For the millionth time today, I catch myself yelling at my two boys, who are currently engaged in a wrestling match on the living room floor.
I pause for a second and think, what am I doing? Why am I struggling so hard to be a calmer mother?
True, things have been a bit more stressful since we packed up our family and moved halfway across the United States. But, that doesn’t mean I need to be “that” mom to my boys. The mom with the short fuse. The mom who yells and shouts at her children for the littlest transgression. That mom I promised myself I would never become. Yet, here I am, doing the exact same things over and over again.
Let’s be honest, motherhood is one of the most time-consuming, stressful and difficult jobs on the planet. Yet, it is definitely the most rewarding. We train up our children to be productive, loving, God-fearing members of society, all while questioning ourselves every step of the way.
As mothers, it is easy to focus on all our shortcomings. Like every mother at some point, I sometimes wonder if I am a good enough for my boys. Well, the doubt stops now. God gave our children the most perfect mother for them. Let’s stop doubting ourselves and instead focus on being a calmer mother for our children.
So then, how can you be a calmer mother? The following are practical tips that will help you regain your super-mom status…
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Isn’t that what you tell your children when they are becoming angry and frustrated? Well, mom, take a deep breath. How many times have you heard the saying: Take a deep breath and count to 10? Ever tried it?
The next time you feel like a ticking time bomb and are ready to pull out your hair, stop and take a few deep breaths. When you feel a bit calmer, go ahead and respond to your children. Taking a few seconds before responding in anger will allow you to collect your thoughts and in turn you will have a calmer reaction to your children.
STOP REPEATING YOURSELF
How familiar is the following scenario in your household? You are in the kitchen and your children are playing in another room. It is time for dinner, and you are trying to get your kids to pick up and come to the table to eat.
From the other room you say, “Please, go pick up your toys.” You wait a couple of seconds and raise your voice a few octaves. “I said, please go pick up your toys!” Another few seconds pass by and now at the top of your lungs you scream… “GO PICK UP YOUR TOYS RIGHT NOW!”.
Sound familiar? Well, what do you think would happen if you tried the reverse? The next time you ask something of your child, try going right up to them and using a neutral voice. What do you think would happen? Your child may be taken aback, but also be more inclined to obey.
FOLLOW THROUGH ON DISCIPLINE
Whatever discipline method you choose to employ, make sure you follow through. Don’t be the mother that constantly makes threats, but in the end lets their children get away with murder.
The Bible says that if we love our children, we will take care to discipline them. I know that sometimes we feel like the “mean” mom, but by disciplining our children when they are in the wrong, we are teaching and instilling character into their lives. After all, we want our children to become successful, healthy and well-rounded members of society.
HAVE A SNACK
You know the motto of that delicious, famous candy bar? Well, statistics confirm that when we are hungry, we are more likely to argue and be angry with others, including our children. The root of your sudden anger may be that you are just a little hungry… If so, take a breath and have a snack. You will probably feel better afterwards!
TAKE A MOMMY “TIME-OUT”
If necessary, instead of sending your kids to time-out, consider sending yourself instead. Removing ourselves from the situation for a moment, will allow us to refocus and clear our minds, helping us to parent more effectively.
PRETEND SOMEONE IS WATCHING
I know if sounds creepy, but pretend somebody is watching you parent your children. You know how we all parent a little bit differently when we are in public? Well, try the same thing at home.
When you feel as if “angry mom” is starting to come out, pretend someone is watching you. This will help you take a step back and think before reacting to your child’s behavior.
MAKE TIME FOR YOU
Are you taking the time to relax and do the things that make you happy? Whether it is to take a bath, read a book, do your nails or indulge in a face mask, taking the time to do the things that make you feel good, will help you be a better mom.
Here’s a great post about establishing a self care routine to be the best version of you possible. As mothers, we are so focused on taking care of others, that we often forget to factor ourselves into the equation. When you feel your best, you will be your best.
GET ENOUGH EXERCISE & REST
Along with good self-care, it is important to make sure you are getting adequate rest and exercise. I know, actually getting rest when you have small children can seem impossible. Do the best you can to make sure that you are getting enough rest at night, even if that means turning off the phone and TV an hour earlier each day.
Also, take the time to exercise, even if it is for a short amount of time. It can be difficult to find the time to go to the gym everyday, but there are many exercise programs out there that can be done in your home, with a minimal amount of time. Caring for our bodies makes us feel good both inside and out.
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Have you ever written down how many times you raise your voice everyday? Well, it might be an eye-opening exercise to document the amount of times we get angry with our children on a daily basis. Actually seeing the number in black and white, will help you to see and understand just how your attitude and anger may be affecting your child.
TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY
Everyday is a new opportunity to parent our children. Yes, we will make many mistakes, but the point is to learn from them and continually strive to improve ourselves. After all, we are forever a work in progress.
Remember to always give yourself grace as a mother. After all, we are imperfect human beings. Mistakes are inevitable. The important thing is to love your children unconditionally and strive to be the best example you can on a daily basis.