The real story behind My Mindful Year and its creation….
My toddler hates me!
We’ve all felt that way haven’t we? Yes. Its that time they have a melt down at you for no apparent reason. It’s the time they drop to the floor at the supermarket making you look like a bad mother, its that time they hit you, kick you, bite you or throw things at you like it’s a personal attack on you right? Yes that was me and I felt my toddler hated me because it was just directed just at me.
I’d try to reason with him but all I would receive was physical abuse. It was the strength of it that came my way, like Thor had suddenly appeared out of this tiny human. To any outsider he was just another undisciplined and naughty child, but to me he was my problem child that hated me. I resented him and questioned my parenting and maternal instincts. And this was my second child so I thought I knew what I was doing……how wrong could I be?
I’d had a long and challenging journey to have kids so the fact that, at times I resented him broke my heart and just shattered me. I’d cry, cry a lot. Like lock myself in my bedroom and cry, heck I even locked him in the house while I walked around the backyard so I could get some time away and calm down. Something I’m not proud of, but it was the only thing that would stop me from hurting him or directing anger back his way. So twelve months into this, not coping I was told by a peadiatrition I need to see someone about “positive parenting”……..I was insulted. Positive Parenting…..what the hell is that? Where did that term even come from and how dare she imply I was parenting my child any other way. I dismissed it as the words “positive parenting” even made me feel like a shit parent. Just what I needed…..someone else questioning and judging my parenting ability. Fast forward eighteen months and I’m much more aware, educated about what Positive Parenting is…it’s the way in which we reframe our language to get the best out of our children. So yes it’s a great thing but something I wasn’t ready or open to hear about eighteen months ago.
I was in a place of desperation. I felt my friends (and sometimes still do feel) like they don’t get what I was going through as they continued to tell me “it will pass, he’ll grow out of it” but they weren’t living it. The kinda support you really don’t want because you feel like they are dismissing you and your feelings. So I acknowledged I finally needed help. Headed off to see a Psychologist, met with Jessica of Hopscotch and Harmony and she’s been my life saver. I was guided by her, felt comfortable with her and at times would spend a session just crying because she just got ME….cos I felt my life was just an emotional mess and out of control.
Now for most people they don’t associate Kara Vaina with the words emotional mess and sensitive because on the outside my life was seemingly in control. What Jessica offered me was no judgement, a listening ear without dismissing my feelings, strategies, tips and mindfulness. Yes, mindfulness, the word of the decade. The thing that everyone was talking about but most not understand nor actively executing and practicing. Even I thought I was quite mindful, but I was wrong. Oh so wrong.
I tried everything she told me and started to see improvements in his behaviours and our connection. I’d step away from his behaviour, breathe and remind myself with conscious thoughts about my language and response to him. I started drawing and colouring again which cleared my clouded thoughts and also got him involved as he seemed to love colouring too. I’d connect with him at his level which in turn allowed me to “be present”. And then when it was my time…..yes you know that 10 minutes you get after you put the kids to bed, finished cleaning up, made the school lunches and sorted school uniforms. Yup that whole 10 minutes I would implement some mind clarity for ME. I’d colour, draw, meditate and take myself away to a place that brought me so much joy. I’d do some EFT tapping, reflexology and affirmation cards to help soothe my soul. To bring my thoughts to a much clearer space. These were just a few of the little things combined with positive re-enforcement, lead in tactics and seeking out small wins to praise, recognition, gratitude that began the healing process for me.
It was these small things I started to write in my diary and carry reminders to reflect in times of crisis. Six months on I was feeling like life was starting to improve and its not until 12-18 months later have I been able to speak about it….yes it still sometimes brings tears to my eyes. It’s a situation I never thought I’d be in to be honest. Like most people, they never think they would suffer from anxiety, depression, emotional breakdowns but I’m putting my hand up and saying I fell somewhere within one of those categories.
I’d popped all of these things, reminders, notes, positivity in my diary so I could see it daily. It was my life bible and place of reference. It was my place I would go to remind me that things were improving or things had improved and we were moving in the right direction. BUT, it was fast becoming full of my post it notes looking scrappy. I tried to find something at the shops at so many different stationery retail stores but they just didn’t have anything I liked or could relate to. They were boring, black and white and lacked the inspiration and motivation I needed. There were planners, journals, gratitude journals, happiness journals, diaries, affirmation cards, inspirational notes etc but not just one thing that would have it all in one place. Who has time to fill out all of those different books and journals. I know I don’t. I mean you get all excited for first 5 days and then its popped on the bottom of the pile of coffee table magazines you are collecting that you never read.
“So became the creation of My Mindful Year, my life bible”
I collated everything that I needed in it. I drew within it, I set my intentions, I had sections for gratitude, inspirational quotes, colouring in and so much more. It became my obsession. Like it was my haven to create when things weren’t great for me personally but never the less it was helping me through dark times. And I figured there are so many other women out there feeling the same. Isolated, emotional, lacking inspiration and support……so it was my mission to produce and help everyone else going through the same. It sold out in six short weeks so there were obviously other women and mums feeling like me……like their life wasn’t in control and seeking more.
This was a turning point for me, my life and my family. It was a time I could see the positive impact mindfulness was having on my whole family and others. My 7yo now practices daily, my husband is now more understanding as well and connection with our so called challenging child was growing stronger. It wasn’t that he was challenging, it was that we just didn’t understand him as a child. It is at this time, the turning point, I felt blessed my toddler hated me…..or so I’d convinced myself he hated me. So, when the chips are down and your feeling shit, can’t deal with life or you feel the external world is falling down around you, remember you’re not alone. People get you, I get you, I’ve been there and can really say it does improve.
It does however take for you to ask for help, something that was foreign to me, it takes discipline to implement and hardwork (like parenting in general) as well as a grateful heart to acknowledge and recognize the small wins to get you through. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up, ask for help, seek professional help (Hopscotch & Harmony were amazing for me) because there is always people out there prepared to help and listen. So that’s why I created My Mindful Year….a mindful movement for doing life. It’s a community of people who get you, who support one another and are grateful to have you join them.
If you’d like to join my community check us out at www.mymindfulyear.com.au and grab yourself My Mindful Year to make 2018 your best yet.
If you’re feeling shit and need a friend, feel free to connect with me on Facebook.
Much love to you, keep kicking arse.