It is so easy for our mindsets to slip and for us to feel overwhelm, sadness and frustration, particularly around our children, because sometimes we wish that they would be perfect and do exactly what we want.
That's just not the reality. And even the most well-behaved children will slip up and will press your buttons. And let's be honest. Most of us don't even feel we've got the most well-behaved children. And we just think, oh my goodness, what they doing now? Why they arguing? Why do they argue with me or fighting with each other, or just not doing what I told them or all the things we get so annoyed by?
And yet it's so easy for us to go off the scale and be disproportionately reactive. And that's really what I want to talk about today because it's okay to not like a behaviour or to feel a slight frustration that things might not be exactly as you wish them to be. But as a mum I've found, and I've seen in so many others that sometimes the sort of reaction and response we give is way off the scale compared to what your child actually did. My test for this is if you removed yourself and was a third party looking in, and you saw yourself, this mum and this child, and you saw the behaviour going on between the two of them, would you be appalled?
Would you be thinking that child has done something so dramatic? Or just being a kid. So, the kid slipped up, but why is the mum losing the plot? Why is she so cross? And yet we step into that kind of behaviour ourselves with our children all the time. The other test is of course, would you behave that way out in a crowded cafe, or if you were in on a play date with another mother, and quite often we save our best selves for out in public, but when we're at home, we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed. We snap at our kids, or we're just too upset and it's hard to pull it back because we've gone too far. And that's why we really need to think about our mindsets, why we really need to consider how we can be in a place that when our buttons are pushed, we go straight into overreaction. So, there are a few things that are really important about that because mindset is something that we really need to get right in the times where we’re calm. So, when we're in those reactive or potentially reactive moments, we can instantly go into those places where we know we can start to control and shift our state of mind. It's really about calm, happiness, cooperation, joy. And the only way we can do that is to start using some tools and techniques, which are really well-established. A lot of us know what these techniques are called, and a lot of us might have experienced them. What we're not doing is actually using them as a habit and ensuring that they're ingrained in our daily practices so that we can feel that happiness and joy on a daily basis and not just in a blue moon, when all the stars align and everything happens to be perfect. And the number one practice for controlling your mindset is gratitude. It's impossible to feel grateful and any negative emotion at the same time. You can't feel gratitude and anger. You can't feel gratitude and sadness, not simultaneously, not if you're focused on gratitude and what gratitude is about - appreciating what you have in your life. I've got a nice house, so I really appreciate it. I've got the two kids that I always wanted. It's really about feeling that gratitude, just focusing on it enough to have the feelings evoked in your heart. So, you really do feel grateful. You know, when I practice gratitude deeply, it's brought tears to my eyes and I know that's the case for everyone that really gets into it. That’s deep work, big thinking about what I'm truly grateful for and what moves my heart, but then there's also the day to day gratitude. And the daily gratitude practice is literally just waking up recognizing that you are blessed. We are so blessed. There are really big things going on in the world right now. And many of us are having big life changing events. In my household, we've lost my mother-in-law to COVID and I was made redundant (laid off) from my advertising job. We may be no stranger to real, potentially devastating, events happening in our lives. But also at the same time, knowing that there's so much to be grateful for like the health of my children, the fact that as we've gone into lockdown together as a family and so many people might be alone, suffering from loneliness. I’ve been given an opportunity to spend more time with my children and work on the areas that might not have been going well before. Even the redundancy is giving me that chance to be spontaneous and to build on the things that I really want to see more of in my life. So, for the gratitude on a daily basis, just being able to say, I'm grateful that I've woken up this morning on these great sheets and grateful for this lovely cup of coffee. I'm actually so grateful that I've got my kids with me because this is what I want. I want to be able to influence them and teach them and have experiences, even small experiences, a few times a day that connect us, just a moment that you stopped and then you spent time with them. That's something to be really grateful for, not to overlook and to only look for your flaws and the things that you should be doing better, but to really be grateful for what you are able to contribute.
Finally, the other gratitude bit is actually in the moment. So when your child knocks over their plate of food onto the floor, or they are refusing to do their schoolwork because they're doing all this home-schooling, we have to choose how we react. You literally have the choice. You can leap into reactivity, I've had it and you need to do this, you know, strict mom, stress, it's all too much. Why do I have to teach my kids? I can't do it. You could shout at your child, make them feel small.
But in that moment, that's when you have the choice to go, well, actually, I'm going to have this just one second of gratitude. I'm going to remember to be grateful that my kids are with me, I'm grateful that we still have access to education when many people in the world do not. I'm grateful that we'll go out for walk later, just small moments of gratitude. I remember that this is the family that I really wanted and I'm grateful for it. And I'm not going to let a child getting upset about their homework shift my mindset, and you know, magical things happen when you keep that gratitude in your mind, you respond differently and then your child responds differently back to you because you're in a high vibration, you're responding without stress and with positivity and likewise, then they start to react to that and your outcome is so much better than it would have been if you lean in with that stress.
So, there's one thing that you can take out of this, please do give it a go. Just take one moment when your child, or it could be your husband or your boss stresses you out. And instead of leaning in with reaction, just take a moment and think of three things that you are actually grateful for, and then choose to act instead of reacting.