Remaining calm

I have a real blockage when it comes to remaining calm with my children – actually I have a lot of blockages but this is the biggie.

So it’s school holidays and mostly we’ve done really well and it’s been fun. There’s been something on every day but enough down time for the boys as well because it’s important they have nothing to do. Having nothing to do is the thing I love the most and I hope to pass that down to my kids. It’s okay to do nothing.

But when they’re over-the-top stupid, that’s when I lose my cool. Let’s just say, I may have lost my cool slightly on Thursday. We’d spent a couple of hours at the park with a friend and four other boys – they’d kicked the footy, scootered, played on the play ground – enough time to get the sillies out. When we go back to my friend’s house, who of the 7 boys were the stupidest by running around the house like maniacs? Yes.

So I got cranky. We had to go anyway but we left probably 15 minutes earlier than we could have because I could feel myself ready to “go mental”. I thought my head was going to explode. I wanted to yell out to them “just fucking STOP”.

Please don’t tell me it’s a boy thing. Just don’t. Because I see other boys not behaving in this way. And surely the sugar high Mitch was born with because of the 200 slurpees I had when I was pregnant with him should have worn off by now??

Seriously though, there’s a delicate balance between exuberance and behaving in an appropriate way. I’m probably harder on them (and myself) than other mothers may be. I’ve beaten myself up about reflected on this a lot and part of why I feel myself getting anxious and annoyed is because I like my harmony and peace. Goodness knows why someone like me was given two of the most boisterous boys you could meet??? I one hundred percent get that they have energy to burn but given we’d just spent two hours at a park burning said energy, it was time – in my mind – to chill and have some afternoon tea. Too much to ask? They’re not toddlers, they’re 8 and 10. Mitch’s response? “We’re just kids mum.” I know Mitch, but being kids doesn’t give you permission to act in a way that’s not appropriate in some settings. Though, in this case, my gorgeous friend Julie didn’t give a shit that they were going mad and her son joined in as well. So it probably didn’t matter so much in this instance, but others it does.

Anyway, I know I keep banging on about Brené Brown’s stuff, but in the same book I read about belonging vs fitting in, there’s a chapter on calm and stillness. In respect to parenting Brown says “I try to be slow to respond and quick to think Do we even have all the information we need to make a decision or form a response?

For Brown – and I also learnt this from someone I sought advice from earlier this year – breathing is the best place to start with being calm. Slow, deep breaths through the diaphragm. Three of them. Works a treat. It’s something to do with the front cortex of the brain going into flight or fight mode when you get anxious and not being able to make rational decisions. Brown also thinks to herself “I’m dying to freak out here! Will freaking out help?” The answer is always no. So, deeeeep breaths.

Such great advice and so simple. Yet it takes constant practice. So a goal of mine is to remain mindful of breathing when I feel anxious or highly strung about something and ask myself the question – will freaking out help? The answer will always be no.

Of course today I figured out there may be another explanation on why I nearly lost the plot two days ago…but I’ll let you work it out…

Outside the National Gallery of Victoria’s water wall. Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths.

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2 Responses to Remaining calm

  1. Lisa i have been reading the same book. I have a hard time remembering to take those deep breaths. The advice is so simple, ad I continue to struggle putting it into practice.

    • Lisa says:

      I hear you. It’s about being really mindful but it’s hard at times, especially amongst the chaos. I’m doing it more and more though and it really does work. I get so much of a better response when I’m calm than when I’m screaming my guts out! Though I do like a scream, lets the tension out…

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