Being a mum can be full of challenges, there's no doubt about that. However in anything you read from me you will find me saying that it is never the events that cause us to feel stressed, it is how we think about those events that causes the stress. This blog is all about helping you to change the way you think about the challenges of motherhood as well as how you think about yourself and your life. It is my intention to offer you thought provoking blogs and ways that you can train your mind to look at life in an inspired, positive and realistic way so that you can feel great and experience an amazing life...and of course pass this way of thinking down to your child.
If your life is in chaos at the moment, there is a very good reason why this is so. Before now there has been lots of little events that have occurred that have all unravelled into this current moment.
Perhaps there's too much fighting in your house. Perhaps the kids are always crying, or acting out for some reason. Perhaps there is stuff all over the house and nothing is in order. Regardless of what is going on, this chaos is starting to overwhelm you and you have no idea what to do about it.
Well, I'm about to give you a good place to start:
Rather than feel consumed and defeated by these moment, put yourself in observation mode. By observation mode I mean to start really looking at what is going on with the intention of finding the agendas/priorities behind the behaviours of the people involved (including yourself).
Behind every behaviour there is a reason. This reason is about that person's mindset. What is going on for that person that is causing them to behave that way? How is this behaviour benefiting that person? How is this person interpreting their life in order to behave this way?
Try to step out of your shoes and really think about how this person is experiencing their life and what agenda they may have for behaving this way. Furthermore, contemplate how this mindset has been set up. Both of these things are the reality of why you are currently seeing this kind of behaviour.
If it is you that is behaving in a way that you wish you weren't, contemplate what your agenda is for behaving this way. If you are getting angry a lot, then think about what is really going on? What is causing you to feel so impatient? Is it because you are not happy in other areas of your life and you need to put your attention on yourself more? Is it because you feel like nobody respects you and you feel taken advantage of?
Whatever the 'reason' for this behaviour, once you arm yourself with objective information about why it is happening and how this current moment has been set up by your past, you have now aligned yourself with the reality of why you are experiencing what you currently are.
By going into observation mode first you arm yourself with an understanding of the stiuation. You can see that other person's behaviours is not about you and all about them and how they are interpreting the situation. This understanding, leads you to an acceptance of the situation.
If someone's behaviour is negative it is because at some level they are hurting. They have interpreted the situation to mean something negative about them or their life and this behaviour is a result of them trying to better the situation.
However just because you accept the situation, it doesn't mean that you just have to put up with it and do nothing. Now that you have become aware of the reasons behind this behaviour, you can now set about trying to help that person to get what they want while you are also getting what you need. This is the art of negotiation.
From this perspective you have now lost the 'you will listen to me'/ 'I'm right and you're wrong' identity and you have now become more compassionate and understanding towards that person. You can now start to look for ways to help that person and work towards better behaviour (if it's your child) or a better relationship (if the issue is with others or even yourself).
This benefits you and them, it's a much nicer perspective. No one wants to be angry or fight with one another. No child enjoys tantrums, being rude or disrespectful. It's not fun and we know this ourselves from when we feel this way.
So how can you change this situation?
Now it's time to arm yourself with new information. Old information created this situation in the first place. New information will help you to make changes to this situation. Establish what you want to happen that is for the benefit of you and the other person, and then research how you can do this.
This may mean that you need to research disciplinary techniques, learn communication skills, organise an event that introduces some fun into your life, or even learn some time-management/organisational skills.
Find the information you need to implement change into your life, create a plan and then action it.
These are the steps to changing chaos in your house.
So here's what you just did:
You went into observation mode and you started to become aware of yours and others' thoughts about the situation.
By doing this you have now realised why the situation has occurred which brings you to an understanding and acceptance of the reality of this situation.
From this place of acceptance of reality you now start to look at what you want to achieve - your aim
You then research how you can reach your aim and discover what your choices are for getting there.
After this research period you have now found a course of action. You know your plan, now you just need to put those action steps into play and start creating change in your life.
What you have done is just implemented my Mind TRACK to Happiness process that I use in my book The Happy Mum Handbook. The word TRACK is an acronym for thoughts, reality, aim, choices and know your plan.
These five steps will not only help you to make changes to your life, but it will help you to do it in a peaceful, understanding, compassionate and empathetic way.
The reality is that none of us like conflict in our life. None of us like to be angry or upset in our lives, yet we do it because somehow, at some level, we believe it will make the situation better, and in turn make us feel better.
This is true for EVERYONE.
When you can understand the situation from this perspective and make changes with this same perspective, you can become more solution focussed and productive about your struggles or chaotic life, instead of reactive about them.
If you want to learn more about the Mind TRACK to Happiness process and see how you can apply it in more ways, then grab a copy of The Happy Mum Handbook. It's available in Hard Copy (delivered anywhere in the world), in PDF download (for your access immediately), or in audio (for those time poor mums).
I hear of and see so many of us mothers lose themselves in their new lives as mums, businesswomen, housewives and trying to juggle all of the demands of our lives.
There is so much to be grateful for, but all we seem to have our attention on is the mountain of chores, the problems we face and the things that we need to control and 'manage'.
But where did all the fun go?
If we continue to go on like this, it only leads to one thing - breaking point!
We have to stop this cycle of getting consumed by all of the demands that are in our lives. The reality is that the housework is always going to be there. We will always come across a truck load of tasks that need to be completed and where it often feels like it all needs priority.
Mums are under huge pressure to 'keep it all together', but most of this pressure comes from ourselves. Somehow we have taken on this belief that we need to be able to control everything that occurs in our lives and be the one that has all the answers, is organised and is responsible for the running of everyone, but while doing this we are losing a part of ourselves. Everyone else is taken care of but you get lost, you forget about yourself and you forget that you are a person too.
Ladies, it's time to let it go. Pull back. Take stock of your life and all the wonderful things you have in it. It's time to start LIVING your life, instead of just existing and going from task to task. Just because you became a mum and your workload has increased, it doesn't mean that you should stop enjoying your life.
The reality is that all those things we need to do, will always be there. If you get them done, they will quickly be replaced by more tasks that need tending to.
You need to deliberately take some time to have some fun. Having time to do this is not about having time, it's about making it a priority. Make YOU a priority today, because your quality of life depends on it.
Make some time to do something that you LOVE to do. Whether it's with the kids, or whether you have to find someone to look after the kids while you do it, it is IMPERATIVE that you start to enjoy your life, or you're going to end up losing yourself and in 40 years time, you may look back at your life and be full of regret that you got so tied up with the small stuff and getting everything 'right' that you forgot to actually live and enjoy those little things.
I am seeing too many stories - too many, where mums have lost their self-esteem, they lose their sense of style, their individuality, all because they are trying to 'do it all and have it all', but in the process of 'having it all', they are also losing it all, losing everything that they really do hold important in life, because they aren't taking the time to enjoy what they do have in the name of getting everything perfect.
It's time to shake it up. Change your life. Make it your intention today, to plan something FUN in your life. What is it that you would like to do that would make you feel amazing? Do you need a new outfit, a new hairstyle? Could you go skydiving, go dancing or take pole dancing lessons? What is something that will bring you alive, make you feel like the gorgeous woman you are and remind you that you are a person with hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Motherhood is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can have, but it's not all of who you are. I am writing this to wake you up, shake you up and make you realise that you need to have some fun. Put the dishes, the work, the motherhood role aside for a moment and bring some joy into your life. Do something that invigorates you, stretches you and boosts your self-esteem. Nuture yourself and give yourself the attention that you deserve.
My fear, is that if you don't do this and do it on a regular basis, then you will reach that breaking point and feel like your life is purposeless. Only you can change this. Only you can add purpose back into your life. No fairy godmother is going to wave her magic wand and make your life enjoyable and fun. Only you have that power. What do you want for your life? What would you like to experience in your life?
Life was never supposed to be all about dull, boring, monotonous tasks. It's about fun, adventure and experience. Step outside of your rut over the next week and do something unique just for you - something that will give you a boost and a lift up to feeling inspired, encouraged and excited about life.
In the last couple of weeks, we have put Foxtel in our home. With that I have re-discovered The Supernanny series and a show called Real Simple. Real Life where they help women get their lives in order (mostly mums).
Watching these programs of late, it has fascinated me as to why we choose to become mothers. I mean granted we have no idea what we are in for in the beginning, but we go back and have more babies, and more often then not, despite the hardships it brings, most of us would do it all over again if given the chance to turn back time.
But when you look at it, why on earth would we want to do it all over again, given the chance? From the outside looking in, we start off getting very little sleep, are overwhelmed with repetitive, groundhog day tasks of nappies, crying, housework, little adult contact, loss of career and independence, loss of spontaneity and the freedom to be self-indulgent. We lose our body shape, hand our breasts over to another person only to have them return empty, shapeless, droopy and scarred, are clung to, suffer from sore backs, bad posture, loose our style, dress daggy, have very little time to groom and generally look and feel drabby....and that's just the first 6 months or so.
As our children grow older we are screamed at, kicked at, bitten, had hair pulled, embarrassed in the shops, and issued demand after demand. The house gets messier, the list of chores gets bigger, you then try to add work into the equation and balance all that just to make ends meet and life becomes a constant struggle to keep everybody else happy and slipping in little moments of bliss for yourself whenever you can.
When you look at all of this chaos that occurs in a mother's life, from an outsiders point of view, who the hell would EVER opt for a life like this? Why on earth do we go back and do it again, and again, (and in many cases people do it again, and again, and again).
What on earth do we see in this motherhood gig that is so powerful that we would do it again, go back and have history repeat itself or that makes us believe that it is the best job in the world?
The answer is simple - love.
Because you look into your child's eyes - really look at them. You see underneath the behaviour and look to the pure, unconditionally loving little being that they are, and all of that stuff melts away. You see the innocent looks, their priceless smiles and their inappropriate laughs at situations that you think are serious. You watch them as they sleep and see their innocence and beauty and feel the sudden urge to scoop them up in their arms and cuddle them (even though it just took you ages to get them to sleep) just because you realise how much you love them and how much they mean to you.
You then watch them grow, learn and take on some of the lessons that you taught them. You begin to see the pride that they have in their own growing abilities and how proud they are of something they've worked hard for.
You see the pure love and sensitivity that they have for other people and how, while one minute they can be angry, feral and disruptive, the next they could be giving you the biggest cuddle in the world, giving you a carefully picked yellow weed flower and saying those magic words 'Here you go mummy, I love you.'
You notice their funny little facial expressions, the words they get mixed up that sound so cute, and hear their priceless little giggles ringing in your ears.
Suddenly your heart just bursts with love and no matter what has happened, for this brief moment, you are the proudest, happiest and most in love mother you could ever have hoped to have been.
Love is the most powerfully healing emotion known to man. For a person to go through all that we do as mothers, but have that all melted away within an instant because of this emotion of love, just goes to show how much of it we need in our lives.
Yes, this motherhood gig is tough. Yes it comes with the biggest workload you've ever had in your entire life, but why did I choose to be a mother?
Because it is the best job in the world, and that's not because it's full of only warm and fuzzy huggies commercial type times, but because I experience a love that is so rare, so pure and so rewarding that I would never EVER give that up.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by motherhood, just remember this awesome feeling and do whatever you can to bring it back into your life so that all that bad stuff can just melt away in that instant again.
All that surface stuff and surface behaviour that we experience that causes us to be consumed, stressed and dragged down? It doesn't matter. It's not what counts. Look for what's underneath. Look for the human behind the behaviour. The meaning in the mayhem.
Love is what matters. Love is what heals and the love between a child and a mother, is irreplaceable. Invite this feeling of love back into your life as much as possible and the chaos will become unimportant.
Sweet dreams all
Lots of love to you and your children
I look around this house and it's messy.....again. I spent hours cleaning, folding washing and feeling organised on the weekend only to turn around and find it messy again. In fact yesterday I cleaned up again, but you wouldn't know it today.
There's popcorn, paper, clothes and towels all over the floor and dishes to be done (I just spent 40 minutes doing them last night, how did they all get dirty again?). I have bedwetting washing to do.....again (when will that ever end). I really don't want to do any of it and am feeling quite overwhelmed by the constant chores that seem to invade my life.
I can feel the annoyance kicking in and these feelings simmer within me as I attempt to clean it up and are continually met by extra demands of the boys. I am desperately trying to stay calm and not take my annoyance out on the kids, but I feel my attempts becoming very strained. This anger and annoyance is sitting in my throat, just waiting to escape by way of yelling, slamming something down, or simply falling apart momentarily.
I'm hormonal (that's not helping), I'm annoyed, I couldn't be bothered and all I want to do is sit down with a cup of tea and watch a movie in the comfort of a nice clean house and no interruptions.
So what do I do?
Firstly, stop. Right now, stop in my tracks, take a few deep breaths and reflect on what I've been thinking. Look at this opening paragraph. It is full of conversation that is in conflict with the reality of what is presently going on and the reality of life as a parent.
It is this resistance of reality that is causing my stress and the simmering emotion of anger. Anger is caused because we enter into these conversations in our minds about how something shouldn't be the way that it is. We are in conflict between what is and what we believe it 'should' be.
The house is messy right now! This is reality. As part of the agreement made between me and my partner and how we share the workload, I am responsible for the upkeep of the house. This is reality. The kids need me to help them with things. This is reality. As a mum there is lots of tasks that I need to do. This is reality. This is not the only part of my life. It is just parts of the goods and bads that come with everything in life. That is also reality.
There is no point allowing myself to enter into conversations in my mind about how it should be different to the way that it is and how I don't want to do it, because this is only going to cause me to feel angry and resentful.
Do I really want to feel angry or resentful? Do I enjoy having these feeling?
Of course not. So if the reality is that you have to do the housework and are regularly interrupted, how are you going to stop feeling angry or resentful?
Change the way I think about it.
The first thing we need to do when we start to notice how bad we feel, is to shift your focus from what isn't happening, to the reality of the situation, and then on to what you're going to do about this new reality.
So how can I look at this situation differently? What are the good aspects to my life that I can focus on? I get to work from home. I have a husband who doesn't care about a bit of mess here and there and doesn't pressure me to keep it pristine clean. I have two healthy, happy boys. I am grateful that I even have so many things that it can make a house messy. I have a roof over my head.
This is good. I can feel that heavy feeling in my body starting to lift.
This part of my life is not the only part of my life. I went to the movies the other night, I met up with friends for coffee, I had a bath the other night and relaxed, last night the kids were in bed early and I got to watch Masterchef and the biggest loser finale, sometimes my house is clean, sometimes I am up to date with the washing, I get quiet time three days a week when the kids are at school/daycare and I work from home.
So what am I now going to do?
Well because I changed my thinking to being back in alignment with reality and have consciously decided to look at the situation from a different more expanded perspective, I am now ready to tackle the reality of the messy house again.
Do I like it? No. Am I going to all of a sudden love doing ihousework and chores? No. But I'm not feeling angry and overwhelmed by it and if I start to again, I need to repeat what I've done above, because it is NEVER the events in your life that cause you stress, it's because you get sucked into that conversation that is in conflict with reality and only focus on the small picture.
When you get into the practice of recognising those thoughts, changing them to be in alignment with reality and expanding your mindset to seeing this situation in the context of the bigger picture of your life (this situation is not the be all and end all of life - it is part of the ups AND downs of it), then you stop your negative emotions from escalating to breaking point.
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