Wake Up, Mama!

So I’m sitting here with my morning coffee and thinking, What a day I had yesterday

My son, Noah, had at least 10 tantrums, which was unusual, and at one point, I was just ready to flip out and had to just walk away, except he followed me to the kitchen, bawling his eyes out, and grabbing my leg. I looked down at him and his little face, and my heart just melted. Must be tough to be in a bad mood all day and not knowing how to deal with those emotions. So I picked him up, told him I loved him, walked around with him for about 3 minutes, just giving him kisses and hugs, and he fell asleep with his little angelic smile on. I laid down next to him and nothing else mattered. He just wanted to be loved on all day by his mama…

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how irritated I was because of his constant wining that day, but then I thought of myself having those days occasionally when nothing just seems right. We get so upset at our children for being extra needy sometimes that we turn to some unhealthy stress relievers like sweets, cigarettes, alcohol, or binge shopping–just to make ourselves feel better. Or we snap or yell at our kids, or even spank them in the heat of the moment. Or we do both. Afterwards, we feel guilty about eating that extra piece of cake and gaining that extra pound, in addition to feeling guilty about snapping at the child. So it goes… that vicious cycle that repeats itself. And no one is truly happy, and no one’s need is met.

What if there was a better way? What would it look like?

I remember my mom beating me up just this one time when I was fairly young because I was refusing to leave the house when it was time to go. That was the only, and the most memorable time that got imprinted in my memory from that age. After that, I was always an obedient girl. It wasn’t typical behavior for mom, so I wasn’t used to that. It hurt deeply though. I learned my lesson quickly and never did that again. What if my mom just sat down with me, hugged me tight and talked to me for a couple of minutes instead? Maybe she would be a few minutes late wherever she was supposed to be, but we would have preserved the same sweet relationship as before. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

By refusing our kids love (at any age) at their ugliest or neediest moments, we show them that they are only valued when they act like good little boys and girls, and that their negative feelings are not acceptable, and that their need for our attention is not ok. They look at how we deal with stressful situations, and they learn from us, which then causes all kinds of havoc in their lives when they grow up. For example, they can become too controlling in their relationships, or angry and lash out at others, or turn to self-destructive behaviors because they don’t know how to accept and validate their own feelings when life gets hard, so they go numb.

What if I am having a bad day and complain to my husband and just act needy, but what he does is reject my “wining”, not pay any attention to me, or raise his voice to “stop being a baby” and goes out with his buddies to a local bar? Is our relationship going to grow stronger? Am I going to feel better? Or, what if he just hugged me for a few minutes and said, “Sorry, baby, your day is not going so well. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” How would that change the whole situation. Just having your loved one acknowledge your feeling can make a whole world of difference. Maybe, you will forget all about having a bad day, but smile and say, “Let’s do something fun together! It’s really not that bad anymore.”

Now, of course, wining and tantrums shouldn’t become such a habit that we just get manipulated on a regular basis. There should be certain limits, but my belief is that as mothers, we should really take care of our own emotional health first, so that we learn better, healthier ways to manage stressful situations and not be left feeling guilty afterwards. Our children will learn from us and then teach the same habits, whether good or bad, their own children.

So wake up, mamas! Let’s take care of ourselves and love and nurture our children, whether they behave or not. They will remember love and hurt forever…

Please comment. What are the different ways that you deal with stressful situations when it comes to your little ones? If unhealthy, how does this make you feel afterwards? What do you wish you could do differently?

#motherhood, #habits, #stressmanagement, #love, #nurturing, #emotionalhealth, #relationships, #childrenneedlove


Author of Rocky Road to Recovery self-help memoir. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

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