Being a mom brings us so much joy. And at times soooo much pain. And by pain, I’m referring to those times that your toddler can be a real pain in the ass. For real, how can someone so cute try our patience so much?
And it’s like a light switch sometimes. They go from cute to frustrating in a matter of seconds. For me, the times that I seem to be most prone to losing my temper is when I’m trying to complete a task and my kids are bugging the hell out of me or are not listening.
Often, it’s during dinner time. My kids must have some weird Pavlovian instinct to act like complete fools while I’m in the middle of cooking dinner. I have tried to establish a rule that bans children from the kitchen while I cook because I don’t want wild kids near the oven/knives/boiling water/other life ending kitchen paraphernalia. But every now and again they forget and they come running in to either bug me or play with each other.
I can usually keep my cool for a few minutes, but eventually they wear me down. Kids are nothing if not oblivious to my nonverbal cues that I’ve had enough. I go from “Please my darling angel baby, stop.” to just “Stop!” and yet, they return. Or worse yet, I may get sassed. That’s usually the behavior that puts me squarely in the ‘oh hell no’ mom status.
I don’t shy away from discipline but I hate getting angry at my kids. I don’t parent as effectively when I’m angry. And let’s be real, kids do stupid shit all day long. It would be exhausting to be angry all day. So when I tried (a bit accidentally if I’m being honest) a brand new way to align myself back to a positive parenting place while also addressing the behavior, I was hooked.
My two year old had been standing precariously on our dining room chair while I was fixing lunch one day. I had asked her to sit down multiple times, but nevertheless she persisted. I asked her one last time and she sassed back with a version of ‘no’ I can’t even recall now. And in a weird, almost knee-jerk reaction, I walked over to her and tickled her under her neck. I have no clue why I did it. But it worked! She laughed, which made me smile and laugh, and my blood stopped boiling. She forgot why she was sassing me and we moved on from the situation.
It turns out that smiling is contagious (so is frowning, and all other facial expressions) so by eliciting that response from my daughter made me feel happy. And not wanting to lose my shit anymore, I was able to refocus my mom mojo and finish up lunch without a meltdown (from me or my daughter).
I think the key to making a change in how you react to your children’s behavior is to recognize when you are about to hit your limit. If you can recognize it, you can address it. You can train yourself to understand that emotion and then pair it with an appropriate reaction. Maybe it’s tickling your child. Maybe it’s taking three big deep breaths. Maybe it’s excusing yourself from the situation for a minute to regroup.
Figure out something that works for you and your kids and then consistently implement it. Your blood pressure will thank you!
What other techniques do you all use to help you not lose your temper with your kids?
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