Q & A! ON GETTING THROUGH HARD TIMES + STAYING PEACEFUL WITH YOUR KIDS

Thursday, January 25, 2018
A friend reached out via Instagram last week with a couple Q's - the good kind - the kind that make you dig deep, think about what you know, and how you want to be. She asked me "How do you get through the hard times," and "How do you stay peaceful with your kids?" The answers I sent her way are summarized below, plus more thoughts I had from taking the convo Live with you all via Instagram (straight from the beach!), which I loved. Seriously if there's anything that makes me love the world wide web, even with all of its crazy, it's this stuff -- chatting with, learning from, and lifting each other.

So for the first Q: "How do you get through the hard times?"

Prayer. I have to connect with Heavenly Father EVERY day. I can't get by without studying something from the scriptures every day, either (the scriptures' stories are proof that God does see people through, so that's where I get my hope and confidence in Him that He will see me through, too). I also create a mental picture of what I want at the end of the struggle. For example...

When Emmy was really struggling to sleep, and taking are of all three of my girls all day and then all night became overwhelming (this was during last summer when Ryan was studying for the Bar, so while he wanted to help, we both knew that he kind of couldn't), I would literally picture in my head 1) a happy, content, calm baby Emmy and 2) a strong, confident, energized, at-peace-with-things Me. And then I smooched the two pictures together by putting Emmy on my hip, the two of us beaming at each other, sooo mother-child in love (fun fact: that mama-baby mental picture actually first came to me via dream that I had when I was pregnant with Olivia! I've fallen back on this mental image since she was my baby).

That mental picture - the goal, the finish line - of us being totally at peace, not stressed, and happy together was my fall-back during the hard times with her in the last year. Well guess what -- we have arrived at that vision! We've crossed the finish line. Goal: complete. And I don't think we're here simply because I pictured it. We are here because we were always going to get here. 

God is good that way. He truly helps us have the best life for us. He lets us grow, and then we get to be at ease after the growth. When I was struggling last year, deep down I knew that God refines us via hard times, and that my hard time with Emmy being an extra needy baby would pass, but in order to really rest on that faith, I had to picture us at the finish. 

So saddle up with God, first and always. Then create a positive mental picture of yourself standing at the end of the struggle. Fall back on and focus on that image until you get there (because you will get there)! 

Second Q: How do you stay peaceful with your kids?

Gosh, trial and error. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Trying again and again (and again and again). When it comes to patience with the un-ending junky stuff - leaky diapers, sticky floors, crayon-colored walls - I like to repeat this lil number: "Kids are little, life is long." Our kids won't be messy for forever (or at least we won't have to clean up after them for forever)! When it comes to having a patient attitude, though, that's a little trickier, because life is a roller coaster, isn't it? Up and down, easy and hard. It's inevitable that we won't always be peaceful with/to our kids and that's okay. What's NOT okay is letting "frustrated, snappy mom" become our default. 

So here's what I've learned about leaving "snappy mom" and becoming "peaceful mom" again (and then staying there more often than not): first, say sorry to your kids. Whenever an apology is merited and as quickly as you can. Apologize for being distracted on your phone; for raising your voice; for expecting too much of them; for being tired, scared worried and for taking your feelings out on them. If you don't say sorry and ask for forgiveness from your kids for YOUR mistakes that effect your family's peace, you'll harbor sadness and guilt for being impatient with them. Those feelings will build, and eventually you'll either explode or break down (which is the opposite of having peace)! 

Second, identify the external influence/feeling/situation that has shrunk your bandwidth. When I'm not peaceful toward my girls, there is another feeling underneath my impatience 99% of the time. For example, I was too snappy with Olivia on Monday while at Costco after she was incessant with asking for some books (that she didn't need). And yet it's not that I can't handle incessant gripes for a toy at the store, I can handle that -- when I'm not feeling hurt. I realized I was impatient with her because I was sad. I'd received a critical comment regarding the way I parent over the weekend, and duh, the comment made me sad. That sadness, in turn, shrunk my bandwidth and I was an impatient mother. So if your fuse is short with your sweet babies, dig deep and ask WHY...

Are you afraid of something?
Were you recently hurt by someone?
Do you feel unnoticed by your spouse?
Did your friends recently leave you out of something?
Are you worried you're not going to meet your boss' or co-workers' expectations?
Is your financial situation stressing you out?
Do you need to apologize and make amends for something you've done wrong?
Are you performing less than you're abilities?
Are you spending too much time on your phone?
Are you going to bed too late?
Has it been a while since you've had chocolate?! (HA! That BRILLIANT comment came during the Live)

My girls don't deserve the negative effects of my feelings that they had no part in making. And yet, they are almost always the ones that suffer Mom's wrath, simply because they're with me all day. 

But

When I am strong and selfless enough to apologize to them for my impatience, and when I bravely step back and figure out WHY I am impatient, we recover. I don't stay in "snappy Mom" mode. In fact, I immediately get out of it. Then the peace comes back. 

All of this takes practice and will power, but it's worth every ounce of that practice and will power! That said, we've got to be gracious with ourselves. If we lose our cools, all we have to do is recommit and try again. Try, try, try again!

That's a wrap, friends. As always, thank you for listening. And thank you to my sweet friend for reaching out! I was helped with these Q's and A's more than anyone. I've re-cemented what I've recently learned about getting through hard times, and I've re-committed to being as peaceful as I can be with my sweet babies. It takes a village, friends! For it all. Thank you for being here as part of mine. ๐Ÿ’›

2 comments:

  1. I love the image of "what's shrinking my bandwidth." Wise words, Jeni! And I'm sorry someone was critical toward you. That does hurt.

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    Replies
    1. You're so sweet, Katie. Luckily it's all good now (all systems are cleared :))! xoxox

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