Why did I research this?
Well, let’s just say, since my two year old turned three, I have been struggling to keep the snap attacks and rolling of the eyes at bay. My sweet boy has gone from saying, “You are the best Mummy in the whole world and I love you so much.” to “No. I’m not packing up and I don’t even care if you take Dizzy (teddy) away from me!” I had researched how to be positive and then, how to stop all of the whining in my head when my six year old was three and boy did it change everything. So, what was it that I did last time?
What did I find out?
I found that our thoughts can actually become scripts that we replay everyday. This would be fine if the script was joyful, fun and positive but when it turns to complaints and whining, not a lot can be done about the tantrum that is happening right in front of your eyes as your mind is overtaken by useless thoughts that aggravate you more.
Changing your script can actually improve happiness as a mother according to Hall (2010).
If you are mindful of the thoughts that are entering your head midst the “I’ve had enough” phase of the day, then one can intercept and change the outcome.
The script I have in mind is called TRACK and was written by Jackie Hall, a mother of two boys who got so angry one day that she threw a knife onto her bench top, which then rebounded and just missed her son’s head. Hall (2010), decided a change was needed and set about reducing her own motherhood stress and educating other mothers how to become happier. She developed ‘TRACK’ which goes like this:
T – Thoughts. Be conscious of your thoughts. What are they and are they helping this problem right now?
R – Reality. What is actually happening right now? What is my child’s agenda and what is my agenda? Can we solve this so we are both happy?
A – Aim. What can I do to solve this problem right now? Not wishful thinking or complaining but what can be done right now?
C – Choices. Now that we (child and mother) have moved on, what choices do I have to help me with this situation tomorrow?
K – Know. Know my long term plan and action it. “The first thing I need to do is…”
How is this useful?
Changing your negative script into a positive and problem solving one saves precious energy, reduces stress and increases happiness.
I got this script out last month but years before that, I had it out on a post it note stuck to my fridge. It reminded me to intercept any useless thoughts that weren’t helping each time I was confronted with a defiant toddler. If someone were to say to me; “think positively” I would. I would really try but after constant battles about train socks, fish shorts, anchor shirts and packing up, I would forget what to say in my head to be/stay positive. Having a mnemonic like TRACK helped me to:
not waste precious energy on wishes that were out of my control in the heat of each moment
solve problems that I was faced with each day
keep my cool more often
see my child’s perspective
make clear plans about the “new phase/difficult behaviour” that was passing entering our lives
enjoy more of each day.
Hall. J. (2010). The happy mum handbook. Free yourself from motherhood stress. Victoria: Jackie Hall.