Anyone else feel like their fuse has been shorter than ever, lately? Maybe it’s because I have a very clingy 4 year old son, a super independent 2 year old daughter, and COVID just won’t go away; but whatever the reason(s), my patience is wearing thin. I used to wake up feeling ready for the day, and now I wake up still exhausted from the last. It’s like I’m on a hamster wheel all day, arguing, disciplining, and (unfortunately) yelling at my children because they keep acting out.
I’ve been finding myself asking these questions, “Why are they misbehaving?” “Why am I feeling so flustered and angry?” “Am I doing something wrong?”
If you find yourself on that awful hamster wheel-like me, and asking similar questions like I have, know that you are not alone; and better yet, I have some hope for you! But it’s going to take some work and discipline on your part. Are you ready?
If you are anything like me, then you have gotten used to reacting out of your emotions instead of reacting mindfully. And by that I mean: You either blow up, or diffuse the situation. For most of my life, I have been an “emotional reactor”, and it has gotten me into some sticky spots over the years. When I became a mother, I though that somehow magically that part of me would disappear, or that I would never be able to yell at my children. And then came the day when my son turned 3, and the beast within me unleashed. (Totally kidding, I’m not a monster). But my emotions reacted instead of me being patient and working situations out with him in a mindful way.
Yes, motherhood changes so much about you for the better. But, it also reveals characteristics within you that need to be worked on and corrected.
And that’s a hard statement to swallow. It is hard to change. And let’s be honest, it is easier to be who you’ve always been, and to react how you’ve always reacted.
Over these past couple of years, I have had my good days, and I have had my bad days with my kids. But unfortunately, deep in my soul I knew I was ALLOWING too many bad days to creep in. And I was ALLOWING temper tantrums and meltdowns to completely ruin my day and set the tone for the rest of the day. (Sometimes even leading into the next morning).
I knew I had to start owning up to the fact that my attitude, emotions, and reactions set the tone for my children, my husband, and our home. And I knew that if I didn’t start working on that part of me, then not only would my joy within motherhood start to diminish, but my family would be affected negatively by it as well. And I was not going to allow that to happen.
Here are 3 ways I have learned of how to control my emotions and to be mindful of how I am handling situations with my children:
#1. Be slow to react
-There has been so many times where I will be watching my kids off in the distance doing something, and I already can predict the outcome before it happens, and then I’m already yelling at them before it even happens. Or, I am too stubborn to allow them to explain to me what they were doing, and I cut them off and presume the worse ect. In motherhood, I have learned to be slow to react, to take a deep breath, and to not allow my initial emotions to lead the situation.
#2. Drop some expectations
- I am preaching to myself on this one (miss perfectionist over here). I love order. No chaos. And as you mothers know, young kids are the epitome of messes and chaos. For so long, I have allowed the stress of a messy house, or putting unrealistic expectations on my kids, to frustrate me and to make my anxiety skyrocket. Why do I do that to myself? Because I like to feel like I have some sense of control. And I think now more than ever in the world we are living in, we are all craving some order, normalcy, and control. But the more I try to achieve “control” over the situation, the more stressed out I become. So mamas, don’t place unrealistic expectations on your kids. Yes, teach them to be respectful and responsible. But also let them be kids, and give them grace. Lord knows we ALL need that as mothers, so let’s lavish it on our kids in heap fulls!
#3. Get down to their level
- More times than I can count, once I got down to my kids level to talk things over with them, I calm down. Because I get to stare into their eyes and sweet faces, and they remind me that they are learning and trying to figure life out. When I sit beside them, my angry emotions take a backseat and that allows patience to sweep in. And when patience and understanding sweeps in, the tone within the moment becomes sweet. It becomes a learning lesson rather than a scolding lesson. It becomes a bonding moment instead of a degrading moment.
Mamas, I know we are all going through so much right now. Our world feels out of control and uncertain. But our homes do not have to feel that way. Our emotional reactions to our children do not need to be that way. We get to CHOOSE how we set the tone for our families and lives. We get to CHOOSE how we respond, and how we parent. Let’s not allow our fears, the unknowns, and our emotions dictate the way we live and parent; because newsflash, life will always be full of those things. Now more than ever in an uncertain world, we need to show our children security, laughter, joy, patience, and peace. And it all starts with us-in our homes, and in our hearts.