"If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine if it’s not something that could better be changed on ourselves.” -Carl Jung
What I love about this quote is that it pretty much encompasses why I created Mom-ME Circle: to educate, empower, and elevate mothers so that they first know the value in putting on their own oxygen masks first and second, how to actually DO IT. In other words, I teach moms that in order to help our children, we need to take a step back and be mindful of how we take care of ourselves despite and often BEFORE the compelling needs of our kids.
Notice if the above quote increases your guild or shame. It’s not meant to, but if it does- that too can be used as grist for the mill. In the past, when I experienced negative feelings around my parenting it often led to self denial and painful self criticism. Neither of which were actually helpful.
So how do we create lasting change in our children’s behavior (when they are annoying the sh*t out of us?
-More self care (not less!)
-More mental calmness and composure.
The payoff of all of these things is the ability to take our children’s behaviors (and our partner’s, parent’s, friend’s…) less personally.
Science tells us that children’s brain waves synchronize with ours. So, if we are experiencing anxiety, very often so are our children. Jung’s words are proven to be very accurate indeed.
Summertime is one of those times for me when I experience increased anxiety. There is this huge expanse of “free time” and so many things we want to do. I actually find myself busier then ever despite the desire to “just relax.” I notice that my kids hone in on this feeling of overwhelm and react by sharing their own overwhelmed feelings with me.
Rather than putting them in a time out (which doesn’t really work the way they are supposed to anyway- a topic for another time), I put MYSELF in a time out. I’ve learned that pushing forward and doing more doesn’t actually bring the desired effect.
When I find myself wishing that my kids were different I use it as a trigger to add more self care into my every day. For me that looks like:
-Spend some time in nature, without my phone
-Increase my physical activity, like yoga, walking up hills, or dance party in the kitchen
-Get more sleep
-Eat more slowly and mindfully
-Play and laugh with intention
-Create moments of stillness
-Connect with those I love on a regular basis