What you learn through our Parental Stress Centre Programs are the tools to begin understanding your emotions - why you feel the way you feel in the context of parenthood. Furthermore, you will learn what you can do with this understanding so that you can change your emotions.
What you'll learn here is exactly what I have to do everyday in my own life too. I am no perfect mummy that’s for sure because life’s not about being perfect. It’s about experiencing life and learning from ALL our experiences. There is no right and wrong way to parent and we are ALL learning from our experiences as a parent as well as everything else in life.
So, with that said, I have found myself of late getting more and more frustrated with my kids for seemingly minor and understandably (due to their age) childish things and although I tried to logically ‘upgrade’ my stressful thinking, just like I teach in my products, this seemed to be providing me little relief from my emotions. It was time to get to the bottom of what was really happening for me.
I decided to treat myself as I would a client who I was coaching and split my attention into the me that was feeling the frustration and anger and the ‘wiser’ me who was objectively looking at the situation.
Here is the outcome of this exercise – one I hope you will also benefit from to help you challenging your thinking too. So here goes. FYI – The WISE ME’s comments are in bold so you can differentiate between the stressed me and the wiser me:
I mean really, what is it that is so annoying to you? Why is it that every time they do something that is unexpected or isn’t the way you like it, do you react or feel annoyed, frustrated or have those feelings balloon into anger?
Tell me your story?
Because they’re all over me. They interrupt me all the time. They’re loud. I’m tired. I want it quiet. I want to be able to just do what I want to do without that interruption. I want to be left alone to do what I need to do.
Okay, so tell me, is this realistic to want these things when you are a mother?
No, I know that. I know they’re just being kids and that they’re going to be noisy, they’re going to drop things, make a mess, have different priorities that cause them to make decisions that I don’t like.
So what’s the problem?
Because I don’t like it.
No one said you have to like it. All stress is a conflict between belief and reality, so to release yourself from stress, you need to align yourself with reality. You don’t have to like reality, but you do need to accept it if you want to feel peaceful.
But I can’t.
Then you can’t feel better then.
But I want to.
Then you have to change your thinking.
Yeah, but how?
Well, what is it that you really don’t like about what they’re doing?
Hmmm, Well it usually happens when I’m in the middle of something. I’m either deep in thought or I’m trying to get something done by a certain amount of time. Then they interrupt me.
So, what do you perceive that means when they interrupt you?
Well, That they’ve interrupted me.
So your children are an interruption to your life?
OMG, I think I actually believe that. What sort of mother am I?
Okay, don’t go bashing yourself now. You’ve identified the belief. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so now that you’ve acknowledged you hold that belief, it’s time to change it so you can view the situation differently. It doesn’t make you a bad mother to believe it, it just makes you a human with an incorrect belief that has been adopted somewhere along the line through your experiences. Now you need to change it.
But how do I do that?
Well, I think we need more information. What is it that you feel like they’re interrupting specifically?
What I’m doing?
And why is what you’re doing so important?
I don’t know, because I want it done at that time, I guess, or I want it to be my way?
Is that realistic? Does life always go the way we want it to go?
So does that mean only when life goes your way it can be valuable?
So why do you rate your child interrupting you as making your life less valuable?
Well, it’s not that I say that specifically....
But that’s what you ARE saying. You are saying that your children interrupt your life.
That sounds so harsh, coz I don’t actually feel that way all the time. I don’t want to be that kind of mother.
You are not ‘that kind of mother’, but you are a mother who is thinking that way in these moments, so you need to change your perception of the situation. Are they actually interrupting your life?
No, they’re just interrupting that moment.
And is that moment really important in the grand scheme of things?
No. It’s just a moment in time.
Good, now we’re getting somewhere.
Okay, OMG here they come. I can hear them. I can feel the tension welling up in my body. I’m expecting them to interrupt me from this.
And would this be detrimental to your life? Is what you’re doing right now really that important?
No, but I want to say yes because I really want to get this blog out for people to learn from?
So you’re saying that other people’s learning is more important (a priority) then what you’re kids need to say.
Oh my, I’m starting to feel a little emotional, because I think you’re onto something. I think I’ve been putting my career before my job as a mum.
But why is what I want to know?
Because I feel good when I’m teaching people self-help?
So do you not feel good about teaching your kids and influencing their life? Aren’t they learning from you too?
Yeah, I guess. But I suppose that I don’t get the feedback I do from them?
So you need validation of your goodness to feel good about yourself do you?
Well I didn’t think so, but obviously I must feel that way. I thought I’d dealt with all that.
We all incorrectly attach our self-worth to various things. Don’t feel bad. The important thing is to identify it and change your perception, as I keep saying.
So, okay, I know that true self-worth is always 100% (taught in most Parental Stress Centre Courses) and that I don’t need to attach my self-worth to anything. So in any given situation my life is valuable as it is.
That’s right. Can anything really ‘interrupt’ your life?
No, just because what I’m DOING is interrupted, or what I’m THINKING is interrupted, it doesn’t mean my life is any less valuable. All of the experiences on my journey are valuable and beneficial to my growth. This example perfectly illustrates this. My annoyance/anger/ frustration with the kids has taught me to look at what was really going on. My emotions are indicators of what I believe and can serve as alarm bells to incorrect thinking.
My life is never ‘interrupted’. It just is. I won’t always get what I want. The kids will sometimes get loud, fight, argue, disobey, make a mess and sometimes they will happily play, just like they have been while I’ve written this.
If they come and interrupt me, it’s just another experience I’m having, not right or wrong. Just is. There is no place my life needs to be to make it more worthy than where it already is. My life is 100% valuable right now and in every moment.
When I really look at the situation, I want it to be my priority to help my kids with their life. That’s why I signed up for motherhood in the first place, so I could have kids a part of my life.
I can’t believe I was actually thinking that they were interrupting my life. I guess I’ve just been so focused on my career and getting validation for what I do, but that’s not where I want the important moments to be in my life.
Geez with this realisation, I can really see how different this will make to how I approach these situations. I know I won’t be perfectly serene every time they fight or yell or get the house messy, but I know what’s going on now when I do get annoyed, so I just need to become aware of this habit of thinking again and remind myself of how important my kids are to me and my life and how my self-worth is not hinged on ANY activity or experience I have. I need to remember that what they are doing just forms another experience in my life.
Finally, I need to remind myself that life is valuable just as it is, not when I get this ‘thing’ finished in my life.
Wow, what a completely different perspective.