As I faintly saw my daughter in the distance running toward a vault to jump high onto some mats, I wondered if I could get out there and join her 6 year old gymnastics class. Not because I want to get back to the basics of gymnastics, but because one of my boys was having a meltdown in front of me. A classic laying out on the floor crying because I won’t give him my phone, making a small waiting room feel even smaller. Instead of throwing on my leotard (which would look quite interesting considering I’m 20 weeks pregnant), I just took a deep breath and walked to the front desk to pay for the class while my son finished his rant.
To this flailing child’s credit, he had held it together for an hour and fifteen minutes. He was losing it and I didn’t blame him. Watching sissy do gymnastics is pretty lame for the uninvolved brothers.
Also, to his credit, I do the exact same thing almost every day. I can hold it together for about 75% of my day. I use my calm mom voice, gently instruct, stay on top of discipline. Shoot, yesterday I made print outs of Dinosaurs, Cars, and Shooters, cut them out and taped them to containers to make for an easier clean up for the boys. I created a rather adorable chart for what my daughter must accomplish before she leaves her room in the morning – brush hair, get dressed, shoes, socks, brush teeth.
Now, of course the kids only saw the “undies” part of “get dressed” and spent the rest of the day laughing hysterically at it.
Hey, I put a lot of hard work (at least 20 minutes) into this project. The least they could do is respect the undies part and move on.
Then, knowing we had gymnastics at 4:30 ending right in the smack middle of dinner time, I did all my dinner prep before we left. I even set the table! I was Martha Stewart yesterday yet without her income. (I work for free round here, duh.)
All things considered, I was on the road to success for the day. Until 6:30. Until I didn’t account for the end-of-the-day whining and the “I don’t like potatoes” and the “why can’t we have chicken nuggets??” It’s hard explaining to a three year old that we only have those when dad is out of town.
So, my home was slightly more organized, the dinner was ready to go, and yet, and still, and even so – i lost it.
Like my three year old on the gymnastics waiting room floor, I had enough.
My voice went from 4 to 2,200 in volume and I made everyone’s eyes pop open wide and all incoherent whining come to a screeching halt.
Then I sat through dinner like a baby. Forcing a smile here and there and avoiding eye contact with my husband since my behavior was well… pretty dumb.
I read a quick article today about controlling anger and it suggested when you feel angry to 1) not say anything, 2) take a time out, 3) get some exercise. While all this may be true, it’s hard to be heading to the dinner table with your plate in hand, set it down, and say “I’m going for a jog.”
The point is that I know from 4:30-7:30 I’m running on empty. But as a mom, I’m nowhere close to done. Right?
So, does this excuse the behavior? If I’m on borrowed time anyways, shouldn’t everyone just be thankful I’m still around. (joke)
Moms, I know I’m not the only one who is short-fused round here.
If you have one child or three, it’s not just that it’s hard work to make the day go by, it’s hard work to take on emotions, comments, needs and melt downs from more than one person – that one person being not your children, but yourself. So, there you are, doing the best you can to present yourself as a mature person, when your kids are actively displaying all that you wish you could let out.
So, what if we called it what it is? We’re not perfect, we have limits, and there is a way out. What if we tried this together and held one another accountable and handed one another stickers (or sent smiley emoji’s to one another) when we’ve kept ourselves in tact.
I don’t think this means you don’t get mad, or frustrated, or wiped out or fed up. It just means, the way you react that you DO NOT LIKE – what if we focused on that.
What if instead of reacting the way we really wanted to, we didn’t.
What if we did run downstairs real quick to pound a pillow?
What if we did run to our bedrooms during dinner time to do 20 pushups?
And then…. then! What if we gave ourselves a sticker?
A symbol that we did a good job?
We reward our kids all day for good behavior. Why? Because they’re human and they need a tangible sign that they did good.
What if you did that for yourself? Or asked your husband to create a reward chart for you, too?
I’m kinda joking, but i’m kinda not. If you have a parenting behavior that you don’t like – you (we) don’t have to be stuck.
There is time to learn, and believe me your children will give you plenty of opportunities to try and try again.
Instead of flailing on the floor of the kitchen next time, what if you tried something new?
What if WE started showing our children the better way to respond?
We can do it, moms.
It’s not over yet. There is victory that still awaits.
And as my friend just reminded me, we can always ask our kids (and husbands) for forgiveness. That’s a good place to start, too.