This week, I was out of town with my family and staying with friends of family. While they are super awesome and accommodating, there’s always an added stress when you’re staying at someone else’s house and your child is acting like he’s straight out of the movie Problem Child. My husband and I have found ourselves being short with one another because we were both feeling really self-conscious, vulnerable and inadequate. During the tense moments, our identity and our feelings of self-worth became wrapped around our children’s behavior.
During this time, I’ve noticed myself falling into some negative thinking and self-talk. Although I talk about the importance of not defining ourselves by our kids, when my kids are pulling potted plants down and getting dirt everywhere, or screaming angrily during what should be quiet time, I feel like a shoe-in for worst mom of the year. When I equate my child’s behavior to my abilities as a mom, I start to have unrealistic expectations for my children and start to get into power struggles.
When I find myself slipping into this mindset, I need to bring myself back to the basics and remember who I truly am. Below are three areas that we need to consider to help us to proactively prepare to respond to a moment based on who we really are, and not react based on how we’re defining ourselves in that moment. I suggest writing it out so that you can not only flesh out your thoughts, but so you can also have it as a reference point for later. Use my free printable made to work you through these steps! Simply sign up for my email list to gain access to this worksheet as well as other printables! you can unsubscribe at any time.
In order to know who we are in tough moments, we need to know who we are to begin with. If I don’t already know who I am and know the truths about me, then when I’m faced with a challenge, I’m only going to be pulling from a place of anxiety, fear and discouragement (or whatever other emotions I’m experiencing at the time).
Things to consider: What are the qualities that define you? What are the traits that have gotten you through tough times? If I asked your friends what qualities you have that attracted them to being friends with you, what would they say? If I asked your kids what you’re really good at, what would they say? If you are not writing this down yet, go get a paper and pencil and start listing the truths about you.
When I get frustrated or overwhelmed, I get more stuck in forgetting who I truly am and fall into negative talk to myself. I heard myself doubting myself, questioning my abilities, and overall just feeling like we were doing something wrong as parents. The more down I felt about myself, the less I believed in my ability to turn things around which, ultimately led to a self-fulfilling prophecy more than once.
Things to consider: What are you saying to yourself? Is it contributing to your current situation or mindset? Are you encouraging or discouraging yourself? Are there things you can be saying to yourself that would build yourself up and give you more faith in your ability to be successful in your situation?
Now that we know who we truly are, we are better equipped to deal with the difficult moment. The days that feel like years, or the dark periods where we doubt ourselves. Stepping back, typically the moments of extreme darkness or being overwhelmed are really that, moments. This past week I felt like I was under a magnifying glass, but it was truly just a week. When I step back and truly think about it, the good moments of the week were larger and greater than the negative ones, but in those moments, it did not feel that way. In the moments of frustration or feeling overwhelmed, if I allow myself to over-focus on what’s going on, I get caught up and continue the negative cycle. If I’m able to step back, I find that I’m also able to step out of the emotion and have more of an ability to actually deal with the situation.
Things to consider: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or at the end of your rope, you need to step back and find a new perspective. What’s the short term pain of this situation? What’s the long-term outlook? How will this look or feel in a week? A year? Five years? Have you been through something similar before? If so, what made it possible to make it through. Step back from a moment, if you took away the anger, fear, embarrassment, etc., how would you cope? What would you be differently? Would you tone change? Your actions? Would your solution look different? Would your solution look different? What would it look like if you deal with this situation well?
We all have times that stretch and grow us. I hope that this season is short but that you grow in ways you’d never imagine. You can come out of these tough moments stronger and more confident. You got this, mamma.
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Let’s hear from you: How do you stay true to yourself in all circumstances? What helps you to keep perspective? Do you have any advice for others struggling to find who they truly are?