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