Let me set the all too familiar scene for you. You pour your morning cup of joe to a shrilling baby, an even louder barking dog, and dishes piled up in the sink. You notice at this point that your patience is quickly dwindling like a lit firecracker. When all of a sudden, you have a spark of empowerment as you think, “I can do this,” and take a sip of your bold, delicious coffee. Then you put your mug down, and it automatically goes back to your very loud and overwhelming reality.
You may wonder how to continue feeling empowered, even when life feels unruly and honestly not very calm. Any screaming child can make you question this. However, remember you are a strong parent whose child looks up to you for your strength and wisdom. And they can sense your fear . . . just like a dog, but less furry, yet also very cute.
Using Mantras to Get You Through the Day
Using mantras or affirmations can help when you need an extra boost. All you need to do is choose a mantra and repeat it to yourself as many times as you need. Repeating a mantra can change your viewpoint on something impacting your life, making you have an adverse reaction and feel a negative emotion. One way of utilizing mantras during the day is to use them while practicing deep breathing to incorporate some extra soothing.
Let’s say you’ve been awake all night with your baby, who won’t fall asleep. You may be on the verge of tears, pulling your hair out, about to scream, or all of the above. To help stay afloat, repeat this mantra to yourself, “I am doing my best right now with the circumstances I am in.”
A calming way to incorporate your breath and this mantra is to inhale for four counts and say to yourself, “I am doing my best right now,” and exhale for six counts, and say, “with the circumstances, I am in.” Repeat this sequence as often as you would like. You are becoming more present and patient each time you practice this mantra.
Being as Calm as a River
We all know the dreaded moment when your child throws a tantrum in the middle of a store or a restaurant. You might feel a wave of emotions when something like this occurs. Something like this can be awkward, embarrassing, and/or frustrating, amongst other emotions.
A powerful mantra to help get you through a moment like this is, “I am calm as a river. I go with the flow.” To practice the mantra with soothing breaths, try square breathing: inhale for four counts and say to yourself, “I am calm as a river,” hold your breath for four counts, exhale for four counts and say, “I go with the flow,” and then hold for four counts again.
My son, Milo, was born in October 2021 and is a pandemic baby, so we don’t go out all that often. However, my husband and I love a good beer while sitting outside. One day, we met friends at a brewery when Milo was about a month old. Milo had taken a massive poop while we were enjoying our beers, and we had to change him on a picnic table. My friend mentioned how calm I was, and if it were her, she would be “freaking out.”
Little did she know, on the inside, I was freaking out! It was the first time we took Milo anywhere, and he pooped everywhere. As I was cleaning him up, I kept repeating to myself (in my head, of course), “I am cool as a cucumber.” It was a mantra that made me smile a little bit but reminded me that I could keep calm in a time of embarrassment. I would have done a breathing exercise with it, but I was holding my nose due to the stench!
Get Rid of the Mom Guilt
We know that we can be very hard on ourselves. Sometimes reminding ourselves that we are human can be powerful in itself. When we have guilt about becoming angry or upset and yelling at our children, remember this mantra, “I am human.” Give yourself some credit. Again, you are doing the best with what you are given. We all make mistakes.
This is a great teachable lesson for our kids. You can explain to your children that you made a mistake when you yelled at them and why you became angry or upset. Then after you explain yourself, you can empower them by repeating a mantra such as, “You are loved.”
Some other good mantras for children (and parents) to repeat are:
- “You are safe,” or “I am safe.”
- “You are important,” or “I am important.”
- “You are strong and determined,” or “I am strong and determined.”
- “You are able,” or “I am able.”
Kick Resentment to the Door
Sometimes as parents, we become resentful of each other for various reasons. After Milo was born and I was at home with Milo, I noticed myself becoming resentful towards my husband, Bryan. He was in and out of the house working—not to mention speaking to other adults daily. Talking to adults seemed like a foreign concept to me, as I was singing nursery rhymes while holding a screaming baby. I needed to remind myself that Bryan had been fabulous, and I’m fortunate to have him. I used the mantra, “Our love is stronger than this feeling of resentment.” I wrote it in my agenda book and often looked at it, especially when I felt resentful. Soon the mantra changed and became, “Our love is strong,” and I have been repeating that mantra ever since.
How to Embrace Empowerment
Despite the situation, having an empowering mantra at your fingertips can be a handy route through rough times. Doing a breathing exercise and repeating a mantra can help in specific situations. For every day, feel-good mantras, write down a mantra and look at it throughout the day. You could put the mantra somewhere that you often see, such as making it the background of your phone or on a post-it on your bathroom mirror. Jotting down a mantra can help you visualize it. Taking a peek at it often throughout your day can help you believe it.
Next time you feel that familiar wave of emotions, take a step back. Give yourself some metaphorical space to find some handy mantras to help you push forward. Remember, you are going to get through this!