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“My mother is a strong woman. Her strength comes from being tested by life’s unpredictability. It comes from soldiering on for her children, even when she might rather have given up. I know it hasn’t always come easily, but I also know it’s her greatest gift.” – Matt Lauer
High fives, to you, and all the mentally strong moms out there!
When things go wrong, and they will, we often put our attention in the wrong direction.
I know I do.
But today, I’m going to tell you six things that mentally strong moms do when things go wrong. And these simple changes can have AN ENORMOUS impact on life.
(And your stress levels.)
Let’s get to it.
The Pity Party
The kids are sick, work is piling up, the car won’t start.
The scenarios of what could and does go wrong on any given day are endless.
How do you handle these adversities?
Do you complain? Look for someone to blame? Start a one-woman pity party or envision terrible outcomes?
This negative thinking doesn’t do anything other than creating more stress.
Think about it this way, without financial or emotional stress we’d likely make very poor decisions. Perhaps quitting our job at the slightest annoyance, providing our kids with their every passing fancy or cheating on our spouse at every desirous whim.
We need a little bit of stress and challenge in our lives, but if we get too much (and many of us do) and stay in that revved up state of pressure too long, and we develop chronic stress and with this comes a multitude of added suffering and problems.
My son has high functioning autism, and the daily challenges are overwhelming. Trying to get him dressed and out the door for school on time is near impossible.
And the worst part:
The cascading effect is I’m frazzled and late for work and I’ve been operating in this state of stress for FOUR years now.
It’s like a pressure cooker, the pressure builds and builds, and one day, it’s (YOU ARE) going to explode.
Doctors say 90% of patient’s conditions are caused by or aggravated by stress. Stress is an implication in six major killers, including heart disease, lung disease, cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Alcoholism and addiction are also exasperated by this silent killer.
I plead mercy.
So what can we do?
How can we live calmer, less frazzled and more at peace?
When things go wrong, supermom’s learn how to abandon usual habitual responses and generate new ones. Responses that will help effectively solve problems instead of compounding them.
6 Simple Things Mentally Strong Moms Do When Things Go Wrong
1. Ask yourself, “Can I fix this problem?”
Problems will arise, likely almost daily. You forgot your son’s hockey skates, you forgot to put something out for dinner, you slept in, your sick, your kids are sick.
Remember, we do not have control over external factors.
I can’t control when my car breaks down and I can’t control when my son chooses to have a temper tantrum. (I can attempt to prevent these things – but I can’t control it).
So next time you are in the throes of a problem, stop right there and ask yourself, “Can I fix this problem?”
If the answer is yes, go ahead and take the appropriate steps to calmly and effectively deal with whatever problem is at hand. But if the answer is no, what benefit does obsessing over this problem provide?
Many problems are simply out of our control.
If you forgot your son’s skates and there is no time to go back and get them, there is no way to stop this problem. Apologize, make a better plan for next time and accept the situation for what it is.
Resisting what is, the present moment, creates anger, stress, and unhappiness. Accepting the present moment is wise, peaceful and the only logical choice.
Some things you simply cannot change.
And this realization gives you the wisdom to know and accept what is out of your control.
2. Ask yourself, “Am I in control of my inner responses?”
There are two main points in this section:
- Don’t adopt your kid’s emotions!
We can feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated for our kids, but we need to separate our emotions from their emotions.
If my child is having a temper tantrum, that’s his emotion. Not mine. I don’t have to let all of his feelings create angst within myself.
- Change your thoughts about external problems.
Our kid’s emotions often dictate our state of mind, but we also fall into the trap of thinking all of our feelings are created by external situations. Our time and energy are spent trying to solve and change these external situations.
Example: A rainy day ruined your sons birthday party and you feel enraged.
We spend so much energy dwelling on the negative situation that we don’t like, that we forget to allocate any time and energy into solving our thoughts around these outer problems. And the ironic thing is: It’s our thoughts that are actually stealing our happiness!
Some situations generate happy feelings, and some sad, (the very nature of life is a constant juggle between good, bad, happy, sad, health and sickness) and regardless of the situation, inner feelings will come up every day. Outer situations won’t stop.
Why not take a look at our inner feelings? Perhaps we can adjust them to be more beneficial because we certainly know we can’t control the weather. But we can control how we respond to the weather.
You can learn all about this in our FREE mindfulness ebook, it’s 7 days of quick and easy exercises to get you started.
When we experience stress, we see the stress as something happening to us and not in any way a reflection of our state of mind. But stress is simply a troubled way of responding to what’s appearing to our mind.
Outer problems such as a rainy day ruining your outdoor party or catching the flu before your vacation are conditions; these conditions test your peace of mind.
And the key is:
To learn how to remain calm amidst these problems. A big difference exists between conditions and reactions, the crappy weather is a condition to make me angry, but my reaction is entirely my own.
3. Ask yourself, “Am I grateful for life’s free pleasures?”
Recent research has proven that gratitude changes the brain. It makes us happier.
Even when in the throes of a difficult situation, there is always something to be grateful for, a sunrise, a friend, a hot meal, a baby’s smile.
Have you looked deeply into your life and found where you can pull some gratitude from?
Look deeply, it’s there.
Life could always be better, I get it, but life could also ALWAYS be worse too.
So why not just accept the way life is?
Make positive changes of course. Improve your health and happiness where possible. But don’t get so overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the Jones’s or pretending to be something you aren’t that you lose sight of what’s important.
Hey, mom, it’s okay to NOT be perfect all the time, and I wrote an entire article about this. (Mainly because I was so sick of all the phony pretending I see all over social media.)
Hey, listen up, this is your life. Right now.
This is not a dress rehearsal.
Your kids are only young once, heck you are only young(ish) once!
You don’t get to redo this.
So tune into what matters most. (Mindfulmazing’s main motto.)
And remember, even in a negative situation, chances are you can find three positive things that transpired out of it.
I sometimes feel bitter that my son has so many challenges, it’s exhausting. I worry sick about his future. But then I take a step back and remember: My son is brilliant, and he’s meeting really amazing people who are helping him. He’s extraordinary, a true Van got, not a recycled $1 print.
Yay for positive thinking!
4. Ask yourself, “Have I reminded myself of this one simple phrase?”
When life pushes you down, whether you’re dealing with a sick child, a messy house, or any stressful situation, counter any thoughts coming up with this one thought:
This too shall pass.
By going inside your mind to a happy place and whispering, this too shall pass, you take the permanence out of the negative emotion and create space to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Deal with each moment, at that moment, one moment at a time.
By getting access to our free member’s area, you will have ALL of Mindfulmazing’s free printable, and among some great resources such as a mindfulness beginner’s guide, (shown below) and free sample worry journal, there is a S.T.O.P. and R.A.I.N fridge printable.
STOP reminds you to stop, think, observe, & plan. (before reacting) RAIN teaches you to recognize, acknowledge, investigate your feelings and practice non-judgment (before reacting). Pinning this printable to your fridge is a great way to keep yourself in check.
5. Ask yourself, “Have I developed positive thinking?”
As we discussed above, stress and negativity arise from habitual tendencies, these tendencies lie hibernating in our subconscious and when triggered come out looking for blood.
Like a venomous snake!
But negativity is always the wrong way of dealing with a situation; it keeps you stuck in it, blocking any real change.
If I feel downtrodden that my son isn’t doing well in school, my thoughts might skip ahead and I’ll think, he won’t be able to get into university and then it will snowball and I’ll think, he’ll never get a job and then I even think, he’ll live with me until he’s 50.
Remember S.T.O.P above. Well, stop. This negative thinking is only breeding more negative thinking.
In order to help change our thoughts, I’ve created a worry journal, which is a 3-month guided journal (PDF printable) to help you conquer worry, negative thinking and anxiety. Learn more about this here.
Negativity comes from all angles, your job, the weather, your partner, your health, even your upbringing. But the commonality between these forces is that you’re resisting something.
If we moan with negativity about our job, we are resisting it; maybe it is boring or irritating, it doesn’t matter, when we resist we resist the present moment, we create unhappiness.
Negativity pollutes our inner being, pollutes our kid’s inner beings and all those around us.
6. Ask yourself, “Am I taking responsibility?”
Often, when toddlers are caught being naughty they are quick to tattle or blame their little friends. “Tommy made me do it.” And in turn, what do we try to teach our kids, “Don’t tattle and take responsibility for your actions.”
Well, our adult excuses have evolved into slightly more sophisticated and manipulating responses, “I can’t help that I’m late for work because my kids won’t eat breakfast,” or a man telling you, “I can’t help that my ex-girlfriend keeps calling me.” But you are pointing your pointy finger at someone else and saying, it’s not my fault.
Sometimes things go wrong, and sometimes they are your fault. And that’s okay, we are all human, we all make mistakes, BUT, take ownership. Let your kids see you apologizing.
There are usually consequences, and sometimes those are negative but remember above, we need to accept what is, and remember that this too shall pass.
So stop blaming your boss, kids, partner, heck even your dysfunctional childhood for the reason why everything is going wrong and you can’t achieve your goals. You can, you are responsible.
Take control of any situation, and essentially we can do this by taking control of our minds, and our thoughts. Next time a difficult situation arises, take a moment and ask yourself these six questions. I’m positive your reaction will change. I’d love to hear from you below.