Happy New Year Moms! Here’s to a year of navigating the complicated terrains of our lives, managing our children’s emotions while we manage our own, and staying sane, happy, and healthy while learning to thrive and teach our kids to do the same. It’s been a rough two weeks for me with Michael at home. I feel like I’ve been living with two children, one mature beyond his years telling me “calm down Mommy, it’ll be ok” when I have stressed over party preparations or spilled something in a hurry while going to work, to a second child younger beyond his years crying, throwing tantrums to get attention, and expressing fears of the dark and sleeping alone, something a much younger child usually grapples with. Through it all, I have been , well human. I have done well sometimes in navigating these tricky emotional matters, and at other times, I have yelled, stormed out of the house, and taken a few walks around the block, using one of my ‘calm corners’ to get myself emotionally in check before I show a healthy example of coping with frustration, anger, and stress to Michael. One of the strategies I like to use is something I read about in an excellent book called “The Sensory Child Gets Organized” by Carole Dagliesh. It is the concept of “The Calm Box”, a place where the child can go and organize, calm down and collect him/herself before telling the parent what is wrong. I liked this so much, that recently I have devised my own “Mommy’s Calm Corner” or “Box” where I go to do the same so I can present a picture of calm and collected maturity to my son (or at least a reasonable fascimile):.) What “Calm Corners” (and yes I have several) do I use? And no, it does not entail alcohol ladies. 🙂 It was tempting to include it, but remember, these are healthy choices. Without further ado, here they are:
Joanne’s 5 Calm Corner Places (Places Where A Mom can safely decompress, recharge and go back to face the music of life):
1. The family bathroom that has a lock on the door. Why? Because there is a lock and I can TRULY be alone for as long as I need to think, cry, rage or do all three. There are also magazines in there, my favorites are Oprah, Today’s Parent and Montreal Families.
2. My car. It’s the best place as it’s outside and private. I can cry, rage and think in total peace, without having the guilt of little ears hearing me cry or rage. Also good, as if I want, I can go for a short drive to the local coffee shop, and after assuring husband that I have not defected for good by text, I can enjoy a nice cup of coffee in anonymity and comfort. Ah, those moccacinos have been worth their weight in gold at those times.. 🙂
3. A walk around the block. This one works when I am too mad to cry, in BIG need of exercise (I’ve used this a few times this holiday season), and want total peace and quiet while being in motion. Most joggers and dog walkers are respectful and don’t engage in long conversations, so I can think through things really well.
4. Close the bedroom door and take a magazine or poetry book to read in bed. This works when I am only emotionally exhausted, and have not had a tearful or big argument with Michael. He and my husband understand now (though it took some time to explain to Michael), that Mommy needs time alone to relax. I have also done more meditation, yoga and prayer when in the room.
5. Writing. Usually I write in my office on my computer if it’s a short story or a novel, but if it’s poetry, I have done this in the living room coach with my poetry journal, and occasionally jazz music playing. Again, this is when I simply need a short break.
We all need to find what works for us. Remember, you’re human, and the sooner you show your child that you have meltdown moments too and that it is ok, the better and more balanced you’ll both feel for it. Until next time! xoxo.
P.S. Here’s a great site to check out about Calm Corners: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Calming-Down-Corner