Standing in the supermarket the other day I saw a mum with three little girls, at the end of her wick. They were noisy, demanding, throwing stuff out of the trolley and she was yelling at them.
The kind of yelling that makes your ears go red.
Man, did my heart go out to her.
She was way too busy for an empathetic eye-glance, so I threw her some metaphorical rays of sisterhood light.
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We feel like we’ve lost ourselves in motherhood… We haven’t. We’ve just given so much to ourselves to them, we’ve lost sight of who we are. We’ve surrendered our whole selves to this role, and all we need to do is shift just the TINIEST bit of focus back to us, and then… We’ll discover a whole new whole woman again. X
We all yell sometimes
Life is pretty demanding and you never know what variable will take you down! Kids, a sleepless night, a fight with your partner, work stress, no parking spots, a forgotten shopping list.
Regardless, it’s important to have compassion for each other and understand that even in our terrible moments, we’re not bad mums.
“The most important thing to understand is that the anger is not coming because you’re a ‘bad mum’ – you’re not,” says author and meditation guru, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz.
Hear that? Yelling does not make you a bad mum. Or a bad person.
“Yelling comes from overwhelm. And overwhelm comes from a lack of understanding of what’s actually happening to you,” says Amy.
“You’re just at the mercy of a very stressful situation, without the understanding of how to deal with it. The single best thing for a mama to do is to take some time for herself.”
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“What have you shut down to get the family you desired, Amy?” That was the question that stopped my heart. The moment it was asked, I knew the answer: I had shut down a very big part of who I was in the belief that I could not have both. I could not have that and be the mama, partner, sister, daughter, woman I desired to be. They simply were not compatible. We do this a lot. As women, we shut parts of ourselves down in the mistaken belief that we can’t be something AND be the mama or woman we need to be right now. But although life is all about compromises – especially when you have small children – shutting down a core part of yourself is never the answer. There has to be a way to honour ALL of you, even in the smallest ways, even in the middle of motherhood. In my latest podcast episode, I share what happened when I was asked this question recently. And what we can all do about calling back in that part of us we have long given up on. Available via your podcast player, or link in bio. #podcast #worklifebalance #newmom #newmum #returntowork #workingmom #workingmum #happymama
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Motherhood is a journey and a long one at that!
Amy, a busy mum of three, says part of the reason for our angry outbursts is that we forget that motherhood is a journey, and we’re transforming too.
“Motherhood is a process of learning and unlearning, and you need exceptional self-compassion and an enormous support network around you to move through it,” says Amy.
Before you say that you don’t have time – here are three ideas that will take just ten minutes each. Keep them in your back pocket for those times when you’re feeling angry and overwhelmed.
1. Get outside
This can be as simple as taking your shoes off and standing in the backyard, or the nature strip!
“Our minds and bodies are so wired at the moment – we’re either up all night with the baby or on our phones and doing a hundred different things. Research shows that our nervous system needs sunshine, fresh air and nature to reset,” says Amy.
“So if you’re feeling like you’re going to explode, grab the baby and pop it into a carrier or pram, and get moving. Breathe deeply into your lungs, notice your feet on the pavement, and if you can, go to a park or a beach and take your shoes off to feel the earth under you. It will reset that overwhelming feeling.”
2. Try and let go of having the perfect routine
Easier said than done, but worth trying – even with a new baby who you’re trying to steer into a bit of a schedule.
“Sometimes, it’s just a crap day. Babies have sleep regressions and wonder weeks and the more we try and ‘control’ it, the more overwhelming and angry we get. If you’re in the middle of one of these days, just go with it,” says Amy.
“Cancel all plans, and tell yourself ‘there’s nothing else to do today but this’. Give into whatever your little one needs – even if it’s letting them sleep on your chest while you watch TV all day. Whatever it is, allow it to happen without judgement. Our anger often comes from our attempt to control something that is not controllable.”
3. Change the tape in your head
Most of us have raging inner critics that live inside our heads, quick to judge our every decision. It can be hard to keep them quiet, so get someone else in there instead.
“Guided meditations or inspiring podcasts about motherhood are a great way to override that endless negative voice in your head,” says Amy.
“Willpower isn’t always enough to overcome that cranky mood or anxiety, so in those times, call on another more calmer voice to step in. Download guided meditations that remind you that you can do this, or listen to an inspiring podcast about motherhood as you walk or do the housework. They will remind you that we’ve all been there, and you will get through this.”
Just reading that makes me feel calmer already.