Keep calm and... stop worrying about keeping calm!
When it comes to so called 'perfect parenting', we’re always told to avoid getting angry or frustrated. Never to yell. Stay calm at all costs. And while there may be good scientific basis to this advice...there is a flip side that every mother should console herself with the next time she’s berating herself for losing her cool. The truth is, not many mums can honestly attest to being ‘unruffled’ ALL the time. After all, we are only human, and anger and frustration are but natural emotions on our spectrum. Still, the guilt and worry about the potential implications of losing our cool are often a real concern in the aftermath of these moments. Now let’s be clear, there are situations when recurrent anger does need addressing, and the affect of ongoing on prolonged outbursts should never be undermined or underestimated. That said, sporadic lapses in composure are often not worthy of the amount of self-scrutiny that tends to ensue. And here's why:
There is a theory, that a negative experience such as a parent expressing frustration or yelling is only detrimental if it’s NOT counterbalanced by sufficient kindness and love, which in the vast majority of cases...it is. More specifically, studies show that for every negative moment, we need FIVE positive interactions to keep the relationship balanced and healthy. These studies were done with couples, but have been applied to the parent/child relationship as well. Positive interactions can be so natural and everyday that we might not even realise we are doing them, ranging from the minutia of preparing meals and tying laces, to all those heart-warning hugs, kisses and cuddles that we probably dish out daily by the bucket load. The reality is, we are all going to get angry and do things that we aren’t necessarily proud of, but it’s how we make up for those things in the bigger picture that counts the most. Here’s what our favourite #instamums had to say on the matter:
@mama_says_blog 'Motherhood is such an emotional rollercoaster, each day full of wonderful highs and guilt stricken lows....and anger. Yet we rarely admit or discuss feeling angry on a daily basis. I think, as a mother, my anger stems from two main things. Number one is straight up tiredness, we all know how cranky the kids are when they haven’t napped, it’s the same for us adults! The second and more complex is frustration with myself for not being this perfect ‘Mary Poppins’ style parent who breezes through the day.'
Vicki Psarias @honestmum 'Be kind to yourself, it’s normal to experience a range of emotion in a single day: frustration, overwhelm, joy...accept how you feel, look after yourself: accept help when its offered, reach out and take time out for yourself when you can. You can’t pour from an empty cup’. (www.honestmum.com)
@jocelyn.forgerson “Becoming a mother has been the most rewarding, yet difficult accomplishment. When River cries for hours on end, I sit there and cry with her. I cry from the guilt that this isn’t coming as easy as I would like. I cry because I feel guilty for mourning my past life that didn’t involve taking a baby to the bathroom with me, or missing meals. As this guilt lightens up though, I’m reminded everyday that I’ve been given the gift of becoming Rivers mother, and that weight doesn’t seem so hard to bear anymore.”