Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In the Trenches

Sometimes I feel like I'm sailing the smooth seas of motherhood and other times, I feel like I'm in the trenches of an all-out war with my kids. For the past few weeks, it's been the latter. At first, I thought it was the after-effects of vacation. We always have a few rough days as we go through fun withdrawal. Unfortunately, the rough days have lasted for a few weeks now, so I don't think I can blame it on vacation anymore.

My first instinct is to go on a kid bash, unveiling all of their flaws and the frustrations they have caused but I know I would regret that when we return to smooth seas (I know it will happen. I know it will happen). I'll just say, things have been hard. I often end the day feeling very much at the end of my rope, at a complete loss for what I can do to help things get better (other than have a good cry and eat some ice cream).

I have found a few things that have helped and when I remember to put them into practice, ours days are more pleasant:

  • Say yes more. Sometimes I find myself in a ridiculous power struggle with one of my kids and I don't even know why. I've told them no about something, without a real reason and I've decided to hold my ground when it's totally dumb. It's okay to take a step back and change your mind. It doesn't make you a push-over. It makes you human and a good human at that for admitting you were wrong. Let's be honest, kids hear a lot of No. It seems to be one of all baby's first words. It's got to be frustrating.
  • Acknowledge their feelings. Sometimes you have to say no to things or do things that your kids won't like. I find it helpful to explain that I understand how they are feeling but there are just certain things that we do/don't do in this family.
  • Give a legitimate reason. Instead of giving the mother go-to, "Because I'm the mom and I said so" or just a plain "No", it helps to give a valid reason. No, we can't go outside because I need to start making dinner. It's not a good time to play beads because we don't want Grant to swallow one. 
  • Show an outpouring of love. This one is so hard. When I'm frustrated with one of my kids, I don't always feel like snuggling with them on the couch but sometimes, that's exactly what they need. A lot of outbursts come from kids needing a little attention. Unfortunately, freaking out might be the only way they can think of to get some.
  • If all else fails, repeat the mantra, "I love my kids. I love my kids. I love my kids." And, maybe, go hide in the bathroom and eat some Pringles. 

1 comment:

  1. Good advice--and I hope you get a break soon! Things like this make me the most sad we don't live close to each other anymore.


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