A Mother's Musings – A note to fellow carers

A Mother's Musings – A note to fellow carers

This year I realised a core truth.

That mothering myself is an important part of being a good parent to my girls.

The more I look after myself, the better parent I can be to Amelie and Maggie, and the more we enjoy an emotionally regulated home.

When one of us is dysregulated, there tends to be a domino effect in the family - even Farley picks up on it! 

Yet, when my girls are upset or frustrated, if I can stay steady and respond (but not react) then the situation de-escalates and resolves much sooner. This parenting skill is especially useful for the teen years.

In order to stay emotionally regulated, I need a self-care routine which nourishes and sustains me. 

So, here is my oxygen-mask-on-first-approach which helps me be a happier, calmer parent. 

Physical regulation: exercise is key, and as regular readers know I practise yoga often (outdoors in summer for maximum benefit), I run, I walk Farley and have taken up cold water swimming which has proven to be life changing, and central to managing the perimenopause. Ringfencing my exercise is crucial or it slides down, and then off, my to-do list. 

Cold water swimming

Mental regulation: journaling & reading provides inspiration. I’m reading The Source, by neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart, who uses science skills to enhance everyday life. I have borrowed a brilliant technique to manifest those things I want to increase in my life. This involves naming my core values and ambitions, then directing my energy toward them. Asking the question – does this fit my goals for 2024? – simplifies the decision-making process, saves time, energy and prevents me going round in circles. If it doesn’t fit my goals, it’s a no.

the source tara swart

Journaling helps me clarify these intentions and will allow me to chart my journey throughout the course of the year. Journaling also provides a judgement-free space where I can defuse difficult feelings so they don’t explode later! I use The Three Question Journal, made in collaboration with Dr Chatterjee. I spend no more than a couple of minutes in the morning and evening completing the three thought provoking questions.

the three question journal dr chatterjee

Time regulation: ironically, I picked up this time-management tip from a speed awareness course I had to do after being caught exceeding the limit when running late for school. Getting immersed in work, losing track of time and then racing to school pick-up (Maggie hates it when I am late) was a regular occurrence. On the course, I learnt to set an alarm to remind me to leave in good time. Now, I get a parking space and use the extra 10 minutes to do a meditation via an app on my phone. This breathing space marks the transition between work and family. As a result, the flustered mother cursing other road users (and herself!) has been replaced by a calm and present parent ready to hear all about Maggie’s school day.

Blood sugar regulation: maintaining steady blood sugar levels improves energy and mood, both for me and my girls. I am on a mission to banish ‘Hanger’ from our house! Small regular portions of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains are the way forward. I have also banned sugar-based cereals and borrowed the recipe for Prep-Ahead Porridge from Healthy Made Simple by Deliciously Ella. Was it a coincidence that after eating this more sustaining breakfast that Amelie reported being able to concentrate at school? 

deliciously ella

Emotional regulation: I consider the art of nesting a life skill. It is so much more than getting cosy under a blanket….it is understanding the core concept of rest and making space for it in your life. Nesting invites you to lower the barriers and take up all the space you need; to accept yourself exactly as you are in that moment. As well as the obvious physical break, nesting offers social rest (perfect for those with low social batteries) it gives sensory rest (perfect for those feeling tired or overwhelmed) and emotional rest (perfect for those feeling in need of respite and renewal). Being able to soothe and reassure yourself is such a rich resource that if I teach my girls to become proficient in anything, it will be in the art of nesting, a skill for life. 

the art of nesting



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