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)

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…

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

The day(s) I completly lost it

Sarah cakeI’m trying, I’m trying and trying to be mindful, I really do – every second I’m with Sarah (now 2.5 years old). Most of the time it works, we can do great things together or just do nothing together and we’re happy – but sometimes nothing helps, I just can’t get it right…

It was one of those days when I couldn’t get it right: My Sarah was sick, needless to say that during those hard times, super “mindful powers” are needed, extra connection is a must to remain available and tuned to her needs. Where were those super mindful powers when I really needed them the most? Here’s what happened: When Sarah is sick, mama’s on duty: I leave everything (work in the middle of the day, most of the time) and pick her up from day care. I was at home with her for 3 days (then came the week-end). She had trouble breathing, she had fever, had lost her appetite and was on medication… poor baby, that must have been horrible!

Clingyness is of course understandable, but staying home with a sick baby has never been my cup of tea… I thought I was a “bad mama” for a long time for not being able to cope with the situation – when sanity and a good spirit are a necessity – and especially for not being able to be – fully – available for her during those days.

On Thursday (the 3rd day), she felt much better: fever was almost gone, still no appetite for anything beside ice cream/popsicle (I promised she would get one when she feels better) so she would take a chair, move it next to the fridge, climb and open the freezer, then take the popsicles, pick one, taste it and put the popsicles back. In the morning we went out a bit for a walk and came back home.

She fell asleep for a nap earlier than usual, but had trouble breathing again so she woke up after 15 minutes… She had no nap! NO NAP!!…

From that point I completely lost it, it was horrible, I had no patience, and of course, I reacted immediately when she pushed my buttons, it’s amazing how many buttons there are to push in those situations… I lost the ability of “feeling acknowledgment”, even after a 7-8 months practice (although I became quite good at it thanks to Janet Lansbury’s blog and Peaceful Parents confident Kids) – I wasn’t able to do anything, I yelled, yelled and yelled… I felt so bad about yelling that I apologized, but my attitude didn’t change – I still had no patience, I was tired and I was not able to be the strong mama that she needed at that time, I was not able to put her needs 1st.

She cried, what could she do! that was the kind of helpless tears, that kind you don’t want to hear: I felt her need to be heard, carried and hugged, but she didn’t want me to be near her. I felt I hurt her feelings so much that I would have preferred being yelled at back. “It’s OK to cry, I’m here if you need me, let’s hug until we feel better”, I usually I tell her, I validate and acknowledge feelings, but that day I couldn’t, I wasn’t able to, especially when I was the one responsible for that horrible situation! I was a complete mess for the entire afternoon.

This could have been such a lovely day, we baked a cake, and she even started to play independently for a few minutes until she saw me trying to catch that on video 😦

The day after was the same, but Friday here is the week-end, so I wasn’t alone with her anymore and I was relieved! The house was a mess (most of the time, that doesn’t bother me, I even contribute a lot to that mess), but during those 2 days it did bother me. So again, no patience…

On Saturday, I was my new ME again – the new me with all my nice parenting attitude, all the mindful sentences and attitude, all tuned and connected. I like the new ME and so does Sarah. The new ME makes a lot of mistakes, being mindful is hard in the beginning.

For the past few months, I have the feeling that she needs me more than before – maybe because I’m now willing to see. It’s amazing the difference that it makes in our lives.

The “connected mama” attitude comes with a tool kit: patience, understanding, empathy, coping mechanisms, feeling acknowledgment and validation and a yes attitude that the “messy mama” attitude switches off.

The “connected mama” can say “no” and stand for it.

The “connected mama” looks in the eyes and smiles more often

The “connected mama” jumps & sits in the mud if she’s asked to

The “connected mama”loves, loves, loves & loves unconditionally

I hope I can stick to the “connected mama” as long as I can, and forgive myself for those messy days, for those times when the “messy mama” comes out…

The day you were born

Sarah at birth

A few month ago I saw my husband smiling in the living room and I asked him why. He was reading what he had written a few days after Sarah was born, so that one day, he could read it to her. I thought that it was a wonderful idea, and there we were, both sitting, remembering those “precious” moments  while he was reading out loud.

The day I met you is not the day you were born…

We arrived in the hospital very happy, I got prepared, I was even very pretty – I was not in pain, and I thought that if it was the day we were going to see each other for the 1st time, I was going to look pretty… and I was very pretty, very happy and not even stressed…

After filling all files, monitors and check-ups the doctors said that I was not ready to give birth, but that they couldn’t let me go home so I had to decide on whether you were going to come into the world on your own terms on whether I should decide to push you out a bit with medicine…

If I could go back and think more clearly, I would have chosen differently:Let you decide of course! but, despite on what daddy thought, I took the medicine option (I didn’t want to risk complications and infections because of a lack of amniotic fluid)

After 4-5 hours, we entered the room I was supposed to give birth into. It was bright and spacious, it looked good. 1 hour later, I received the medication and told daddy (who hasn’t eaten all day) to grab something to eat because it would take long before something happens… so he did

In 5 minutes time, the monitors were getting weird, and 4 nurses came into the room, 1 broke my water, 2 nurses moved me into another bed and the 4th one called the operation room where I arrived 2 minutes later with an oxygen mask on. Daddy arrived at that time and didn’t know what was going on, he saw me crying and said that it was the most stressful time he had ever experienced.

The operation room was cold, the nurse grabbed my hand and told me that there was no time for me to sign any paper and that everything was going to be OK. This is what I remember… the emergency C-section started at 18:14, at 18:16 you were born, I was inconscient, and daddy wasn’t allowed inside to be with you. After like 3-4 hours I woke up, and didn’t know what was happening, I rest and got moved again. During the night I saw pictures of you that daddy took

I only saw you the day after, I was detached and didn’t understand what was going on. I struggled to breastfeed, and there you were, my beautiful girl with no name yet.

We went home after a week and stayed with grandma (my in-laws – lucky enough that daddy had read about loneliness and Postpartum depression – PPD)… because it was hard, it even felt un-natural. We went home when you were 1.5 month old, and I was counting the hours until daddy returned from work, I wasn’t eating well because I didn’t want to, even though I got food already cooked with love and prepared, brought home by grandma (my in-laws)… I had PPD, a light one – I loved you, cuddled you, nursed you with love, but felt overwhelmed and had trouble coping with the new situation. I didn’t take medication because nothing on earth could have prevented me to nurse you and feel you close, nothing on earth could have prevented to breastfeed…

At that time I only thought about me, and didn’t realized what I have put you through, what it must have been like for you… and I’m sorry that it is the way you entered the world.

I’m sorry I was stressed (and still am in a way), and I’m sorry I wasn’t fully emotionally available – I’m sorry.

I can’t change what has been done but I am working on the present and hope for a bright future, full of connection between us and a bond that will never end.

I am there for you and always will be

Ima (“Mama”) ♥♥♥

30 day “Thank You” Challenge”: Day 2

AccomplishmentEvery Accomplishment starts with the decision to try ♥

My “Thank you” challenge feels a bit like standing right in front of the academy after winning an Oscar. It’s a bit weird I admit, but the feeling afterwards just makes it worth doing it… So here it comes:

Thank you dear child of mine:

Thank you for getting in your car seat on your own and most important, Thank you for sitting in it… (Huge 1. I’m actually so proud of myself for that one. I was able to wait, step back, remember to breathe, remain calm and tell her “Sarah, I’m a going to loose it and I really don’t want to, Sarah please, seat down in you car seat so that we can go”… and she did!)

Thank you:

I’m thankful for finally finding the parenting path that felt right for me: This mindful and respectful way just felt right, I am now a lot more calm and peaceful: Thank you Janet Lansbury and Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids) for writing those amazing stories and tips – they have been a great guide for me.

30 day Challenge: The Thank You Challenge

thank-you-challengeMy 30 day Challenge.

30 days…

It turns out that 30 days is the right amount of time to add a new habit (or subtract a habit that you have). My 30 days challenge takes only a few minutes a day. It’s easy, it doesn’t require any particular background, everyone can do it and it’s FREE.

I started the challenge like so: Every morning and every evening, I will say – out loud – for 5 minutes all the things that come to my mind that I’m thankful for. It turns out that 5 minutes is very long time, and that mornings and evenings might be too much. So, after adjusting the challenge to just once a day, no minimum time requirement, I was able to start the Thank you Challenge journey for 30 days.

I of course started saying out loud all the small and big things I was thankful for to my husband. 1st day way great, 2nd day was great, 3rd day was great… on the 4th day, he just looked like he was getting fed up with me imposing my challenge to him… so I impose my challenge to my dear child: Sarah.

On the 5th day, I chose a nice and peaceful moment, looked at my Sarah and started talking. I thanked her, I thanked so much that day for being healthy, for being kind, for being amazing, for making me happy, for being patient and letting me learn to be her mama, I just thanked her – that’s it. She was surprised, she didn’t really expect to be thanked for all those things that we take for granted everyday… She didn’t interrupt, she just looked at me – quite shocked actually.

It left me with a great mood, blessed of all the things that I have, that are mine, that are so obvious that I didn’t really took the time to realize that I have them all.

The challenge didn’t last for 30 days… so I’m taking that challenge again.

Would you take it with me?

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Tomorrow is another dayAre we really there? I mean, really…

I’ve been reading a great blog lately: Hands Free Mama about being REALLY there, not just there but really there – about making a connection, and basically about the important stuff in life. I can’t really say that my life has changed, but, among the other stuff I’m reading, this blog made me realize that every moment is important – because there is just one today, just ONE

Tomorrow is another day, has always been a sentence I liked. I liked it a lot actually because it meant a lot to me. It was like an excuse to make things better next time, not now, not today. Today, I’m going to let things happen and see how it goes – I’m there anyway. Today, everything will be OK, and of course if not, Tomorrow is another day. So, my day looked like:

  • Today, I yelled, nevermind: Tomorrow is another day.
  • I stayed late at work today, nevermind: Tomorrow is another day
  • I haven’t been paying attention to my husband for the past 2 years… nevermind: Tomorrow is another day
  • I’ve been trying to cope with the whole mamaHood situation, giving a lot of excuses, nevermind: Tomorrow WILL be a better day

This is true, Tomorrow is another day. Assuming that there will be tomorrow, tomorrow I will:

  • Pay attention
  • Make a connection
  • Play
  • Cook / Bake with my daughter
  • ENJOY the day
  • Say I love you
  • Breathe, breathe and breathe some more when she pushes my buttons, be respectful and try to understand her
  • Say YES as much as I can

What different does it make, today – tomorrow? Well, this is what I realized – again, assuming that there will be tomorrow, one day makes a huge difference.

One day made a huge difference when my baby smiled, when my baby crawled, when my baby said “mama”, when my baby talked, my baby walked, when my baby said “I love you” for the 1st time – Just one day! 1 day before all those important days in her life, she didn’t

winnie-the-pooh-today-quote-bigOne day… only 1. So, as there is just 1 today, I want to appreciate it, and if I can I want today to be good.

In order to do all that, today I will learn, today I will read all I can to make a difference. Today I will be kind, respectful to my child. Today I will try to see with her eyes, not mine and show empathy. Today I will play with her, today I will bake a cake with her… Today. Today I will walk to the park, today I will laugh… Today

The paradox is that I want everything today, but big changes can’t be made in a day. So 1 step at a time, I am doing those changes, and I am doing 1 little thing each time… Today

After only 2 months of implementing the basics of RIE and other Positive Parenting basics (really the basics, I’m not ready for the advanced stuff) I really see the difference. I’m calm and more peaceful, which makes today easier… which makes today a better day.

All you need is love

All you need is loveAll you need is love… All you need is love… All you need is love… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is all you need

If only this was true…

I’ve been learning that the 1st years of a child’s life are critical. Critical because those years are building who this person will be, even as an adult… Knowing that makes every decision critical – not because everything is important, but because you’re building memories, feelings and reactions.

So, All you need is love, patience, confidence, basic understanding of what your child needs, guidance, and of course hope that you’re doing the good thing. All you need is a Zen atmosphere, inner-peace, a great Yes attitude and positiveness…

How hard can this be, well pretty hard, when all you can offer is Love, Love, Love.

How do you get confidence, basic understanding, guidance when you’re a mama for the 1st time?

How can you know that you’re doing great? that you treat your child with respect? that you’re on the right path?

I’ve been asking and getting all kind of advice, all kind of tips that would help me go through everything. I’ve been feeling guilty, feeling a failure of what I thought would come naturally: Why is that so hard, aren’t we supposed to be good mamas? I’ve come to realize that we’re not born mamas, we become mamas – so we learn

I’ve been reading a lot lately and realized that yes: Respect is the key! but then, how do you know how to set limits? how do you know your limits are fair and respectful? well, again: you don’t – you learn!

I’m learning the basics of RIE, and I’m proud of it. How come those principles are not obvious? I feel blessed, and even special that I finally have found what I want to follow…

I’m starting now, because every day counts
Claire H