What is the second tool in your Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox for Big Emotions?
We’ll chat about that in Part 2.
How are we dealing with our homeschool mama’s toolbox to address big emotions, specifically, our thoughts?
Your brain and your thoughts are significantly underrated tools.
A tool that we have to regularly sharpen, but for many years we might often not even realize is there.
We can influence our thoughts, and good things, because our thoughts define our reality, but we don’t have to have our reality be defined by our unhelpful thoughts.
Hmmm…If this notion is new to you, stop for a minute, sit with me for a moment.
- Will you sit with your feet on the ground and back straight up?
- Will you breathe in for five beats…one-two-three-four-five…
- Hold that breath for five…one-two-three-four-five…
- Exhale for five beats…one-two-three-four-five…
Okay, what thoughts are you thinking?
When you do this often enough, you’ll realize there is a presence, an energy, or an awareness that is beyond your thoughts.
The thoughts we think are like clouds in the sky. They come, they go, they’re fluffy and summery, now they’re stormy and windblown, but the clouds in the sky? Never the same.
Same thing with our thoughts.
Do you want to know how to deal with your thoughts?
…Like your thoughts are separate from you…
Incorporate a mindfulness practice into your homeschool.
There is a reason you hear so much about this. It works! You can get separate from your regularly experienced thoughts.
There are three questions I learned from Dr. Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life:
- What am I feeling?
- What is the thought behind my feeling?
- What is the story behind my thought? (There is always a story I’m telling myself).
This is a practice you have to practice regularly to get the most out of it.
Your ultimate goal: get to know yourself and practice being present.
So how are you going to practice this?
You’re going to schedule that mindful moment on your device.
When that timer goes off once or twice a day, take a deep breath and ask yourself:
- How do you feel?
- What is the thought behind your feeling?
- What is the story I’m telling myself behind that thought?
Include a meditation practice in your day.
Say what??? Mindfulness practice AND a meditation practice?
Well, I’ll ask you this:
Wouldn’t it be nice to be distant from your thoughts for just a few minutes a day, to just BE, and to be more present?
This is the practical how-to to doing just that.
Here are a few meditations you can begin with:
- Guided Meditation on Controlling Negative Thoughts
- Guided Meditation for Inner Peace & Calm
- Guided Mindful Meditation on Dealing with Anger
- Guided Meditation for Dealing with Suppressed Emotions
Also, just as I think we’re deeply affected by the things we hear others say toward us or about us and most importantly, what we say toward us or about us, that’s why I encourage you to recite a daily affirmation.
So let’s stop for a moment from discussing theory and get into the practical homeschool experience.
How do you respond when…
- Your child won’t sit to do their studies?
- Your child knew his times tables three weeks ago, but now, magically, he can’t recall them.
- Your kids are complaining about the Ancient Greek party you put together in your spare time (and they even wanted to study Egypt), and you bought all the things, gauzy drapes at the second-hand store for their togas, grapevines to create head wreaths, grapes, olives, and a fancy gold cord for their waists. And now they don’t wanna do it!
What are the thoughts you’re thinking?
- Do you feel angry?
- Do you feel unappreciated?
- Do you feel that no one cares about you and what you want?
- Do you feel like no one values the work you do?
- Do you feel like your child is lazy?
- Do you feel like your child is unmotivated?
Is there a story behind that thought?
- My kid is just trying to make me mad.
- He always wants something but is never willing to help me out.
- No one thinks about what I need.
- No one values the effort I put into making homeschooling fun. I even asked them what they wanted!
- My child is surely going to grow up living hand-to-mouth and not have what he needs.
- My child isn’t learning anything. Everyone is asking why we homeschool and I can’t say it’s for academics because obviously, he’s not learning anything.
What is an alternative perspective?
- My kid is bored with his studies.
- My kid is understimulated by his studies.
- My kid is overstimulated by too many activities.
- Is what your child doing a statement about you at all or is it about him not feeling good somehow?
- Do your kids need to value what you’re doing as a homeschool mom? (They’re kids, if you look to their validation, you won’t consistently find it. Maybe on Mother’s Day and your birthday and hugs and kisses scattered here and there, but your children aren’t your source of validation.)
- You can’t forecast the future for your child. It might be instinct to be concerned now, but there are a lot of steps between him not wanting to add mixed fractions and him not wanting to be a functional adult.
Why consider alternative perspectives?
Oh, I dunno, because if we are growing human beings, we can learn that we don’t have everything understood and figured straight off.
Remember before you had a child or a baby: how did you perceive parenting?
I was an RN in the post-partum ward with my list of helpful answers filled with all the stuff a new parent needed as they took home their baby.
Remember before you were long-term partnered or married, did you assume you found the perfect person and that you’d ride off into the sunset and live a fairy tale life, no conflict included?
Remember before you homeschooled, did you think about an education differently, and has your perspective on what an education is anyway expanded over the course of your homeschool months or years?
Our perspectives can shift and expand with our growing understanding.
This is also true with the challenges we face in our homeschool. If there is an alternative perspective, could we work to find it, because it might benefit us and our children?
This is the second tool in your Homeschool Mama’s Big Emotion Toolbox so you can address your Big Emotions.
Big Emotions Journal for the Homeschool Mom
Journal questions that aid in your self-exploration, to get curious about what your triggers, know how to address them, and learn how to align your thought patterns, so you can show up on purpose in your homeschool.
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- Dealing with our Stuff so We Can Help our Kids Deal with Theirs with Jenn Dean
- How to Address Homeschool Mama’s Big Emotions: Sharpen the Tools in your Big Emotion Toolbox
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