In today’s fast moving world it often feels as if having stress in our lives as mums is inevitable.
As a mum running my own business I have certainly felt it was, at times.
But these days I’m choosing another way.
This way is working for me and for my clients too, so I’d like to share three things we’re doing that make a difference for us.
Habit One: Accept Your Child As They Are
Accepting our children as they are is so liberating for parent and child alike.
A client I spoke with last week framed it like this. After working with me for about one month, she said she no longer feels the need to “mould her daughter to how she wants her to be”.
Instead she’s “letting her be herself”.
One of the reasons this client had reached out to me was to find a way to stop her child screaming so much. I get that screaming is draining for everyone and I wanted this to stop as much as she did.
However, instead of focussing on fixing the screaming as such, I encouraged this mum to focus on showing understanding for her daughter, connecting with her more deeply and allowing her to express what’s going on for her. What this mum found was that after applying these principles, her child stopped needing to scream so much any more.
I nearly jumped for joy on this call, not only because of the screaming – but because understanding that we don’t need to fix our children is such a door-opener!
It can literally turn a childhood around and transform your parenting experience.
When we start seeing children’s unwanted behaviour as sign of an unmet need – rather than something to fix – we free them from the pressure to change, in order to please us. Secondly, it releases us from the burden of believing we have to fix our children.
This no-pressure attitude is the most powerful first step to transforming unwanted behaviour.
So… there’s less stress all round!
So why not accept our children as they are?
Habit Two: Slow Down
Slowing down is another key habit which is helping my clients feel less stressed:
Take another mum I chatted to last week. She’s been focussing on slowing down and holding her plan for the day more loosely: if one of her children needs some extra attention, she knows she’s got time to absorb the delay and think of a heart-centred response. This has meant that situations that would have previously escalated into meltdowns are being peacefully resolved instead.
The result is less stress in the air.
Isn’t that great?
Little children will ALWAYS slow us down.
So planning for “slow” is a smart move!
It also has benefits for us, as I’m discovering these days since I started putting less pressure on myself to achieve perfect timing in my business. I’ve realised that “perfect timing” doesn’t take account of the unexpected or the needs of my body to rest and replenish. By allowing myself time, I find myself doing things more easily and more playfully – and enjoying it all more!
How we do things is everything, honestly.
So why not slow down?
Habit Three: Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Not taking things so seriously is another game-changer.
I find clients love to be reminded of this. It makes them giggle. To be truthful, I need to remind myself of this too! So much of what happens isn’t a big deal, so why sweat the small stuff?
Confession alert: I tend to have panicky reactions, with big gasps and wide eyes, when I think I may have forgotten something important. I’m already halfway to an imagined catastrophe before I catch myself! Despite all the self-development I have done over the years, despite the fact that I am so grateful for the way my life is turning out, this is something I still do and my son hates it!
Ok, here’s what I do when I’m nailing it:
I recognise that children do silly things. I don’t take it too seriously when my 13 year old farts in my face, instead I crack jokes and make silly, irreverent remarks.
If I feel myself getting tense, I turn on the music and dance around the kitchen.
Switching to “fun” mode also helps to solve potential power struggles. I remember when my son was about 5, we were walking in Devon. He had dropped behind and was dawdling, refusing to walk up the hill.
I felt my frustration rising. I was going to have to go back down and get him.
Suddenly I grabbed a leaf from the hedge and stuck it up my nose.
“Come quickly!” I said. “There’s a strawberry plant growing out of my nose!” He literally came running up that hill!
So let’s not sweat the small stuff – and have more fun instead!
I truly believe we’re meant to have fun and enjoy connecting with our children. We’re not meant to be stressed.
It’s all about a quiet shift inside ourselves.
Do join us on the journey.
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