struggle to peace

We’ve had a LOT of snow days around here lately.

You know what that means – whole days, mostly stuck in the house together (yikes!).

Yet somehow, for the most part, they’ve been pleasant and peaceful.  I’m enjoying them.

Here’s a pic of me and my girls collaging on a snow day:


Things weren’t always so peachy-keen though.

Not so long ago when my oldest was little, I would dread a whole day without being able to leave the house.

The idea of a long day would leave me anxious, and for good reason. We’ve had our share of struggles.

From the beginning, with the shock and awe of motherhood, to comforting with my fussy baby, to dealing with her strong and volatile emotions, the first 4 years were really hard for Maggie and me.

But still, our journey from struggle to peace has been one of the most important of my life.

While I would never want to go through it again (!), I’m actually grateful for those years.

Our struggle pushed me to figure out how to truly live and practice the teachings of yoga and mindfulness.

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Now, I’m not perfect, but I’ll share with you what I’ve learned that has helped us make this change:

  1. Take care of myself. When I’m sleepy, fatigued, or have low energy, I’m not giving my best. I need to exercise to clear my head and feel good. To meet the ideal of responding to my daughters with clarity and compassion, I have to feel healthy in my body-mind and spirit. Which leads me to number two:

  2. Practice stillness. Meditation gives me practice in feeling my emotions without reacting to them. As I grow in my ability to embrace all of my emotions, even the ones I don’t like, I have more capacity to accept them in my children. This is really at the heart of my struggle with Maggie – when she had volatile emotions – these were the things I couldn’t accept in myself, so I couldn’t accept them in her.

  3. Let go of (some) control. Children are the greatest teachers of that age-old lesson, you can only control yourself. Try forcing a pre-schooler to use the bathroom (as I did), and you’ll know what I mean. So much of our frustrations come from unrealistic expectations of constant compliance from our kids. That last 7 years of practice has helped me let go of some of my need to control and become more go-with-the-flow (trust me, this really helps).

  4. You get back what you give. This is true in all of life, but never more obvious than in parenting. Shocked at the controlling words that were coming out of my daughter’s mouth, I knew I had to change. Once I was able to shift towards giving respectful, loving words and energy, that’s what I got in return. If I yell, they yell. If I use respectful “I” statements, they do too. It’s amazing how this works.

  5. Focus on the positive. Similarly to number 4, when I started to shift my focus away from what I didn’t want in my children, and focus more on what they are doing right, that good stuff grew. It’s almost like a miracle. What you focus your energy on grows – never doubt that.

I have to point out that I am far from perfect at this!

I still yell sometimes, and I’m not always the person I’d like to be. But we’ve turned a corner, and for this I am so very grateful.

Thank you, motherhood, for making these lessons so real to me.

I hope that my sharing helps you too.

Now it’s your turn.

Are you in struggle mode, or shifting to peace? What specific practices have helped you? Start the conversation in the comments below.

With warmth & lovingkindness,



P. S. I’ve put some of these fundamental lessons into a very cool course that may be just what you’re looking for: 5 Simple Things You Can Do To Be Less Irritable With Your Child – the course! Click here to check it out. 🙂