The Mess. The Chaos. The Power of Pause

The Mess. The Chaos. The Power of Pause

The Mess. The Chaos. The tearing out of your hair, the constant negative self talk of, “How are my kids going to tick me off today? What’s going to blow today?”Maybe it is the getting out the door that leaves you exhausted and frustrated. Maybe it is bedtime and the constant climbing back out of bed or the constant company you have to keep while you think about the million things you still have yet to do–URGH. Maybe it is your tot or teen’s constant testing and emphatic NO’s or eye rolling or whining and complaining, or sibling fights or hitting or NEVER LISTENING TO YOU.

I want you to know, right now, that you have plenty of company when it comes to the Misery of the Mess. I also want you to know that you CAN feel better. Right now, even. In the midst of it all. Really. Right now stop and breathe. Deeply. Three times, in and out, nice and deep. There…you’ve just created a ***pause*** in the chaos that can make a real and positive difference.

Okay. So now you know you’ve got plenty of company, that this really is part of parenting, that I will venture to say is “normal” whether we like it or not. Now you’ve created a small ***pause*** by breathing. Now what?


Moving through The Mess while keeping your sanity and building on healthy relationships (for isn’t that just what we feel we are ruining as we are caught up in the chaos, succumbing to exhaustion and frustration and fears?)–this is key, moving through it well. Your number one tool is your ability to take care of YOU via pausing, often. Pause looks a lot like self-care–whether it is the 3 deep breaths, the moment you take in the other room, the tea you make for yourself, the step outdoors to get fresh air, the using of the time you wait in your car for your kids to join you to listen to music or the quiet, the quick call to a dear friend or your spouse for encouragement, the self-talk that reflects what you DO want rather than all the things you’d rather not have happen.

This is your number one tool, this pause. With it in place, here are some examples of what can happen:

~Baby screaming and toddler melting down? Now you can calmly and gently place the baby in a safe place, let her know “You will be safe here while I help Brother. When I’m done I will be right back.” And then you can give your full attention to Brother, getting him sorted out or at least give your full presence as he gets his mad out. Then you get to turn your attention back to Baby. One at a time. You might be amazed at how it calms the chaos, slows things down, feels better as you accept the loud and upset and stay present. You are communicating confidence to both your children that they can count on you, that they can manage their feelings, too. It is okay for them to cry. How you respond to it is key.

~Morning routine a total wreck? With your pause in place and a bit more calm leading the way you get to look upon the craziness with a bit of humor…with feeling a bit removed from it all, not taking it so personally. And now maybe it is easier for you to shrug your shoulders as the meltdowns unfold, haul everything and everybody to the car, manage to wrestle ’em all into their seats, then climb into your seat and…breathe once again. You DID it…and with your pause and a sense of calm leading the way, your kids now can count on you to keep it together even when they cannot–what a fabulous way to build trust, to give them the opportunity to be in their meltdowns without YOU taking responsibility for their feelings. They have a chance to own their own feelings…what a respectful gift to them. It’s okay if it was all a wrestling match. Again, how YOU decide to respond to it can communicate trust and confidence and respect–no matter how they decide to behave.

Sometime, it takes a lot of acting-as-if along the way… you can now find yourself saying only once (maybe twice…?) what it is they need to hear, then following through right away with the result of them ignoring you. Calmly. Consistently. Matter-of-factly. Whether it is gently putting away the toy they were so engaged with, removing the privilege of car keys or screen time, saying no to having a friend come over, or being all done with the dinner plate since the food kept landing on the floor.

Calm. Consistent and timely follow through.

This is key for kids to be able to trust that what you say is what you mean and will do. Now there’s a deposit into a healthy relationship–one of integrity.

Now what can be different for you? You are more likely feeling more in control of yourself and a bit less frustrated and overwhelmed. You are keeping the lid on your SELF, more likely influencing your kids to do just a bit better, as well. Things slow down a tad. You can catch your breath. You can sit back and LET your kids experience the result of the choice they make. And it can actually start feeling a whole lot better. Okay, maybe just a little better–but here is the key: WHAT WE FOCUS ON GROWS.

Notice the little iota of change for the better, calmer, healthier. Notice the slight shortening of the meltdown, the way your child ultimately calms themselves, even if it took an hour. Notice YOUR inner sense of control and how it grows. Notice your self-talk and if you find it is focused on just what you don’t want–switch it up. Right now. From, “Oh they are pissing me off!” to “I can breathe through this. They have a lot of energy today. They are really wanting things done their way. I know we can move through this productively.” Or some such switch up to what it is you DO want to see. Your self-talk is powerful and something entirely in your control. Use it.

And know that as you focus on pausing, on leading with calm, on being someone your child can believe and count on, you ARE depositing into a healthy relationship. It just looks messy quite often. So today…embrace The Mess. Plunk yourself into the middle of it with a ***pause*** in place and notice what is different. Notice how your ***pause*** influences YOU, your kids, the situation, the outcome. For it will. And you will feel better.

Here’s to you and The Mess and healthy relationships this week! And a resource that can encourage and empower you along the way:
©2015 Alice Hanscam

photo credit: Mãe e filha via photopin (license)

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Alice is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® with a B.A. in Child Study and a graduate level certification for coaching through the Parent Coaching Institute and Seattle Pacific University. She is a proud mother of two (nearly) grown daughters who are spreading their wings and leaving smiles behind as they go. Click here to purchase Alice's new book: Parenting Inspired: Finding Grace in the Chaos, Confidence in Yourself, and Gentle Joy along the Way

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