Mommy Mantras are phrases you can say in your head, or out loud if you need to, during those trying moments of mothering. They act to empower you, revive you, and remind you that there is always another way to see your situation. Buddhist-inspired and psychologically grounded, these snippets of wisdom come through entertaining and universal stories of unpredictable life with children.
Here are a few examples of how a mantra can help you control your reactions to those mothering circumstances largely out of your control:
When it seems like everyone else's children are better behaved (and doesn’t it always feel that way?), you can remind yourself to narrow your focus, or stop comparing your children to others, which is only bound to make you miserable.
When the monotony of caring for a toddler gets to you, remembering to surrender to the goat , as one mother did when her son insisted on feeding the same goat at the petting zoo every day, for hours, will help you recognize the importance of being in the moment, and will help you endure and even enjoy the sometimes tedious routines.
When you begin to resent that you do more housework than your spouse, despite your best intentions and all the nagging in the world, you can learn to ignore the score , or let go of keeping track, which can become an unhealthy (and unhelpful) obsession.
When your mantras seem to fail you, you can always remind yourself that I am not Buddha . Motherhood is not something we can master. We can only try to be more mindful. Even so, some days are harder than others. Mantras are the deceptively simple words we can use to diffuse stress and choose appropriate, constructive behavior so we can recognize ourselves, find our center and be more mindful and compassionate mothers.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: Mommy Mantras|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Broadway Books|
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Until I had children, I didn't think I had a temper. Any kind of temper. Pestilence, minor car collisions, my groceries put into someone else's cart after I paid for them, were met with an almost beatific composure. Having kids opened me up to a whole new side of myself. Buckling three uncooperative passengers in car seats when it is 105 degrees and watching them unbuckle "just to get something" can unglue a saint. This is especially true when you're already very late to go somewhere that is guaranteed to be equally unpleasant (e.g., dentist, doctor, town pool, grocery store).
Anger is the emotion that is most likely to "hijack" us, causing our reactions to be extreme and potentially harmful to our children. According to Daniel Goleman, anger is the emotion we have the hardest time controlling. In his book Emotional Intelligence, Goleman refers to our propensity to react hastily and "sloppily" when we're emotionally overstimulated as a "neural hijacking." This occurs when the amygdala, the brain structure responsible for processing and regulating emotions, becomes flooded and we explode with rage. This old neural circuitry, literally hardwiring us to act before we think, had its merits in the days when mere seconds in our reaction time determined our survival. Even though we rarely need to jump-start our bodies into action before sifting through the consequences, we often find ourselves "hijacked" by our anger. Unfortunately, these are the reactions we regret, the moments we wish we could do over or respond to differently.
Recently I was with one of my best friends, Lydia, right after