Has anyone else noticed that the end of the school year turns our sweet little angels into insanely hyped up, energizer bunny type crazed little people? I have never figured out exactly the reason, but it seems as soon as the word summer has entered our vocabularies again after the six long months of winter we have, my kids lose all grip on reality and just go insane until we enter summer time.
Because of all of these heightened energy levels and the fact that our winter held on extra long this year, I’ve been very frustrated as a parent for the last month or two. My sweet littles who normally may need one or two reminders to obey or follow directions, now need about 27 reminders and even then I’m still not obtaining results. What gives?
As a result, last week I found myself in the middle of an extremely frustrating day of parenting. I was trying to shoot off a quick email (I manage our side business from home) and what should have taken five minutes had already taken twenty. I was beyond frustrated and as I turned to get after my boys for wrestling on the couch again, after already getting after them about 2 zillion times, I realized my voice was raspy and sore.
How had this happened? Was I getting sick? Did I need a drink of water? Deep in my gut I knew what was going on, but in an attempt to ignore my shortcomings, I told myself I must be coming down with something. It was only a short time later when I went to “correct” my children again that I realized I was trying to yell, and yet again, my voice didn’t have much strength.
Wait a minute. How much had I been yelling today? Surely it wasn’t enough to begin to make my voice hoarse? I mean, what kind of a mom does that? It was then that I realized that this was exactly what had caused my voice to weaken. Had I really been yelling at my kids like this? I had to stop what I was doing and reassess my current way of parenting.
Now, hear me out. I am a good mother and I love my children dearly. They are in good hands. And I will be the first to say that we ALL yell at our children sometimes. I don’t care how perfect of a mom you are; we all get to those moments where we just lose it and yell. And honestly, I think that this is okay and even healthy in a way. (See “Bad Mom” Moments). However, I don’t want to be the mom that yells all of the time without even giving it a thought. My desire is not for my children to remember me as an angry mother with a short fuse. I can do better. I will do better.
I think it’s easy for us to fall into bad parenting habits and when we finally realize how far we are into the depths of these less than perfect cycles, we convince ourselves that we’re “just doing the best we can do”. I believe this is one of the greatest lies Satan will tell us as mothers – that we can’t improve; that we can’t choose to do better when we’ve found a flaw we don’t want to have. Listen moms, it’s not too late to stop, readjust and move forward. Does this mean you’ll parent perfectly from that moment on? No, but we can work towards improving certain areas of our mothering.
For me, this means watching my reaction and tone when dealing with my kiddos when they’re being ridiculously loud, are fighting over who is first to the potty, or are taking 25 minutes to put their shoes on. I began the process by breathing deeply and waiting for a few seconds before responding to anything that would normally make me blow up. It gave me just enough time to gain perspective and realize that I don’t need to have a short fuse all the time. I don’t need to explode at the slightest infraction. I can still guide them, explain to them and even discipline them without having to shout everything I am trying to convey. And you know what? It’s been a few days and I don’t have a perfect record, but I’ll say that I’ve probably been able to cut out 90% of the yelling I had been doing and my kids are reacting better to my direction as a result.
Moms, you are doing a wonderful job. You work hard to love and guide your children. But sometimes we can pick up bad parenting habits due to extra stress, hard seasons in life, difficult phases our children are going through (hello teething) or just from exhaustion. The key is to become aware of any aspects you don’t like, remind yourself that you don’t have to succumb to these aspects and make a plan to change; to be better. It’s not too late.