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This One Thing Can Make it All Go BOOM

November 20, 2023

You may be guilty of this one thing. You are human after all; imperfect sentient beings have messy experiences. Beware, however, when you do this because it changes the game. And if this is your typical perception, everything can blow up in your face (if it hasn’t already.) I’m talking about taking your kid’s behavior personally.

The parent-child relationship is arguably the deepest bond you will have in your lifetime. Your feelings play a significant role in how you parent. So taking note of your internal response to situations is just as important as noticing your external responses.

In fact, understanding your internal responses, like your thoughts and the emotions that automatically surge in certain circumstances, is critical for making positive shifts in your external responses.

The usual dilemma… a mom’s nemesis, is time. As Badass Moms, running our household like a boss takes a lot from us.  We give up so much for any given (seemingly simple) day. But no day is simple and no day goes by without a sacrifice or three from you.

We sacrifice our sleep, our thoughts are hijacked daily over worry and concern for the happiness of others, and let’s be clear, that doesn’t magically stop when our cherubs turn eighteen. We sacrifice me-time, girlfriend time, romantic time… our cups are constantly pouring into our children’s cups, but when do ours get replenished?

Check out this video on the best way to replenish your cup in only 10 minutes per day.

Many years ago with five little ones to care for, this became blatantly obvious when I literally didn’t fill my own cup. There is a four-year gap between my first two and a five-year gap between my last two while the three in the middle are close in age, so I experienced the hectic life of juggling soccer, school, CCD (Sunday school for Catholics) and other extracurricular activities for my oldest with multiple toddlers in tow.

One day my neighbor dropped by for some mundane reason that I now evades my recollection. What I do remember is warning her that I thought I was coming down with a sickness. My head was killing me and my throat was sore. Her visit was the first time I had stopped to take a breather that day. As I grabbed a glass to get us both a drink it dawned on me that this was the first drink I’d had all day. The sun was already going down. It was after 7 o’clock!

The point is, we all hear about the importance of filling our own cups throughout the day and throughout the week, but are you truly aware of how much you are neglecting your own cup?

This takes a toll on the health of your body (like literally not filling your cup with water all day) and our mind and spirit, as in taking time to reflect and process your own thoughts and feelings each day.

I wasn’t coming down with something. I simply had a migraine and a dry throat from dehydration. I almost went an entire day having deprived myself of the most basic and essential need of sustaining life itself, water!

It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of caring for others and not expect anything in return… until your child misbehaves in a way that hits a nerve and you take it personally. Suddenly, you realize there is something you want in return!

Your exhausted mind becomes overrun with thoughts. “How could they misbehave this way? I taught them better. After all I have done for them, the least they can do is behave in a way that represents the family in a positive light. Where did I go wrong?”

When you take their misbehavior personally, you believe their behavior is a reflection of you, which leads to the idea that you now look like a terrible parent. The critic inside your head says their misbehavior is due to your failures or mistakes.

Shouldering the responsibility of your child’s mistakes can lead to resentment deep down. And I know you don’t want to have even the slightest bit of resentment toward your child.

Your perception shifts when you take it personally and you may think their misbehavior is more malicious than a mistake. In no time at all, you have a montage of resentment building experiences and your relationship implodes.

So how do you NOT take it personally? How do you shift to telling yourself their behavior has to do with your child, not you?

Challenge your belief.

Think about what you have taught them. Contemplate all the ways you taught them the proper behavior and recognize that they misbehaved anyway.

Children make mistakes.

They are going through such a rapid stage of growth and learning by trial and error. Recognize that your child makes mistakes for a number of reasons, none of which have to do with your lack of parenting.

Have faith that your child will learn from this experience.

That is why we make mistakes. That is what trial and error is all about. Give them the space of independence and autonomy just like you did when they were learning to tie their shoes. While you stand to the side, think about what lesson you would like them to learn from this mistake in preparation for the next step.

Discuss the lesson with your child afterward.

Talk about the challenge and the values they gained from this experience. Discussions like these not only provide learning experiences for your child, but also, build trust and strengthen your relationship with them.

You love your child more than anything and it shows, that’s why it is so important that you fill your mom cup. Your child’s misbehaviors are inevitable. Remember not to take it personally and instead look at it for what it is: mistakes as opportunities to learn so that your child grows with confidence in their autonomy and problem-solving skills and your relationship continues to flourish. 

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