Being a mom is hard work. We’re warned before we have kids that it’s the hardest, but best, job we could ever have, and gosh is that so darn true!
I’m a mom of two girls, a one year old and three year old. Each age is difficult for it’s own reasons. I’m pretty blessed that both of my girls have slept well, eaten well, and so on.
But maaaaaan my three year old’s attitude.
When my oldest was two, people used to always say, “just wait until she’s three,” and I always responded with, “I don’t know, she’s pretty sassy at two!” But her sass at two was like a gentle giant compared to the beastly ball of sass that three has brought with it.
(Note: No matter what age your child is, you’re justified in feeling that age is hard. I always hated when people made it seem like what I was currently going through was a piece of cake. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your stage should be easy, and if it is east, great!)
I am a very strong-willed person. I don’t like to take no as an answer in anything and I LOVE to be right (just ask my own parents), so I can’t say I’m completely surprised that my own daughter has a quick temper, doesn’t like to be wrong, and is as hard headed as they come.
But let me tell you, the amount of butting heads that we already do is insane (Lord help me when she’s a teenager!). And when she is having a particularly “feisty” day, my tolerance for it can run short, and I can lose my cool.
It’s something I’m not proud of and I continue to work on much needed patience and grace, but sometimes it’s just plain hard.
I don’t think we talk enough about “mom anger,” and inevitably, the “mom guilt” that usually follows.
I have certainly lost my cool and yelled at Cambri. I’ve sassed her right back. I’ve ignored her behavior. All of these things I’ve done, and I feel so guilty about it.
She’s three! She has a pretty good vocabulary and acts older than her age, so sometimes I forget. But gosh darn it, SHE’S THREE!
She doesn’t know how to always express how she’s feeling. She won’t always understand why she can’t have something or do something. She has bad days, and you know, so do I! Why should I expect any more from her little three-year-old, strong-willed self, than I expect from myself?
Sometimes I throw adult temper tantrums. We all have our moments, but let’s not expect our children to always have great days, to always listen, to never whine, because WE do those things too.
Ok, so the meat of this thing.
Just because we sometimes lose our cool, which will happen no matter how much we practice, does NOT make you a bad mom. You made a mistake. It won’t be the first or last, but suck it up and vocalize that to your child. Apologize to them, just like you would expect them to apologize to you. Tell them you lost your cool, you’re sorry you yelled (or sassed, or whatever may have happened), and that you will try to do better. They are people too, make them feel like it.
STOP FEELING GUILTY.
I know, I know. Easier said than done. Mom’s will always feel guilt, but let’s try to scale it back. Give yourself a little grace.
The other day at Cambri’s cheerleading practice, she completely lost it. She couldn’t remember how to do a move and the other kids went right past her and moved on to the next thing. I’m her coach which makes this that much more difficult. I was embarrassed my kid, the coach’s kid, was melting down while all of the other parents watched on.
I lost it. She cried harder.
I took her to the back room and talked (loudly) AT her. I didn’t talk TO her. Only once I finally calmed down and was able to listen to her, did I realize what the problem was. She was already feeling badly that she couldn’t do something. By me sassing at her, it made her lose it even more. She finally calmed down, I calmed down, and we were able to go out and move on.
But I was NOT proud of how I reacted. I was embarrassed, felt the guilt, and felt terrible with how I spoke to my child when she was vocalizing how she was feeling in the only way she knew how at that particular moment.
I felt SO guilty. Why did I react that way? How could I make her feel small like that? I was beating myself up all evening.
That night, I wrapped her in a bear hug and expressed to her how very sorry I was for how I talked to her and how I reacted. I did the typical parenting gig and tried to help her understand how to handle the situation next time, but I also made sure to validate how she was feeling and how frustrating that must have been for her.
Kids give us so much grace, give a little of it to yourself.
Something I’ve always been taught, is that for every negative thing you say to your child, it takes five positive things to build them back up. Tell them how proud you are of them, give them a hug, play a game with them, any kind of positive interaction.
This is something I’ve tried really hard to be cognizant of and improve on.
I read an article once about wearing five bracelets (or rubber bands, hair bands, etc.) on your wrist. Anytime you lose your cool, put one of those bracelets on the other wrist. Do five positive things with/for your child, then move it back to your other wrist. Make it your goal, by the end of the day, to have all of those bracelets on your original wrist. Go further and challenge yourself to keep them on one wrist all day. By having a visual, you’ll have a better chance of stopping and thinking what you’re doing or saying before you lose your cool, rather than after.
Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. You will mess up. You’ll have days where you end up with more on your other wrist than the original. That’s ok! Do. Better. Tomorrow. Show yourself some grace.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care when you react undesirably. You Should! You should continuously work to improve handling all kinds of situations with your child. If you’re already a rockstar at this, great! Give me some pointers! But also give me some grace, some love, because I promise I’ve already beat myself up about it more than you ever could.
As moms, we’ll have tough days, but man oh man, will we also have amazingly rewarding parenting days. When you see your child react appropriately to a tough situation, when they learn something new, or show love to someone who has hurt them, those times make you realize why you chose this parenting gig. Hold on to those day during the tough ones, take some deep breaths, and push forward with a calm spirit.
This blog is called Motherhood Unmastered for a reason. I certainly don’t have this mom thing mastered, not even close. But, I continue to push forward and learn, recognizing I am shaping my kids for their future.
You are raising warriors. Beautiful, amazing kids, who will one day take on the world. It’s my goal to give my kiddos all the tools in their belt to handle the world well. The best way for me to teach that is by example, acknowledging that it doesn’t always go as planned, being humble enough to apologize, showing yourself some grace, and doing better next time.
You got this mama!
What are some tips and tricks in your “mom belt” for keeping your cool in tough situations? Let me know below!