We’ve all been there. The day where you want to tear your hair out. The kids have been fighting non-stop and battling you every step of the way! It appears you can’t handle another moment. Then they do something that pushes you to the brink. The scale is tipped.
This was me when I wrote the following piece. I had burst into tears after a challenging afternoon of Mr Four pushing the boundaries. In the moment, I did something that I haven’t done before. I sat down, and I wrote. I let the words pour out of me. It was raw. It was honest. It was a release.
In this moment, parenting is hard.
In this moment, I am struggling.
In this moment, I don’t want to be a Mum.
In this moment, I want to escape.
In this moment, I know that even though my kids are challenging,
I still hold such love for them.
In this moment, I let the tears slide down my cheeks.
In this moment, I feel the lump in my throat,
it stops me from breathing easily.
In this moment, I want to give up.
In this moment, I start to see the other side.
In this moment, I begin to believe.
In this moment, my faith in myself grows.
In this moment, I let go of the tears.
In this moment, I take three deep breaths.
In this moment, I feel the calmness return.
In this moment, I know I can face any challenge.
In this moment, I am stronger.
In this moment, I believe in myself as a parent.
In this moment, I know that everything will be o.k.
Having three children aged five years and under has made me realise that life is both hard (a little too often at times) and joyous. About two years ago I began practising mindfulness to help me navigate my way through parenting and life.
Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment, with compassion and without judgement. It allows us to notice and understand our emotions; to respond rather than react. We as parents can be so hard on ourselves, and mindfulness allows us to practise self-compassion.
A few years ago, I was that parent. I’d scold myself for ‘mistakes’ I made. I’d let parental guilt rule my life. Am I a good mother? Is what I’m doing right? Through my mindfulness practices I’ve noticed immense changes in how I see the world – as a parent, wife and personally through my own development.I am more present with my husband and kids. I listen and connect with them. I let them know that they have my full attention and what they have to say is valued and valuable. Mindfulness helps us to look within; to see what’s important and to impart these values and skills onto our kids.
Journal writing is a way to practise mindfulness. I find the act of writing incredibly therapeutic. Not only am I able to recognise and release feelings that I’ve bottled up, but it allows me to move from a place of stress to a place of calm. Writing gives us the chance to express ourselves as well as understand ourselves.
Mindfulness is both a practice and a way of living. It’s not a quick fix. Shauna Shapiro says, ‘What you practise grows stronger’, and I’m a firm believer of this. The next time you feel like everything is falling to pieces, grab a pen and pad and write. Express your feelings. Pour your heart out. Surrender to vulnerability – it might be your saving grace. Release and let go.
Journal writing could be the anecdote that changes a day of challenges into a day of acceptance.
Annaliese Arnold is the creator of Mindful Mummas, providing workshops and courses to encourage mums to live a life of joy, passion and purpose. On the Mindful Mummas NZ Facebook page there’s a weekly dose of mindfulness, parenting tips, inspiration and positivity. Annaliese lives in Papamoa with her husband and three children.