Friday Focus: Finding My “Mommy-Zen”

Self esteem is our own vision. Calm is a choice. Compassion is a practice, not perfection.

This past week, I realized just how different the emotional place I am now actually is from any and all of the emotional places I have ever been before. I mean, you name it, I have probably felt it. 

Happy? Check. Proud? Check. Indifferent? Angry? Hurt? Helpless? Lonely? Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. 

And I know I’ll encounter many more emotions during my lifetime. It’s hard in this crazy world to keep calm. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, wishing for things we can’t have, praying for interventions that seem impossible – watching violence and anger and controversy on the news, and feeding off of it. Almost everything that makes up the status quo in our society is in some way backwards and vulgar and emotionally off. So how can we really expect ourselves to break that pattern?

Emotion and Conflict

This week really stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that how you’re feeling depends a huge amount on how you treat yourself, and what emotions you allow yourself to hold in your heart. Policing your emotions sounds a little trite – but it’s really made a difference for me lately. If hubs says something that offends me in some way, I can either be angry and upset, or I can choose to be forgiving and informative.

The phrase “I don’t like that” isn’t just for toddlers to learn how to express emotion. It’s a much healthier option for adults, too, in a situation of conflict. It’s much easier to stay calm and keep your cool when you say “I don’t like what you said” than when you choose to fight back with hurtful words of your own, or even with a defense. 

If you don’t allow yourself to stay upset, it’s a lot easier to get back on track. How you’re feeling emotionally has to do ultimately with YOU – with the way YOU are able to feel and then let go of emotions.


When I talked about this to Hubs, he enjoyed referencing comedian Kat Williams’ joke about woman who say men have ruined their self esteem: “That is why it is called SELF-esteem, B%$*H! It is the esteem of your self! How can I be responsible for ruining that?”

Funnier in context, but rude, crude, Kat is actually kind of right on. We often blame others for our moods and feelings – whether short lived or long standing. When we really shouldn’t. Calm comes from within.

I don’t think I have ever made that distinction before – and now that I look back, I wish I would have known this sooner.

Love, Unconditional

I have been really truly overwhelmed recently – with my hubs being home from deployment and the changes (both good and challenging) that it brings; new toddler behaviors, and my frustration with them; disappointment in myself and in hubs over parenting issues; all on top of my continually progressing pregnancy hormones and growing belly. . . and I had one really bad day this week. One that ended in a bed-time freak out that I would definitely classify as a total “mommy-fail”.

I left Abbey’s room, screaming that I couldn’t take her abuse on my boobs, that she needed to go to sleep and stop scratching my armpits and refusing to be calm. . . and then yelled at my husband for trying to reason with me. Two minutes later, Abs found me in our bedroom, sobbing, and told me “hey – it’s OK, mommy.” – and to my sobbing “I’m so sorry” – she had only one thought:

“I love you”

I wish I responded to myself that way more often. “I love you, self.”

Do or Do Not

Hubs has been sick with walking pneumonia this week, and is so bored not being able to do anything that normally keeps him busy outside of work (playing tag with Abbey, going on hikes with the dog, working out at the gym. . . ) Added to the strain of illness, let’s just say he hasn’t been the steadiest shoulder to lean on through a rough emotional week for my super hormonal, incredibly exhausted, “I’m not sure if there’s any more room in my belly” self.

And then I realized – maybe I just need to BE calm instead of TRYING to be calm. Maybe if I just resolved to wake up with the intention of starting fresh, and staying in that refreshed state, it would help my rein in the emotional roller coaster I had been on. So the day after my bed-time freak out (yes, I did go back into Abbey’s room to tuck her in, and yes, she did eventually fall peacefully asleep for the night) I decided to do just that. It was going to be a new day – a calm one. And that was that.

And guess what? It actually worked! A full week so far, and I have been able to find and actually maintain a really strong “mommy-zen” – not that things haven’t happened to test my resolve. It has been far from calm in our house (is life ever really calm?) – but I have been calm, and it makes a huge difference.

Peace4Parents is my favorite place to go for advice and support on how to maintain calm in my life and my parenting. It’s a great place to start if you’re thinking “Yes, Amy, this is all well and good, but totally impossible” :)

Do you think maybe you’re letting your emotional circumstances have too much affect on family life?

Are you holding on to hurts that cause you to act less peacefully than you would like to?

Can you be in control of your SELF esteem?

Lessons Learned
The time that you spend upset/angry is time you can’t ever get back. 
So wouldn’t you rather be happy?

I would. 
Maybe it’s time to have a talk with yourself
and find your “mommy” or “daddy” “zen”

After all, you are the leader of your household.
          Your children are going to follow in your footsteps.
                                    Wouldn’t you rather your footsteps be 
                                                                    peaceful impressions?


  1. Hello Amy!

    Thank you for sharing your experience in my post announcing that we’re expecting! Really really appreciate your comment support!

    And I so totally agree with you on “The time that you spend upset/angry is time you can’t ever get back. So wouldn’t you rather be happy?”

    Thank you for sharing this post and hope everything will be OK at your end. Wishing you all the best with your pregnancy!

  2. Thanks! Best wishes to you as well!

  3. This is beautiful, Amy! I wish I had seen it when you first wrote it, but perhaps I need its message even more now. I have been consciously changing my language to try to rid myself of the attitude that says others have *made* me feel or do anything, and that makes a big difference, but the message of being the calm I’d like in our home is an important one for me, and couldn’t we all love ourselves a bit more? Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. I’m glad you liked it, Melissa! We all need this message at times – I go through cycles of calm –>frantic parenting, and I go back to this post often, to remind me that I AM in control of my influence on my family, even if I feel like I am helpless t control other things.

  5. You are not alone Mama!! I love your post! I just caught myself this week teaching my daughter that she is responsible for her own feelings and not to blame others. Then the very same day I found myself being grumpy because the kids were misbehaving..hmm. I thought “WAIT!”…I don’t have to feel this way, it’s up to me!!
    oy..parenting is such a journey!

Join the conversation! I blog to connect with YOU