How are you feeling right now? This podcast is for when you're feeling overwhelmed and to give you strategies for how you can move through it.
Because this can be an incredibly overwhelming time! You’re home, with your kids 24/7 - trying to work, to help your older kids with school work, to entertain your younger kids, to stop sibling fights, to cook, keep the house in some sort of order, stay in contact with family & friends, etc, etc.
So first off - it’s absolutely no wonder you may be feeling overwhelmed. You have a LOT on your plate. A lot to be responsible for and next to no time to yourself. All the usual things to rejuvenate yourself with - going to yoga, a night out or coffee with friends, the gym, time away from your kids whilst they’re at daycare or school - all gone.
So what happens is that your patience wears thin. And things that you used to be able to navigate fine - behaviours that you could respond to calmly, playfully and gently, start to drive you up the wall
You’re just a bit less gentle, a bit less calm, a bit less responsive.
Which, of course, your children immediately pick up on. They start to feel a bit more stressed - they don’t feel that loving connection as much. They build up in stress when your responses are not so loving.
Which then leads to their behaviour getting worse. Your response becomes harsher. You may start to revert to the old ways of disciplining with Time Outs, rougher responses, shouting.
So then your children are feeling more stressed which affects their behaviour
And then you’re in this escalating cycle that results in more sibling fights, more rude behaviour, more resistance to simple requests, more tantrums. More shouting from you, etc, etc. You get the picture...
It’s annoying! Especially when you reflect on everything you’re doing for your child. The beautiful times you’re giving them. How attentive you were just only yesterday. It’s easy to become resentful and angry, so of course you then feel justified in becoming cross and using punishments when your child won’t just behave or leave you alone whilst you need to do a bit of work.
It’s also easy to blame yourself, to feel that you’re a rubbish mum, you can’t do it, you’re doing it all wrong, it’s all too hard. You feel guilty and possibly shame about it. Which, of course, perpetuates the cycle because your stress increases and you’re more snappy with the kids again.
It’s also easy to blame your children - that they’re too strong willed, rude, defiant. Maybe there’s something wrong with them. When you operate from that place, you’re also feeling stressed and so more likely to be punishy and harsh, because you’re feeling powerless. And the natural responses to feeling harsh is either to admit defeat and give up, or to use force and lash out.
So how do you get out of it? How do you break the cycle?
The good news & bad news is that it’s up to you.
As much as you’d like to, you can’t expect your child to be the one to ’snap out of it’ and suddenly realise the error of their ways and start behaving well again. It has to come from you.
So what can you do?
- realise you’re in this cycle and that you’re feeling overwhelmed & stressed.
- realise that something needs to shift and that it can. This is the time for the 4th component of what I teach in all of my programs & coaching & that’s Parent Support.
YOU need support. It’s not a nice-to-have thing. It’s a necessity. You can’t do all of this on your own.
- Call a friend. You can share as much or as little as feels right - sometimes just the act of calling for a chat can be enough to start to shift things out of your emotional part of the brain back into your rational part. Ideally you want to talk with someone who understands what is really needed in these moments and is comfortable with hearing emotions.
In Aware Parenting / Parenting by Connection, we talk about Listening Partnerships which having someone to work through your emotions with, but just calling a friend for a low grade moan and that can start to help.
I really want you to know and to really hear me when I say that reaching out for support is NOT a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope, or that your children are dreadful, or any of those things. It’s a really smart, intelligent thing to do. It’s what’s needed by EVERYONE. And if EVERYONE did this, life would be much, much better for all families.
When you reach out to a friend, you then give them permission to share what’s really going on with you. Trust is built up and you’ll be surprised just how similar you are, how much they are struggling too, and how beneficial being able to talk freely about what’s really swirling around in your mid is for both of you.
- if you can’t do this, for whatever reason, Patty Wipfler from Hand in Hand Parenting has this brilliant suggestion of, if everything is going wrong and you really don’t know what to do, lie down on the floor. The act of simply lying down on the floor while there is carnage going on around you, totally shifts the energy in you & in the room
When you can shift out of that overwhelming sense of overwhelm, irritation and anxiety, life becomes easier. You’ll be able to respond to your child with a bit more gentleness and patience. Which will help settle your child’s emotional limbic system which will, in turn, automatically start to improve their behaviour. And then you’re in that upward cycle towards more connection & play and better behaviour.
So if you’re wanting more help this lockdown, or with life when it returns to some semblance of normality, that’s what I’m here for! To give you the tools & strategies AND to give you the emotional support you need to be able to actually do all of those strategies.
My exciting collaboration is with my good friend Gemma Keane and together we’ve created The Lockdown Parenting Club. We’ve tailored the strategies I usually teach to how to best manage this Coronavirus lockdown period AND offer you plenty of opportunities to have support - with weekly video Group Coaching sessions and twice weekly morning check-ins so you can start your day on the best footing. You can join from just $11.30 a week - we’ve keep it to be as affordable as possible in these unsettling times. Visit www.parentingwithplay.com.au/lockdown to find out more & to join.
And if you’re listening after the lockdown, still reach out as I have courses, 1:1 consultations available and I’m currently developing an ongoing membership program to support you throughout the year.
Please remember - parenting IS hard work. Parenting in lockdown is unprecedented and is even more hard work. You deserve support, and your families deserves for you to have support. So reach out to whoever you feel comfortable with to get it from.
Get the Support You Need During This Lockdown
You've got a LOT on your plate. Let us help you to make life easier with your kids.
You'll learn strategies & get the support you need which will help right now, and long after the lockdown has ended.