Oh!  How my Little Beasts can push my buttons sometimes!  It’s the same for all of us parents, no matter how spiritual or evolved we think we are, right?  Having children can be like parenting a 3 foot tall terrorist who forces you to look into the depths of your shortcomings and deal with it…. What’s the other option?  Repeating bad patterns we were raised with?  No thank you! 

Anger was a prevalent thing in my house growing up and it wasn’t pretty. I saw and heard a lot as a child so this is the area that requires my mindfulness and is the juicy part of my spiritual work as a mother.  It’s the area that forces me to expand my patience & compassion, which ultimately reveals the gift of being challenged by these little people:  if I keep my heart open and do the inner work, I get to become the best version of myself.

Countless incredible Mamas, teachers, and mentors have shared with me their tips and tricks for dealing with those moments when we feel like WE are going to have a tantrum….  Here you go!

SLOW DOWN
Anger is centered in the animal part of our brain, so it short-circuits the logic. Slow down, take some deep breaths (I know it sounds so cliché but it does work!) and resolve not to let the anger hijack you. When the mind is spinning it’s impossible to make clear decisions or be centered in your highest self. As mothers we need our “highest selves” at all times, even if we lose sight of her from time to time…

ASK YOURSELF
Why are you angry? It’s rarely about what’s happening on the surface. Do you feel disrespected? Are you trying to control something or someone? Are you afraid of something? Anger is the superficial emotion that’s an indicator of something deeper. Dig deep inside of yourself for the truth; you may not “like” what you see but if you want to give your best to your child - you have no choice but to face it.

DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOUR ANGER TELLS YOU TO DO
Speak slowly and softly. Keep your negative thoughts and words to yourself.   Give yourself a Time Out! You also need some empathy!  Embrace your child. When I’m feeling angry the last thing I want to do is be affectionate so it’s a great antidote to make the anger melt away when I hold my child and breathe in her sweet smell.

CLOSE YOUR EYES & REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU HELD YOUR CHILD IN YOUR ARMS
Look into your heart and reconnect with that feeling of unconditional love. It may even bring tears to your eyes. When I’m feeling angry and the tears start to come, I know I’m on my way to feeling love again. Usually there’s just fear or sadness lurking below the anger. Its much easier to feel angry than to feel vulnerable or powerless.

CONSIDER YOUR CHILD’S AGE AND TEMPERAMENT
Do you have expectations that are unrealistic of your young child? Are these the same type of harsh expectations or criticisms you put on yourself?

SAY “I LOVE YOU”
I have a daily chanting practice and sometimes my daughter joins in repeating, ”I love you, I love you, I love you.” It’s her own little mantra. I love that. Love is the truth of who we are as beings and getting back to that truth, underneath all the other programming of expectations, limitations, and disappointments is what our purpose here on earth is. Use your anger as a practice and an opportunity to get back to love no matter what. Seeing it as a challenge rather than as “unfair suffering” gives you the chance to make lemons out of lemonade. Turn defeat into victory.

GO FOR A BRISK WALK OR DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO
Walk, breathe, cook, knit, call a friend, snuggle your dog. Do something to relax you and open your heart. Anger is an emotion that locks us down, tightens us, and clenches the heart shut. Think of this as a spiritual training; you have to keep your heart strong, flexible, and nourished.

CONNECT TO GRATITUDE
Recently there have been lots of stories coming my way of women who have lost their children in birth. It’s absolutely heart crushing. If you are lucky enough to have a child who is healthy and able bodied and ALIVE, you are so blessed. It’s very basic but profound. Be grateful that your child is in your life and acknowledge what a blessing he is. It’s hard to feel angry about anything when you take this perspective.

REMEMBER HOW SHORT LIFE IS!
A dear friend of mine counts the days of his life remaining. Did you know that if you are lucky you get to live only 27,000 days? And that’s if you live to 75! So at age 40 I’ve only got 12,000 days left! I’m not willing to waste one of them staying angry about something….I mean, how important is anything other than love?

Our anger is an opportunity to get to know ourselves and our precious children (who sometimes drive us MAD!).  Embrace it all… xxx, Leah

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