Originally Posted March 5, 2018
I was probably 5 or 6 years old when I learned just how terribly words can sting.
We had an old rotary dial phone in our living room. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to call someone I knew and speak over the phone. I mean, I was seriously mind blown over the fact we could be in two completely different locations and still have a verbal conversation in real time.
I called my aunt just to say hi... over and over and over again.
One time while I was dialing, my finger must have hooked the wrong number because a terribly mean lady answered on the other end and spoke to me with such disgust and hate that I still remember everything about that moment clearly to this day. And, I'm pretty sure I'll never forget it.
First and foremost, it was her tone.
Words matter. They most definitely matter. But, let me tell ya -- it's the tone in which they're spoken that will hit you like a ton of bricks, dagger to the heart, slap in the face...
And that's what I remember most about this angry old lady. The energy in her voice was sour, bitter, and hateful and I FELT IT.
"This isn't May! You have the wrong number and don't you EVER call back again! You hear me? SLAM"
Maybe the lady had the worst day ever and that annoying phone call was the straw that broke the camel's back. Maybe. For the sake of compassion, let's give her the benefit of the doubt.
But even if that's true, there is still NO excuse for treating someone so poorly.
There is NO excuse for treating a CHILD so poorly.
26-ish years later, that exchange is burned into my brain just as freshly as it was the day it happened. (I don't have a fabulous memory so that says a lot about the situation.)
I never, ever want to be the person who makes my son feel the way I felt that day.
Words are powerful but what takes them to the next level is the tone of voice in which we deliver them.
I'm a "normal" mom and us mamas carry a lot on our shoulders each and every day.
We do our best to keep our kids alive and that's kind of a big deal. We feed them, we make sure they're wearing clean clothes, we keep the house somewhat tidy.
A lot of us work outside of the home. We carry mounds of stress from our jobs. Some of us have side jobs. We stress about how to fit that into our already hectic lives.
We try to make time for our family. We try to take our kids to the pool, beach, parks, etc. We try to plan play dates with other families. We try to make time for our own hobbies and friends.
We try to carve out a sliver of time for ourselves. Maybe we're reading, taking a bath, or just vegging out on Netflix.
That's a lot of stuff for one person to be juggling. And it wears us down. We become physically and mentally exhausted. And sometimes we crack.
Typically when we crack it's on someone who we're comfortable with and someone who we feel we might have a little more control around and more freedom to lose our shit because they're with us for the long haul. Maybe we even feel a bit superior to them?
Our children. Right?
Our kids, our spouse, our parents, our siblings. You know, the people we love most!
Why is it that we often treat those peeps the worst? Why is it that we let our nasty out on them? I think it's a comfort thing but I'd love to hear your perspective in the comments.
"Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy? Mommy!?" -- "WHAT!?!?"
Can you hear it in your head?
This is where mindfulness comes into the picture.
When we establish a sacred daily mindfulness practice of our own - as women, mothers, partners - we are making time and space to wash our filter.
Your consciousness is your filter.
Mindfulness is the soap that cleans the filter so it works properly.
Here are 3 quick and easy tips on how to weave mindfulness into your busy life.
1. Take 3-5 minutes to sit quietly in the morning for a meditation. It's probably the best way to give yourself an energy boost, set your intention, and remember your Why and your values.
2. Establish a mantra to guide you through sporadic moments of mindfulness. For example: I am calm. I am kindness. I am love. When you have a moment (in the bathroom, in your car, on your lunch break, etc.) close your eyes, breathe consciously, and repeat your mantra aloud or in your head.
3. Take ordinary tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry, taking a shower and do them mindfully. Pay attention to how the water feels, the colors of the clothing you're folding, the smells of your shampoos and washes. Pay attention to what is happening around you in that moment.