Tag: parenting mantras

Resistance is futile.

Our refrigerator door has a feature in which a tight seal is activated each time you close the door. Once you shut it, it takes a few seconds, maybe 3 or 4, for the seal to loosen enough to open the door again. So if you  try immediately, it is difficult to pull. There is resistance.

It used to bug me this feature. I occasionally even exclaimed out loud a rather inappropriate epithet, followed by a frustrated sigh. To a refrigerator door. For a delay of possibly 2 seconds of time.

Then one day when all was calm and the seal had activated as I was putting away groceries, I just stood there, hand on the handle, and took a big deep belly breath. In, down, out. In the time it took to take that breath, the seal released its vulcan grip, and I easily, effortlessly opened the door. AND had the benefits that a deep breath can bring.

Simple as that. What was frustration, was now benefit. What was blood-pressure-raising, was now calming. And at the risk of sounding all spiritually haughty, what was resistance, was now empowerment.

All day I looked for more chances to turn frustration around. And I didn’t have to look too far. Each time I came across the little things that aggravate like red lights and toothpaste on the counter and socks on the living room floor, I froze. And took a breath. The things that are so momentary and so minuscule really, but became monumental in the way I let them impact me. And all day I used those frustrations as a reminder to take a deep breath.

Now it’s my sometimes mantra. FREEZE! Take a breath. Feel better.

Because really, though I long to remember these mantras of mine ALL the time, I am human and it is only sometimes I am wise.

I am grateful when I do remember, and even a tiny bit grateful for these little frustrations now that I know I can use them to my advantage.

Because believe me, living in a house with 4 other humans,  those little frustrations aren’t going anywhere and I am breathing deeply all day long. When I am not shouting inappropriate epithets that is.


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“This is supposed to be fun.”

Those were the words uttered to me a couple weeks ago by my 11 year old as we were shopping for ingredients for her birthday dinner. Just the two of us at the grocery store, which might not seem like a big deal to some, but when you’re 3rd of 4 children, actually it is. And when it’s your birthday weekend ESPECIALLY it is.

So we’re in the store, just the two of us, and I am feeling pretty stressed out. We had just moved about a week prior and there was lots ot do to prepare and adjust and organize AND I had a lot of writing work on my plate that week and, I had a birthday dinner to make. Which isn’t really that much more work than just making a regular dinner but in my head I was letting it swirl as monumental. And I was being cranky and short-tempered and admittedly slightly martyr-ish and worse, I was rushing her through this ritual she had been counting on all week.

About halfway down one aisle she started crying. I looked over slightly surprised by her tears, put my arm around her shoulders and asked sympathetically, “What’s wrong?”

Without any hesitation she answered, “This is supposed to be fun. And you’re ruining it because you’re so stressed.” And she was right.

And I realized in that moment that regardless of what else was on my plate, or of what needed to be done, at that moment in time I was there, with her, in the store, getting the stuff we needed for her dinner. And my crankiness and rushingness wasn’t going to change anything at all about what I had to do or what I had been through. All it was doing was making this task miserable.

So I hugged her again. Took a deep breath. And said, “You’re right. I’m sorry. Let’s have fun.”

And we did.

For the rest of the outing, the shop, the meal making, we had a really good time. It was really as simple as making a decision to have a good time. To not worry about all the stuff that needed doing, because I wasn’t going to be doing it anyway, and worrying and stressing about it wasn’t going to make any of it any easier or make it go away,  so in that moment of time, why NOT choose fun.

And since that outing just a few weeks ago, that phrase has become one of my (many) mantras…”This is supposed to be fun.”

It’s a reminder I say out loud and to myself. And though some may argue that it’s not as simple as that, really, most times it is. It’s as simple as shifting my attitude and deciding to have a good time at that moment in time, with the task at hand and the people I am with.

I might just have to etch that one in over the front door – going in and out…This is supposed to be fun*.


*I actually got a chance to talk about this and other attitude shifting ideas, with Carrie Contey as part of her virtual conference entitled, “Your Extraordinary Family Life.” Check it out if you have a chance, there was some really great stuff being said!



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Can I get a mantra?

Do you have a mantra in your parenting? In your life? I love a good mantra and I love my ongoing litany of ever changing mantras to suit my situation and my needs – both of which are also ever changing of course. The mantra provides the pause before the response. A mantra serves as a tool to guide my reaction and help me more consciously choose my path.

Sometimes my mantra has to do with how I meet those around me – especially my children.  One of my ongoing ones is I am me and he is he and she is she. It’s a statement that helps me move with their energy or their emotional experience without putting all my own memory of that age upon them. For memory is a tricky thing and it can be confusing sometimes to know whether an experience is theirs or mine.  It also helps me meet them without worrying that I won’t be able to meet them where they need to be met. Of course, I can only meet them as I am, so this mantra lets me be present without worrying that I have to always have all the answers or the fixes. Really all I’ve got to offer is me. Right now for example.Much as I’d like to think differently.

In going through my sister’s notes and journals I have found another which helps me keep from spiraling into the past wondering what-if or speculating into the future about what might be: I am here and I am now and I am whole within me. And that’s all I’ve got. Right here. Right now. And with my whole self. There are no pieces missing. Sure there is the feeling of missing someone or something, but that is just a feeling and as I am, I am whole – with that person tucked right into my very existence. And right here and right now is all I can really tend to. Sure we can plan but as life sometimes demonstrates, plans are not often what we think they’ll be and when we get anywhere, all we have is here and now and our whole selves. Sure we can look back and remember, for memories are part of our wholeness. But as for life and dealing with it and not letting it overwhelm or confound: I am here and I am now and I am whole within me.

Do you have a mantra? Something you use to carry you through your days? Something to serve as a reminder of your soul’s purpose? I’ve got many. Everchanging. I’d love to hear yours.

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