The truth is that I lose my cool as much as the next mom. No one can push a momma’s buttons and try her patience like her babies. Mothering is all too often an exhausting, all-out sprint to bedtime and even when you are not with your kids, you have spent all day mothering. Some days nothing helps, but lucky for me I picked up a few tricks of the trade after years of working with children. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping it together through hell and three-year-old whining.
1. Remove Your Emotions
When you find yourself wearing thin on patience there are two possibilities: either your child is trying to upset you on purpose or he is not. Either way, it’s a) not personal and b) only going to get worse the more upset you get. By isolating your emotions you can get some perspective on the situation and hopefully keep your cool.
2. Let It Go
Take a page from Elsa’s book and treat every day as a new day. Kids live in the now. Whatever happened yesterday or that morning may still be weighing on you, but its a million lifetimes ago for your child. If your child has been pushing buttons all day it is very hard to remain patient. By focusing on the issue in front of you, the weight of the day is less likely to drag you under.
3. Take a Minute for You
Life is stressful. We’ve all been there on a day that is just too much. It is so much harder to deal with your kids when you’re tired, or hungry, or have a million to-dos. If you find yourself struggling to keep your patience, stop and check your stress level. Then, take a minute to take care of yourself.
4. Patience Takes Practice
It is no accident that it is the stuff you do all the time that comes easiest. Like yoga and reading, patience is a practice. The more you lose your cool the more likely you are to lose your cool. The more you practice using patience the more likely you are to keep calm.
5. Establish Expectations and Consequences
You do not want to be setting limits and deciding on consequences when you are at the end of your rope. When you are out of patience it is the frustration making the call, not you. We have all issued an absurd or outrageous punishment when we were frazzled. Did those consequences teach a lesson or did they just make you feel better for a moment? Be consistent and be calm when establishing consequences for your children’s behavior.
Need More Help?
-This great article from Babble, Stop Yelling! offers some great strategies to practice patience
–5 Reasons Moms Lose Patience by FamilyLife offers some great tips on how to build patience
-This article from Revolutionary Parent encourages you to “Bulletproof Your Patience” with a more holistic approach