If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy


If Mama Ain’t Happy…

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“An important principle of parenting is recognizing that stress can flow through the parents onto the child. This is called entrainment. It is the manner by which family members become intertwined in an other’s sensory exchange. You’ve heard that saying, “If mom ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” this speaks to the theory of entrainment. If one member of the family is stressed the entire family will be stressed. Also remember that the child with the trauma will be the most sensitive one in the family. Easily reacting to the stress experience of the other individuals in the home.” — Choose Love, Bryan Post

The takeaway here is not to feel bad or guilty, but to understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that no one is guilty. The family dynamics are a complex series of interactions, most of which we are totally unaware of just how a word, a certain tone used, a look or lack of a look can trigger unconscious reactions of fear and threat in those we love. They can also trigger very positive and heart opening changes. Don’t worry about what you are doing, focus on what you are being.

By being mindful of our own body/emotional/mental states and what affects them (just the thought that a challenging child will be soon home from school can trigger a series of negative thoughts and emotions) we can be role models for teaching our children how to better relate to their changing physical/emotional landscapes.

Just as it is true that when one person is dysregulated, that effect can be picked up and magnified by others in the family, when one person is calm, loving and regulated, that can also be picked up and magnified. The real lesson is that any one can start the snowball effect of the changes we want to see. Any one. Any time. Any how.

“As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” – Mahatma Gandhi