My favorite thing to do lately is to crawl into my kids’ beds while they are falling asleep. This happens, of course, after I feed and put my 4 month old to sleep. Some nights, I can’t make it up to my older kids’ rooms before they fall to sleep so I miss out on laying with them. I sit down stairs on the couch, nursing my baby and listen to the kids beckon their Dad time and time again from their beds. “Dad, I’m thirsty” “Dada I need my nani on my back” “Dad I’m not tired” “Dada I wanna go to your bed”. Same tune every night from those kiddos. My husband and I joke that bedtime takes an hour because of the circus it has become. The craziness of bedtime! But I secretly hope they are still awake when I make it upstairs, because it’s a time for me to stop, lay and really enjoy my two older kids, if only for a few minutes. They each have their own twin bed so it’s a little cozy! My daughter, Abagail, loves it the most when I lay down with her. As I rest my head on her pillow, she immediately meets me with a hug, kiss and “hi! I wuv you” in a sweet whisper. And tells me that I need to close my eyes as she caresses my hair. Oh my goodness!!!! It’s like everything that she did throughout the day to frustrate me is right away forgotten. She’s a princess in every sense of the word. She’s my princess. But during the course of the day, she pushes my buttons. A lot.
The craziness of being a Mom comes with more than spilled milk and loud screams. It comes with temper tantrums, toddler boredom, talking back from a 4 year old, a destroyed house, a baby that won’t stop crying unless he’s nursing, dishes in the sink that are from breakfast the day before, laundry that needs folded wrinkling from a week ago, hungry and demanding tummys, crazy kids in the grocery store, kiddos fighting over toys and hitting each other, puzzle pieces from 20 puzzles all mixed together in a huge pile buried under a mountain of toys and more toys, a mom who hasn’t showered or changed her clothes in 2 days. Kiddos who beg for me to fill up the pool only to swim in it for 5 minutes then need to be dried off and changed. I’m sure you can relate! The hardest thing about the craziness is learning how to handle the frustration it brings, without losing sight of who created that craziness: my wonderful, amazing, never patient, stubborn, creative, loving children! And learning to control my frustration without yelling at my special little ones is extremely difficult at times.
We all know what it’s like. Trying to deal with every child’s demands and personality on what feels like 2 hours of sleep, lukewarm coffee and yesterday’s mess waiting for you in every square inch of your (used to spotless everyday before you had kids) home. The only option you feel like you have left after you’ve asked for your kids to pick up their toys or get dressed or share with their sister A BILLION times, is to yell at them. My frustration and impatience comes out in a scream that probably makes my kids feel horrible, like I don’t love them. Like who they are is not good enough for me. Now I don’t know that my kids feel that way for sure, but I gather they feel something like that by the look on their faces and how I feel afterwards. The last thing I ever wanted when I became a parent was to make my child feel BAD because they aren’t behaving how I want them to at that moment. It’s not fair to them. But it happens. Yelling at my kids happens. Doesn’t make it right, but I am human after all.
What I have been learning lately are ways to embrace where I’m at right now, where my kids are at in life right now, and to appreciate the craziness my life is right now! Most days, it’s super hard to be able to appreciate crumbs on the floor and countertops, spit up stained clothes, toys EVERYWHERE! But I’m trying. I’m learning what it takes for me to slow down and embrace the craziness that is being a Mom.
1.) When I feel like I’m going to lose it (yell), I take a break!
Seems simple enough right? To take a “time out” when we are feeling overwhelmed and angry? Isn’t always the case though. It takes training your mind to notice when you’re feeling too frustrated, to take a step back and walk away from your kids when you are about to yell at them. I can’t stress this enough with new Mamas out there! Sometimes, when that baby is crying and you’ve done everything you can think of to comfort him/her, it’s ok to put them down in a safe place (their crib is a good place), walk into another room for a minute or two to calm your self down and restart. Take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that they are only kids! And it’s your job to guide and shape them, not demand and lecture them. My favorite go to place when I’m feeling like I may lose it in front of my kids is the bathroom. I just leave the craziness for a minute, have a little mini breakdown, splash some water on my face, and then go handle what I need to. No one is going to fault you for stepping a way from a situation for a minute if it means it helps you handle that situation better and more calm! One thing I’ve noticed, in my 4 year old especially is if I yell at him, he yells right back at me. I’m showing him that yelling is ok when he is frustrated. That’s not what I want to show him! Our kids learn how to be the people we show them to be. I can’t tell him not to yell at me if I in turn yell at him. It doesn’t work that way.
2.) Watch your kids sleep
Have you ever done this? Snuck into your kids’ room just to watch them sleep? It’s amazing how seeing their innocence can recharge your patience for their craziness! I encourage you to try this and see how it rejuvenates your love of being a Mom and calms your soul.
As I wake up in the morning, I try and focus on what I need to do that day and ask God to help me achieve it. I ask him to help me stay patient and calm with my kiddos and the craziness the day may bring. And I ask him to help me show my kids grace and love. Two key elements I need to get me through the craziness of being a Mom! Just being a ale to take two minutes and pray for my day usually sets me up for success and gives me comfort that I have someone helping me through th difficult moments.
4.) Take time for yourself!
If you think about it, you went from having 24 hours a day to do with however you want, for just you! But ever since the day you pee’d on that stick you have shared your body and all of your time with your kiddos, every day since. So MAKE TIME FOR YOYRSELF! Whether it’s taking 30 minutes and sneaking off for a run ( self care is so important for Moms), or taking a bath when your husband gets home. Or if you are a single parent, hiring a babysitter one day a week for a couple of hours just to go to Starbucks or catch a movie or whatever you like! Having time by yourself is so important. And from my experience, it helps greatly on those days when I feel like I’m being pulled every which way by everyone. Be able to have time to myself to recharge and reflect on my experiences with my kids, helps me embrace the craziness a little easier.
5.) Start your morning off with just you
This is a tough one for me because I LOVE sleep! Sometimes I wonder why I had kids (or why I had 3!) because sleep doesn’t exist anymore and I miss it. I miss just waking up on my on and not by a child poking me in the arm telling me he is hungry and wants to watch Turtles….before the sun has even come up. And I get up cranky, trying to accommodate the one who woke me, while getting a cup of coffee, then my daughter wakes up and needs to be carried down the stairs, because well, she’s 2 and dramatic! Now she’s hungry and needs her nani on and has to have the right amount of cereal to milk ratio, and then my four year old needs a second bowl of cereal that he will of course only take 2 bites of, then needs his turtles in order to watch Turtles and I have to help him find them, and his ninja belt for his “weapons”. Then my daughter needs down from the table and her pull-up changed, all the while my cup of coffee sits on the counter, my energy, untouched, getting cold in front of the baby monitor that’s letting me know my baby is indeed up and ready to join the party…and I just want a moment to myself before the craziness starts! So, I am trying very hard to get up before my kids do, even if it’s only for 30 minutes, because getting time to wake up with a hot cup of coffee (and hopefully a hot, uninterrupted shower!), in the quiet sounds of the morning, puts me in a much better mood to handle the craziness of the morning, than trying to catch up with myself during it.
6.) Limit your smartphone, laptop and iPad use
It is unrealistic for us to vow to stay off social media completely throughout the day, but we can limit it while our children are awake. How many of us Moms get irritated and snap at our kiddos because they are trying to get your attention while you are texting or checking Facebook? We are showing our kiddos that whatever is on that screen is more important than them. For me, it actually makes nap time a little more enjoyable if I can snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea and skim Pinterest for the first time of the day. Does wonders for my mood to have something to look forward to throughout the day.
7.) Play with your kiddos
Moms, the chores can wait 5 minutes. Did I just say that out loud?? Yes, I did. My husband and I took a parenting class at our church a couple of years ago, and a very important thing that we learned was to always say yes to our kids when they ask us to play or read books and to just be with them. No matter what we are doing, we are to stop and give our kids the time they want. How important is this? Pretty darn if you ask me! We live in a world now where so many kids are being self entertained by technology that we as parents are missing out on being with our kids, I mean really BEING with them. How much of a difference does it make to be in the same room as our kids cleaning while they play vs playing with them? Well, if you give your children the 5 minutes they are asking you to read them Good Night Moon for the hundredth time, they may be more likely to give you the 30 minutes you need to make dinner, and the battle of “I can’t right now, I have to make dinner please go play!” may disappear. Being engaged with my kids is so important because that’s how I really get to know them, and how I show them that they matter.
Life is crazy Moms, I know! But if we can slow down a little bit and just appreciate where we are at right now, we can hopefully embrace the craziness of our lives and really enjoy our kids! They are only young once 😉
Until next time,
Have a fabulous day!