The Mini-Rant: Keep Calm and Carry On

Are you feeling a bit grumbly right now, looking about at a house strewn with holiday decorations, new holiday gifts that don’t have a home yet, the vestiges of company and entertaining, the children running about and no rhythm to speak of going on?

‘Tis the time of year.

Sometimes all of us stop and think and want to whine and  complain:  “But I don’t WANT to be the one to set the tone in my home!  Why can’t it be someone else!”

“Why can’t it be my spouse?”

Well, because if you are mother reading this, you know small children under the age of 9 are rather tied into your energy.

“Why can’t it be grandma?  Grandma lives with us, let it be her to set the tone!  Really!”

Uh, grandma can give you The Wisdom of Tradition, but she has raised her own family and now it is your turn to raise yours.

“Oh, drat.  I know, let the CHILDREN set the tone!  That’ll do it!”

No, really, YOU must do this.  The children cannot do it. You have many more years of living, of experience, of wisdom to guide them.  They are full of emotional excess, of raging willing and feeling.

You must set the tone in your home.  Because you can either set it intentionally or unintentionally.  But you are the one doing it!

I wrote a post about this awhile back in which I likened this to being the Queen of Your Home.  In that post  (http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/19/cultivating-how-to-hold-the-space-the-inner-work-of-advent/)  I said:

“If you were the Queen, you would not be running around like a chicken with your head cut off (my great-grandmother’s saying!), trying to accommodate three or four children’s wishes and desires of any given moment.   Instead, you would be calm and collected.  You would have a kind way but a Queenly Way.  You would probably think before you decreed something, and you probably would not explain the heck out of yourself……

You would not be swept away by the torrents of wee ones’ tantrums and emotion because you would know your number one job would be to hold the balance when your child cannot hold it for themselves.  This does not mean to be an unemotional  rock, but it does mean you can understand how words can be just words, feelings can change on a dime and if you can just hold on, your child will eventually calm down.  You will understand that you are being a rock for your child to hold onto so the torrent of emotion doesn’t escalate for the child.

Again, this does not mean being unfeeling!  You can hold your child, pat your child, move your child, but you may  not fall apart with your child as they fall apart.  You may not unleash your own torrent of emotion on a small child and expect them to not crumple in front of you.  Behavior that is not fabulous in an under-9 child generally needs to be treated in the same ho-hum tone you would use to ask a child to pick up a book off the floor.  Then you can move into having the child FIX his poor action, because the child is a WILLING and DOING being at this point.  He needs to DO to fix it!  But he cannot fix it if he is falling apart and you are falling apart with him!  He is learning, help him!

For children over the age of 9, as Queen you would realize feelings are predominant.  Feelings were also important before, but feelings were more in an undifferentiated kind of state. Now feelings are so specific!  Being Queen, you would be able to hear feelings expressed immaturely ( meaning not always in a way pleasing to the Queen’s ears!) and still be able to be a calm rock with a ho-hum attitude to help the child learn to fix this challenge!   Feelings can be acknowledged without judgment because most of all,  The Queen is a problem-solver, and if she can model being calm, solving the problem, being respectful, then the child will as well!

For children over the age of 14, they are interested in your thoughts, in the nature of constructing an argument, in your thoughts and why you think that and how you got there in your thinking.  It is hard!  Don’t you remember being a teenager?

Barbara Coloroso, in her book, “Kids Are Worth It!  Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline” :  “If you are raising adolescents, you are in a high-risk category for a coronary.  You’re up against someone dealing with a major hormone attack:  feet are too big, hands are too big, bodies are too big or too small, voices are up, voices are down, zits are coming out all over their faces.  They come to the front door, all smiles; two minutes later they are in the bathroom crying.  You ask what happened.  “She used my comb.”  “He wore my shirt.”  “She didn’t call like she said she would.”  Are we going to make it through this?  Yes, but we can’t keep hooking in to our kids’ adrenaline.”

A Queen is the Ultimate Helper, problem-solver, balancer, peacemaker.

Can you be that Queen for a day?”

No, really you must step up, even if you are whining and kicking and complaining and screaming INSIDE and be the one to be calm and carry on!

Smile, you can do this for your family!

Tackle your most important priorities first and do it with a good attitude.  Pray; get your house in order; assess where your children are and  get your plan for parenting and homeschooling in order.

Be the keeper of your time this year, 2011.  Find your values and your priorities and plan your time around those.  Look carefully at commitments outside of your family; look carefully at what nurtures community for your children.

Be calm and carry on!

Many blessings to make 2011 a year of DOING,

Carrie

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23 thoughts on “The Mini-Rant: Keep Calm and Carry On

  1. THANK YOU for the timely reminder to remain calm. My poor 21 month old is in major breakdown mode due to the overstimulation of the past week. My inlaws are here and they just refuse to at least try to continue the rhythm and flow of our normally peaceful home. They bring tons and tons of drama and it has really impacted my poor daughter. I’m ready to go crazy myself but am holding steady for my daughter. No one else can be her rock and boy does she need one! I can’t wait to resume normalcy on Monday. Breathe in….breathe out! Thanks again Carrie and Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what you have in store.

  2. Very timely post Carrie – as usual! My husband and I have been talking about this stuff a lot lately. I’d love to see a “King” post!!! Happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!

  3. Thank you.

    I just happened to pop over to have a read today.. a day when I was feeling a little lost as to where 2001 would take me and this just opened a huge door for me….

    Now I know what I need to do this year to create the life that I want… it’s a little scary and it will involve some hard decisions and I may be whining and kicking a little along the way but I am stepping up and giving it a go (and of course I’ll blog about it too!)

  4. yes it is my motto so far- kinda – its the year of compassion, kindness and love. The year were I MUST keep awareness in the forefront and think before I action anything. Say a little prayer now and then for me :) its the biggest challenge for me but I either start from here or I never get to my goal for the family

  5. Hi Carrie

    I do feel less grumpy this year as I have done in years past. We have scaled down our celebrations and spend a lot of time outside – there are advantage in having a Summer Christmas! And the children have had such a lovely time.

    I have been mindful to set the tone of our home, taken your advise from the post you mentioned as well as your post regarding kindness in your home. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog.

    Best wishes and keep warm

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but I have never commented before. It’s been a great resource for me, and this post is very timely, as I have 3 kids almost 8 and under, and they are all out of sorts because of being off of our routine. I have a question: I went back and read the post that you went to about being the Queen and I was wondering how can I learn to be the “rock” that supports my kids when they are getting swept away in their emotions? Right now, I tend to overreact and get upset too, and I hate it. I know it doesn’t help them, and it upsets my almost 8 year old when I get upset too. Can you recommend some resources for learning to keep mommy emotions in check and how to be a rock? Thank you!

    • Hi Two Chicks and a Hen,
      Yes, in some ways easier because there is only you and no spouse to have to discuss and negotiate with and get on the same page with, and in some ways harder because you are the only one….:)
      Many blessings and thank you for reading,
      Carrie

  7. ah yes… just put all the decorations away yesterday and took the visiting family to the airport. i’m almost grateful for my little one’s cold that came on last night because it is keeping him resting while i put things back in order. i like the queen analogy because it makes me feel like only i can do this job which it does seem to be true. it doesn’t come as easy to my husband to stay calm in the face of our son’s emotional outbursts. i’m always telling him to stay calm. i always tell him, “be the buddha” when dealing with our son’s not so nice behavior.

  8. Kathy and Lura, I am with you! How how how? I know it takes work to change and time. Carrie, I love your blog and you inspire me to be a better parent everyday. This as so many of your posts was so timely!

    I just yelled at my 6 1/2 yr old. We were cleaning up all the decorations and I had said her and her 2 yr old sister could have a cookie. While I was picking things up, they were getting other stuff out. Then the 2 yr old poured her milk all over the floor, just stood there with it dripping out. While I was running to get the towel to clean it up, my poor sweet 6 yr old said: I am ready for my cookie. Ugh. I yelled: ME TOO, BUT YOUR SISTER JUST POURED MILK ALL OVER THE FLOOR!

    Trying to be better……

    Really though, any tips, for a totally unorganized person to get a rythym going? Note cards to begin with, like Fly Lady suggests?

    • Stephanie, The next post is for you! Be easy with yourself, forgive yourself, we have ALL had less than perfect moments. Sometimes perfection is not in the destination, but in the striving. You will become the parent you want to be because you are determined!
      Many blessings,
      Carrie

    • Stephanie, == Did any of the back posts on rhythm help you? If you plug in rhythm into the search engine on this blog, many posts regarding rhythm should come up.
      Many blessings,
      Carrie

  9. Thank you Carrie! I’ve been reading but haven’t commented before. This is just what I need for the new year. I so appreciate your encouragement and reminders that no one is perfect. . . it’s a journey! I can’t wait to read your next post for some “how” tips. My girls deserve a calm, rock of a parent and I have such a HARD time being that but you sure are helping me! Thanks again!!

  10. Pingback: I will be Queen! | picklebums.com

  11. Pingback: Watch Your Tone.

  12. Pingback: 31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nineteen | The Parenting Passageway

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