Unlike a good bottle of wine, feelings are not meant to be bottled for years, they’re actually meant to be felt!
In my experience, there is a rarely spoken truth that Moms quite often take on the feelings of everyone else at the expense of their own. This can be overwhelming & scary.
It’s not easy to watch anyone experience a hard time but for a mom, having to watch our child go through something difficult is a whole other kind of pain. We want to take it on ourselves or make it all go away. If we are unable to feel our own feelings, it will be even more difficult for us to be their effectively for our child.
We’re afraid to feel because we’ve been taught & even shown repeatedly that pain is “bad”. Any pain, physical or emotional, must be avoided at all cost. I don’t know about you but I ain’t no dummy, I’m going to try and avoid pain whenever possible.
The problem with this is that if we avoid feeling pain long enough, we come to believe that we can’t handle our pain & that’s simply not true. If feeling pain killed us, there wouldn’t be many humans left in this world.
In fact the opposite is true, feeling pain is usually what births life in us, gives us the will to do better, pushes us to places we may not have gone on our own & is where we learn & grow the most.
Our children are super aware of what they are feeling in their bodies as a survival mechanism. When kids feel something, they feel it with every one of their senses, so their reactions will often be “big”.
They will typically act out in ways that make us uncomfortable but don’t let their reactions scare you, they are literally just communicating “something doesn’t feel right inside me & I don’t have the words, skill, ability or courage to articulate it.”
They are acting out what they are feeling inside. Like a game of charades, we need to play the game to figure out what they are trying to tell us. Sometimes we get it right & other times we miss but here are some ways to support your child in feeling their feelings:
LISTEN WITH YOUR FULL ATTENTION ~ Use body language to show that you are present with them & have no where else to be.
USE FEW WORDS ~ Don’t be wordy, “um” or “oh”, is enough, you don’t have to have answers. Questions & advice can make anyone shut down or feel attacked.
NAME THE FEELING ~ Help them understand what they’re feeling by giving it a name. “It sounds like you’re disappointed”, or frustrated, jealous, bored, tired, discouraged, embarrassed, overwhelmed, etc.
GRANT THEIR WISH ~ Give them what they want in fantasy. We don’t have to always teach a lesson or be “right” Sometimes all we have to do to diffuse big emotions is to agree. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could eat ice cream for every meal!”
Remember feelings don’t last when you feel them. Your child won’t stay sad, scared, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry forever. It seems counter intuitive to “do” nothing but if you remove your own fear, you really don’t need to say or do anything. You just need to be able to hold a safe space for your child’s feelings & trust you both can handle them.
So pour yourself a glass of wine & have a toast to feeling your feelings!
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Hold on to your hats ladies, I’m about to talk dirty to you ….. When was the last time you pleased yourself?
Did you once identify as the “life of the party” or a “free spirit” or someone who “stopped to smell the roses?”
Do you now identify as “crabby”, “nagging” and “exhausted”?! …. What changed?
Sadly, it seems that many women give up our identity when we become a mother, get married or take on a new title, like C.E.O. There seems to be an unspoken rule that in order to get what you want, you must sacrifice parts of yourself.
Does this sound familiar? But what do you want? Did you abandon yourself so long ago that it seems hard to even know what it is you truly want anymore?
We’ve somehow learned that, as women, our pleasure should come at the expense of everything else in our lives. We need to give & give up our needs until we are utterly exhausted, cranky & totally unfulfilled!
Here’s the thing, once you start denying your wants, needs & emotions to carry those of your kids, spouse, co-workers or family members, it’s very easy to become a pleaser, a martyr, a victim, or an over-doing, controlling puppet who no longer recognizes yourself. How can you articulate your wants or needs when you're trying to manage everyone else's?
Learning how to regulate your emotions & identify your wants & needs, a skill that can be taught. It will also have the added benefit of regulating your child’s BIG feelings & emotions, as they struggle to make sense of the world.
I believe there is an emotional umbilical cord between a mother and child that never gets severed. If you do not do your work, you cannot expect your child to be free from the identities you have taken on as pleaser, giver or controller. You will inevitably teach them to sacrifice parts of themselves, at the expense of their authenticity, to make others “happy”.
So start to identify as a mother who enjoys pleasure, of all kinds ;) ! Once you are aligned with your true loving nature your triggers will be fewer, feeling like a victim will become a distant memory & overreacting will transform into inner peace.
How would it feel to respond to life instead of react to life? It can be done. Doing your work will help you experience more pleasure in all areas of your life.
Personal fulfillment is not a luxury ladies, it is essential! It is the key to showing up as the mother, spouse, daughter, co-worker or friend that you always wanted to be.
Pleasing yourself is a gift that you give others, & the greatest gift you will ever give your child is a fulfilled Momma!
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
A wise person once observed that it takes a village to raise children but where has this village gone?
Collaboration & cooperation seem to have been replaced with competition & consumption. Moms, anxiety ridden, impatient & exhausted, have bought into the idea that we have to have all the answers & do it all on our own!
Our partners can’t do it ‘right’, our parents don’t ‘get it’, friends couldn’t possibly help & god forbid our children assume any responsibility that could lighten our load. Is it any wonder our village has disappeared? We’ve scared them all off!
Moms used to be linked like a circle, arm in arm, giving where they could & receiving when required. There were always other kids around for entertainment, elders to learn from & a pack to share the load.
Somewhere along the line women became ranked, valuing singular achievement over working together. We climbed to the top of a triangle, to prove our worth, leaving the others behind & below us, only to find ourself all alone, teetering at the top, with no one & no where to go.
It became easier to do everything yourself then to ask for help, you convinced yourself. Judgement, criticism & a false sense of superiority, slowly took over, now you feel overwhelmed & disconnected from your children & community trying to maintain your career & marriage while making healthy meals, keeping the house together, squeezing in bath time, homework & all the little kindergarten books to prove that your child is a reading genius at 5!
And you wonder why you feel anxious, not good enough, or like you’re failing? This way of being is not natural. It feels unsafe to us & consequently we are reacting from a place of fear instead of responding from a place of safety, trust & love.
We’ve pushed away family & friends who would otherwise gladly have stepped up to help, we’ve isolated ourselves from neighbours, required too much of our teachers & put our kids in lessons as babysitters. It’s ok, we’ve all done it, you’re not alone! We’ve all gone off course, tangled up in the cultural demands that have been placed on us as momma’s & now we all need to turn this ship around!
So, how do we rebuild a village around us to share the load? We first need to be willing to see things differently. Acknowledge that perhaps we got caught up in a lie, that other people are indeed capable, trustworthy & able to offer something that we alone may not be able to.
We need to slow down, start to express our needs & be willing to both give & receive. We need to observe instead of judge, get curious instead of having to have all the answers & we need to open ourselves up to a larger circle of influence that will enrich our world & our child’s.
We were made to cooperate & collaborate, we were meant to be linked, not ranked, & we have gotten further away from our natural way of being, but we can make a conscious choice to change the trajectory of our child’s life, through conscious parenting.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
After the family day long weekend do you need a break from family?! LOL!
I’ve wanted to run away, or at least hide, on many occasions over the past 20 years! Wanting a break is totally normal & actually healthy!
As much as we are aware that we need some space as adults, it’s easy to feel threatened when our kids pull away from us, wanting to be by themselves, or not sharing what they once did with us. This is not personal, it is a necessary developmental dance.
Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to be with our kids all the time to have a “close” relationship with them. There is an illusion that our kids are somehow “safe” when we know where they are & what they’re doing at all time, but kids, like us, need to have some things that are just for them. They need time to process things or sometimes just want their own space, which makes us nervous & can cause many moms a lot of anxiety!
Worry not my friends! It is essential that every human being experiences both attachment & autonomy, closeness & separation, for healthy brain development, self-regulation & resilience as we grow into functioning adults.
We know that a child needs to be attached to a loving caregiver to feel safe & survive in the world, but for some reason autonomy is not as easy for us to willingly offer our kids.
Being “connected" to our children through technology, is no replacement for the feeling of authentic connection. Authenticity doesn’t come from knowing their whereabouts, monitoring their conversations, online behaviour or imposing curfews.
This form of “connection" can feel intrusive, overbearing, anxiety producing, & can make a child outright angry! It doesn’t allow anyone to feel trusted or capable, imagine if your spouse tried these tactics on you?! … And I won’t buy the “But I’m an adult” argument.
As well-intended as we may be, we are robbing our kids of the good feelings that come from proving they are capable, trustworthy, competent & self confident.
Feeling connected comes from being attuned. Attunement is a skill that we can develop over time. The majority of it is nonverbal. It consists of meeting a child’s physical & emotional needs, of course, but mostly it is a feeling, it’s body language & the conveyance that “I see who you really are”.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this kind of attunement in your life, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that our children FEEL connection, they don’t actually need to BE connected physically to us.
It is said that “Parents give their kids two things; one is roots, the other is wings.” Being attuned is the roots & autonomy is their wings.
As hard as it can be on moms, to not feel needed, it is essential for our child’s development. Wen to be close & when to separate is a dance that we must learn & it us who needs to move to the rhythm of our child’s emotions.
So, how do we help our children become more autonomous, while being an attuned Mom?
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Let’s just admit to each other here, most of us, at some point in our life, swore up & down we would NEVER be our mother?
I was going to do everything differently, … perfectly, unlike her. Sound familiar?
Who now catches themselves often resembling that same mother you were never going to be?
“Mommy issues" are often a huge barrier between mothers & daughters, but when daughters become mothers ourselves it’s important that we have a deeper understanding of our own mother, in order to have some insight into how we mother our children.
Our perception of what a “mother” is supposed to look like can cause us to judge each other. This judgement can put a wedge between us or find us having feelings of guilt or shame for our behaviour in the past, when we recognize how hard it is to be a mom.
There is an emotional umbilical cord between a mother & child that never severs. A mother is a child’s compass, at any age, & when we have unresolved emotional business with our moms we will suffer & unwittingly transfer those issues onto our children, if we haven’t made peace with her.
Rarely do any of us get the mother we wanted, we got the mother we needed & we must honour that woman inside of us. Making peace with our mom is an integral part of becoming the mother we always wanted to be.
It is very difficult to fully love & accept ourself if we hold any resentment toward our own mom because she is a part of us, so that sword we point will ultimately come right back at us.
Some mother daughter relationships have had experiences that are incredibly difficult to reckon with, but we must be able to release our mom from the expectation of what we wanted her to be & accept her for what she was, in order to be able to love to our fullest.
“Releasing our Mother is not about forgiving her, it is about understanding her.”
It’s about seeing her as a human being, not as a mother, or any other title or label we have placed on her. She is a woman, trying to do her best, fallible, imperfect, with needs, just like you, as hard as that may be to believe!
We tend to put moms on a pedestal & believe they are supposed to be a model of perfection, as loving as Mother Theresa, or a superhero in some way. We must be able to see ourselves in every other woman but especially in our own mom.
It’s difficult to investigate & understand our mother's pain, her desire to love us, the only way she knew how, & get to know her as a person in her own right, but in doing so it makes it easier to release her from the expectation that she “should” have been any different than the way she was & it free’s us to become the mother we always thought we would be.
When we’re able to see ourself in another, it becomes harder to judge "them" for things that we too are “guilty”, or at least capable, of. Only then will it be possible to show compassion & empathy, & when we are able to show that to another, we will transform every relationship in our life.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
I’m proud to admit that I’m mediocre at many things! Cue the “Gasp!” Shocking! I know, what a change from the perfectionism I struggled with for so many years.
From the outside many could look at me & conclude that I’ve got my “sh!t” together, maybe even feel badly about themselves for not being able to “look” perfect themselves or for procrastinating about jobs hovering over them.
Looks can be extremely deceiving & old habits die hard. I may be able to make things appear in place, but don’t look too close or you’ll see I’m exactly like YOU!
Anxiety shows itself in many ways. Maybe your anxiety looks like procrastination. Did you know that procrastination is the opposite end of the same anxiety spectrum as perfectionism?
Being mediocre goes against the cultural grain to compete, excel & be the best at all costs, especially when it comes to our child’s accomplishments, after all, who brags about their kids ‘C’ grade or their losing tournament? So lets take a closer look at the benefits of being mediocre!
Accepting mediocracy calms our need to be the best & gets the job done. It sets the example for our kids that we don’t have to get worked up about the “small stuff” or the overwhelmed by larger things. We can focus on what really matters & affirm that our wroth is not tied to our performance but most importantly, we can actually enjoy the process when we’re not attached to the outcome having to look a certain way.
It can be terrifying to admit that we are not keeping up with societal standards or incredibly lonely feeling shameful about being an imposter or failing in some way. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by perfectionism & procrastination, especially in a pandemic where most of us have our imperfections staring us straight in the eye 24/7, or worse yet, someone else there pointing them out to us! We are all doing our best to survive in this unfamiliar environment.
When we prioritize house work, emails & the many other things on our never ending “to do” list. Our kids learn that these things are more important than the present moment, that failing is not an option & that what other people think is important.
There are so many valuable teaching opportunities right now, but we're all taking life a bit too seriously to see them. The most important lessons are ones that our children come to teach us, like how to be playful & present! In return, we can show them how to be compassionate &empathetic, & how to extend both of these things to others but we must first learn how to extend them to ourself.
Our kids won’t remember if the house was sparkling or if everything was in its place, they’ll remember that mom was always crabby or angry.
Things may not be done “right”, or even very well, but instead of getting frustrated take the time to show them how something needs to be done. Explain that there are many other ways to do them & ask them to share how they think it could be done.
Our children will learn from us when we learn how to communicate effectively instead of reactively.
Letting go of the desire to have a “perfect” house was a major step toward my own personal freedom & inner peace. I’ve worked hard at turning a critical internal monologue into a dialogue between my harshest judge & a much wiser mother figure who, after much practice, now prevails more often than the judge.
If you find yourself constantly nagging about the mess or the house needing to be tidy, try something new.
~ Write a note to your kids
EX: Dear Bobby, I get lonely when I'm not with my friends. Please put me back in the playroom.
Love, Buzz Lightyear
~ Write a "Ta Done" list & see how much you DO accomplish in a day.
~ Speak to yourself the way your best friend would.
~ Try being mediocre & get the job done so you can enjoy your family.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Feeling a little deflated after the holidays?
Kids driving you crazy?
Stuff taking over the house?
Don’t want to be in the same room as your spouse?
You’re not alone ….
While instagram features momentary glimpses into what looks like a “perfect” family, at the time of the photo, I’m here to affirm most of our realities!
No matter how old your kids are, the holidays can leave us all feeling like we’ve been tossed about in the eye of a hurricane!
The food, the gifts, the garbage, the noise, the door visits & the Zoom calls!!! It can all feel like too much on a “normal” year but this year has been exceptional!
So here are some reminders that I hope will fill you up so that you show up as the mom you want to be for your kiddo’s!
Whatever you are experiencing right now is just a season.
While it feels like your child is ALWAYS going to say Mommy 200 times a day, follow or climb all over you, watch Peppa Pig, sing Baby Shark, tell you they’re bored, play video games or want nothing to do with you! All of these things are simply moments in time that, like seasons in nature, will eventually change or transform.
Just as there is no stopping the buds from signalling the start of spring, I assure you that your 12 year old will want nothing to do with Peppa or Baby Shark, your 30 year old will be able to hold a conversation without a gaming device in there hand & Covid restrictions will pass.
We struggle & panic, when we believe something is ALWAYS going to be this way, or that it will never change, so lets put this theory to rest. Everything is impermanent & interdependent, so as harsh as the conditions may appear, the season is in perfect harmony just as it is.
If you never do or say another thing, your child will continue to grow into a functioning adult.
Hard to believe I know, however it’s true! As much as it makes us feel good when our child “needs" us, on the flip side, we complain when they need us too much! We can calm down when we recognize that our child is fine & does not need anything from us!
Whether you interfere or not, your child will grow into a 5, 8, 10, 14, 23 , 30 year old & so on. There is no stopping this process, so be kind to yourself, just “being” their mom is enough, you don't have to do anything!
You are not failing if you can’t keep up with the “stuff”.
We’ve all “bought” into the world of “stuff”, arguing with reality will not change it & frankly, I like a lot of my stuff, it makes life easier in a lot of ways. But when you feel like your stuff is making life harder, here is your permission slip to get rid of it!
Your child needs YOU not the STUFF. There cannot be guilt in taking away things that are not needed. Take your cue from nature, it takes what it needs & gets rid of out the rest!
You don’t need a reason to love your family,
Right now, it may be difficult to find reasons to love. We’ve all been cooped up for so long that another’s breathing can be an annoyance!
Contrary to public believe, it is possible to love your child or spouse for absolutely no reason at all. In fact, needing reasons to love places conditions on our love. It’s easier to find peace when we remove the reasons & love them just because.
This takes the pressure off anyone having “to do” something to “be" loved. Now we can just love without judgement, condemnation or fear of not being loved in return.
The world can use a little more love right now, lets start by calming our own anxiety so we are able to be more loving toward each other.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Being a mom is not easy, especially these days!
It appears the act of being a Mom has turned into a full-time occupation. On top of our regular jobs we must be in control, know what we are doing & do it all, not to mention, being responsible for what our children are doing at all times, of course!
The joy we felt, simply being a mother has turned into another thing on our “to-do” list. It’s no longer enjoyable, this is big business! We must take this seriously, after all, what we do, how we perform, who we associate with & how many things we expose our children to, will dictate the rest of their lives!
No pressure, right?! I feel stressed out just writing this. Can you see how naturally the rates of anxiety are on the rise? Dare I suggest that a lot of Moms are no longer even fun to be around.
Fried from our lack of truly knowing who it is we are & what is important, we resort to the archaic methods of yelling, punishing, bribing, threats or completely giving up altogether!
“I’m going count to 3!”… “Because I said so” … “You’re being a spoiled brat!” …”I’ll give you the iPad if you finish your homework." ..."Stop it or you're going to get a time out!"
Sound familiar? Not our proudest ‘mom’-ents. I’ve found myself saying the same things over the years, not even really knowing why but because I had no other words or examples to recall or model in that moment of desperation.
Blindly reacting out of utter frustration, I was left feeling ashamed, guilty & like I’ve scarred my children for life. I tried over functioning, complying to unrealistic standards & outrageous expectations of myself & my children & it didn’t work.
Like many of you, I took on the motherland of house work & scheduling, while unknowingly taking on my families emotions & needs over my own, leaving me grasping at what I knew to survive.
Consequently, I’ve spent hundreds of hours passionately learning new ways, reading & researching the science behind the art of being a parent. I’ve experimented & implemented techniques in the field & have witnessed transformation in my clients lives.
I have made every mistake you can think of over the years, (& definitely more that my kids would be all too happy to share with you!) however, I am proud to report that despite the imperfection, I have two independent, highly functioning young adults who are really cool people to be with.
As the holidays near & tempers, expectations & patience will inevitably be tested, I invite you to give yourself the gift of new perspective to lighten your load as we approach a brand new year! OR maybe you wish to give the gift of help to someone who can’t see how much they need it!
As my gift to you, I’m offering 5 one-on-one sessions, at 30% OFF for a limited time!
Specifically tailored to the issues you are struggling with right now, the "Motherload Bundle" will leave you knowing:
~ the power of projection & pause
~ alternatives to punishment & praise
~ how to turn correction into connection
~ collaborative problem solving techniques
~ how to engage cooperation with your child
~ how to consistently set healthy limits & boundaries
~ how to identify & implement reasonable expectations
~ how to communicate effectively & respectfully with your child
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Covid is the virus that’s all over the news but it’s NOT the one that is permeating our homes. There is an even more pervasive virus in our homes & our children are the most vulnerable!
We ALL carry this virus. It grows within us & we, unintentionally, infect our children.
The symptoms disguise themselves in many sophisticated ways. On the surface it can look like help, perfectionism, caring, overachieving & attention to detail.
Wait! … How could such positive qualities be symptoms of such a harmful disease? I’m glad you asked. Don’t be fooled it can also show up as procrastination, sarcasm, a jokester, anger or defiance.
The ‘dis-ease’ invading our homes & attacking our children is ANXIETY. It comes from a virus called FEAR & we are usually guilty of transmitting it in the most loving ways.
I’ve experienced all the symptoms of this infectious disease many times throughout my life but no more so than as a mother.
Physically; the chills, the sweats, the racing heart, loss of appetite, increase in appetite, nausea, & shallow breathing.
Mentally; the overwhelm, the “what if’s”, the “shoulds”, the feeling out of control, & the overall sense of panic.
I know it well! I was a master at justifying it, all in the name of the LOVE for my child.
Fear manipulates us into behaving like the Moms we swore we would never be. The worst part is that this Mom-xiety is not only socially acceptable but glorified & worn like a badge of honour! After all, our own Moms have told us, “You never stop worrying about your kids”, to justify her own care & concern. We’ve learned from the best!
This pandemic threatens our child’s most primal need to feel safe & secure. Fear is the most destructive force in our life & it controls every aspect of our relationship with our child, whether we choose to see it or not.
Here’s the problem, if fear underlies every way that we interact with our children from boo boo’s & report cards to friends, occupations & spouses, this infection never has the chance to heal.
If we don’t acknowledge, recognize it & deconstruct what the fear is made up of & where it comes from, then our knee jerk “NO’s”, “Because I said so’s” & the “Let me do that for you Honey’s” will come from a place that only serves our own anxiety while contributing to theirs.
See our symptoms may look like they serve us well so it’s easy to dismiss them, but when our child is suffering, either compliant or defiant in our anxiety, instead of washing our hands & wearing our mask, we try to fix the one who shows the symptoms of our dis-ease.
It’s natural to feel scared, we are in the middle of a global crisis. There are many things that are uncertain & it’s easy to feel out of control however, tightening the reins on our children & trying to control them will not make us feel better & it will surely only make them feel worse.
We can reduce the anxiety our children are experiencing. How we deal with our fear will make all the difference in the way our children will not only come through this event, but how resilient they will be with the inevitable ones to come.
FEAR or Fantasized Experience Appearing Real is NOT real & more often than not, what we think, or fear, will happen never does.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
You know the feeling of finding a $5 bill at your feet?! It may not be a lot of money, but it could be life changing depending on how you use it!!
Imagine if you could find spare time, like unwanted coins. I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but what if I told you that, you can! Time is all around us, the problem is we’re too “busy” to look down & pick it up!!
I fell into this trap when my kids were younger, never finding time for myself & feeling like a martyr for all I did! I was stressed out, anxious & found myself snapping over all the things that were not getting done. Sound familiar?
Mom’s have a special way of taking on the Mother-load of work, especially in a family! It’s so much easier, & frankly accepted, to be “busy” than to have to look for ways to lighten our load. It’s not your fault. You may, however, be surprised to learn how easy it is to lighten your load.
What makes up the majority of our “busyness”, is ….BEING IN ANOTHER’S BUSINESS!!
That’s right, you will find hours of spare time when you discover how much time you’ve been spending in your child’s business! This is life changing!
So let’s look at the types of business there are:
Mine, Yours & Gods …period!
Knowing whose problem is whose & staying in your lane, eliminates struggle. lightens anxiety & frees up the valuable time that you’ve been looking for!
I know, it seems counterintuitive, after all, if you don’t do “it”, “it” won’t get done.
I used to believe that too, but let me assure you, that’s simply not the case. It may not be done “well” or the “right” way but it’s done & you can focus on what you need to do.
Here's the best part, when kids handle their own “stuff” it develops self regulation, confidence & the believe that they are capable humans preparing them for the next level of life.
So next time you’re feeling stressed & looking for more time in your day, ask yourself “Who’s business is this?” Give everyone’s“stuff” back to them & it will be a “win, win” for everyone!
Ways to know you're in your kids business:
You catch yourself speaking about their “stuff” like it’s your own.
“We” had so much homework last night
“I” will talk to your teacher
“We” have a game & a practice on Saturday.
“I” will get your clothes for you
You will know you are in your business when you feel calm, focussed, & abundant!
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching