Picture It: Monday, 7:30 a.m. You’re wrestling with your toddler to get his jacket, shoes, hat, and mittens on while keeping a close eye on the clock. You know that if you’re not out the door in precisely two minutes, you’ll miss your train. And you still need to drop the little one off at daycare. Then it happens: full-blown tantrum because you didn’t let your three-year-old push the button to open the garage. Everything in you wants to maintain your composure and sanity, but really you’re losing it inside. You power through and miraculously somehow still manage to catch your train, but it’s not your finest moment.
With the whole escapade behind you, you settle into your commuter car and begin to scroll social media. Messages of positivity and gratefulness fill your feed by well-meaning and seemingly put-together mamas. The guilt starts to creep in.
Your toddler is supposed to throw tantrums, he’s three. But you’re supposed to keep it together-you’re 3$! It seems so easy to armchair quarterback the morning now that you’re removed from it. But why oh why is it so hard to always remain calm, cool, and collected IN THE MOMENT?!?
I consider myself a positive person. Definitely a glass-half-full type of gal. Heck, I even take a yearly meditation retreat and religiously scribble in my gratitude journal. So why do I have such a hard time remaining all-positive all-day? Life. That’s why. Toddlers. That’s why. Work commitments. That’s why. The truth of it is, life can be stressful, and it’s ok to have a human experience that isn’t all rainbow unicorns and sunshine. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.
There’s so much pressure on us mamas to do it all with a smile on our face that when we falter and gasp, act like humans, there’s no bigger judge than the girl starring back at you in the mirror. I found kicking myself for not being positive in every single circumstance wasn’t helpful, self-serving, or, well, positive!
So here’s what I’ve been practicing instead. When I’m at my breaking point, I switch the internal dialog in my head from “remain positive” to “you’re stronger than this moment.” To me, this is a much more actionable phrase. I’ve been through some pretty tough situations in life, and I pride myself on my resiliency and courage. Mentally chanting “you’re stronger than this moment” immediately brings my subconsciousness to a place of control. I’ve got this. I can handle this tantrum, and even if I can’t, I’m stronger than this moment of weakness.
So mamas, don’t let your judgment of your reactions to the tough moments break you. Once you realize you’re stronger than all of that, you’ll be able to keep calm (or not) and carry on.