Friday, November 28, 2014

Reclaiming the Positive in Parenting

Today's post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival celebrating the launch of the second edition of Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering by Amazon bestselling author, Lucy H. Pearce (published by Womancraft Publishing). Today over 40 mothers around the world reflect on the internal journey of motherhood: raw, honest and uncut. To see a list of the other contributors and to win your own copy visit Dreaming

Moods of Motherhood_cover_front_300

My main mood of motherhood is frustration.

Frustration in that I yearn to have great times with my kids but the reality is that it is often the opposite: we clash and start raising our voices and feel annoyed because we’re not getting through to each other.

Frustration in that I don’t have enough time to spend with my children because I have to work to pay for our house and our food.

Frustration in that I have to repeat myself a lot for them to learn simple things, such as eating food, putting on their shoes and coats before leaving the house, or picking up their things off the floor.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, some of the dense trees and brambles have parted and I can see the rest of the path through the forest more clearly, with blinding sun darting through like shards of lazer-beams.


Underneath, when I find time to empty my mind and breathe deeply, I find there is a sense of achievement – because I've survived this far with no major incidents and I can see they’re all turning into really happy, polite, enthusiastic and clever kids.  

When I strip myself bear of the daily frustrations, I realise that deep down I am really really proud of them.

When the daily gristle is gone, I can admire their inner beauty and abilities. If only I was able to focus on the positive and not let the negative get me down.

A Zen friend suggested that I greet my frustrations with a smile when it crops up: "Hello Frustration my old friend", which is turning out to be quite an interesting exercise for diffusing the blocks of frustration inside of me.
Perhaps if I repeat an affirmation every day, I will start to dwell less on the draining feelings of frustration, and more on the amazing big picture.

We’re all healthy, capable and amazing beings and together we make a strong, dynamic family.

The Impact of the Negative

I was reading an article the other day that said the reason people tend to remember the negative stronger than the positive is because our brains handle positive and negative information in different hemispheres, which allows negative emotions to have a longer-lasting impact.
“Bad emotions, bad parents and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, which leads to more distress," says Dr Baumeister, quoted in the article. "Those who are more attuned to bad things would have been more likely to survive threats and, consequently, would have increased the probability of passing along their genes. Survival requires urgent attention to possible bad outcomes but less urgent with regard to good ones.”
So in order to survive for thousands of years, our brains have adapted to reacting quicker to the bad stuff, which probably explains why I spend the majority of my life in a hyper-vigilant state. Hyper-vigilant means I’m constantly on alert – and no, it’s not my favourite state to live in. It means I anticipate safety risks such as my kids falling or breaking something, and jump up in an instant to save them, much like superwoman! 

But if my kids tell me they got ‘Star of the week’ in school, it takes a while for it to sink past my adrenaline filter before I smile and say ‘well done’. Even slower is the next reaction, pulling myself up from my seat and going to their level and giving them a big hug and telling them how proud I am of them. 

If only I could slow down the reactions to the negative things and speed up the reactions to the nicer, positive things. I don’t think I would be half as frustrated by motherhood then. I'm working on reframing this with meditation and mindfulness.

When I somehow manage to shake off the daily frustrations of being a mum to 3 hyper kids, then I allow myself to really start to appreciate all that I’ve got. And I have got so much. I burst sometimes thinking that I managed to achieve a family in just a few short years. How lucky am I?

So I need to try to appreciate it more often. I read that psychologically we need five ‘goods’ to outweigh every one ‘bad’ thought or thing. That’s a depressing thought in itself.

If I can just find 5 good things to say to my kids instead of one negative, and try to outweigh the bad with lovely things, then maybe they won’t remember me as a bad mummy. I'm striving for better. We all deserve better.

I'm also trying to find three things at the end of each day that I am grateful for in order to raise my positive vibrations and close the day thinking happy thoughts.


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