Through developing emotional intelligence during parenthood, you can recognize and regulate your emotions while always feel in control.
Do you feel your emotions are scattered after becoming a parent?
Or perhaps your emotions have taken over and dictate how you react without you even knowing why you are acting a certain way?
I know how this feels, believe me, I’ve questioned my sanity sometimes due to how my emotions have burst out without knowing where they came from!
The truth is that dealing with emotions is complex before having a child.
So when you mix up hormonal changes, lack of sleep and an entire new dependency, boom you have a sack full of emotions about to explode.
Emotions are essential to express ourselves and to experience the world in a way that is unique.
We tend to disregard emotions because it’s so hard to understand each one and how they cause us to act the way we do.
Has it ever happened to you that you are feeling anxious and then realize it’s linked to the fact that you were hungry or thirsty?
Or on the contrary, you’re super happy and it’s because that night you only had to wake up once to check on the baby so you slept better!
You see, as parents, we don’t usually stop and think if our emotions dictate our attitude.
We also don’t tend to see emotions as elements that are built into our brain and that we have control over.
Because really as parents sometimes you are just trying to get through the day, let alone analyze how you are navigating it.
But a good understanding of your emotions and where they come from allows you to embrace life differently.
I learned this the hard way.
Emotional breakdowns as a parent
Ever since I can remember I’ve been called a sensitive person and after becoming a parent this expanded to an entirely different level.
After our daughter was born I started to snap at little things and worry about the most insignificant things instead of embracing the moment.
Most of the time I felt like I didn’t have a say in how I felt and even though I was enjoying some happy moments, the majority of the time I was anxious.
I didn’t realize that I was healing and integrating into a different lifestyle and that these physical changes affected my emotions completely.
One thing is knowing that your hormones are going to change you and another is actually experiencing the craziness and accepting that now you are a different person.
Before becoming a parent I had learned about “Emotional Intelligence” and how to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions.
But it wasn’t until my child triggered certain unknown reactions in me that I wondered what emotions really are.
I remember one night while changing my daughter’s diaper, she peed all over me and her clothes and I freaked out. I started crying and asking myself “why can’t I catch a break?”…
What I didn’t realize was that my emotions were taking over and that in reality, my feelings of frustration were totally realistic considering I had just had a baby.
I saw that moment as the start of a long journey of discovery on what emotions are and how to understand their effect in my life.
Struggling with emotional instability
I learned how emotions are guesses that your brain makes depending on your life experience and that you have control over them.
But even though I was aware that I could control my emotions, I didn’t.
I felt that everytime my child cried a rush of adrenaline shifted everything in my body.
It was as though I had no control over my reactions and it only escalated the more she needed me.
As time passed and my daughter became more active the feelings of anxiety and frustration increased.
I started noticing patterns of my own emotions reflected on her and this became very obvious when her mood would shift depending on how I was feeling.
It got to a point where the day-to-day life became overwhelming. Every time I had to change her, shower her or even dress her it was a real challenge.
That’s because she was reading my emotional stress and reacting negatively towards it.
My husband was also suffering from my rapid mood swings and to be honest had his own emotional triggers that he needed to deal with.
We realized that most of our arguments were because of lack of sleep or fear of the unknown with the future of our new life with a child.
Once we understood that our emotions were dictating the way we lived, we decided to track them and understand when we would react in a positive or negative way.
You see, emotions are summaries of what is going on in the body, so when we had slept less we were more cranky.
Or when we didn’t exercise as much or didn’t eat well we also noticed more stress.
Finding logic in emotional reactions
We realized emotions don’t happen to you, they are made by you.
Basically, your mind takes a physical action and converts it into an emotional response.
The thing is, that response doesn’t always have to be related to an emotion though and when we understood this it was so much easier to embrace difficulties as a parent.
Let me give a personal example to better visualize what I mean:
In the first year of parenthood I woke up and felt overwhelmed, not only because of lack of sleep, but I pictured everything that I needed to do in my mind and my heart started to race like crazy even before I got out of bed
My mind associated this mind racing sensation with fear or anxiety. But in reality, most of the emotions I was feeling could have been due to a physical cause (tired, hungry, not enough sleep, dehydrated…)
When I realized that most of the emotions I felt could be linked to things my body needed it became easier to do things and some peace came back into our lives.
My husband and I asked ourselves why no one had explained emotions in a way that is clear and that people can understand better?
What three components could we have clarity on so we could take control over our emotions better?
These question helped us discover the three essential parts to developing emotional intelligence with ease as a parent.
The 3 components of emotional intelligence
So emotions enable you to experience different feelings throughout your day.
Although they are temporary, your emotions have way more power than you may realize.
By having the ability to deal with your emotions you will be able to handle your low moments better while enjoying your high moments with more appreciation.
As a parent, you may become even more emotional and sensitive because you may feel more triggered by emotions of others like your partner or children.
If you don’t have emotional self-awareness you’ll be operating in your life by being reactive instead of proactive.
By learning the three components of emotional intelligence you’ll be able to recognize and regulate your emotions so you can always feel in control.
It is essential to handle emotions with a different approach so you can stay sane and take better care of yourself and your child.
This is an important component as it’s the first step to understanding how you are in control.
Once you know that you are not born with emotions but that they are created throughout your life by a series of associations in the brain, you can understand why you might feel a certain way in a specific situation.
So next time you are upset because your partner didn’t change a diaper or do something you wanted, ask yourself what is your state? Are you tired, thirsty or hungry?
It’s a great idea to hydrate, this helps your body reset and go back to neutral so your brain can actually recognize better your emotions and understand if it’s truly a deep feeling or simply a reaction to a physical need.
When you tap into the power of self-awareness you regain confidence and sanity to do things differently and influence your child in a more positive way.
This component is linked to being aware of your emotions. When you are able to recognize and categorize what and why you are feeling a certain way, then you can take control over your emotional life.
Once you are aware, you can basically teach your brain to shift your experience.
Let’s say one day you wake up feeling stressed and instead of checking on your child and starting the tasks for the day, you simply pause and reflect, maybe you breathe and drink some water.
This allows you to be aware of your physical body and you realize that the stress was related to thirst.
But maybe after drinking water you still feel stressed, then you know your emotion is real and you can look deeper into it.
Maybe you have a doctor’s appointment and are feeling nervous about it, or your baby started to crawl and you realize childhood goes by really fast.
Regardless, now that you are aware that the emotion is real you can regulate it and work with it as needed.
Maybe you need to write down what the emotion is and talk to someone about it to shift it to a more positive one.
Remember you have the power to change the emotions in your mind.
So that thought that your baby is growing too fast can be shifted into one of appreciation for life and their independence rather than sadness.
So now that you’ve tapped into the first two emotion components you can use them to not only be aware and regulate your own but to also use this power to understand others better.
As parents, we tend to get lost in our own emotions and especially for me as a mother I thought I was only experiencing anxiety and stress.
In reality, when you can understand that emotions are not as complex as you thought they were you can also understand others and how they experience life.
The power of empathy is that it takes you away from the “you are alone in this journey”, to the “I am not alone and I can help my child and my partner navigate life better”.
Together you can form an alliance and help each other in times of need.
Evaluate how things are and respect each other in a deeper way.
Emotional intelligence after becoming a parent
So now that you know what the three components to developing emotional intelligence are you can step up and never let them take over your life again!
You can wake up and understand why you are feeling a certain way and create systems to feel better.
You can reflect a better you into your child, so they feel and act in a more stable way.
And if your child has an emotional breakdown you can better understand it and help guide them with ease and positivity.
We can’t run from our emotions, but we can take charge and decide how we want to experience them.
So next time you are feeling blue, remember you have the power to shift this emotion too!
So what’s the conclusion?
Taking charge of your emotions is essential to living your life free of stress and anxiety.
It allows you to be free of disappointments and have a more peaceful day-to-day life.
Plus by understanding fully why you are feeling and acting a certain way you will accomplish an entirely different level of optimal living you never thought you could reach.
You can have your sanity back and by harnessing the power that your emotions have in you, you can decide to be happier, live at your fullest and never let another day be gloomy or full of stress.
So a parent, you may become even more emotional and sensitive because you may feel more triggered by emotions of others like your partner or children.
If you don’t have emotional self-awareness you’ll be operating in your life by being reactive instead of proactive.
After learning the three components of emotional intelligence, you can now recognize and regulate your emotions so you can always feel in control.
So what’s one thing you plan on doing to develop emotional intelligence during parenthood? Let me know by commenting below.