“What should I do when I just feel keyed up from my child’s moods, voice, even touch.” (Mother of 10 years)
Sometimes it feels impossible to act the way we know we should. With all the information on empathy, with the inevitable truth that life is short and we should treasure each moment – how come week after week we make what we call “parenting mistakes.” We find ourselves, raising our voices, treating our children in a way we wish they would not copy, and even just feeling like we want a break.
This Thanksgiving, I wanted to reflect on the Thankful Mood. A way to give permission to be human. A way to accept that our moods are just a moment of movement not a mistake.
I introduced Samantha to it just this past week. A mother of 3, she was feeling drained by her moods – how her children lay with her in the morning and don’t stop moving, how they switch from happy to irritable in seconds. Those funny scenes replayed in our discussion “There I was yelling at my child to stop yelling…oops,” she said.
So, together we started to access the moments when she feels keyed up. Identifying not just with words but where in her body she feels the immediate sensation. She describes it and moves like a clawing of her skin, a heat, and tension in her fingers. I could sense a tightening of her stomach and an empty feeling in her gut. Tracing the sensations, she was left feeling depleted.
So, we again used our movements and body sensations to fill her up with thankful moods. A thankful mood is the way of identifying that the mood is just movements in our body; tensing, releasing, temperatures, sensations. She could recognize parts of her body that were overcome by the feelings and other places that felt completely whole.
Spending time with her feelings on a body level allowed her to recognize them the moment they arrived. She would look with her eyes to her arms, she would shake them out and even bring attention to her movements “hey, girls look what I can do,” she exclaimed as she wiggled out her discomfort. She omitted words like “stop” and “leave me alone” and instead shared with her daughters her feeling and joined in moving her tension out together with them. She was no longer judging her mood but thankful for its message and its reminder – her mood told her she did need a break, that she could communicate effectively to her daughters, or she could relate to them – “you feel annoyed and I do too – we have feelings.” vs. “we are our feelings, we are bad.”
What mood are you thankful for this holiday month…what message does it bring to your relationship? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help make meaningful connections, acceptance and increased communication! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.