A few weeks ago I screamed at my kids. Well, not so much at them as I just screamed in general…like into the air. At that particular moment my kids weren’t even acting out. It was more that it was 4:00 in the afternoon and I had played teacher, listened to them bicker, whine, talk at me and scream (for fun) all day. My kids were so deeply offended that they packed backpacks for an hour and moved to their fort in the yard for forty-five minutes. I felt bad for about one minute and then quickly realized that I had manifested the break that I so desperately needed. Mama sat herself down on the couch and watched YouTube videos on digital marketing!
When I shrieked into the universe “aaaaaaaaaaaaah”, it wasn’t at my kids, it was at myself. I was feeling overwhelmed because my life was in chaos. We were about a month into our move from Texas to Maine. I had established a routine for my kids AND dogs but was winging it for myself. I freaked out because I wasn’t doing the things that I needed to be doing FOR ME. So again, I felt bad for a sec, then I immediately got to doing one of the things that I had been putting off. And that evening I went to bed earlier since I was clearly acting like an overtired toddler, and I reflected. I assessed my goals and how my behavior aligned with them. I thought about the kind of parent that I want to be and how I could support myself in becoming that mother. I didn’t wallow in misery for momentarily losing my marbles…I forgave myself. And my kids forgave me too.
Not so long ago I wouldn’t have recovered from that scenario so well. I likely would have caught a buzz, maybe smoked a cigarette (or 10) and called someone to justify my behavior, all while simultaneously eating my feelings. The next day I would have been upset with myself for overeating and feeling like crap. I probably would have been an even less than stellar mom that next day too since I would have been down on myself. In other words, I would have punished myself for my behavior and entered the hamster wheel of shame. Do bad things, feel bad, numb the feeling… do bad things, feel bad , numb the feeling and around and around. But you know what, that never helped me to be a better mom or become more aligned with myself.
Now I can’t say that I don’t ever emotionally snack or drink because I surely do. It’s just that I’m now able to let it be an isolated event and not a pattern. I refuse to shame myself for my behavior. I’ve come to realize that every moment is a chance to learn something and do better. If I choose to bury myself in numbing behaviors, then I choose to rob myself of the opportunity for growth. The same applies to you.
So, here’s the thing friends. We cannot control others; we can only control how we react to them. WE CAN CONTROL OUR BEHAVIOR. The sooner you learn to loosen the reigns on others (ahem your kids) and tighten them on yourself, the happier you’ll be. As I say to my oldest one all the time, “worry about yourself”. You need to invest your time and energy into you and how you act, not everybody else. Especially now! Everyone is under a tremendous amount of stress and it has to be managed or it will become bottled up... we all know what happens after that.
I say, have a good scream (maybe into a pillow though). Eat that ice cream and then get to work on you. Figure out what YOU are not giving yourself and come up with better ways to cope. Because it's not up to anyone else to create, respect or uphold your boundaries; that’s on you.
Thank you for reading,
There's a Song for That: "Scream & Shout", will.i.am