I was making dinner the other day and suddenly found myself with my pants pulled down. I looked down to find my 16-month-old daughter with one of my pant legs in one hand and my 3-year-old daughter with my other pant leg in her hands. Both were screaming “up-eee” as loud as they could and crying. As I continued to observe this surreal moment, my husband walked into the kitchen and jokingly said “sexy!" And then I cried…
Probably the biggest issue I struggle with every day with my children is how to keep calm and not lose my temper. Sure, I can write this now and laugh, but it is shocking how hard it can be to keep ourselves calm during times of stress with our kids. Parents often whisper to me that they yell back at their children or fear that they will “lose it” one of these days. They whisper as though they are the only ones who have ever done these things or felt this way. But let me tell you, you are not alone!
So let’s get real here. We all have to work hard every day to be patient and keep our cool. Here are some ideas that may help you to keep calm when things get extra hot:
[ ] Hire a babysitter, even if it's just a few hours a week.
[ ] Keep an extra pair of earplugs in the car when you are stuck and your child is wailing in his or her car seat. Trust me—you will still be able to hear them and talk to them but it certainly takes the edge off!
[ ] Make yourself a mellow music mix on your iPhone to put on when you have reached your limit.
[ ] Make sure your children are occupied with a game or the television if you need a few minutes to collect yourself. Yes...I said TV. If it’s between yelling and TV for a few minutes, I vote TV and I’m sure your children will agree.
[ ] Get enough sleep, if you can. Make sure you go to bed early and that your children are getting the sleep they need as they will be less irritable.
[ ] Make sure you and your children are eating enough and frequently enough which also helps decrease irritability.
And most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are certainly plenty of groups out there (Mommy and Me classes, Gymboree, the forums on The Bump) where us moms can vent our frustrations. And the next time you see a mom with her child throwing the tantrum of a lifetime, stop and just give her a sympathetic smile… because you never know when you might be next!