you’ll justify it by saying, “Oh, I didn’t have time for that”….and then you’ll be right.

But that’s not because you don’t have time. We always have time. It’s because you didn’t make it a priority.

Shift your priorities and you will find the time…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

I Don’t Even Know Who I Am Anymore

Becoming a parent is a HUGE transition and often, we don’t deliberately take the time to mentally adjust to the change.

We get stuck in identifying ourselves with the past and what life used to be like, but the reality is (there’s that bloody reality again, lol) that life HAS changed and it CAN’T be the way it used to be.

You need to let it go and instead, focus on what you want for your life NOW and how you can fit it in around your kids.

Too often, we focus our attention on what we’re missing out on and I’d love a dollar for every time I’ve asked someone, “So what would the ideal be? What do you want?” And they’ve said, “I don’t know”.

Umm, well, how can you possibly expect to be enjoying your life when you keep looking for everything you don’t have but have no clarity on what you want?

Who do you want to be?

How do you want to construct your life?

What sort of parent do you want to be?

What experiences would you like to have?

Once you’ve established that, then you need to follow the great advice that a friend once told me:

“You decide what it is you want to do, then you plot and scheme around your kids to do it.”

LOVE IT!

The only reason why you feel you’ve lost your identity is because you are still trying to identify with a you that doesn’t exist anymore. Life has changed. You need to move with the times and get deliberate about life.

Redefining yourself…..

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

My Breakdown (I was in tears writing this)

“Nobody knows…..nobody knows but me that I sometimes cry. If I could pretend that I’m asleep when my tears start to fall. I peek out from behind these walls…I think nobody knows…..nobody knows, no….”
Pink

Every day, I put on the facade. My friends didn’t know. My husband sometimes knew. And to everyone else, I was easy-going, happy, friendly and coping well with my two toddlers only 16 months apart. To everyone else, I loved being a mum and had it all under control.

But inside was a war zone – with myself.

It was an endless cycle of loving motherhood, hating motherhood, being tired, pissed off, flipping out in anger, feeling guilty and hating myself. I threw things, screamed, swore, then would see the scared looks on my toddlers’ faces and then fall to my knees in a heap, devastated at the mother I had become.

I felt like I was everything I swore I would never be as a parent and felt I was failing miserably.

But there was no way anyone was ever going to know that. I was the achiever. I got things right! I was SUPPOSED to be a good mother. How could I tell anyone that I had failed? How could I even admit that to myself?

So I sat there and suffered day in and day out until finally, after getting so angry, I slammed a knife on the bench so hard in anger, that it bounced off and narrowly missed my (then) two-year old’s head, I finally realised enough was enough. I had to change, so I dedicated my life to doing exactly that!

After retraining myself to completely change the way I felt about parenthood, I began to educate other parents that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and you don’t have to go through this feeling alone.

You can turn all this around and I want to help you to do so. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I did.

I want you to know that there are so many parents feeling the same way that you do, the way that I did, and I don’t want you to ever feel ashamed for what’s happening for you right now.

You are not a bad parent. You are a parent who just needs a shift in their mindset, an education in self-worth. A parent who is just receiving a wake-up call for their personal development.

On the other side of this you are a confident, happier, calmer and reality-focused parent who is able to share your new found wisdom with your children and help them avoid depression and anxiety in their futures.

This is, undoubtedly, the hidden good in all this. So when will it be time to learn how to change? Today. Don’t leave it any longer. You can do this.

Showing you the way…

Jackie

To find out how we can help you, head over to our Bring My Family Calm Program that will help you to turn it all around.

I Stopped Myself From Having One Of ‘Those’ Mornings

This morning was one of those chaotic, can’t find anything, running late, have to get out the door on time, kids have the shits kind of morning. You know the ones. They can potentially lead to you having just as big a meltdown as the kids.

Except, instead of just getting over it, like the kids do, these mornings tend to leave you feeling really guilty all day because of how you treated your kids.

These are the types of thoughts that went on in my head to change the default thinking that usually sends me into anger.

  • This is just one of ‘those’ mornings. It’s not a reflection of the rest of my day (or my life).
  • The reality is that Ryan can’t find his shoes so I’m going to have to help him look for them. Now where could they be?
  • Jackie, stop! The reality is that Ryan (8yo) has woken up in a feral mood. Do you really think shouting at him and getting angry is going to get him out of it? Just give him a hug instead. Get out of the world of you and your ‘late-ness’ and focus on Ryan and what he needs from you right now. You know this is more likely to speed him up.
  • Seriously, how much later am I really going to be. Is it really going to matter if I’m 15 minutes late. Calm down. Take a step back and focus on what we need to do. The reality is, this morning didn’t go to plan.  It happens. Move on.
  • When I finally get out the door, these moments are going to be a thing of the past. It won’t even matter by this afternoon.
  • Change the picture! I know you wanted the dishes done before you left, but today, it’s just not going to happen. That’s okay. Life will go on and that doesn’t matter either.

Oh yes, I’m going to say it again:

 All stress is conflict between beliefs (what you’re thinking) and reality.

Notice your thoughts that send you into stress and anger and practice pulling your attention into alignment with reality by accepting what is in front of you, looking at it from the perspective of the bigger picture and get solution focused about it.

In the grand scheme of things, will it really matter in one year’s time?

Keeping it real…

Jackie

Am I Going To Be Enough For My Child?

“Am I going to mess up my child’s life? Will I give them a good enough life? Teach them enough? Love them enough?”

This is a fear the runs through the minds of parents everyone. However, it is a fear that does not need to occur.

Remember how often I say that all stress is a conflict between belief and reality?

Well fear is the belief that you (or someone else) might miss out on something and life won’t go right.

However, when we expand our attention out and look at the bigger picture, the reality is that life can’t go wrong? Big statement huh? Well let me explain.

No matter what direction your life takes it will always be filled with highs and lows, goods and bads, wanted and unwanted. You can’t escape that. It’s just a fact of life.

If you think life is going wrong because it hasn’t gone to plan, then you are essentially saying that everyone’s life has gone wrong, because no one’s life always goes to plan.

Our job as a parent is not to get their lives right, but to help them deal with life when it doesn’t go right.

You are doing the best you can with the information that you have, the beliefs you hold about life and about what you believe is a ‘right’ life. You cannot predict what the future will hold, nor the challenges your child will face. Of course you will try and help your child avoid major potholes in their life, but you won’t be able to protect them from everything.

Nor do you want to, because EVERY event we experience holds value – it teaches us something and helps us to learn and grow as human beings, especially our adversities.

So don’t fear that you are going to mess their lives up, because the reality is, you can’t!

However if you do feel like you are not parenting in alignment with your goals, values or wants, that’s when you can turn your attention towards how you are going to learn to do it differently…because you WANT to experience that connection with your child, not because you’re scared their life won’t go to plan.

The best thing you can do for your child is help them learn a reality-based approach to life where they learn how to handle life’s challenges with an accurate view of reality and self-worth, which is exactly what I passionately teach parents in my online Stress Free Kids, Stress Free Parenting course.

We need to teach children not to fear life going wrong, but to embrace ALL challenges and see the value in them. But often, we first need to learn this for ourselves.

Life is a journey…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

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