Parenting is a tough job. And it’s not like you can clock out, go home, have a nice dinner out and forget about your worries until the next time you clock in. It’s an around-the-clock job that deprives you of your sleep, stresses you out, and tests your patience.
Nobody wants to be an angry parent and yell at their kid. I don’t think anybody wants to intentionally raise their voice at a young child.
But parenting is hard and some moments can be really overwhelming.
Being a calm parent is important because we want to model good behavior to our children. Our children are going to pick up habits from us and we want to model the best behavior. You don’t want your kids to see you screaming, yelling, and emotionally labile.
Studies have shown that children raised in families where parents shouted, screamed, and yelled were more likely to grow up with anxiety and depression.
Count to 10
This may sound pretty simple and basic but before responding to your kids, pause and count to 10.
Sometimes our initial response will be to raise our voices when we’re stressed or in a heightened state of alertness. But if we pause and count to 10, it may lower our blood pressure, heart rate, and give us an opportunity to reevaluate our response.
If it’s not immediately life-threatening and the kids aren’t doing anything dangerous- it can be resolved in a calm and quiet demeanor.
Take Deep Belly Breaths
Deep breaths are the ones that make your belly move in and out. You want to put your hand on your stomach and feel your hand move up and down as your belly breathes in and out.
Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for three seconds, and blow it slowly out through pursed lips. Pursed lips mean that you make your lips into a small “O” and let out your breath slowly.
As you breathe in and out, you should be able to feel your belly rise and fall.
Walk Away From the Situation and Give Yourself a Timeout
Sometimes the best thing to do when things get out of control is to walk away from the situation.
As long as your kids are in a safe space and there is nothing life-threatening, walk away and take a moment to calm down.
Walking away into another room will give you an opportunity to calm down, clear your head, and give you a chance to respond in a different manner.
Remember that your kids are watching your behavior, actions, and words. Even if they may not be able to speak yet, they can understand body language and tone.
You want to model good behavior that your children will pick up from you.
If a situation seems too much for you, walk away from it. Go into another room, take 10 deep belly breaths, and recollect yourself.
When you feel as though you’re better able to handle the situation, come back and attend to what needs to be attended to.
Remind Yourself That This Is Only Temporary
On days when things are particularly rough, I remind myself that this is only temporary.
These hard times won’t last, you’ll get through them, and one day, they’ll just be a distant memory.
When the times are good and my kids and I are laughing, I soak it all in. I appreciate the little moments and embrace all their little giggles and hugs.
And when the times are rough and they’re screaming, crying, fighting, and resisting their naps, I remind myself that this is only temporary. The hard times won’t last and this will all be a memory soon.
When the going gets rough, just remind yourself that this is just a tough moment and that you will get past it.
Know What Your Triggers Are
Everybody has different triggers- things that set them off.
For some people, it can be a messy room, a late appointment, people not texting back, a loud noise, etc.
My trigger is a dirty and unorganized kitchen. Our kitchen is the center of our home and where I spend the most time in. It drives me absolutely crazy when things are left all over the place or when things are not put away.
That’s why we always wash the dishes every night, clean and put things away, and organize the house for the next day. There are no toys, mail, or random items that need to be put away or placed on our kitchen island. Our kitchen island is bare. It may look a little naked but I like it like that.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself and Get Enough Sleep and Nutrition
This may be an easy one to overlook. Especially if you’re a busy mom. Who am I kidding?
All moms are super busy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a SAHM or a working mom. Moms are superwomen and always put more on their plates.
As you’re caring for everyone else, it’s easy to overlook your own health and needs. And if you have a baby or toddler that is still getting up several times a night, you might not be getting enough restful sleep.
Sleep is important for maintaining your health, regulating your emotions, and thinking processes. If you’re not getting adequate sleep, you may be easily irritable and moody. Little things will set you off when they shouldn’t.
I’ve noticed that when I get to go to bed early and get a good night of sleep, I am more patient the next day. I am less easily angered and I take the time to explain things to my son.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re getting adequate nutrition. Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and include protein and healthy fats in every meal. Lean protein like chicken breast, eggs, and salmon are great protein choices. And health fats like olive oil, avocado, and peanut butter are good for heart health and brain health.
Connect With Other Parents
Being a stay-at-home mom, it can be difficult to have meaningful conversations with other adults and parents. It may be good to get out there and talk to other parents. You get an opportunity to vent and get things off your chest. And you also get to hear what other parents are going through.
As parents, we all can relate to one another’s problems and struggles. I’ve found that when I’ve shared some of my parenting struggles, other moms have gone through the same thing or something similar. We’ve shared ideas for what works for us and it has certainly helped.
Not only that but it’s also good to talk to other adults. I feel like when you’re stuck inside with your kids all day, you’re just talking to them and there’s not much dialogue going back and forth.
Going out to mommy play dates, meeting other moms at the library for toddler reading time, and having social time with other moms and parents can give us a unique perspective on parenting. Not only is it healthy for us as parents but it’s good for us to vent and get things off our chest.
Practice Self- Care
I can’t stress this enough but self-care is important.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Do something relaxing that gets your mind off the kids so that you can feel reenergized again.
You can soak in the bathtub with some scented candles and listen to relaxing spa music. Go get a pedicure and get your feet and nails done. Pamper yourself with a scalp massage and get a blow dry. Do anything to help you relax.
You can also read here for some self-care ideas for busy moms.
Self-care is an integral part of taking care of yourself and your family. Take a moment to take care of yourself and refill your own cup so that you have more to give to others.