We as mothers have a lot of things to remember and plan on any given day. We might be cleaning toilets, planning meals, grocery shopping, doing laundry, making lunches, cleaning up play-doh, volunteering at school, rushing to pick up kids from daycare, driving kids to basketball games or dance class.
On top of this never ending TO DO list each day, we add a mental note to make sure the people around us are happy.
This is especially true with our kids. If our kids come home from school sad, we want to know everything that happened. We want to know who to blame and how we can fix it. Our knee jerk reaction of course is to solve for this pain they are experiencing. We want to make it all better.
If our kids are fighting with each other, we want to know who started it. We want to find the instigator and discipline accordingly. We want to solve for the arguing and the bickering.
We might exhaust ourselves trying to make everything even and fair for our kids so no one has a reason to be upset. The last thing we want to hear is “That’s not FAIR.”
We might just give them exactly what they want, even if they are having a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. In that moment we just want a quiet happy child.
But does quick fixing our kids problems for them really solve their pain? Does trying to make others happy all the time with our words and actions really work. How often do our attempts to make someone happy fail no matter how hard we try?
I would offer that trying to fix our kids problems actually ends up causing them more pain in the long run. It creates an environment where happiness becomes conditional on our circumstances.
One of the best things that I have learned in my life is that I am the only person that can truly make ME happy. I also know that there is not one of us here on earth that doesn’t experience pain, suffering and discomfort. This is part of the deal folks. We are MEANT to feel negative emotion.
This is so hard for us adults because we are all too often trying to solve for our own pain. We avoid our negative emotion with food, work, TV or social media. We think negative emotion is a problem, so naturally it needs to be solved for.
But what if negative emotions weren’t something to hide from? What if feeling our feelings was actually something we could try to do? How would your life change if you weren’t avoiding possible pain? What if feeling sad was totally normal and OK for a child to experience?
You CAN let your kids just feel sad, or mad, angry or disappointed. When they are upset you don’t have to be upset to. You can just let them be upset and let them know that it’s OK. We all feel upset sometimes.
Being able to feel emotion and process it is a skill that a lot of us don’t even think about, but it is one that is worth taking the time to develop.
Do yourself a favor and stop trying to make others and especially your kids happy all of the time. Lift this burden from your shoulders. They might just thank you for it later!