Your baby is crying…AGAIN. The kids are running through the house pulling out every toy they own…AGAIN. Your toddler dropped his blueberry yogurt on the floor you just cleaned…AGAIN. Your child tripped over air and face planted into the wall… AGAIN. You feel annoyed, frustrated and just plain over these daily – hourly — occurrences.
There are so many great and wonderful moments in parenting, but sometimes it can feel as if life is dealing you more cards than your hand can possibly hold. It’s common during those moments to find yourself overwhelmed, breathless and wondering, “Why me? Can one more thing seriously go wrong right now?!”
Having spent the last seven years as an in-home caregiver to children under the age of 5, I’ve heard myself mumble those exact words more times than I can count. While there is some predictability in knowing every day the little ones will need to eat, go potty or get diapered and sleep, the moments in between those activities will without question vary. I’m sure it was during those times the phrase “the days are long, but the years are short” was coined because you truly never know hour by hour what may happen next.
It was also during those times I heard myself saying, “I NEED A GROWN UP TIME OUT!!”
I realized I didn’t want to feel guilty about how I reacted to the kids when they were simply being kids and behaving the best they knew how, so I looked for ways to respond to them from a place of love and respect. That’s when I discovered the power of breathing and meditation, and it was through an intentional and consistent practice I started giving myself permission to take what I call a grown up “time in” – a “breather.” I learned how to become more deliberate in handling just about every situation that came my way, and the feelings of guilt became fewer and further between.
My “time in” process unfolds like this:
- Whenever I get signals from my body that I may explode, yell, scream, I’ll let the kids know, “Ms. Irene or mommy is going to do a time in.”
- I’ll walk over to the corner of my kitchen counter and take 10 deep belly breaths. This usually takes me about one to two minutes.
- Once the urge to explode subsides I’m able to respond calmly and respectfully to whatever the distressed situation was.
When I was first learning to breathe and meditate, I found myself doing a “time in” every hour just to stay centered and reset. Children and their behaviors fluctuate hourly, so I wanted to make sure I was ready! I was basically front-end loading. I even went as far as playing Anna Nalik’s song “Just Breathe” over and over again as a reminder to do just that – breathe — and that no matter what’s going on in life there’s always hope that joy can be just one breath away.
Life is unpredictable enough as it is, but when you’re aware and intentional with your breathing you’ll be better equipped to respond rather than react. This one seemingly simple act has the power to instantly turn your day around as well as spare everyone around you frustration and tears.
May you be the perfectly imperfect mom you were designed to be and today- JUST BREATHE!
Don’t forget to #JustBreathe and if you liked this article, check out our #ImEnough. in our You Matter Monday series.