How 10 Seconds Can Save Your Sanity with Your Kids
STOP the presses! It’s our last month before the craziness begins! School STARTS! I commit to enjoy every minute. How about you? Summer ends, fall begins, and here we go!
As I anticipate the rigors of managing work, kids, school, after-school activities, and all the upcoming holidays to come, I can easily go into overwhelm.
This said as I squeezed “me time” in at Starbucks on a hot August night while my grandkids were at Karate practice. I hunted for a phrase to describe my state of mind and found Sarah Helen Whitman.
“When Summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.”
Sarah Helen Whitman
Who the heck was she? I looked her up.
Sarah Helen Whitman never had kids, waxed eloquent in her poetry, exchanged letters with and became engaged to Edgar Allen Poe. Some folks call her the original Goth – she practiced seances in her home on Sundays and wore a coffin-shaped charm (could this have been it?) around her neck. Interesting lady!
Sadly, she missed out on one of the great pleasures of life – raising kids! Along with the rewards, challenges and related triggers.
Triggers! What triggers YOU? Let’s dive right in!
Have you noticed, the questions from your kids that trigger you the most always seem to come at the worst times?
Imagine this: You’re stuck in traffic, time is short, your boss’s ‘tantrum’ still haunts you and you’re trying to figure it out so you can deal with it tomorrow.
You finally made it to the daycare just before closing, picked up the kids and made it to the grocery store. Now you’re frantically trying to find all the ingredients for dinner…and then it comes…
“Can we buy this?”
“When is dinner?”
“Why can’t we buy this?”
“When will we get out of here?”
“Can I buy this?”
“Can Bobby spend the night tonight?”
“Can we get this?”
“How come Bobby’s mom gets this but we can’t get this?”
“Why can’t we get this?“
Need I say more. It can feel overwhelming.
When my kids were two and three, and I was teaching them how to NOT to have a tantrum at the grocery store, it was easy.
I’d get down to eye-level before going in and tell them what to do and how to act.
In a soft voice I’d say, “If you begin to yell or scream, we will stop everything and leave the store, ok? But if you listen to Mommy when I say no, then we can stay and shop, ok?” They’d nod their little heads up and down and in we’d go. Worked like a charm!
When they tested me, I’d calmly park the cart, whisper to the store clerk that I’d probably be back in a minute, then out the door we’d go. Then I’d set them down outside the door and say, “Ok, we have to go home now.” – wait a beat, then I’d say, “Do you want to go back in? Can you listen to Mommy and not yell?” They’d nod yes and back in we’d go.
Most the time it only took one time and the rest of our shopping experience went really well. Fast forward to age 6 and 8; now staying ahead of my kids’ wants and needs got tougher.
That’s when the unending questions would come at what seemed like the most inopportune times.
For a single mom on a very limited budget, usually shopping after work and before homework, baths and bed, trying to make it all work….STRESSFUL!
My bar was set pretty high. I wanted to be the Super Mom who never got snappy, always listened, did all the right things, and still had a “grown-up life”with grown-up conversations.
I often didn’t meet my own expectations.
My “already always listening” would kick in and reactive responses kicked out. In my mind, I was just trying to keep it all running, but for my kids it didn’t always land that way.
Here’s the Deal:
When you are up against timelines or self-imposed deadlines it’s easy to forget to pause. The tendency is to react, to say “no” or “not now”. Want to save time and your sanity? And the sanity of your kids? Here’s what you can do, and it only takes 10 seconds. The key is catching your trigger and your first response.
When that question comes up that instantly raises your blood pressure do this:
- PIVOT. Physically pivot. Change directions. Changing positions changes perspective. It’s startling and funny to your kids to see you jump!
2. Next, look them straight in the eye without saying a word. Slowly breathe in through your nostrils to the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, then exhale through your mouth to the count of 7.
You’ll feel a bit ridiculous which only adds to the ‘smile quotient’.
This short breathing moment will begin to shift your thinking from your back brain – the part of your brain that reacts, your fight or flight mechanism, to your pre-frontal cortex – the part of your brain right behind your forehead, that thinks through things and problem solves. Do it several times if you need to. You are now in the moment with your child instead of someplace else. Now you’re ready to have a conversation.
Balancing work and home and maybe a side-hustle, takes a lot of time management. If you are doing all this, I know it’s because you want a better life for you and your children. You want the best for them for the long haul. And isn’t this why we do what we do?
As for poor Sarah and Edgar, their relationship didn’t make it. Reasons abound but to be sure they did not have the benefit of all the brain science available today to shift the dynamics of their relationship. Their romance floundered and never culminated in commitment, kids or grocery store triggers. Or Karate practice! They really missed out. You don’t have to.
Is it time to reconnect with someone you love? Do you want to increase your interpersonal effectiveness within your family, in your work, or with other relationships in your life? If you would like a complimentary Connection Evaluation please feel free to book your session today at www.dianeweekley.com .
We’re all about sharing tips we’ve learned that increase your ability to experience more loving communications with your significant other, business relationships, your family and your kids.
Remember, “It’s never too late to connect with the people you love.”
See you next time!