The pandemic has affected different people in different ways.. but for most of us, I can say with some confidence , that it has made us homebodies. We have realized there’s a certain joy in working from home dressed in our old, worn out tee and PJs and we ain’t getting out of them any […]
Just read this post from one of my favotite mom bloggers and it resonated with me 💯
I live in a building with 10 floors and I don’t really know my neighbors. I’m an introvert with social anxiety, which makes it hard for me to take the initiative. Plus, I’m very selective who to socialize with. Also, from what I know, my neighbors aren’t very friendly, or they just don’t like us. However, 3 months ago, a new neighbor moved in next door on the same floor, but I’m yet to get to know her. I don’t even know her name.
She has knocked on my door twice panicking because of some emergency in her apartment, but otherwise, nothing. She leaves her house everyday at a certain time and comes back at a certain time. I assume she spends all day at her mom’s, who she told me lives nearby. She suggested I come visit her and I said sure, though I know I won’t make the initiative.
I’m hoping she’ll show up someday soon. I wanted to showup with cake when she 1st moved in but my husband advised against it. Did I mention my husband is an introvert and a homebody? I’m an introvert too and sometimes I feel like I’m turning into a homebody.
She seems sweet and she has 2 young children but I think she isn’t visiting because she is freaking out about covid. She also may be selectively social.
Anyway, I’m just hoping she reaches out soon. It would be nice to socialize, and I think this is the only neighbor of mine who is my age. All the others have kids who are grown and flown.
Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to talk about my lifelong efforts to control my emotions.
I’ve always been over sensitive, and over emotional. I’ve always been full of insecurities and fears about not fitting in and I’ve always reacted rather than responded (later on I found out I had anxiety). I cried easily thoughout high-school so much that I become known for crying a lot, but when I was at university, I learned that I must bottle up my emotions. By 3rd year university, I hid my emotions so well that my friends would tell me that they were surprised I never got mad. Little did they know that I let out my emotions in the comfort of my dorm, crying and on occasions yelling to let it all out. After I graduated, I got better in public, but at home, everytime I got upset, I cried.
When I got married, my husband was horrified by my tears. They angered him because this was something new to him. He has sisters but apparently they don’t cry, at least not in front of him. It took my husband years to accept that sometimes I just need to cry to feel better, but he still acts like I’m an alien everytime I have a mental breakdown, so I try not to have them in front of him.
Bit by bit, I learned to hold in my tears, but that built up emotion turned into anger. Not being able to be vulnerable and honest about my emotions was overwhelming, cue the raging hulk. Every once in a while, I’d snap, explode, and just rage on like a storm for days. That’s exhausting too.
This rage was making me feel like a bad mother and wife and I knew that I had to deal with my emotions in a healthy way. I read about how to control my emotions, how to focus on self care, healthy ways to let them out, and how to let them go. I’m still working on putting these things into practice. I think that I appear calm to the outside world. But then again, an aquaintance of mine once told me she could see anger festering beneath my calm exterior. I have this constant fear that I’m not enough for my husband and son, and I don’t know how to make that feeling go away. I also still have this feeling that I don’t quite fit into society or belong anywhere.
It’s been a goal of mine since November 2020 to control my emotions (I literally wrote it down on paper). I have no problem identifying, analyzing and expressing my emotions. I just don’t know how to regulate my emotions or let go of negative emotions.
I read that the signs of emotional immaturity are trust issues, lack of adaptive coping (failing to look after the self by not eating well and exercising, lack of communication to friends or family for support and an inability to foresee stressful events), self-blame and the lack of capacity to stay calm.
By all accounts this means I’m very emotionally immature but I’m trying not to be.
November 2020 I failed to control my emotions with my husband and son. I went full on Hulk at every inconvenience.
December 2020 I focused on not losing my cool at my son and halfway succeeded. I don’t even remember how I was with my husband.
January 2021 I went back to trying to control my emotions with both my husband and my son. With my husband, I succeeded 63.5% of the time. With my son, 58.2% of the time.
Now we’re in February, and I’m trying so hard to focus on controlling my emotions with my husband. No yelling or crying. But with my son, I’m yelling till I’m blue in the face, but I’m also making it up however I can. However, my success is 28% so far, meaning I’m failing miserably.
I’m so burnt out and as a mom who has no job to occupy her (I have my blogs and they’re a big help but still) and nowhere to go (in the middle of a pandemic, teaching my son online) and nobody to go with (I’m bound by my sons online hours and his homework responsibilities and the lack of a car of my own doesn’t help).
I’m not giving myself excuses to keep blowing up or breaking down. I need to grow up and mature emotionally and learn to stop my automatic negative thoughts on my own and not crumble every other day.
I’m trying to be okay. I really am. I’m trying not to play the victim. I’m trying to create my own happiness, but everytime I create a bubble and hide inside of it, it bursts and the reality seems too unbearable.
I’ve been practicing gratitude and meditation. I’ve been reading and writing. I’ve been working on my goals, but I still can’t seem to manage to control my own emotions. Instead, they’re controlling me.
My strategy is basically to keep myself busy (with purpose because boredom is a petri dish to negative thoughts), avoid burnout by attending to my self-care (I’m working on it), increase my self confidence by doing a self confidence challenge and focusing on my strengths, create my own happiness, turn anger into compassion towards myself and my husband and son, focus on the positive attributes of both my husband and son, socialize more (difficult to do in these circumstances) so I don’t rely on my husband to give me all the TLC I need, and last but not least work on strengthening my spiritual connection through prayer and reading quraan.
The goal is to become emotionally mature so I can regulate my own emotions and let go of negative feelings and challenge negative thoughts on my own. I even have woeksheets I’m yet to fill out and more worksheets I’m yet to print.
I sit here at 10:30pm, tea cup in my hand (too late for coffee) while I contemplate my parenting techniques.
I have the habit of trying to convince my son to do what I want by bribing him with things he wants, then when that doesn’t work, I start threatening to remove a privilege or delete a game on my phone or whatever. When that doesn’t work, I start to get frustrated and then really angry. I tend to yell a lot and that only makes matters worse.
Lately, though, I’ve been yelling much less, which was pretty much the goal, and once in a while my now 6 year old does what he is old from the 1st time or without me asking him.
Today though… Oof. Where do I begin?
Let me 1st mention the positive points… However few and far between they were.
1. I didn’t yell much today. I didn’t lose my cool until 9pm
2. He ate dinner without fussing or taking forever (dinner here is like lunch for Americans and vice versa)
3. I’m drinking my tea in peace right now while writing a blog post because my son is playing peacefully.
4. He studied for his quiz and is hopefully ready.
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of today:
1. I started waking him up at 9am but he refused to get out of bed until 11am which means tonight he will be sleeping even later than he usually does.
2. He skipped breakfast on the account of waking up too late and being underweight as he is, this is a problem.
3. He took forever to eat his lunch. Drove me crazy 🤪
4. He has a quiz tomorrow and it took a lot of threatening to get him to study for it once at noon today and since he made a lot of mistakes, he had to repeat his work and it took a lot of bribery (6 gummy bears, letting him do arts and crafts at night, and promising him he can stay up as late as he wants tonight which is making my husband on edge now) to get him to do it a 2nd time tonight, correctly.
Hence the contemplating
My goal in parenting is to get my son to have intrinsic motivation and self discipline. I don’t like relying on bribes and threats, rewards and punishments, to get him to eat, sleep, study, get dressed, shower, etc. These are basic things he should be doing on his own by now.
I feel like I don’t know how to motivate him because I never had to be motivated as a kid. I was traumatized as a kid but I don’t talk about it here because it’s too personal, but when it came to studies, I loved studying. I skipped 1st grade. My parents wanted me to skip 2nd grade too but the school counselor advised against it because she wanted me to be able to adjust to my peers socially. I’m glad they didn’t skip me 2 grades. I had enough trouble socially as it was, but not only because I was a grade ahead, but because I was half American in a Lebanese school. Anyway, my point is, my mom never even had to teach me. I always did my homework on my own, from the beginning. I git straight As and I never had to be motivated, in one way or another, so I don’t know how to motivate someone to study. Till now, I’m the only one among my siblings with a thirst for knowledge.
How do I motivate my 6 year old to WANT to learn?
The thing is. My son is smart. I can see it. So much potential. Easily distracted because duh, he is at home not school. Easily bored because duh not playing with other kids. Easily frustrated because duh not used to school system yet. I mean he went to KG1, then during KG2 there was the Lebanese revolution on October 17th and after the revolution died down, COVID-19 began and so he only went to school for a month in the whole year. I tutored him during summer but he was not prepared for KG3. Not being used to the online system, then getting used to it, then getting bored of it. I’m not giving excuses. Human beings learn to adapt.
I’m just trying to cut him some slack, but not too much slack because he needs to study. He is awesome at reading, but he just doesn’t like to write.
It’s day 3 of the total lockdown and I’m telling you it’s hard. Not because I’m not getting much of my goals done. Not because I can’t leave the house. Not because I’m moody and keep trying to tell myself “I am calm and in control of my emotions”. But because I have to walk on eggshells and one wrong move and all hell breaks loose.
That’s the thing with anxiety. I may look fine on the outside, but on the inside, I’m analyzing every movement, every word, and for some reason everything feels like an attack against me.
In my heart I know I’m just overwhelmed because of everything going on in the world and so is everyone else, but it’s like each person is expecting the other person to “tread lightly” and absorb all the negative emotions without being affected by them, but here’s the thing. I can absorb only a certain amount before I get soaked and then I need to squeeze myself and let it all out.
Anyway, I’m watching This is us, my current escapism. I’m forgetting about my goals for the day and focusing on coping techniques and just trying to keep absorbing as much as I can without getting soaked. I’m so glad I only have 1 child because I swear sometimes it feels like I have 2 and sometimes I feel like I’m the child again and life is too much responsibility and who thought it was a good idea to leave me responsible for a husband and a son?!
On the bright side, my mom called and we had a nice chat. I’ve also been talking to my sister daily on the phone and my brother called last night so it’s good to be in touch with family so I don’t feel like I’m in a bubble…
Today is the 14th of January 2021. We’re in the middle of the month, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of winter, in the middle of a complete lockdown (you now need a permit to leave your house), in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the middle of political chaos, in the middle of an economic crisis.
That’s where we are now.
In the middle!
When you’re in the middle of something, it’s hard to take a step back and assess your situation. It’s hard to objectively see where you are. In this vast universe, where we are is a blip on the radar, but to us, we’re right in the middle.
It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when everything is pitch black, but here’s the thing. It’s not pitch black! There is a light within you called hope. There is light around you called love. There is light above you called faith.
I made goals for January because it’s hard for me to sit idle (as a mom to a 5 year old, I don’t get to sit down much) without working on self improvement. Otherwise, I think about all the things I cannot control and I spiral into anxiety or depression and either one is bad because then I can’t take care of myself or my son.
But goals aren’t everything. Being mindful and grateful is more important. Before I calculate the success of my goals this week, I know it’s going to be less than last week, because I know I ate a lot of junk food, didn’t exercise much, didn’t sleep well, didn’t get much reading done, etc.
However, I also know that I wasn’t the hulk this week. I know that even though I did yell at my son a lot, I spent more time with him. We connected more. I said yes more (I’m usually saying no). He made me a princess pencil holder (they taught him how to make pencil holders in art class online and he asked if he could make more and after making 2 more, he asked me if I wanted one and if I wanted to design it or if I wanted him to make one for me. I told him I’d rather he make it for me, not just because I don’t like to draw but because I feel children’s drawings of you express what they think of you, and I’m flattered he thinks I’m a princess. He also thinks he is king which says power struggle all over it but that’s for another post)
I also sat with him a bit while he was playing with his play doh (I normally do things that I love with him, like play uno or monopoly or snakes and ladders. He likes them but he doesn’t love them) and he asked me to make a person and then he made a cape for that person. He said that person was a Superhero. Honestly, I think he was making his dad.
Also, did I mention we’re in the middle of a storm? You know how much I love rain. I tried to catch the lightening. I couldn’t. I could see it but there was too much wind.
I also have been talking to my sister on the phone daily, who has 2 kids and is in the trenches (of being stuck at home with kids) just like me. But as much as I crave some alone time, I know I’d peobably binge watch This is us if I got some me time, rather than clean the house or work on my goals.
I’m a bit anxious about the next 7 days but I know I’ll make it. I’ve made it this far and I’ll keep grounding myself with gratitude and mindfulness and keep myself busy with my goals. I also need to remind myself to call my parents and grandparents and text my friends.
So if you feel like you’re in the middle of this and you can’t take a step back to see the full picture, ground yourself and turn on the light.
I have a migraine as usual. I’m trying so hard to to go with the flow, not planning, but believe me this week has been bizarre and part of the reason I think is because I’m trying to be spontaneous and not plan. I feel like “who am I if I’m not a planner”? Do you know what I mean?
Anyway, so my efforts to let loose haven’t been so great. I was still using my to do lists some days, and I still have this application called Habit Bull that keeps track of how often I brush my teeth, read Quraan, read from a book, exercise and shower. They wouldn’t let me put more than 5 (if they did I would obviously).
I just finished drinking coffee and eating pancakes. I enjoyed them very much.
I can’t force inspiration. I want to write several blog posts but I keep procrastinating. I had time yesterday but I didn’t have the positive inspiration to do so and I keep getting migraines even though I’m going to sleep early around 10 p.m. and I’m waking up at a reasonable time, like today I woke up at 7:30 a.m. but still I feel I’ve been walking around for the past 2 days with a brick on my chest, so to speak, and I have come to the realisation and hopefully the acceptance that I will never be happy in certain aspects of my life because this is how my life is and I can’t change it.
I know that contradicts with everything I normally say but it align with the serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
Seriously, there are some aspects of my life that I can’t change, like I can’t control the economic and political situation in Lebanon. You might argue that I could travel but I can’t travel because my husband doesn’t want to travel, so I’m stuck here.
I’m stuck in a life that I don’t want but must learn to appreciate and I have to make myself happy however I can, through writing, reading, watching tv shows, drinking coffee, eating carbs, etc.
So I’m going to do the little things that make me happy since the big things don’t make me happy. There you have it. I have to go now. Have a nice day.
I know a lot of countries are in lockdown now, including the UK and Australia, maybe even parts of the USA. Meanwhile, other areas are undergoing certain restrictions.
I know there is too much negativity on the news, so I try to steer clear of these topics here and I avoid watching the news as much as possible, but then I’m on instagram a lot so the news kind of follows me.
Anyway, I was doing some self care activities on this application called Joy Score, and I came across some tips on how to stay happy while social distancing and I thought I’d share them here on the blog. I recommend this application if you’re into this kind of thing. I’m a big fan of self improvement any way I can get it: books, podcasts, applications, YouTube videos, etc.
How to stay happy while social distancing
Maintain some level of happiness: it sound rhetorical but basically it means to create your own happiness rather than relying on the people in your life to make you happy
Draw the energy to combat a crisis: drawing and coloring have been known to relieve stress, but drawing more so to express the supressed feelings you have about COVID-19, the economic and political situation, etc.
Increase resilience: adversity builds resilience. You know what they say “don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a hard life” or something like that.
Establish a routine: with everything chaotic and so many things unpredictable, creating a morning and bedtime routine help give you a sense of stability and control over your life. Maintain routines: just like it’s not enough to write down your goals, but you must create an action plan and actually follow those goals, so it is important to follow through with your routines and adjust them when necessary.
Go to bed and wake up on your typical schedule: even if you don’t have anywhere to go, going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday regulates your carcadian rhythm and in turn decreases stress.
Eat regular meals at regular intervals: trust me on this, because I haven’t been doing this and my appetite is weird.
Exercise : this is timeless advice, especially with staying at home more, don’t fall into a sedentary lifestyle.
Go for a morning walk: I wish I could do this now, but when my son was going to school briefly, I got my steps up to 6,000 as opposed to 2,000 when he isn’t going to school.
Practice self-compassion: turning my anger into compassion is something I am working on with others, but being kind to yourself is a prerequisite to being kind to others. Accept and forgive yourself for what you may not accomplish. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Be mindful of negative thoughts: notice them, acknoledge them, then let them go.
Express gratitude: towards everything you have. So many people would kill to have the life you have. Be content with what you have and don’t compare your life to that of others. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.
Be kind and compassionate towards others: everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, and usually the ones who need love the most are the ones who ask for it in the most unlovable ways.
Last but not least, spend more time at home, with your family. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and they’re even staying COVID-20 is on the rise, so wear a mask, maintain a 6 foot distance from others, wash your hands, avoid crowded areas, and if you don’t have to go out, stay at home (nature walks excluded).
I have racked my brain today thinking what I should blog about, and I got nothing.
My blogs have become orchestrated symphonies, organized series, not all over the place.
You got me. I’m a phony. A liar. Pretending I’m all put together when I’m not. Or was I pretending? I’m not sure of the illusion I’m setting, I don’t know what to tell you. Would you like to know the lies I tell myself to be able to sleep? I know I don’t give back enough, but then again, I do some acts of kindness, right?
I think I have become so fixated on self improvement that I am stuck in the learning process. So many blogs I read today and podcasts I listened to. So many movies and TV shows that moved me and inspired me.
I exercised today. I brushed my teeth. I didn’t cry. I ticked off everything on my to do list. I was a tender loving mom, for the most part. I lost my cool for a couple hours today. Had a meltdown, me and my 5 year old both. Then I calmed down and was tender mom for the rest of the day.
I am 1st and foremost a mom. I get wrapped up in my reading and writing and to do lists and goals that sometimes I forget about the most important thing. To just live in the moment and enjoy it. I lived in the moment several times today. As a result, I didn’t read from “The 7 habits of highly effective people” today. Instead, I played monopoly with my son. It was nerve wrecking but fun. Every game with my son is like that. He is a silly kid. I’m dead serious, even when I play games. I don’t cheat in games or even laugh and I barely smile. Okay I do smile. I think.
For someone who is so self aware, I’m biased. I need a spectator to tell me how I am, but I also want to decide on my own. I don’t want someone to say something and lift me up or bring me down.
I’m so grateful for the life I live, that I have the time to worry about such nonsense.
I’m grateful for this blog. Sadly, I’m afraid sometimes I use it to inflate my ego and feed my self esteem, although compared to other bloggers, I’m not even a blip on the radar. But compared to me last year, I finally feel heard and understood, like my thoughts aren’t all crazy.
Everybody around me. All they care about is shopping. My passion is psychology. I think the human brain is fascinating. Yesterday I was reading about whole brain theory and how we each use a dominant half but if we learn to tap into the other half more often, we would be more creative and balanced.
Boy would I love to be stable and balanced. Tell you a secret? Part of me wants to be liked by everyone. The other part of me knows this is people pleasing and wrong and that I should just be myself, but what if myself is everchanging.
I feel like I have changed a lot in some ways over the years, but nevertheless I’m exactly the same. How is that even possible?!
Tell you what? I’m happy. Right now. This moment (no guarantee what rabbit hole I’ll go down in later) I have my husband, my son, my family, my health. I have so much. I am so much. At that note, I’ll go to sleep before I start overthinking again.