On a good day, motherhood is an exhilarating spiritual journey.
On a bad day it’s an exhausting, frustrating ride where we are tested beyond our limits through sleep deprivation, stress, relationship tension, mastitis and self-doubt.
Mindfulness has been a crucial part of my motherhood survival tool kit, helping me to manage the challenges and be present enough to appreciate the daily magic.
Mindfulness is a training which gives us more capacity for self-awareness, so that we can be present to what’s happening, and respond with greater calm and wisdom.
It’s been a particularly helpful tool for managing tantrums with greater ease. Here’s a few tips on how to mindfully manage a tantrum …
How to mindfully manage a tantrum
When tantrums strike, it’s easy to get triggered and lose your calm. Our children’s cries are designed to set off our inner emotional alarms, to protect them from danger. However, most tantrums are a developmentally normal step which reflects your child’s attempt at asserting themselves and developing greater agency in the world.
To move yourself from stressed and panicking to calm and grounded, first consciously recognise what’s happening and silently label “tantrum” to help you not get lost in the emotional storm. By actively labelling “tantrum” you’ll be activating the higher regions of your brain which allow you to think more clearly, problem solve and stay calm rather than fall into panic.
During a tantrum; you may notice your breath has become restricted or fast as your emotions are triggered. Turn to your breath as a way of anchoring yourself to calm.
While you respond to your child with calming words and full presence; try to slow your breath down and extend out the exhalation which will calm down your nervous system.
It can be easier to get frustrated at your child and at yourself when tantrums happen. So, take a moment when the tantrum has past to remind yourself that this is a normal part of most children’s development.
Remember you are not in this alone. Put your hand on your heart and offer yourself warmth, love and self compassion. You are doing the best you can.
Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can help you bring greater calm, focus and clarity to your daily life. Just 10 minutes a day can improve your sense of wellbeing.