This week we began a new session of The Porch, the theme is choice. The Porch is a virtual space for women of gen x,y, and z! Wild women, cozy bookworms, and weekend warriors will spend 7 days diving into how choice has impacted our life. As a single mother I am very clear on how choice impacts me and my children on a daily basis. If you’re interested in learning more about The Porch and the peer to peer support we offer visit XYZ.
I have three children and as any mother of multiple children will tell you, each child is different. Just like adults, children have different personalities, and behaviors. As we prepare for back to school season I find myself reflecting on how choice was so very important to them as toddlers and it still shows up today in adolescence. I prioritize individuality in my home, we promote questions, and encourage exploration so I routinely make choices that allow for those freedoms in my home.
When my children were growing independent and wanted to dress themselves at the tender age of 4 and 5, I often gave them the CHOICE to pick an outfit to wear. This choice was limited to what mom approved of, but it provided my children the opportunity to exercise their independence. It wasn't always a quick process, there were some negotiations to be had, but for the most part mom won and the pirate custom had to stay home. Most days.
As they got older and better understood their choices I provided the opportunities for my children to be more accountable for their choice in clothing. I would make my suggestions, based on experience and taking in the world around me, and sometimes they would take my suggestion, or other times they would not. There were plenty of days when they may have chosen clothing that didn't suit the weather or activity for the day and ultimately felt uncomfortable for their poor choices.
This month as we prepare for back to school families are making choices that suit their lives, based on their own personal experience, and taking in the world around them. The world around us may not look like it did 5, 10, 15 years ago, or even last school year but we have the CHOICE to respond. We have the choice on how we respond and when we feel like our response is leading us to uncomfortable states, we have the choice to stop and ask why.
Is your response to your current choices something you’re comfortable with? Or is your response something you didn't expect? If you feel like your response is unexpected, uncomfortable, or just something you’re unsure of, know that you are not alone! Many mothers and guardians find the back to school season a little overwhelming and there are steps you can take to feel more comfortable within yourself.
Take a mindful moment - find a quiet place to sit undisturbed, close your eyes, and take 3 deep, slow breaths.
Take a break - remove yourself from what is causing stress, even if only for a 5 minute walk or long enough to watch a funny video on YouTube.
Write it down - transmute that energy into something productive! Write in a journal, a phone note app, or just a post-it note.
These mood regulating practices can help you recenter when things feel too much. Slow life down for a moment and allow yourself to focus on taking control of your choices. These tips are great for kids, too! Once school starts back, if you notice your child getting a little irritable or obnoxious, try one of the tricks above to help them recenter before you both tackle what's causing this response. My children don't always LOVE slowing down for a mindful moment but when they do, we all feel more comfortable.
Need more back to school tips? Check out the back to school survival tips for more.