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.