Have you ever lost your cool with your kids…
If you nodding your head agreement, or your hand has shot straight up in the air, you better believe I am right there with ya.
More times than not I am the one who needs the reminder to chill. Even though in the heat of the moment it never seems very helpful, when I am able to sit with and reflect on the events that had previously unfolded that made me loos my cool in the first place, I know that a calmer more grounded version of myself would have benefited everyone involved.
I’m never proud of those moments I loose it, because I know I’m a better parent and we all thrive when I keep my cool. Raising my voice gives me the polar opposite of that wonderful feeling I get when I manage to resolve a situation through a calm, rational analysis of the problem, followed up by a few suggestions on how to solve it. My children quickly settle down and start considering the potential solutions I’ve offered, and before you know it, the situation is completely under control.
Aren’t those moments just the best? Isn’t that just the hole-in-one of parenting?
There’s a lot to be said for keeping calm around our children.
A 2014 study in Psychological Science, conducted jointly between researchers from the
University of California, San Francisco, and New York University, separated mothers and their
infants for a brief period of time, then exposed the mothers to some mild negative stressors.
Upon being reunited with their babies, the infants embodied the same negative stress their
mothers had experienced. It’s not known exactly how those emotions were transferred, but even
without being exposed to the stressor itself, the infants sensed that their mother was stressed
and emulated those emotions.
Another study from the University of California, Riverside, showed that parents who remained
calm while helping their kids undertake a frustrating laboratory challenge helped their kids to
stay calm and focused as well.
So what does that mean in layman’s terms? It means that whether you’re stressed or calm,
you’re probably passing those feelings onto your little one. Your emotions are, quite literally,
contagious. Which if you ask me, can be pretty amazing. You have the power within you without even saying a word to change, and diffuse any situation by simply setting new intentions.
Stress is a natural part of a parent’s life.
There’s no avoiding it. THOSE DAYS are going to happen now and again. Please don’t beat yourself up about those moments, as they are wonderful tools for learning and growth. You are not alone.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either in the midst of teaching your little one to sleep
through the night, or you’re thinking about getting started. If that’s the case, it’s a good bet
you’re already sleep-deprived yourself. When we’re not getting enough sleep, we’re short-
tempered, easily agitated, and more likely to raise our voices and give in to feelings of
frustration. In other words, we’re likely to be a little bit stressed out, and as we’ve seen, that stress permeates our kids, which stresses them out. This increases cortisol production, and there
you have it. We’ve barely gotten started and we’re already throwing up obstacles.
It’s not going to be easy, but before you even start the process of teaching your baby to fall
asleep independently, I recommend you get yourself into a head-space where you commit to
yourself that, no matter how tough things get, you’re going to try your absolute hardest to stay
calm. Practice some deep breathing exercises, meditate, do a little yoga, and anything else you
can think of to put you into a calm, tolerant, accepting state of mind.
If you’re working with a partner, I suggest you do all of this together and discuss ahead of time
who’s taking what shift so there’s no arguing during the night. And remember, if things go as expected, most babies start showing huge improvement by around night three, so relief is just
on the other side of that hill.
The dust will settle and your little one will start sleeping through the night. If you managed to
get through the process without giving in to feelings of frustration and guilt, you’re not just going
to feel like you hit a hole-in-one. You’re going to feel like you just won the World Parenting
Championship. You’ll feel like the undisputed heavyweight champion of motherhood.
Sleep-filled nights are right around the corner, mama!