I don't want to be a mother today! What do I do?
"I don't want to participate in this mothering gig today!
I don't want to listen to the fighting, hitting, crying screaming and arguing. I don't feel like getting up in the middle of my breakfast to get you a drink of water, and I don't want you jumping all over me and playing with my hair.
In fact, I really don't want you to touch me at all please.
I am tired and all I want to do is go back to bed and sleep for the day, perhaps watch a movie later and eat some chocolate after I've devoured some KFC.
I want to revel in quiet and not have to tend to this messy house that you have created for me or fold the mountain of clothes I have sitting in the corner.
I don't want to deal with having to get your toast, straight after I've just done the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.
I don't want to hear those really loud screams that you make that are so high pitched that even Mariah Carey couldn't reach them.
Finally, I really, really, really, don't want you to bring all that Lego out into the lounge room where I know that in a few minutes is going to be spread from one end of the house to the other and will end up underneath my foot later!
But at the moment, I couldn't be bothered telling you that you can't play with your Lego, because I really don't want to deal with the tantrums that will come when I tell you that can't, so just do what you want!
Four things you should know if you are feeling like this...
#1 - You are not a bad parent!
If this is how you're feeling today, I want you to know that you are not a bad parent, less dedicated or unloving parent! You are just being human.
Think about your pre-kid days and ask yourself, have you ever felt this way about something other than parenting.
Did you ever feel like you didn't want to go to work?
Did you ever feel like not going to school when you were a kid?
Did you ever commit to going to an event and then wish you hadn't said yes?
Did that make you a bad person when you felt that way?
Or is it just that you don't feel like fulfilling your responsibilities that day?
Parenting is a lot of work, just like a job, going to school or certain events in your life.
Sometimes the reality is we just don't want to have to deal with all that comes with being a parent.
#2 - You're probably just having an 'off' day. Don't catastrophise how you're feeling.
When you notice yourself getting annoyed and frustrated, just bring your attention back to the reality that you are just having an off day and tomorrow will be a new day.
Remember, to look at the bigger picture.
The event or events that are frustrating you, or the day that is frustrating you, is just one event in your entire life. It does not reflect your entire existence.
Keep this in mind while you have your 'off' day and you will stop it from evolving from and 'off' day to a 'psychotically angry, guilty and emotionally draining day'.
Our mind has a habit of 'catastrophising' life when it doesn't go to plan.
We do what I call 'stack until you crack'.
You dislike one event, and then you experience another event you dislike. Then your mind goes on a tangent of finding other events you don't like.
You keep stacking up all of the crappy things about parenting you don't like, and you suddenly make two little events mean something dramatic about your whole existence!
"I hate my life. I'm so over ALWAYS having to deal with EVERYTHING!"
STOP! Take notice of your negative thoughts gathering this type of momentum and keep it in perspective.
It doesn't ALWAYS happen. It's just that right now, that's all you're focusing on and your mind is finding you evidence of what you have your attention on, because that's what it's been designed to do.
#3 - Work on changing your mindset so your thinking doesn't snowball.
The best thing to do when you catch yourself getting stuck in the mindset of 'catastrophising' and 'stack until you crack', is to take a step back (hint: it can help to literally stand up and step back), and bring your attention back to the current moment.
First, take some deep breaths to stop your amygdala (emotional brain) from hijacking the rational brain, and calm yourself down.
Then, look around you and take notice of the reality of what's actually happening, without the judgement.
All emotional stress is a conflict between belief (what I'm thinking) and reality.
The reality is your child is young and learning.
The reality is the house has stuff on the floor.
The reality is you're just tired.
The reality is what's happening in front of you is just different to what you expected. That's life.
Focus on what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell. That's reality. Everything else is your judgement.
Think about why one parent gets reactive and one parent doesn't? Why is that? Not because one parent is better than the other, but because one parent thinks differently than the other.
Changing how parents think, feel and respond is exactly what we teach in our 28 Day Find My Calm Within The Chaos Program.
#4 - There is value in everything!
When life isn't going to plan, you're catastrophising or 'stacking', we often go into our 'missing out lens'.
We focus on what we've lost, what we're not getting, what we used to have but now don't or how we never get what we want.
What missing out lens get triggered in you when you 'couldn't be bothered' parenting?
"I never get time to myself"
"Why am I the one who has to do everything?"
"I don't even know who I am anymore!"
"I'm NEVER get anything done around here"
"Why can't I just have some peace and quiet for just 5 minutes?!"
Well, the flip side of the missing out lens is to find the hidden good in the bad!
Look for the value.
You can do that by asking...
- What you can I be grateful for in this moment?
- What am I / my child learning in this moment?
- When you know what you don't want, you can often figure out what you do want, so what is the ideal of this situation?
- How do I reach more of my ideal? What solutions, choices or options do I have to move towards more of what I want in this moment (or in the future)?
You see, parental stress is brought about by how you think. When you take command over your mindset, parenting becomes a whole lot easier.
So, next time you feel like you 'couldn't be bothered parenting today', take a step back, take a breath, allow yourself to feel this way without criticism and then get to work finding a new conversation to have with yourself.
Oh and one final piece of advice? Grab yourself some headphones, put on some upbeat music and soldier on with the demands of being a parent, cause there's no calling in sick for us.
If you would like to learn how to retrain yourself to be a calmer, happier mum who doesn't 'stack until you crack' or 'catastrophise', maybe our 28 Day Find My Calm Within The Chaos Challenge may help you.