We've all been there, you're stressed out and everything your kids do make you crazy. Your frustration somehow spills out onto kids who are just being kids. You don't want to do it, but it's hard to stop. Here are 5 tried and true ways to break the funk.
1. Do the annoying behavior. When Lucy has tried to climb on my head for the 473rd time instead of yelling I simply try to climb on hers. Jack likes to walk circles around me in the kitchen (and it's a tiny kitchen), I just start walking circles around him. Usually the kids start laughing and I feel slightly relieved of the annoying act for just a minute.
2. Get a frustration howl. I call it the "Marge Simpson" groan. It's okay to emote frustration. Sometimes giving a large yell, groan, sigh, howl usually followed by a "You-guys-are-making-me-CRAAAAZZZZYYY!" (while shaking my head in a comical way). This helps me release my inner frustration in a crazy moment. The kids look at me like I'm nuts but I feel better.
3. Eat something junky. When everyone is on my nerves I head straight for fast food. I know, I know, such an unhealthy idea but grabbing a burger and fries feels like a huge treat for my kids and everyone seems a little perkier after. It gives me a break from cooking and a chance for us to talk without complaining about vegetable eating. If the idea repulses you, just make a special dessert to eat after dinner. It almost always has the same effect.
4. Put yourself in timeout. Extreme exasperation usually means YOU need a break. Tell your partner (or a friend) you need to plan a time for a break, then immediately plan a second one a few days after. Chances are you are way overdue and will need both times to really recover. The first break might be just to unwind and by the second one you might be ready to be with those tiny people again.
If none of this is possible in your world, Kris has a good suggestion here.
5. Ask your kids. Ask your kids what you should do to relax. The answers might surprise you, at a minimum they will be good for a laugh. After one of these Q&A times with my kids, Jack (age 5) told Jorge, "Mom really needs a break Papa, you should take care of her." And he did.
Okay, so what do you do to get out of the parenting funks? Don't hold out on us!
We bought this doll for Ethan the Christmas before his brother was born. His father was slightly against it, but I thought it was a great idea to prepare Ethan for having a new baby in the house. We also bought him a stroller for his baby. It was hot pink and I think his father had a nervous breakdown when I bought it. Hey, it was $10 cheaper than the manly blue one.
You know exactly how this went. He was completely disinterested in the doll and played with the stroller until one of the wheels broke off. OK, then he pushed the 3 wheeled stroller around (and still does to this day).
The Baby got put in a crate in the toy room and forgotten. It was only when she reappeared about three weeks ago that I remembered we even had her. When she resurfaced, she was wedged between Nathan's arm and his body.
Nathan: Baby, Mommy.
Kristen: That's right, Nae. That's a baby.
Nathan: MY baby, Mommy.
He takes that baby with him everywhere. He had to take her little onesie off though because her jammies had footies and Nathan cannot tolerate footie pajamas. Other than that, The Baby has been a sure fire way to bring a smile to MY baby's face. He takes her to bed with him every night and gives her kisses. It was the exact reaction I was looking for when I gave the baby to his brother. Better late than never.
1. Oh, don't cry my precious baby. Josiah's here... (Josiah, age 8)
2. MOM!!!! Lyra's crying, Lyra's crying, Lyra's crying, it's okay mamacita.
She then puts her face about 2 cm from Lyra's while Lyra tries to spit Lucy's hair from her mouth. (Lucy, age 3)
3. It's okay Lyra...and then he runs away. (Jack, age 5)
4. Ohhhh, what's wrong mama? (Jorge) while it now takes an average of 5 minutes longer to even hear a cry than it did when Josiah was a baby.
5. It's gonna be okay Lyra, you're okay. (Me)
I yell from the bathroom as it's the only time we aren't attached.
At least no one is yelling, "For the love of God child, please shut up!". Yet.
Come on, give us your best soothing tricks for crying babies in the comments.
Have you seen this? The target audience is above the crowd at my house but what a great way to encourage your kids to be involved in the democratic process! From the PBS Kids Speakout website:
SPEAK OUT is a youth collaborative project to create a digital open letter to our presidential administration.
SPEAK OUT encourages civic engagement among 6 to 12 year olds by prompting them to submit ideas to address prominent citizens' issues as they most relate to kids' lives. Community discussion and the democratic process are modeled by allowing kids to choose which ideas they like best. The ideas with the most votes are featured on pbskids.org/speakout in the form of a message to our President. This active, digital message will reflect the youth's changing concerns and proposed solutions over time.
The project originally launched in tandem with the 2008 United States Presidential election.
How votes are counted.
Kid submitted "top ideas" are calculated by dividing the number of times the idea was voted for by the number of times it was part of a pair to vote on. Each voting pair is randomly created, supplying a higher percentage of unique situations to vote on and more chances for each submission to be seen.
I'm not naming any names, but we've had a case of the meanies over here the last few days. Relentless teasing, borderline cruelty, lots of tattling and very loud complaining that doesn't have much basis in reality as far as I can tell. Could it have anything to do with the fact I'm working around the clock, getting ready to go on a business trip this week?
All excuses aside, we've decided there's no reason to be mean, and we mean it. That means lots 'o drama in this battle over who's more reasonable--the child functioning as prosecutor of all things annoying or the the super mean parents who are saying we don't mean to be mean, but you've gotta chill, girl--and fast!
How do you handle a case of the meanies at your house? Do you chalk it up to a phase? Crack down? Try to be nicer? Freak out? Spend time together? Send everyone to their room? This not-usually-so-mean Mama would love to know.
The lovely Lauren
World Kindness day is coming! Did you know it's on Thursday, November 13th? You can read more about it here. Practicing kindness is a great way to bring families together. Here are some ideas for your celebration.
1. Leave something special on the neighbor's doorstep. Flowers, a baked good, an invitation to share a meal.
2. Make your kid's bed. Do the one chore your kid hates the most for him/her.
3. Make a contribution toward this very important fund. Change and one dollar bills from piggy banks count too.
4. Write a thank you or draw a picture for someone you love. Tell them what you love about them and thank them for being themselves.
5. Pay the toll for the car behind you, let your child give the money from the back window.
6. Pick up some trash. Spend an hour cleaning up a park, school, or even your neighborhood.
7. Make Hope Notes together as a family and spread them all over your city or town.
8. Try to smile at 10 people today.
9. Visit a grandparent or elderly friend.
10. Start an Acts of Kindness list.
Add to our list Supersisters or tell us how your World Kindness Day celebration went in the comments.
To say that this autumn was the most spectacular one I can remember in the last 10 years is an understatement. It started about 5 weeks ago and finally seems to be on its last leg. I remember years past when the start, peak and finished in five days. Multiple years it did that. I have spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to figure out what makes a good autumn. More rain? Less rain? Warm temperatures? Cooler temperatures for longer periods of time? The process whereby leaves turn colors is a scientific one. There IS an answer. I waste no time actually looking up the answer on the internet which would probably pop up with 5 million hits in .2 seconds. That takes the fun out of it. But now I have 3 acres of leaves, one acre of which I should technically find a new home for other than annoying my neighbors.
I would like to mention two things. I lived for many years in a condo for a reason. While I still remember the days awakening on a Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. to the sound of a leaf blower, it wasn't MY leaf blower nor was it me out there. The second thing is that I live in the woods and I thought when you lived in the woods that people didn't expect you to pick up your leaves. Do not be fooled. Even if your grass is in shoddy shape, your neighbors feel entitled to see every bit of that crab grass and may just slow down long enough when they pass your house to make sure you see their disapproval.
There is a silver lining to this blanket of leaves. Today I intend to have my children move the leaves from one side of the yard to the other. In a game that could last for hours, I will find a way to detox my children from the inordinate amount of sugar they consumed at the goodwill and suggestion of my father-in-law this weekend. It's no pile of heavy rocks to wear them out but it will do.
Want to go green but feel overwhelmed about where to start. Iddy Biddy Blog gives you first steps that ease you into a greener way to be that will work for your whole family--especially your kids.
If you're still processing the magnitude of this week's election, go give a listen to the Moms Call In the Vote Mobile Circle, a collection of audio responses from women all over the country who phoned in their experiences with their kids at the polls. I'm still moved to hear all those voices happy to be engaged in the political process.
A friend passed this photography blog on to me this week, knowing I would swoon (and I did). Soak in Tara's lovely images and read about her trip to Thailand with some supersisters who dared leave home (and many children) for a great adventure.
Wondering what kind of magic might be in order around your house, your yard, your five year old? How about a home for the fairies? Follow Em on a lovely adventure with her daughter as they build a little nest for any stray fairies in need of kindness and shelter.
What's on your weekend calendar? Share what you're looking forward to in the comments below.
Yes, Twisted Sister, it's one of Jack's all time favorites. He sings it in the car, in the bath tub, in the grocery store. Sometimes it comes up at random times, like today for instance.
So for 8 years I have been desperately trying to get a baby to take a pacifier. Well, maybe not the entire time but definitely with all four of my children when they were infants. Every last one refused. I gave up sooner each time, resigning myself as the human pacifier. It wasn't all bad really, the need kept me close to tiny babes.
Jack found my last pacifier, the last ditch effort (for-ev-er) under the bed and decided he would give it a try. He popped it in Lyra's mouth right as I was telling him to wash it first, such is life as the last of four. The germaphobe in me died a slow death around kid number two.
All eyes were on Lyra, waiting to see if she would accept the holy grail of sucking.
He started singing for some encouragement.
"We ARE gonna take it, yeah, we're gonna take it, we are gonna take it this time."
"Look, she's taking it. " She looks mildly disturbed by the plastic in her mouth.
"Wait, I think she needs the music too." He ran to turn it on, full blast of course.
She cries and spits it out. He shrugs his shoulders and sings, "Were not gonna take it..."
Ahhh, sibling bonding over Twisted Sister, it's perfect.
That's what we say here in our house when we start to get a little crowded. Actually I like to say, "WE-LIVE-IN-THIS-BIG-HOUSE-WHY-DO-WE-ALL-HAVE-TO-SIT-ON-TOP-OF-MY-LAP?"
Lately it hasn't worked as well. The talking or asking for space. I have been forced to do what mothers have been doing for years. I have started locking myself in the bathroom. I'm not exactly sure what mothers did before wireless connections and cordless phones though. Maybe they read books? Either way, this has turned into an excellent solution for me.
I go into the bathroom and lock the door behind me. My kids spend the next 15 minutes trying to talk me out of the bathroom. It is not unlike the way you did when you were in junior high and your best friend locked herself in a stall after that "passing gas incident" when she was doing that algebra problem on the chalkboard.
Coaxing, prodding, pleading, promising.
Then they resort to the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This buys me another 5-10 minutes. The funny thing is, as long as they are at the door, I know they are safe (as are the walls, the floors, breakable items and impaling objects).
Total time? 20-25 minutes. Not a bad little timeout, if I do say so myself. If only I had a screen printing press in my bathroom. I could get my work done and have some space. Or maybe I need one of these Washups. I'll have to think about this for the next house.
Where is your favorite place to hide?