I do my best to be aware of my reactions to keep them coming from a place of connection and love but when life throws down a long string of stressful events I can get off my game and revert to patterns learned I’ve long let go of. Many of my examples fall around food prep and house keeping. Storming around deep in martyrdom proclaiming we would be over run by nasty disease and rodents if it weren’t for my efforts to keep this place slightly above pig stye. Or snapping at the child who gently reminds me that he prefers the meat on top and cheese underneath when preparing his favorite snack.
When I hear these words spilling out of my mouth, I know it’s time to check myself. Likely, I need to take a nap or a walk or a deep deep breath. But on the wider front I need to turn around and reframe the language that is running my internal dialogue. My beautiful friend Renee Cabatic gave a talk at a recent conference all about language and how the words we are using can shape our experience. It was a great refresher for me. Especially in my meltdown moments.
It is TRUE that I do NOT HAVE to do ALL the cleaning. Dishes piling in the kitchen are not killing or harming anyone. And if left there will eventually get clean. By someone how chooses to head in there and make space for a meal they’d like to make. Or by a well meaning child who remembers in the back of their mind how much their mom loves the dishwasher to be unloaded and simply does it to surprise her (true story and yes I did cry). So I change the story in my head, the ranting and raving one to remind me, I am choosing to provide a safe space for my family to grow and explore in. Oh and that a lot of the time that looks like total chaos. Refer to this post for more on that.
Wider though than how the language I am choosing impacts my experience, is how this reflects on my children. If I am storming around the house complaining about having to pick up clothing, make meals, tend to the day to day ness of life, on some level I am sending my children the message that they are in my way. They are troublesome, messy, needy etc. While simultaneously setting the tone for the inner voice that is likely to chatter away at them for years to come. When that reality check smacks me up side the head I instantly want to clean up my attitude.
Seriously, my children are not a burden. I brought them in to this world. They showed up filled with nothing more than unconditional love for me and I want them to grow on that foundation. I want them to feel welcome in this family. I want them to hear from me, in tone, body language and actual words that they matter are valued and that caring for them is something I do from a place of love. I want the voice they carry out of this house in their heads to be one that is encouraging, positive and ready for adventure (perhaps also with a side of sassy cause that’s just fun).
So I write this, here in black and white as a reminder to myself that I am not here to be a martyr, I am here to be mother. A mother, blessed with healthy, alive children who truly want nothing more than to love me back.
Dear Shannon, What a brave heart you are to share with such honesty and love. I can relate to the martyrdom and times getting lost in overload. How wonderful to be able to process it all and return to a place of gratitude and love.
What a wonderful reminder as lately I have been struggling with this. Not my best moments and thankfully a reminder like this helps me swim out of a place of martyrdom and into a place of joyful mothering. Thank you for the support!