Thursday, January 31, 2013

Identifying Feelings



The picture above is now a part of our hallway.  It is from an activity today where I had my kids use their crayons to demonstrate certain feelings or emotions.  As I named an emotion they let their crayon move over the paper in whatever way they thought expressed that emotion.  When they got to ANGRY or mad they scribbled and scratched. And with HAPPY they started humming cheerfully, almost like a chirp, as they moved their crayons in the way they thought happy would move.  I especially loved this activity for helping my son continue to identify feelings and learn to communicate them instead of acting out in other ways.  Now we have it on the wall as a reminder to me and my kids to be more aware of emotions.  Tonight when my son was being sent to his time-out as a consequence, I had him stop in the hall to identify what emotion he was feeling.  This not only helped me feel in control so that I didn't resort to YELLING but it helped him identify with his feelings so that he could have more control and ownership over them as well as feeling validation from me acknowledging how he felt.  We will see how this works.  I hope it serves as another tool to helping us deal with the THREES and THIRTIES more effectively.

Just as I'm trying to help my kids communicate their feelings, I need to continue do the same with myself.  As adults, I think we sometimes repress our true feelings as we forge on ahead.  All in the name of "getting things done", "moving on","keeping a hard shell" or just being uncomfortably being honest with ourselves.  But these stuffed-in feelings can eventually cause our world to start crumbling bit by bit.  They show themselves in stress which leads to all sorts of things...sickness, injury, irritability, lack of sleep, etc.  For this reason, I am conscious of making reflection and self awareness a big part of my world. I try to address my feelings through writing, verbal communication, etc.  TRY is the key word.  I think I've actually gotten pretty good at identifying my feelings and figuring out what is going on with me so that I can move on in a healthy way.  The good feelings like happy and excited...these are easy to be open about and embrace.  It is emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, resentment, and depression that are sometimes the more tricky ones.

As this time for us to move to North Carolina gets closer and closer, the to-do list gets longer and longer.  With this comes stress and LOTS of emotions (for all of us).  Add to that a marathon coming up in March and the normal obligations that come with motherhood and you have a barrel full of emotions that I need to be acknowledging, processing, and communicating.  So far so good.  But I'm thinking I need to be making a chart like the one above that is JUST FOR ME!  It would have quite a few more emotions/feelings listed.  The emotions wouldn't be even close to all crummy ones either. So many good things going on.

In light of asking my kids to identify their feelings so that they can feel a better sense of control over their world, I think I'll do the same:

EXCITED:  I'm feeling very excited about this move across the country.  Something new.  An adventure.  Traveling.  I love these things.  I'm also excited about my upcoming marathon.  Things are looking good.

FRUSTRATED:  Lots of frustration has been in this heart of mine lately.  Raising kids is HARD.  And my three year old son is quite the bundle of energy.  He has challenged me on every level and all my mommy tricks that worked before have proven to be pretty worthless.  Ha!  I've had to find new "super power tricks" to put in my mommy bag.  Wooooo Weeee!  Someone please tell me that story again about boys being harder when they  are younger but then being easier as they grow up.  Please.  In the meantime, I'll be using my last post and calming myself with deep breathing or smelling flowers and blowing out candles.  

GRATEFUL: SO SO much to be thankful for.  Motherhood, running, healthy, a home, financial stability, friends, love, education....I could write many pages on this.

WORRIED:  This move is a BIG DEAL.  Yes, it is temporary but I find myself asking again and again "What are we THINKING?!" when I realize that we are leaving our house, friends, family, community...all in the name of LIVING LIFE to the fullest and taking advantage of opportunities.  Yes, I think this is a good thing and I know we will grow from it as well as discover new sides to life that we never knew.  However, I have lots of worries that come right now. Normal worries.  OK worries...Where will we live?  Where will the kids go to school?  How will I make friends?  But things will all unfold as they should.

SAD:  This is the house where I've had all my babies in (well brought them home to from the hospital).  It is our first house.  The kids have their best friends next door.  They know their favorite places in the backyard.  Their favorite hideouts and trees to climb.  It is a place that is ours and we are happy.  There are definitely waves of SAD that rush through me as it hits me that we will be making such big changes and saying a temporary good bye to people and places we love.  And a most likely forever goodbye to  this place we call home.

HAPPY:  Happy to have a family, so much love, friends that I cherish, the opportunity to travel and stay home with my kids, and so so much more.  Just really happy right now.


Right now...this present moment... I'm relaxed and feeling a great sense of satisfaction and calm.

I'm happy and optimistic.

Life feels really good for the most part.

I have a fun workout tomorrow that will be just enough hard to leave me with that tired and accomplished feeling and just enough change up to where I will be far from bored on the treadmill.

I will run my longest training run ever on Sunday.

My body feels strong.

I can hear the dishwasher running...which means a quiet house.

The kids are asleep.

All the crazy kid dust from the day has settled.

My epsom salt bath awaits me.

And I'm feeling better for having addressed my feelings.

Happy Almost Friday!
Amanda 

28 comments:

  1. I WISH I could be as open as you are about your feelings!!! I still just stuff 'em down where no one can see them. That way they can't hurt anybody and can't get hurt by anybody else.

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    1. Ah, it is so liberating Pam! But you know, there are some things in this heart of mine that don't come out too. I just can't. And those things cause some distress sometimes. Thank Goodness for journals and self talk. I hear you on this : "That way they can't hurt anybody and can't get hurt by anybody else."

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  2. You know...going through a divorce and having to basically talk about my feelings opened me up alot. I know now when I feel something. I know when I'm feeling depressed (yesterday) or happy (last weekend). It helps me move on quickly.

    I have the same feelings going on as you. I am making a big move and I have excitement, anxiety, frustration, nerves, happy, and sad all rolled in to a ball.

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    1. So glad to know that you've come to where you're at. Sounds like a lot of work on your part and you're better for it. I'm excited to see how this move goes for you. Good adventures to come. No matter what comes, you will grow and live life! Can't go wrong with that. Power on girl!

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  3. Good for you! Moving somewhere else is not to be taken lightly. I think it's a number 3 in the list of stressful life events. Luckily you have running to keep yourself on an even keel.

    Mom's Home Run

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    1. Big change indeed! And yes, so glad for running!

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  4. I am SO excited for your adventure! Asheville sounds great! I bet you even have some readers there that would be more than happy to befriend you.

    I know your son tests you constantly, but remember, you are one incredible mom. He is going to grow up to be an amazing young man because he has a mom like you. And at some point, it has to get easier, right?!

    So glad your marathon training is going so well! Sounds like those epsom salts work!

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    1. Thanks Kate. It is easy to lose sight of the good things sometimes when I'm in the thick of parenting a difficult child (not always). It gets easier all the time. And then hard and then easy...such is life. :) Epsom salt rocks!!

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  5. Again, thank you for sharing this deep part of you. It is truly helping others, myself included. I got a little emotional - a little sadness wave come over me after I read the part about your house and into how happy you are. I feel happy in life right now too, but I'm wondering what is behind that sadness wave that hit. Probably something I'm compressing. And, I've been meaning to tell you, 3 and 4 years of age are really hard for boys, in my experience. They are torn between wanting mom and help and not wanting anything to do with it all. They are learning life and with you they are safe. You see the worst and the best parts of them figuring it all out. About 5 1/2 they start to learn how to please others and how to be happy with themselves. I charish the times when Wyatt started learning those abilities because before that, I was questioning myself as a mom because I was really not liking my son's personality at that point. He was pretty difficult and we butted heads a lot. I'm noticing the same thing as Waylon is in that stage. It is so much easier now that I have a clue of what's going on with him. Things will get better and since you are so on top of teaching him ways to handle it all, probably sooner rather than later.

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    1. Again, thank you for validating every thing I do and making it so much safer for me to share. You are such a good mom T...and I value your boy mom advice so so much. I can just see you as a mom of three boy teens that adore their beautiful mama!! Meanwhile, I'll have one that adores me (S) and two teen girls that want nothing to do with me. Ha haha!

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  6. I know boys can be challenging. But they love their mother with all their being. And they never have to deal with those PMS hormonal issues that girls do. He will get better.

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  7. I totally didn't realize that you would be leaving your house forever! I thought that there was a possibility that you'd return. Such a huge move! (((hugs)))

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    1. Thanks Marjorie. Yes, big changes. :) :( :)

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  8. What a great idea for your kids (and you!). I hope the emotion wall helps your 3 year old explain his feelings.
    I'm glad that amidst all of the stress you still have moments of complete calm!

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    1. Thanks Kim. and yes, the calm parts tell me that this is the right move. :)

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  9. What a great emotional exercise for the kids- I am definitely going to try this with my kids. I know a couple of moms with rambunctious boys that just never seem to run out of energy. I love when one of the boys comes over because he is so lively and fun. His energy is contagious. That said, I know that he can put strains on my friend at certain times and she needs some downtown without him. She has a whole host of girlfriends that live watching him for an hour or two while she gets errands out of the way. Perhaps you can find a network of moms in NC that have some type of babysitting exchange?
    I hope that you have a great weekend!!

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    1. Sorry for the typos- I'm on my phone!!

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    2. Ah yes, I need breaks from him all the time. And he is so good for others. So nice when I do get a short break from his ENERGY. :) Good idea. That's what my neighbor and I do now.

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  10. Excited for your move! Good luck on your run this weekend!

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  11. Oh always, always, always when life has flitted me about from here to there and kept me away from blogs - and your blog! - I come back and remember why I read this and you remind me of things I should be thinking about that. Thank you thank you.

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    1. Thanks Petra. I feel the same about your posts.

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  12. 3 year olds can be challenging. At least mine is. I still only understand 1/2 of what he is saying...
    You are doing a great job with these kiddos, Amanda. They know you love them, and that is #1.

    I would be sad to move too, but there will be good things ahead and new friends to make, places to explore! You won't be moving every year, so enjoy it for what it is. :) The kids will surprise you on this one.

    Glad you are feeling strong. Love you, lady.

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  13. I'm late, but just wanted to say I'm thinking of you in the move! It's always tough to make such a big transition, but it definitely sounds like the right thing for your family.
    On emotions, I heard a great talk lately about ackowledging but also validating kids feeling- ie, when a child is scared, rather than saying, no, no that dog isn't scary, it's better to validate the feeling and say yes, he does look big and I a bit scary but he won't hurt you blahblahblah. I was fascinated, because I thought I do a great job validating my daughter's emotions, but I definitely try to "correct" them if they're "wrong" which is not helpful. Anyway, thanks for these thoughtful words!

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  14. Great post, Thanks for sharing!

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