We need to be the eye of the storm for our children

This time of year in Australia we experience a lot of storms.  They can bring so much chaos and devastation but at the centre of all this mayhem, the eye of the storm is extremely calm.  As parents we have all experienced days (or sometimes longer) when we feel like we are in a constant state of chaos, just like a storm.

We all start off our day with the best intentions to remain calm and happy but some days just seem to have one event after the other that compound upon each other until we find ourselves at boiling point. Have you ever had one of those days where it seems everyone got up on the wrong side of the bed?  The morning goes horribly wrong with siblings fighting; everything you say is met with resistance and no one seems capable of following simple instructions.  It is time to leave the house but the kids don’t have their shoes and socks on, their hair hasn’t been brushed, teeth are not cleaned and the house looks like a bomb has gone off.  The day continues on in the same vain and if you have managed to hold it together through all of this by the time evening comes you have reached your limit and explode.

Even the most calm and relaxed parents have experienced moments where their child or children have pushed them to their absolute limit. Later that night when the kids are tucked up in bed sleeping peacefully the issues don’t seem as big as they did during the day.  As you replay the events to your partner it almost sounds ridiculous that you got so worked up. 

Last week I was so incredibly lucky to be able to spend a day cuddling my friend’s newborn baby boy.  Seeing my friend filled with pure joy and happiness reminded me of the blissful moment most of us experience as a mother straight after giving birth.  All the discomfort of pregnancy and the worry of whether the baby will be born healthy have slipped away and we are filled with wonderfully relaxing endorphins.  I watched as her other young children jumped excitedly on her bed while she sat unable to move after just having had a caesarean.  I noticed how they all responded positively when she calmly and slowly mentioned that her tummy was a bit sore so they would need to be gentle. This reminded me of how quickly we are to raise our voices or speak fast when we are worried or upset with our children and how well they do actually respond when we speak calmly and slowly.  

There are so many tips on the internet for how to be a calm parent.  However, I have found that when I am not truly calm within myself, when I eventually do react to an incident all the feelings I had held in come exploding out.  So how can we as mothers continue to release those calming endorphins experienced after childbirth on a daily basis as our children grow so that we can remain as genuinely calm as possible in our parenting and our lives? 

  • Exercise- One great way to release endorphins is to exercise, anything from a fast paced walk to playing sport, swimming, running or playing a game of tag in the backyard with your children.
  • Meditation- Finding time to meditate or be mindful and grateful for what you do have is powerful, especially when life is challenging.
  • Eating well- As hard as it can be when you are time poor and stressed from life, eating well nourishes your body.This helps you to perform optimally and may also positively affect your emotions. 
  • Laughter - The easiest most fun way to release happy endorphins is to laugh. Laughing lifts your spirits and helps to release tension.  Sometimes when things are not going well in my day I try and imagine that I am telling my kids about this day in the future and that we are laughing about it together. 

You will have bad days and sometimes you won’t be the perfect mother that you thought you would be. However, there are simple ways to release calming, happy endorphins, which will help us to be the eye of the storm for our children when their world feels out of control.

Written by 

Jo Larcom 
Counsellor & Author of 'Ben's School Daze'
Owner Motherhood & You
Co-Director Magnetic Moves



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