Encouragement, Handy Tools & Advice, Random Thoughts

Never lose sight of who you really are… trust in yourself

wom·an·hood
ˈwo͝omənˌho͝od/
noun
  1. the state or condition of being a woman.

What seems to be missing from the above is the mention of ‘superhuman with the ability to play multiple roles at the same time’ – don’t you think?

Somehow in the midst of being everything to everyone, we reach a point where we start to lose sight of who we really are. We allow the opinions of others affect us and we give in to the pressure of the feeling that we’re ‘not good enough’. As women, we put ourselves through numerous attempts of changing ourselves, ‘making ourselves better’ with the hope of feeling better about ourselves and accomplishing acceptance amongst others.

Throughout life, you’re surrounded by others guiding you through it all, ideally providing you with the necessary life skills to keep you strong against all the ‘bad’ outside there in the real world. Sometimes, you find yourself surrounded by people that aren’t in it for the enrichment of life, but rather for personal gain. A matter of ‘what can I get out of this relationship’? These people add even more pressure to our lives on top of what we already experience as women.

You must be sexy, you must be smart, you must be nice… things that don’t add value to life or your worth as a woman. You also have to be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee – each role with sub-roles that you have to fulfill. You, as a woman have to be so many things to so many people! Are you relating to what I’m saying right now; nodding your head thinking ‘yes, she gets me?!’

I think it’s due to the fact that most woman, especially when going through the dual journey of motherhood and womanhood, find themselves in this particular situation like the one that I’ve just described. You got to deal with all this pressure, sometimes hearing that ‘you’re not good enough’. Meanwhile, all you want to do is gain acceptance for you – just that, being your true self. That in itself is being something great, isn’t it?! It completely shatters you as a woman, as a human, when your self-worth, your self-esteem gets knocked down as you get consumed by the pressure and the obsession of trying to be SuperWoman.

Wouldn’t it be the most tragic tale ever written if the treasure of a human being that you really are and the talent that you possess was buried under the mountain of opinions and expectations of others?

“You’re a bad mother. You’re a terrible wife. You’re an awful friend.” You’re just plain, no darn good if you try and do anything whatsoever that makes you happy. Sound familiar? Those thoughts have run through my mind before… “Don’t you dare do something for yourself, forget to do the washing or take your eyes of your children for one second! You better be there… all… the… time.” That’s the messaging that mothers get. Did you know that this particular message has the power, the ability to drive someone totally insane whilst she tries to be everything and do everything?!

The most important skill that you as a woman can have in protecting yourself against losing sight of who you really are and keeping your happiness is to learn to trust in yourself. Stop hating yourself for everything that you aren’t and start loving yourself for everything you already are. You have the right to be happy!

As a fellow woman, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and so on – I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve never tried to make myself better by giving in; giving into the pressure of it all, because I have. Sometimes I still do, even if it’s just to keep the peace momentarily. We’re only human and it will happen occasionally. What I’m saying is don’t let it consume you.

Never underestimate the investment you make in yourself. You have the right to be happy in life and in yourself. It is what fuels you from the inside. Your happiness in yourself is what sets the tone for every relationship you have in this world. The more you work on it, the better life will become. Don’t lose your way, lose sight of your true self and what makes you happy.

Be wise, learn from your past mistakes, take better care of yourself and ensure that you do what makes you happy. That gives you the ability to take care of others at the capacity that is required in life as a woman and all the numerous roles that we play on a daily basis.

Surround yourself with people you can grow with and avoid the people who are only in it for personal gain. Motherhood… womanhood… it’s considered a tribe. The most important thing we must remember is that we can learn from one another and support one another.

Stay true to yourself. Trust yourself. Never lose sight of who you really are. And know, that others, your fellow tribe members and your true people will always have your back.

Much love,
Chantelle

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Life Right Now

How-to: Teach your child to deal with change

They say that change such as starting a new job, moving into a new home or having a new baby are the top three that cause the greatest amount of stress on a human being. This got me thinking…

If moving home or getting another addition to the family are part of the top three stress-causing changes that we could go through as adults, how does this not affect our children who do not have the emotional capacity to yet cope with such massive changes?

The reason for these thoughts running through my mind lately is duly caused by the fact that we are planning to relocate to the Cape Winelands (from the Northern Suburbs) by – hopefully – the end of the year. Along with this, we’ve been on the big hunt of finding another suitable school in the new town to where we are relocating and along with this, Caitlin’s current school is also expanding and causing some changes in structure and teachers etc. Needless to say, come the end of this year Caitlin will most likely have changed day supervision five times. That’s insane, right?! So much change for such a little person in such a small amount of time..?!

This brings me to my next question…

How does one teach your child to deal (or cope) with change?

As they don’t yet possess the coping skills that (most) adults do, it is up to us as parent to teach them the basics in which they can understand the changes about to happen and communicate how these changes affect them.

I’ve gone and done some research (as I’m one of those that absolutely hate to be unprepared for anything that I go through) and have found the follow five ways of teaching your child to deal with change:

1. Teach them to express feelings through words

Big emotions in little ones can be very scary! Not always knowing how to cope with them makes them ‘act out’ sometimes in a manner that we as adults do not always understand. When we teach our children to connect words to the emotions that we are feeling, it enables them to communicate to us what is upsetting them and in turn we understand what they are going through and can manage it accordingly.

When you’re little one gets upset, why not try and ask him/her:

How are you feeling right now? Are you sad? Offer words that they can connect to the feeling such as happy, sad, worried, anxious, scared, angry or frustrated.
Where are you feeling this emotion in your body? Is your heart racing or does your tummy feel tight?
What do you think caused you to feel this way? Help them to understand why they feel this way in order for her to get a better understanding as to how or why the feeling came about in the first place.

If our little one’s vocabulary is still developing, it may cause her to get more frustrated when you don’t understand what she’s trying to say to you. The use of an emotions chart works wonders in this as they can show you on the chart how they are feeling.

2. Establish their triggers

Do a bit of thinking as to what makes your child ‘act out’ or what situations she struggles to deal with and consider how your own behaviour could change to help her manage these situations more effectively. For example:

Does she cry or yell when you instruct her that it is now bedtime? Why not try a 5 minute warning before the time? Or better yet, a colour coded clock always seems to help as warning. Use the three colours of a traffic robot to colour in the last 15 minutes before bed time and highlight them to your little one every time it moves from green, to orange and finally to red (meaning bedtime).

3. Utilise what makes her happy

Identify and use the ways that your little one already uses to calm herself. Whether it be a bit of colouring, riding a bicycle or building puzzles. Whenever she gets upset, why not ask her if she’d perhaps want to do one of these activities to calm her down? Over time, these activities may turn into coping mechanisms for them.

4. Be present and understanding

When your child is feeling the pressure of her emotions getting the better of her, don’t just brush it off. Give her your full attention by focusing on her, listening to her, being patient with her and guiding her through the emotion through questions that help her manage the emotions effectively.

If they find you to be distracted, it could just make them feel even more out of control.

5. Utilise the help of others when needed

And finally, when you feel that you’re not coping (out of patience due to tiredness or work overload) rely on others. This not only helps you, but it also shows your child that there are many areas and ways of coping with a difficult situation, of which accepting help from others are one.

The above might be a lot to take in and patience is required throughout the entire process, but preempting and teaching your little one the basic coping skills will not only serve them throughout changes whilst they are little – it will also guide them throughout life as they build on these skills whilst growing up.

If you’re going through any changes right now or will be doing so in the near future and have anything to add to what I’ve shared in this post, please do comment below. It’s always great to share the knowledge amongst fellow moms and dads. In the end of the day, it takes a village to raise a child.

LOVE | Chantelle
xx