Take a Deep Breath, Mom.

Last night after our two bedtime stories, I sat in the rocking chair holding Remi like I always do waiting for Sofia to fall asleep. Some nights she falls asleep in five minutes but other nights, like last night, it takes her over thirty minutes. I could have left soon after the stories, but I decided when she was younger that I would stay with her until she fell asleep. It helps comfort her having one of us there, and it allows me to have some quite time with her. If the process is particularly long, I let her know that I will be going out and that I will come back in to check on her. She rarely objects.

There we were, in the dark room listening to Angel by Jack Johnson playing quietly in the background. My right leg beginning to feel numb from holding Remi while Sofia attempted to start conversations every five minutes. The first few times I didn’t mind and responded with, “yes, baby… (paused to listen) …okay. It’s time to go to sleep”. But by the sixth or seventh time of her calling out my patience was wearing thin.

Again, she said, “Mommy…”.

This time I had had enough, “Uh oh, NO! No more talking, it’s time to go to sleep.”

And my sweet three-year-old child without any pause to think responded with, “Take a deep breath mom, you’re mad.”

She was right, I was angry, and I did need to take a deep breath. I apologized to her for my tone and upon her insistence I stopped and took a deep breath.

So where are you today? Most of us are walking around day after day with too much on our plates. Maybe you’ve been caring for your kids at home and there are chores to be done, and food to be prepared, and the kids are not listening. Stop, and take a deep breath.

Maybe work is overwhelming, finances are discouraging, and you and your spouse are having problems. Stop, and take a deep breath.

Regardless of where you find yourself today, whether everything is going well or if your day, week, or month have been short of spectacular. Stop, (close your eyes if you’re able to) and breathe. It’s not a promise that everything will magically be okay but when we stop and breathe it has a way of resetting us, a way of connecting us to all that is around us, and allowing us to realizing that we are not alone.

As for Sofia, she fell asleep shortly after this interaction and I finished up my nighttime responsibilities and even had time to watch a Netflix show. While I was tidying up the kitchen I kept thinking about how wonderful it is that she is learning now, as a toddler, the importance of knowing emotions and what to do with them. Teaching her about identifying emotions has been something we have found to be very important in our house (maybe because we’re both counselors). So, for you parent, uncle, aunt, or friend reading this with young children in your lives, here is a short list of some of my favorite books that we have read about emotions and what to do with them.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberly

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Calm-Down Time by Elizabeth Verdick (more in this series)

The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book about Feelings by Anna Llenas

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

You Are Beautiful by Todd Snow (more in this series)

When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman (more in this series)

Hands are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi (more in this series)

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Meanwhile back in OLH: The kids have settled back into their routine of both Joshua and I back to work. We have only one more semester of Joshua’s graduate program and then we are done with school (for now)! This week is reenrollment at Sofia’s preschool and apparently spots go quick so from what I heard parents lined up three hours before the doors opened! We planned to enroll Remi next year but last minute decided we’d rather wait another year.

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