The word “pause” is a very familiar term. In my house, pause usually represents either the button I hit on the TV remote to (loudly) announce that dinner is ready. That’s for the younger kids. For my older crew, I pause the house’s internet access, which flushes the older kids out of hiding in all corners of the house like cockroaches.
But the word PAUSE has entirely new meanings in my life as of late.
I’m the first to admit that if I had a remote control that controlled my surroundings, you can bet I’d be hitting that “Mute” button every five seconds, because my kids are LOUD.
Learning to pause and give myself time has really had a great impact on several areas of my life. This concept may seem like a no-brainer to some people, but I tend to “go-go-GO!” and plow through my day’s tasks and moments, often without slowing down. I typically have two speeds: FAST FORWARD or, at the end of my longs days, STOP.
Not Being Led By Emotions: I was thinking about this recently; as I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been making a deliberate effort to improve my attitude. One of the areas that I’ve been focusing on is not just immediately reacting to a less-than-pleasing situation, but rather, taking a moment to process it and to calm down before responding.
Now granted, in a household of six kids, this can often be easier said than done… but it’s helped tremendously.
Let’s take a household crisis. This can happen anywhere from once to several times a day, depending on the circumstances, and can range from minimal to full-on disaster.
Or, something like THIS:
Or how about moments like THISSSS?
My reaction to spills and chaos would usually be one of instant agitation. But I made a choice -not an easy choice, but a choice- to pause for a few moments prior to responding in situations like this.
And you know what? It helped. A lot. When I allow myself to stay quiet for a few extra seconds upon facing a catastrophe, my words are far calmer. I’m able to react in a way that addresses the behavior directly, rather than my own angry reaction. In fact, after I put this into practice, I threw the kids off the first few times. I’d walk into a disaster, pause, and calmly respond.
Kids? MINDS BLOWN. They expected the yelling and the angry tirade. You don’t need to cry over spilled milk, and- you don’t have to scream over it, either (even if you want to, on the inside).
Pausing for a moment is a benefit to ME, because it gives me the chance to process and think instead of merely reacting (I guess it’s also a benefit to the kids as well, because then I don’t beat them with a stick*).
*Disclaimer: I don’t beat my kids with a stick, or anything else. I may WANT to, but I don’t.*
Does that mean that the children are not responsible for their behavior? Of course not. They’re still required to help clean up their own messes, and are accountable for their behavior. But instead of reacting in anger, I’m able to dole out the appropriate response in a much calmer and rational way.
It Reduces The “I’m OVERWHELMED!” feeling
I always have a mental “To Do” list, both on paper and mentally streaming in the background. There are always countless things to do, whether they are tasks involving the kids, The Captain, household chores, shopping, bills, etc. As a result, there never really is a time when I feel “done”. My To-Do list is never completely checked off. There have been many days when I’m dashing through the house, trying to triage my endless list and feeling utterly overwhelmed by the sheer massiveness of it all.
Insert “PAUSE” here.
I’ve learned to give myself those break moments. Instead of running at full-speed endlessly, then crashing in either despair and/or frustration, I’ve learned to give myself a chance to recoup. I give myself moments in the day when I just.sit.down. I’ll read a book. I’ll sip coffee and play on my phone. But what I don’t do is allow myself to feel guilty for pausing for a break.
Now granted, I could be speaking to myself here, but I think most moms can relate to the difficulty that trying to maintain this balance can be sometimes. But the end result is SO worth it- when I pause to give myself time, I am much less exhausted and defeated than when I don’t.
I’m “In The Moment” Rather Than Running Alongside Of It
Do you ever find that in the midst of your typically hectic day that you don’t seem to know where the day even went? Oh, sure it seemed like it took forever in a sense, but yet sometimes we’re so busy ‘getting things done” that we aren’t necessarily paying attention to what we’re even getting done.
I know that “mindfulness” is a big buzzword these days in parenting, but it’s simply the idea of being “in the moment” with your child(ren). And I confess that I’ve missed WAY too many moments by being distracted by all that I had to get done.
And yes, that stuff still needs to get done in order for families to function, but being too distracted causes you to forget what, and who, you’re doing it all for. When we miss the joyful moments because our heads are down over our work, we miss out on what it’s really all about.
Do I want to pause in folding my laundry mountain in order to get on the floor and build blocks with my toddler? Not always. But lately I do it more, because he won’t always be a toddler. He won’t always want my attention the way that he does now, and I know that when that time comes, I’ll miss it dearly.
If your life is consistently on fast-forward, hit PAUSE.
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