Stress. It’s something we all experience at some point or another. For mothers of young children, teens, multiples, home educating families or families parenting children with medical issues, to name just a few, the stress levels can increase exponentially.
When there is nothing more challenging than choosing which bagel topping to have for lunch or what film to watch on Netflix, it is easy to be calm. But the more balls thrown into our ever juggling arms, the more our stress levels can rise.
Our children are like sponges, soaking up our moods, be they calm or fraught. And when it is the latter, their own stress levels rise to match our own. They reflect it right back at you, no matter how hard you try to hide what you are feeling. You cannot mask your true mood from them.
They know you so deeply, they see through the false smile. And when they mirror that stress, absorbing all that tension, their behaviour descends into mayhem. They have to release it. A calm, serene child has little need to lash out and be destructive. They have no urge to argue or shout furiously in response to your requests. But when their insides are pulsing with pent up tension, mounting stress, they have to let it out.
They have to explode.
And it is the worst possible thing for us weary, drained parents. We are balancing on the edge of patience at all times. We are so close to reaching our absolute limit. We can’t manage a single extra challenge. And we are suddenly faced with a child who neither knows nor cares that we are hovering at breaking point, who is lashing out, needing support we can’t summon up the reserves to give.
This is parenting at its hardest. This is when things fall apart and we react in ways we later regret. When we ignore feelings, when we say harsh words or forget how scary it can feel to be lost in such big emotions when you are so very small. It all becomes just a step too far for us to manage.
It’s so easy to talk about the merits of peaceful parenting. It’s all so wonderful in theory. But is it really possible to be the parent you so desperately want to be in these times of undeniable stress?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. But it’s not easy. It’s not going to come without hard work. But it is worth it. Let me share how with you now.