I know exactly what causes me to snap at my kids. I know the switch that changes me from being calm, serene, heavenly mother to being angry, hot-headed, ugly mother. That is the impatience that comes the split second I begin thinking about all the things I have to do.
A loving bedtime conversation can turn to crap in an instant. “Night night baby, sleep tight. Close your eyes and I’ll sing you a song…”
Suddenly my mind says: “Oh shit, don’t forget to pay those overdue bills. Oh, and put the bins out.”
Next comes: “GO TO SLEEP WOULD YOU? Just DO IT ALREADY.”
Does this happen to you? It can change your whole mood, the scene takes a dramatic turn within about 100th of a second. And all because your mind begins to wander to what comes next.
This happens to me in the mornings a lot too, I can be doing my daughter’s hair, happily discussing what she’s got on at school for the day when I suddenly remember I still haven’t made her lunch, found her library book or fed the dog. I start brushing furiously and telling her (rather assertively) to sit still and stop wriggling. Again, my mind is racing forwards.
I know the antidote is to quiet that internal chatter in my mind, to remain present and trust that this moment too shall pass and then I will move on to the next task.
Huffington Post’s post today about mindfulness explains how the practice can physically shrink the amygdala, the area of the brain responsible for the stressful responses I described above.
Over the past few years I’ve dabbled in mindfulness techniques, but recently am trying to maintain a regular rhythm with meditation and mindfulness. I’m trying not to be hard on myself, but just keeping it brief and regular, training my brain slowly to stay in the moment just a bit longer each day. For now, those moments that I snap with impatience are becoming less frequent. When they do occur it’s hard to backtrack and stay present, but by putting in a bit of effort each day, I am learning to be more patient and present with the kids in general and prevent them from occurring (mostly!).
I try hard to consciously be mindful in the shower and while making my morning cup of tea, really be there and experience it with all my senses instead of rushing through it on autopilot.
Not as easy as it sounds, but I think these triggers are helping me get used to being present. Also there’s a few blogs which are regularly reminding me to stay mindful and remember to pause and be grateful for small blessings.
Hopefully you find some benefit in looking over the following blogs too:
- WildMind Buddhist Meditation – some useful general info on mindfulness plus practical daily practice ideas.
- Possibly Vintage - Hannah often shares a “Daily Mindful Moment” which is a great reminder to me as I go about my day.
- A Warm Place Within – one girl’s daily journal of gratitude expressed in pictures and brief descriptions. Really reminds me to experience and be grateful for the little things that bring pleasure!
- A Breath of Green Air - some lovely pictures which serve as a reminder to stop and appreciate the surroundings.
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