Since having kids something has changed in me. And it’s not good. While I know that parenthood is no walk in the park, I never expected my temper to take such a big hit. It’s hard to admit, but more days than not I let my anger get the best of me. I get angry quickly, and I become easily frustrated. I end up snapping at my kids (ages 2 and 4), or try everything in my might not to just scream (or swear). As a former preschool and elementary school teacher (and someone with a masters in early childhood education) you would think it wouldn’t be so hard. But, oh, I was wrong. So very, very, wrong.
I love my girls dearly, but all the fighting and whining is enough to make my head spin. The fighting starts, and it’s like I turn into the Hulk. All I see is red, and I can’t formulate a coherent thought. Once again, I know everything isn’t roses and rainbows, but I realize it’s something I need to work on. My oldest is starting to pick up on when I’m frustrated and gives me a hug (with an “I love you”), or ask “are you frustrated mommy? Why?” That friends, is like a dagger in me. I don’t want my girls to look back at their childhood and remember mom as constantly angry. Something has got to change.
As the saying goes, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. So here it is. I’m an angry mom. While I understand anger isn’t something you can turn on and off with the flip of a switch, I know I can make changes to help me be more positive. Next month I will check back in to let you now how everything went!
One: Recite a mantra every morning (or when I feel close to losing it).
Full disclosure, I’ve never been one to meditate or recite mantras. I’m not really a sit in silence type of person, so it never appealed to me. However, I now understand that saying a mantra doesn’t mean you have to meditate. It can simply be a way to help you pause and better control how you respond to situations. My goal is to say this to myself in the morning, and whenever I feel my blood starting to boil.
“Breathe. I am a loving parent and can handle this in a calm manner”.
Two: Drink more water and eat healthy snacks
I get hangry. I know it, my husband knows it, even my in-laws know it. Why then, do I let myself go so long without eating? It does no one any good. When my girls have their snack, I too will have a snack. Staying hydrated will also be important. When I taught I did a stellar job of drinking water. I mean I would refill my Nalgene bottle 4-5 times a day. Now I’m lucky if I remember to drink 4-5 glasses of water. My goal? Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Three: Get some me time in
I am fortunate to live near my parents and my MIL, and they are incredibly helpful. They are always willing to babysit, or come with to long doctor appointments so I have company. Two times a month I will ask them to watch the girls so I can have some me time. Whether I go walk around Target sans kids, or have time to focus on a sewing project at home, it would be my time. It doesn’t even have to be all day, just a few hours can work wonders. I know that not everyone has family close by, but friends can work too. Take turns babysitting each other’s children so that one parent can have some alone time.
Four: Keep things clean
When my house becomes overly messy I get anxious. When I’m anxious I am much more likely to get frustrated and snap at my kids. Now, I don’t mean that my house needs to be in tip-top shape, but I’d like to believe that keeping it tidy will help my anger. This means staying on top of my kids cleaning up their mess. Doing the dishes right away rather than letting them pile up in the sink.
Five: Reduce time on social media
This one is hard, since as a blogger I rely on social media to reach my followers (and gain more followers). I also love that it is a way to stay connected to friends who live far away. However, I know that I’m not the only one who gets lost in scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. There has to be a healthy balance, and I have yet to find that. One thing I have already done is turn the social media notifications off on my phone. I am planning on limiting my reading of social media to during quiet time, before the kids wake up, or after they go to bed. I will still allow myself to post randomly throughout the day, but the scrolling will have to wait until later.
Six: More play dates
Play dates aren’t just for kids, they are super beneficial to parents too. Having adult interaction during the day can work wonders for your soul. I used to go to so many play dates when it was just one child, but the second one came, and life got busy and play dates slowly decreased. These play dates don’t have to be fancy. Simply invite friends over (or go to someone else’s house), let the kids play while you bond over mimosas, wine, beer, coffee.
So there you have it. The six changes I plan to make to be a less angry mom. My girls deserve it.
What about you? How do you stay calm as a parent?