Christmas and New Year are now behind our backs but you can still feel the holiday fever around your kids and your home. All the hustle and bustle of the Christmas decorating, picking presents, packing them, cooking the most delicious meals and entertaining during the cold weather while everyone is at home, should be at its end. Now, you have to throw away the broken packages (don’t forget to recycle whatever is possible), put down the Christmas lights, find a bigger box for the ever-growing number of ornaments for the tree to store for next year, take care of the youngest members of the family and get some rest.
Rest? Crazy thought, right? Tell me about it :) But as far as I know myself and have an idea about the normal human functions (I used to have time for reading books, B.K. - before kids LOL), you are definitely overtired and need some time off.
Mothers are caught in an emotional roller coaster all the time. Finding the balance between kids, partner, family, work, self-improvement and everything else that happens around us, makes us forget about how important is our smile to our children. When you forget to smile, your kids think you don’t love them. It’s a subconscious reaction in their little brains that lights a big red light and makes them nervous. It's a sign that mommy is not happy which means something is wrong.
Make an experiment. Focus on your smile for a week. Try it! I asked a friend that has 4 children to do it for a week. You know, if she can do it with 4 kids, I should definitely be able to do it with 1... We spoke a week later. She told me: “Oh, it was not easy at all. But it works miracles! As soon as I smile, my kids settle down easier and spend more time playing alone or with their siblings”. And there was also a bonus - her partner also said he felt happier during the test week. You know what they say: “Happy wife, happy life”. And it’s said for a reason.
Have you looked at your face in the mirror when you’re angry, mad or irritated? Do you like what you see? Yep, I don’t like it, too. Researchers found that even imitating an emotion can trick our brain to feel it. So every smile counts. Especially, when you smile around your children.
I was attending an interesting seminar lately. The lecturer (Kalbie Hodzheva, owner of www.supermama.bg) made us do a test. I found it very interesting and inspiring, so I am sharing it with you:
1. Take out a pen and paper.
2. Think about the metaphor that describes your life at the moment.
3. Draw this metaphor. Take not more than 2 minutes to draw it. Remember, we will not hang your masterpiece in the Louvre museum, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
4. Using keywords, describe the details that are connected with this metaphor. This will help you get a fuller picture of your life.
Now read what you wrote. Do you like it? And do you know you can live a better life?
Humans can pick the metaphor which describes their life. You can pick another one, a metaphor you like better, which makes you smile more, which makes you happier.
5. Now pick a metaphor you would like your life to be described with.
6. Draw it.
7. Write what you do differently when you live your life through this metaphor: the emotions, the actions, what are you saying to yourself.
8. Compare your two metaphors. How can you make a transition from the first one, which describes your current life to the one, describing the life you want to live?
9. Write the steps you should take that can lead you to the second metaphor. Include small, possible for execution actions you can take towards changing your life.
10. Write the first step you can take today.
Now reflect on what you’ve drawn and wrote. What do you think about this experience? What comparing these metaphors taught you? What will you change to be able to live your life in the way you want?
Remember, the key is in the small changes. It's all about baby steps. And it all starts from you, inside your head.
Here are the steps you should take to end up smiling more and live a better life:
Observe & Reflect
You, as a parent and caregiver, decide on your emotions and attitude. And this is the hardest part, I know. We create our emotions with our thoughts. If you leave yourself in a tornado of dull feelings you will get in a place of self-pity and guilt. That’s why it’s important to know how you feel. That's why it's critical what you decide to feel.
After you realize your feelings, the next thing to do is putting your emotions in control before you react. You can use different ways to calm yourself: meditation, working out, reconnect with nature, etc. Allow yourself to experience these dark feelings, accept them and make room for the smile. It’s hard. But it depends on you. When negativeness hit, try a positive counter strike. Try to remember the last time your child made you smile, or your partner, or how you felt during your last vacation. The more effort you put into thinking about things that make you smile, the more reasons you will find to do it. You will get better with time, I promise!
Leading with a Smile
The skill of realizing and controlling your emotions is not learned in a day. It takes a lifelong to learn. Define your emotions, don’t react when you’re angry, accept yourself and leave with a smile. Then you have made a choice: “I choose to be happy, I choose to smile”.
No matter what’s going on inside us or around us, let’s smile to our little ones. This is the best way to tell them: “I like you. I love you!”. This is the way we change our reality - with every small act, with every smile. Inspire the people around you, your family, your friends - to smile more to their children. And I believe you will live in a better world!
Do you like this article? Do you want to share your test results? I would love to see your metaphors! Let me know in the comment section below!