We all have had those days that don’t start off the greatest. You’re tired. Something unexpected happened. Or maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You start snapping at your kids. You don’t want to but you can’t seem to help yourself. Everything they’re doing is irritating. Don’t they know you need quiet time and some space?
The little voice inside reminds you that your children are like this every day. It’s you that’s grouchy today and you’re taking it out on them. You want to be a better mom and not yell. Something deep down inside of you wishes you could go back to bed, hit the RESET button and start the day over. Happier. More put together. A better mom.
But you don’t know how.
How to Hit the RESET button and have a Great Day
I’d like to share with you an example of a lovely mother who figured out exactly how to hit the RESET button after her day got off to a rocky start. She has graciously allowed me to share her story. All you need to follow her recipe is a decision to change and a little bit of creativity and imagination.
It was just one of those days. Her son was acting out and she didn’t have the patience for it. She snapped at him, got upset, and reacted to what he was doing. He responded my getting upset with her and resisting her disapproval. He was putting up a good fight!
She’d seen this day before. With the two of them feeding off of each other, this type of back and forth was usually a recipe for a bad day.
She decided this was not how she wanted her day to be. She wanted to have a good day.
Tapping into her imagination, she sat him down for chat.
“If we told a story of our morning, what would it be called?” she asked him.
“Mommy and Luke are Mad at Each Other!” was his response.
They thought about that title and both agreed that this was not the book they wanted to be reading.
They imagined returning this book to the library and checking out a new book. “What’s this book called?” She asked. “Mommy and Luke have a Really Great Day”.
Yes, that sounded like a better book. “How would this book go?” She asked. They began to write the book they wanted to read.
They created the book together, taking turns telling a new, improved version of their day. It was the story of how they wanted their day to go.
It reset their entire day.
Why this Works
- A decision to change – The first step in improving their day was noticing that it is not going how they wanted and deciding to change. This decision to let go of negative emotions was actually a huge shift and essential for improving their day.
- Working together – She involved her son in acknowledging the issue and developing a solution. It was not one sided, nor did it involve blaming each other for how they were feeling. They both took responsibility for their actions. Working together has far greater success than trying to solve the issue individually. It also eliminates the power struggle.
- Working toward a solution – Rather than remaining in their present emotional state they turned and looked toward where they wanted to go. Looking forward toward their desired end goal (a good day) started them on the path to reach that goal.
- Letting go of negative emotion – By using their imagination, they visualized returning their book to the library and getting a new one. In their minds they were letting go of that original story and making a decision to tell a different story. They let go of their negative feelings as they returned that book. Both of them shifted from a negative, reactive state and consciously chose to improve together.
- Becoming the narrator – Telling a story about what’s going on during a negative situation helps to add a little perspective. They were no longer immersed in the situation but rather narrating a scenario between two characters. This simple act, distanced them from the emotions and they were better able to observe what was going on without being as emotionally reactive. As the narrator, they were able to be compassionate towards each character, acknowledge the situation without feeling wronged, and even able to observe it with a bit of humour.
Next time you notice yourself reacting to your child see if you can take a moment to step back and make a conscious decision to change. Tap into your imagination and involve your child in the solution. There’s no wrong answer. No right story.
This is about the two of you working together to make your lives better.
If you don’t get it right the first time then try again. Return the book and start over. Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. Trying to improve will be far better than staying in that emotional reactive state.
I’d love to hear whether this works for you in the comments section below. Good luck!