Did y’all know that you don’t have to participate in every argument you’re invited to? Every tantrum, every fit, or every rude snarky comment?
Because I sure as heck didn’t. I figured when my kid was arguing with me about how it’s perfectly appropriate to have chocolate chip cookies for breakfast or throwing me side eyes because she had to walk the dog that she begged for, that meant I HAD to join in the chaos. I had to jump in with both feet, wading into the tornado, and start responding with frustration, irritation, and an appropriately well placed sarcastic remark.
But I didn’t. I didn’t even have to participate. And even though sometimes I do refer to myself as a “Chaos Coordinator”, I’m really focusing this season on being a calm and peaceful mama within the chaos of motherhood. I want Callie to look to me as the calm within the storm, her refuge, and her safe place to land. Not someone who responds with gasoline to her wildfire.
So how am I doing it?
Here’s some things that have worked for me:
Remembering the consequences of expressing my anger/frustration.
Yes, it’s tempting to just let my frustration and exasperation run the show. But what happens when the smoke clears? Will losing my cool be worth it in the end? What long term effects does that have on my relationship with Callie? What long term effects does it have on my relationship with myself? Sometimes it helps to take a beat and think about the negative impacts of me losing my proverbial top. Which leads me to my next tip…..
Take a Time Out
Time outs aren’t just for kids. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and give yourself time to allow some perspective and reasoning to return to your mind. I’ve found that agreeing to take a “5 Minute Time Out” helps both me and Callie when tempers start to flare.
Let Others be Wrong.
The older I get, the more I realize it’s not my job to prove others are wrong. In fact, there is a sense of freedom in knowing that it’s totally ok if they are wrong. My ego doesn’t need to be right all the time and even though it is my job to teach Callie right from wrong, it’s not the end of the world if she’s wrong about how to spell something or how to fold the laundry. In fact, sometimes it’s GOOD for her to be wrong, learn from the mistakes, and navigate how to change her behavior for the better. Which is a great transition to my final point….
Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?
This question has fundamentally changed not only how I parent but how I treat my marriage. You would be amazed at how quickly you can change from chaos to calm, when you start reacting to things from a pursuit of happiness as opposed to a pursuit of being right. This mindset brings me so much more ease, peace, and flexibility in my life. Suddenly, I’m no longer stressed out that the dishwasher isn’t loaded the precise way I want it to be or that the lunches are packed in the correct Bento box. With this practice, I’m learning to pick my battle and let a lot of things……go.