You know song by The Shirelles that kicks off with “mama said, mama said”?
I’ve finally found my Buddha phrase. Two years into taking the signature, 12-week Positive Parenthood course for the first time, I finally found my Cool & Calm phrase. I’ve made them up when pressed – I’ve tried “this too shall pass” and also “don’t worry, be happy.” None of them really fit, though….
The Cool & Calm phrase is a short thing you decide to say to yourself in moments of distress, in order to stay calm yourself so that you don’t resort to saying things like “BECAUSE MAMA SAID SO” or “if you don’t share that plastic dinosaur with your sister RIGHT NOW you are never going to play with plastic dinosaurs ever again.” So, it’s a pretty little phrase with a pretty big role, because it is actually going to help you stay calm when parenting is rocky, and most parents know…. that things can get real rocky, real quick, real often when their are parents and children and responsibilities involved.
So, “this too shall pass” has never really worked for me because I would never say that. “Don’t worry be happy” didn’t fit because it felt like something I’d say when I was on a carefree beach with someone worried about getting sand in blown into the fruit salad, which is a much smaller aggravation than my everyday experience of not feeling calm when my children start fighting over plastic dinosaurs, baby dolls that talk, or that specific blue cup (and not the exact same blue cup which we own six of – only that one).
So I’ve been searching for a Cool & Calm phrase that would really work. A phrase that I could really ground to, one that would actually help me regulate myself when my children are doing all the things that really push my buttons. And tonight this song popped into my head:
Mama said there’ll be days like this There’ll be days like this, mama said Mama said there’ll be days like this There’ll be days like this, my mama said
Our Cool & Calm phrases have to work for each and every one of us, personally. There’s a dad we work with who’s Cool & Calm phrase is “teflon.” It helps him remember that he can let the hard moments slide off him, that he’s got a no-stick finish for all those times when things are legit challenging. You know, saying “teflon” to myself would never work- I’d be like I’m not some kind of weird metal and isn’t there a health concern with teflon?
But that’s the beauty here: it works for him. He found it. That’s all that matters.
And I think I’ve found mine. It’s singing to myself “mama said, mama said… there’ll be days like this, my mama said.” See, I pulled the mother-as-a-parent-educator lucky card, and not only do I get to work on Positive Parenthood professionally, but I also have the good fortune of being Robin’s daughter. While her calm nature isn’t genetic it is the case the recalling her lessons and acknowledgement of the sweet madness (is that an oxymoron? I don’t think so!) that is parenting is in itself, very calming for me.
And that is exactly what this little chorus does for me. It reminds me, that even Robin herself- our parenting guru and my mama- knows that sometimes, there’s going to be hard days. And that, no matter how hard the day, she always always holds the belief that the Positive Parenthood tools can help you through anything.
Literally, anything. And it is that steadfast belief, backed up by decades of knowledge, dozens of tools, and the fact that she raised me that calms me down enough to know that… it’s going to be OK, and I can be OK even if my children are really struggling, and that truly, the most important thing is…. me being OK when my children are having a really, really hard time.
So, here’s what works for me:
Mama said there’ll be days like this There’ll be days like this, mama said Mama said there’ll be days like this There’ll be days like this, my mama said.
What works for you? Do you just replace “mama” with “Robin” or do you have a saying like “teflon” or “this too shall pass” or, as Robin herself shares is her Cool & Calm phrase, “hmmmmm….” What works for you?