Dear Dr. Norquist:
I’m very frustrated and angry with myself. I’m trying my best to be the best mom I can be, but a lot every day I find myself irritated and impatient with my kids. They are only 3 and 4 years old and are good kids for the most part. It’s just that they always want my attention and sometimes its too much for me – I end up in a pissy mood. My mom was a yeller and I don’t want to end up yelling at my kids. What can I do to stop being so irritable with my kids? I want to spend more time enjoying just being with them.
Dr. Norquist responds:
A kind attitude toward yourself will go a long way here. Self-blame only burdens you in your attempts to create a more light-hearted experience with your children. Can you imagine feeling friendly towards your ‘irritable mood’? It’s a passing state, a wave of emotion that rises and falls. The more you can keep from attaching yourself to it, the more quickly it will pass. Judgment glues you to this uncomfortable, irritating state. A gentle, friendly, accepting attitude allows it to dissipate more quickly. It is human to experience frustration and irritation in mothering. If you practice noting this emotional wave, and then letting it go, you can more easily rediscover the lightness of heart that can make being with your children so delicious and so satisfying.
Young children live in the experience of the moment. They are able to ‘be’ with what they are feeling, hearing, seeing, sensing, and experiencing. Adults tend to be more in their heads, thinking of all that needs to be done, aware of the passage of time. If you can learn to shift into the timelessness of the moment, you will be able to be with your children in a more connected and more satisfying way. Of course, you will still have your adult responsibilities to heed but learning to shift into that being-with-the-moment state with your children whenever possible (even for a few moments at a time) can make a big difference.
Try to experience the world as they do, through their bodies and their senses, and in the present moment. The more you practice this, the easier it will be to find a place where you can really enjoy just being with your children.
Check out Dr. Norquist’s new blog GrowingThroughParenting.com
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanyacounseling.com or by e-mail at email@example.com. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. Ó 2019 Chaitanya Counseling Services