How to recover from a mama tantrum

mama
S#%^t it happened again… an other mama tantrum, and a big one. I wish it didn’t happen but it did. Once you become mindful, you just can’t go back – you know that attachment drives connection and that disconnection is the worse thing of all…

I am very proud to say that I don’t yell, yet, my mama trantrums are not pretty at all – I am stubborn, I want things done my way and immediately – this big “ego” of mine doesn’t understand that another little person wants and is allowed to want things her way too!

Unfortunately I was not able to stay calm and show empathy when my daughter needed it, I wasn’t able to understand her discomfort and help her get over it because I only saw mine. What happened doesn’t really matter, I can loose my temper for a lot of reasons – so can everyone. I am taking full responsibility for the situation, her tantrums and mine are just the same: we express discomfort – the difference is I can and should be able to control mine!

Kate, from Peacefulparentsconfidentkids wrote:

I don’t always get it when my daughter is screaming at me or her sister and sometimes I don’t even really try. Sometimes it is easier to pass it off as tiredness or hunger and just simply her personality, rather than to truly see what is going on. It can be exasperating and if my mind is not strong, it can be easy to show annoyance and reflect my own hardships at having to deal with it, back at her. I am now beginning to realise that when I let myself become affected by her behaviour and begin to believe that my hard time is harder than her hard time, I am no longer being the respectful parent I am aiming to be. My reactions become intolerant and unempathetic. The effects of these reactions for my beautiful, sensitive girl are long lasting

I work on myself to get rid of old patterns, to be present just where I am and to fully embrace the moment… being mindful takes time and practice so until I know better here are the steps I try to focus on to move forward as quick as possible:

  1. Forgive myself: yes I know, this is cliché but otherwise, guilt is there right in the corner. Big tantrum = big guilt = longer disconnection = longer recovery = child in pain
  2. Apologize and move forward: If Big tantrum = disconnection = child in pain – I should apologize. I realize that apologizing gives me perspective.
  3. Offer closeness & big hugs… Reconnect: If of course we both can offer / accept hugs… otherwise, I try to give some space

In general, to prevent those situations where my mind is weak and I’m intolerant or annoyed I try to focus on the bigger picture:

  1. Lower expectations: I try to remember that my child is ONLY 3.5. I often get frustrated because of the gap between my expectations and the reality (which is often the case most of the time)
  2. Stay positive: “Set your child up for success rather than challenging him/her to fail. For younger children, that often means expecting that they will need assistance from you to complete tasks or follow certain directions” (3 Ways to Stop Parental Frustration Before it Starts) I try to ask her if she needs my help when I ask her for something.
  3. Perspective, perspective, perspective: My girl is doing her best, always, you know what: she really is! she wants to succeed in what she does as much as I do. Mistakes is a learning process – and to be honest, this is exactly what I preach, so this is what I need to allow.
  4. Context: understand, see and always allow, accept and validate big feelings…

Children act aggressively to express a variety of feelings that all come under one heading: Discomfort. Understanding this truth is crucial for parents committed to respectful care, because our perceptions of our children’s behavior will always dictate our responses. When we treat an uncomfortable child in need of our help and safety like a bad kid needing scolding, a lesson, or punishment, we create distance, fear, and even more discomfort. And so the cycle continues. (The Most Important Thing to Know About Your Child’s Aggression)

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Until we deal with it, we just pass it on…

joy

Let me start by “I am blessed”, ” I am thankful”, “I am loved”… “I love”, “I feel”, “I can”

I am thankful for a wonderful husband and an amazing little girl for whom I want to improve myself. You see, it wasn’t always the case. I just wanted to be a “good” mama, not a “happy” mama, or not even a good person. I focused on raising a self-confident, self motivated little girl – because I am not. Be a good MAMA has been a goal from the day I realized I was a mama (which in my case is not the day my daughter was born), since then, I am reading, learning… searching for every tip and for every educating piece of info I can find.

I’ve discovered a lot, very inspiring people, very inspiring education and parenting paths. I’ve found so much that I became very interested in education in general. I’ve found the importance of early education, of love, of touch, of closeness, of attachment. I’ve found respect, I’ve found kindness, I’ve found acknowledgment and acceptance.

I have found acknowledgment and acceptance… I acknowledged, I accepted, I validated… my daughter’s feelings, not mine. I was missing the most important part of the puzzle, because I didn’t want to see, I didn’t want to deal with it, because it didn’t matter that much to me compared to raising a child. You can only give what you have, what’s yours to give in the 1st place.

I feel lucky to have a wonderful family, loving & caring parents and a great little sister, I am loved and I’m thankful for that – My past made me who I am: a loving and caring person and at the same time, a woman full of insecurity, guilt, criticism, lack of confidence and self-worth issues… my way of seeing the world paints the world for me. The way I see the world, the way I see people becomes my reality & then my daughter’s reality… It doesn’t matter how hard I try, Until I deal with it, I just pass it on

I believe that we all do our best, that we all want what’s is best for ourselves and for others but “our best” is unfortunately limited… very limited.

We all have love and compassion within us, we all seek for closeness, but sometimes we project impatience, frustration, anger, rejection, negativity – most of the time, we don’t even know why and it’s automatic. Every time that happened, I felt guilty. I feel guilty for being a working mama, for thinking too much, for wanting the best so much that I feel anxious and fear. In those situations, my heart is “closed” and for that too, I feel guilty. We were not born like this, we were born ready to connect, open-hearted, this is how we became wired – this is the way we became programmed.

“Your best is limited by who you are, by your own programming, by what happened to you and by the stress you are under right now” (Gabor Mate, in one of his conference) – then even with the best interests in heart, Until you deal with it, you just pass it on

Gabor Mate in that same conference, talked about parental guilt. “the worst thing about guilt: when we feel guilty we don’t see their possibilities, we see their problems – we tend to see our responsibility, “our job” “.

What children need the most is to be loved unconditionally, to be understood and accepted no matter what. If children cannot feel that, if they don’t feel loved and accepted for who they are, they won’t be able to fully accept themselves, then come those self-worth issues, the lack of self-confidence I am trying so much to avoid. It is possible to love unconditionally but for this to happen, we need to accept and love ourselves unconditionally, we need to learn what triggers us and the most important part… we need to deal with it and repair.

What happened in the past is gone and you cannot change it, but the good thing is that, all our negative feelings and negative behaviors, all our guilt patterns are not us, but they are ours to fix and we can change them. They don’t define us, they are not who we are – we are so much more than our guilt, so much more than our negativity, so much more than our impatience – and those patterns, take time to fix.

It’s a matter of acknowledgement, of validation, of self-acceptance… it takes mindfulness and readiness to see yourself just as you are. You see, there are no shortcuts, Until you deal with it, you just pass it on… but once you do, to path to a better life is set.

I can never say that enough, I am thankful for a wonderful husband who reminds me this every day. I am right into my reprogramming process, because adults have the capacity to reprogram, and by doing so I am being a good mama, deal with it so that I don’t pass it on…

Let me grow… just like me: Magda Gerber

just-like-me

“Please let me grow as I be”, just let me…

It is common to think that, when we become parent it is “our job” to actively teach our children and to lead them to what we believe is best for them. Every moment is an opportunity to “teach”, then we often correct, we often lecture, we interfere because we want the “best”, because it is our “job”, because we are “responsible” or because we are simply doing our best.

I too, like most parents, want the best for my child. Most of the time, when I ask myself what do I mean by “best”, the answer is not always clear or consistent.

When I look at the bigger picture, by “best” I mean: be loved, be appreciated, be self-confident, be self-motivated, be happy. Sometimes, by “best” I mean: be capable, be independent, be “perfect”… this is often when I interfere, fix or correct

We are our children’s primary model … They are wired to follow us, learn from us, they are wired to grow in the environment we provide for them, they are wired to Experience, Try, Learn and figure for themselves. Children see what we do, hear what we say, they observe, they learn to respond the way they see us respond – just like we did when we were kids

Let me” is so powerful, it reminds me that we all need freedom to be who we are, truly are – and unfortunately, parents expectations from children don’t let them be…

Because I want to – always – look at the bigger picture, I need to understand my child, see who she really is. In order to do that, I need to take a step back and think, work to change my patterns. Here are my reminders:

  1. Back off and allow some freedom: I try not to interfere with my own beliefs or agenda – which is often harder than we think, especially in morning rushes – I try to let her lead and choose within limits, complete tasks without interfering or try to “guide”.
  2. Provide her with a suitable environment that allows her to experience, to feel loved & wanted – the environment that allows them to BE and to PLAY…
  3. Be very careful with the words I use and when I use them – in other words: I try to be careful with Praise, with “yes” directions instead of “no” and without shaming or guilt.
  4. Trust that she’ll be fine, that she is “big” enough to take decision
  5. We all learn, especially ME! we were not born parents, we learn to be. I try to be patient and acknowledge my weaknesses in order to be present and “help her grow” just like her

This is very hard for me to remember that she’s not “mine”, that she entered the world learning to be capable every day, every moments of the day.

Thank you Magda Gerber, thank you RIE ♥

 

Rumi-Listen

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen” – Rumi

I do my best to work on connection, because nothing else matters. What are you working on? ♥

Find yourself first

find-yourself-rumi

“Go find yourself first, so you can also find me”.

What do you think about that?

Lately, this resonates with me a lot… as hard as it is to accept, I believe that, for me, there is no other way. I try very hard – very very hard – to parent respectfully, to give my child what she deserves: respect, a healthy relationship model, available parents… I am focusing on learning, listening, responding, improving ALL the time. I am focusing on her. I feel the pressure, I want to find the right words, turn No into Yes as much as possible, pick my battles and give her space when possible.

So yes, I have been focusing on her, sometime exclusively, forgetting other important things: Focusing on ME! Finding ME 1st , healing ME 1st, knowing ME 1st, understanding ME 1st and respect ME 1st. I am focusing on her not only because I want to, but also because, to be honest, it’s easier to focus on her than on myself.

I want to be an available parent, a respectful parent who can accept & understand all my child’s emotional states – no just the good ones. I want to remain calm & handle my own emotions right 1st to remain connected. Children are learning everyday, small children have trouble coping with a lot of their emotions, so they turn to us – their only source of regulation available – because if everything is right, they feel secure to be themselves around us, & because they feel loved and validated.

After reading a lot on that subject, I found that, our children push our buttons because they are our children, it’s as simple as that. Unconsciously our children stimulate feelings of our own childhoods (especially strong feelings, probably unprocessed) when they act out. We too, are overwhelmed by their strong emotions. My child may be pushing my buttons, but I AM responsible for my actions and what I choose to do with the situation – in other words: “my buttons” are my responsibilities & I am the adult in the relationship with my child.

I need to find ME 1st, support ME 1st, understand ME 1st in order to also find her – in order to be fully present for her & show real empathy when she needs it.

The steps I take to “Find ME 1st” (thank you dear husband for helping me find them!).

  1. Work on myself: 1st step, recognize that this is a priority and that the journey is long. I learn self-acceptance once a week (for over a year now)
  2. Go to the gym
  3. or / and take yoga classes
  4. Practice meditation

May 2015 be the year you find yourself. May this year bring you calm, happiness and rest.

 

 

The gift of time: Tips for slowing down

time

The best thing that you give to children is time…

Time… what a simple and beautiful word.

We live in a world where multi-tasking is praised, where multi-tasking is a talent that we – women – *have*. We *are able* to cook, clean, get dressed while talking on the phone. Well in fact, slowing down, enjoying the moment has become a “gift”, a state of mind I would really like to return to. I feel that I’m always rushing, I run to go to work, I run from work, I want to be “on time” for everything and everyone… I’m stressed, sometimes I’m annoyed as I’m always late. I begin my day with “hurry up” rushing from 1 place to another – I finish that day with “hurry up” because there is always something else. I hurry so much that I often miss the small things in life that are the most important ones.

I don’t have time to slow down in those situations because it’s a waste of time…

I try to squeeze an entire day in just a few hours, because this is the only time I have.

I try to be at my best everywhere I am, because this is the only time I have.

I try to have the most enjoyable time with my family, because this is the only time I have.

The pressure of always having something on my plate, the stress, takes a huge part of my mind, then I become very irritable and unpleasant to be with. Mornings are crazy – transitions are not easy for our little ones – I find myself dressing my 3-year-old daughter through tears, although she is fully capable of getting dressed on her own – I find myself doing the exact opposite of what I want for her: Autonomy.

In order to restore a sense of sanity and spread happiness instead of stress to my family, I felt I had to do something. I felt I needed to slow down, or at least, spend my time right.

This is how I try to spend my time better: Tips for empowering what really matters:

1. For big changes, start small

Pause, stop and think – Simple reminders like “Does this really matter?”, “Is that really what you want?” can be very useful

2. Stay focused

I started focusing on doing just one thing at a time, so that the time I spend doing 1 thing is dedicated to that 1 specific thing I’m doing – and you know what? it’s not that simple! When someone talks to me (especially my 3-year-old daughter), I try to stop what I’m doing to give my *undivided* attention – and you know what? it’s not that simple! when I focus on fully listening and looking to the person in front of me, I can’t do something else basically.

3. Wherever and Whenever you are, Be there!

Be present! (even for a small amount of time). No phone, no “just a quick look”, no Facebook… when someone calls I usually say “I’m not going to answer, it’s our You & Me time now”. When possible I try to avoid screen time of any kind

4. Understand that transitions can be hard to handle

Transitions are a bit tricky for me, there are a lot of tips on how to help a child with transitions on http://www.janetlansbury.com. Basically, let the child know in advance what you/they are going to do helps them know what to expect + it helps me stay focused too. Going from 1 thing to another is not easy – there too – slowing down is usually a good place to start

5. Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment is fundamental. It can take a while, but once you master – you master for life. I would define Acknowledgment by recognizing, accepting and validating the other person feelings or behavior – it doesn’t mean you agree with it, it means that you understand and accept that the other person have other opinions than yours and that he/she has the right to fully express them, that you accept your child displeasure instead of trying to make it go away or telling your child what to feel instead.

Once I understood that tantrums or all other behaviors were not personal, it helped me being present for my child – it helped me stay connected instead of disconnected.

6. Say thank you

I try very hard to focus on how blessed I am instead of How stressed I am. It slowly changes my mindset.

It requires awareness and attention, and even those are very little steps, I know they can make a difference. I believe that day by day, step by step, it is possible to make a difference. I have decided to focus on spending my time right, and enjoying. Focus on those little moments, on those little smiles and welcome them because those are the moments that matter.

 

Enjoy more, do less ♥

The best thing that you give to children is time…

 

Fake it until you make it!

be a good mama

Being a parent has become the definition of who I am – I’m Sarah’s mama, this is who I am.

I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a “food lover”,… none of those define me better than “being a mother” because being a mother has changed me, none of the other statuses did. It has been hard, it still is – but raising healthy and “happy” children is not easy. There are no shortcuts, no easy way – you do what you have to do Every Single Day.

About a year ago, I started reading parenting blogs, watching video about children development, I started spending every moment that I had on how to improve myself as a mom… as a person. I didn’t know what I was looking for, I didn’t know what to do but I knew while reading that seeing my child as a whole person, who has something to say and deserves to be heard was the way I wanted to follow. I *just* want her to be happy, I want her to be self-confident and self-motivated, I want her to know that she’s enough, that she’s a good person and I wanted her to feel welcomed and loved for who she is – no matter what.

Respectful parenting has become – for me – a goal to achieve, a way of life. I make mistakes, I try my best to fix them – I get angry – a lot: i apologize – a lot, I get frustrated, tired and stressed from time to time but I do the best I can until I know better. There are really great blogs on that matter, a lot of resources can be found. I follow a lot of blogs, I read a lot of stories… the thing is, you have to start somewhere, and starting is always the hardest thing to do.

From all the techniques, tips and stories, I found great comfort and “knew” what to do, but I just didn’t how. How to be respectful? How to set clear boundaries respectfully? what is a limit / boundary anyway?

From there, I searched more… and I couldn’t find how.

I started with 1 element: Make a connection. How? very simple: stop what you’re doing when you talk to your child, give him/her undivided attention. Get own your knees to look into his / her eyes – make eye contact (that implies undivided attention from both side) – seem obvious and easy right? I was amazed that I had to focus on stopping, that it required my attention. And you what, it works. From that point, I stop saying my child “doesn’t listen”, from that moment I knew that the connection has to be readjusted

I took baby steps and when I couldn’t answer the question ” How?”my answer was that: do it anyway, start, adjust when needed… FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT! in order to adjust the patterns you have to stop and think

Yes, to me there were no other way. Saying “It’s OK to be scared”, “it’s OK to cry” “oh, I see that you really wanted a 3rd candy, I didn’t give it to you and now you’re upset” and chase lions while all you want to say is “don’t cry, you’re a big girl now, you’re OK, there are no lions in our home” or “it’s just a candy, I’ll fix it for you, take as much as you want” is awkward, it seems fake, unnatural. Soon enough it became mine, my way of thinking, my way of seeing the world around me… all feelings are OK, even the hardest, even the “bad” ones.

If you fell down, you cry and that’s OK. If someone takes from you the most important thing you had, you would feel devastated, and that’s OK – just because the most important thing my child wanted is a candy she didn’t get, doesn’t make the situation easier for her – even if for me, it is “just a candy”. It IS hard to see differently, it is hard to realize that all I’ve been doing to “help”, “make my daughter happy” or “feel safe” made her feel less understood, less confident – and that’s OK, because I did my best until I “knew” better, there is always a wake up call somehow.

The journey is long and full of surprise, but I have set the path and I will fake it until I make it, until I make respectful decisions without even thinking about it.

Fake it until you make it, that is my new way.

 

 

 

My baby is turning 3…

1095 long days but 3 short years, time flies my dears, time flies… 2 weeks from now, my baby will turn 3!

Those 3 years have been the hardest of my life and the most significant at the same time.

Thank you my baby for being who you are.

Thank you my baby for being joyful, curious, for caring so much, for paying attention to details.

Thank you my baby for making me see life through your big eyes…

 

We’re creating memories, and I hope we’re making happy ones

Just Relax and Take it Easy – Our Summer vacation

Relax, take it easy – forget everything, no work, no rush, no appointments, nothing!

Our family summer vacation was the perfect break: 3 weeks in France. 10 days in Paris, my dear hometown and 2 weeks in Provence.

Here here a summary of special moments. Enjoy

Toilet Paper Play

toilet-paper-play

It’s been a while…

I have to say that Toilet Paper Play is one of my favorite. Not only it’s available in every home, it’s easy to clean and you + toddler can basically have hours of fun with it.

How it started?

Sarah took a toilet paper roll and asked me if she could keep it. I said yes… I was about to get dressed to go to the park and asked Sarah (who is diaper free during the day – yeah :)) to go on the potty before we leave.

After a few minutes, I heard nothing: no noise, no “mamaaaaa”, no running… nothing. I had a quick look, and saw Sarah on the potty, playing with the toilet paper. She was playing independently 🙂

I stayed in my room for like 5-10 minutes, I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to interrupt this precious moment I wanted for so long to witness, I didn’t make a sound… she had managed to create a small shirt with the toilet paper and called me to help her complete it.

I asked her what she had in mind and asked her what I could do to help – I didn’t want to interfere with what she planed, and if she plays, she has to lead her way. She asked for a costume. As it was very vague, I tried to rephrase. Do you want a dress? Do you want skirt? I asked with excitement. She asked for a dress.

With a lot of care I took the toilet paper and roll it all over her. She was so excited that she couldn’t stand still, and that poor 1st T.P dress of hers was on a just a few seconds. I brought many toilet paper rolls and we started all over, and over, and over until she was able to move more freely and understood the impact of her actions on the dress. I believe that it must have taught her a lot about consequences, patience and care.

After a while, she asked for a costume for “Petit cochon” (her little soft pig that she likes) and started wearing it 🙂 It made me so proud, I was so happy to see her taking care of her little piglet. She sometimes asks me to carry her very close like under my shirt or to wrap her around me (she and I call it “kangaroo”), I believe that she was imitating that.

I loved that play so much because she completely started it, and because we were able to bond through play

Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.

Maria Montessori