Avoiding the Crazy Days of Parenting
Yesterday we had one of those “crazy” days…those days which you just wish would end and even though you love your kids to bits, you just wish they would crawl under the bed and not come out until tomorrow!
My oldest fella was having one of his “moody” days: everyone hates him and is out to get him and everything that went wrong was proof of this. My youngest fella got out of bed without his ‘frustration tolerance’, spending the day yelling, shouting and throwing things (including his pencil at his teacher and his violin bow at the wall). I didn’t think I was going to survive, but surprise surprise, I actually woke up this morning.
I’m probably describing a typical day in most homes (at least I hope I’m not the only one who has days like these). These are the days when I wonder if there will be anything left of the relationship between me and my kids by the time they are finally adults. Days when I wish I could just climb into bed and pull the duvet over my head. Days in which I am convinced every other parent can do this better than me. Luckily, I seem to survive these days and usually come out on the other side more intentional in my interactions with the kids. So here is my tips on how to have a better day once you wish you could erase yesterday from your memory:
First: Have a plan: Tell yourself that today is going to be a better day and that you are going to head things off at the pass. If at all possible, wake up a few minutes earlier than usual and spend those minutes in quiet time, drawing on your inner reserves to plan the day and your battle strategies.
Second: Have a morning cuddle: If your kids are young enough, crawl into their bed, or encourage them into your bed and start the day with cuddles (these are my favourite moments of the days because they are about the only time the boys show me any affection). If they are “too old” for cuddles (and very few kids really are despite their protests), try to add some quiet moments together chatting or reading. Add in some fun if possible: in my house, giggles, silly voices or over-exaggerated expressions usually work.
Third: Set the tone: When the kids are relaxed and you have their attention, have a quiet chat about the coming day and add in phrases like: “we are going to have a good day today”, “when we are frustrated, we can remember to …”, “If you get upset with me today, please just tell me in a nice voice” and so on. Keep this as short as possible…we can achieve more in 3 minutes than in 30 minutes.
Finally: Keep the tone: As things start to go a little awry (and if my kids are anything to go by, they will), keep your tone light and just remind them of the morning chat (e.g. “remember we are going to use nice voices today, even if we are upset” or “remember to find your self-control when you get frustrated”). I find if I head things off at the pass, the intensity of the outbursts reduce and they don’t build up into a pattern for the rest of the day.
Good luck surviving those crazy days and setting the tone for more level ones. Remember: This too shall pass.