Do you ever have one of those days where your kids are all up in your space and you can’t even sit down without one of them climbing on you or stepping on you? They follow you into the bathroom even when you try to shut the door. They ask for things non-stop. By the time you start working on getting the first thing they asked for, they’ve already asked for two other things?
Yeah, me too.
They’re the days that try my patience. I get frustrated and it just keeps building and building until I am about to blow. And then I do.
I lose it with my kids and yell at them.
It’s so weird how the people we love the most are also the ones that see this side of us that most people never even see. I mean, my kids are the last people I want to treat this way. I love and respect them.
But they’re family and they know how to push my buttons.
I’m not saying they do it on purpose. I’m not saying it’s their fault if I lose my cool. I’m not even saying it’s ok to lose my cool or yell at my kids the way I have.
It’s not ok for me.
That’s why I’ve been working so hard on my parenting skills – my main goal is to keep calm and not lose my sh*t with my kids.
But here’s the thing. No matter what parenting choices I’m making, I have to pay attention to how I’m feeling. When I realize I’m starting to get frustrated is when I need to do something about it. I don’t have to wait to ask for help.
It’s hard though to recognize when I’m getting frustrated and take action about that.
It’s so much easier to see when it’s happening to my husband. I can see that he’s getting frustrated, I can hear the way he’s talking. I know that’s not how he would normally respond. When it’s my own feelings and emotions, it’s hard to see it that way. Luckily I get to practice all the time.
My parenting coach and mentor, Ann Kaplan, says that we can remove the child, the object or ourselves – and when I’m the one that’s frustrated is usually when I have to remove myself.
I give myself a time out.
Seriously. Sometimes I just need a few minutes by myself to calm down, and I take them. I tell the kids, “I’m getting really frustrated and I need some time to myself.”
Whether I have to ask someone to watch them for a few minutes or I just go into another room. I take the time I need to calm down and then I can deal with the situation the way I want to. Without losing my cool.
Of course there are days where just a few minutes don’t cut it. I might be back to ok in a few minutes, but then need more time later. Or I might just need more than a few minutes. I figure out how to make it happen.
Mommy time outs are just one more tool in my parenting arsenal, but they are an important one, because sometimes the kids aren’t the problem.