I screamed at my kid today. I mean, loud, ugly screamed at her. It was awful. I am sick to my stomach right now as I write this.
She didn’t do anything outside what an average four year old does. Pushing boundaries, making a mess, bossing me around, being too aggressive with her little sister, and singing too loud. Typical day. Right?
No, this wasn’t a typical day. Perhaps from an outside perspective looking in, it would be typical. Wake up, do all the things… feed kids, clean up after kids, try to answer emails, unpack, organize, switch loads of laundry, and so on.
What people cannot see isn't typical. Building a new house and property, being homeless for nine months, grieving my grandmothers tragic death, running a brand new business with hopes of conquering the world, managing my body image after my second baby, going through a huge fight with my sisters, starting a new job because my husband just got laid off, stressed about paying the mortgage after our financial changes, and so on.
Hear me now, I am not trying to make excuses for my behavior. This is just simply a list of what has been going on in the past few months. A L O T. And hear me again, I KNOW I am not the only one going through a list like this. In fact, I am sure many of you have a list twice as big as mine.
Because of what is behind the scenes, it’s no wonder we get short tempered, no wonder we don’t have patience, no wonder something seemingly insignificant can send us to tears or screaming. Just because it’s understandable, does not mean that it is okay.
Our daughters deserve their momma to be patient, kind, calm, understanding, forgiving, and loving no matter what. We cannot be any of these for them, unless you are for yourself.
Let me say this in another way.
During times of high stress, like I am personally in now, I must be patient with myself. I have to realize that we are only in a season, it will slow down, it will pass. I must be kind to myself. I need to be kind to myself when I am not perfect. Be kind to the body I have after giving birth to two beautiful girls. I must be calm for myself. I simply need to slow down. Choose not to set such high expectations for myself, my family, and my career. I must understand myself. I need to know what positive and negative triggers I have and how can I surround myself with more positive triggers more often. I must forgive myself. If, when I make a mistake, I need to forgive it. And above all else, I must love myself. I need to remember that I am a good mom, wife, colleague, daughter, sister, friend, and leader. That I am not perfect in any of these areas and that is okay.
Personally, I know the minute I stop taking care of myself and stop doing the things listed above, I start getting short tempered and more emotional, which negatively affects my family and my career. After realizing this, I decided to make a checklist and I hope it can help you too.
Schedule uninterrupted time to identify how you are feeling. Ask questions like, “how does it make me feel after my boss said those things?”
Identify what the feeling is and where it is coming from? Sadness, anger, hurt, embarrassment?
Is what you are feeling irrational? Put yourself into the person’s shoes. How would that make you feel? Did they misunderstand your perspective?
Once you’ve recognize what you are feeling, then for goodness sake, FEEL IT! Cry if you need to cry, scream into a pillow if you need to let out some anger. Whatever you do, do NOT run away from the feeling or try to avoid the feeling.
Then, if it’s still there....
Do you need to tell someone what you’re going through? Choose someone who will listen, someone who you can trust, someone who will support you without just belittling you or what you are going through.
What do you need to get resolution? Sometimes it is helpful to go to the source of where the feeling is coming from. But sometimes it is not at all. If it isn’t then turn to a journal and some quiet time. Dig deep and get real with yourself to learn where the emotion is coming from and why.
Lastly, be and do better next time. If have control over the situation that causes the intense emotion, don’t do it again! If you do not have control over it, find coping skills that will help you before and after the trigger.
Although these steps seem simple enough, they are not easy. Because by definition, easy means without effort. It will indeed take effort (trust me, I am still working on these regularly) but the effort will be profound and eventually it will become easy if you stick with it.
As always I am believing in you,