Being a parent can be so rewarding and fulfilling. It can bring a smile to your face and a warmth to you heart. Then, other days, it can make you want to crawl into the hall closet, put on your headphones and pretend you’re alone for 5 whole minutes.
Unstoppable? Forget it. You’d rather sleep for three days.
No one wants to be the parent hiding from their kids. We’d all love to have days full of angelic children that radiate good manners and beam bright smiles like rainbows on a rainy day.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Kids are tough. They have their own minds and strong wills to go with it. Some days the constant struggles with what they want versus what they can actually have can squash your mood like a bug on a windshield. I’d been having a lot of those days. I decided it was time to learn some new tricks.
I can’t change who my children are (nor did I want to). Some of their traits that cause the most chaos also make them awesome. A stubborn child becomes a tenacious CEO. A hallway wall Picasso can result in an amazing graphic artist. The child who sings at the top of his lungs at 3 am may be belting out Tchaikovsky from the stage one day.
I knew I didn’t want to extinguish these talents starting to bloom, but the chaos was becoming too much. I realized I needed to change how I react to, and handle, stressful situations so the day ends as positive as it starts.
4 Things I Learned About Being An Unstoppable Mom
1. Be The Attitude You Want To See In Your Child
This is #1 because it’s both the most difficult to do AND the most important as an unstoppable Mom. There were so many days this past year that I found myself popping my top. I wouldn’t yell or scream, but I’d turn into this grumbling grouch that wasn’t happy about anything.
By the afternoon you could practically see the storm cloud floating over my head. And what happened every single time? My children would follow my lead. Next thing you know, the whole house is frowning.
Our kids are little mirrors with legs. The more angry or disgruntled I got – the more fussy and grumpy my children were. They absorbed my bad mood like sponges. I had to learn that, when the stress started creeping in, it was time to take a step back, a deep breath, and push the grey away with a smile. It’s hard.
When you’ve had just about enough, the last thing you want to do is act happy. There’s also nothing wrong with being upset. But, instead of storming around the house, I now say, “Momma is feeling a grumpy. Let’s find something fun to do so we can feel happy again.”
If you make the choice to lighten up – you’ll find that your kids will follow along. You’ll also be teaching them valuable coping mechanisms for later in life when their problems are even bigger than not liking green beans.
2. Learning Time and Play Time Can Be One In The Same
Some of our biggest fights at home are during homework time. While the lessons try to incorporate fun (coloring, cutting, gluing etc) it’s still a lot of repetition and …well…work . Imagine having to write the same word over and over 20 times. I know I’d be bored as an adult. With kids it’s even worse.
I found myself trying to hurry through homework every day, hoping a shorter time at the table meant less fussing. What I was really doing was teaching my kids that faster is better, robbing them of the joy of learning something new. Now, I try to mix learning and fun together. I don’t rely on just the teacher and printouts, instead coming up with inventive ways to make a game of new information.
If I know my 5 year old is learning patterns, I tell him we can draw chalk shapes on the driveway to match his worksheet. If he has a reading assignment, we make a fort in the living room and read with the flashlight. Now he loves homework and wants to do it as soon as he gets home. No more fussing.
3. Perfection & Success: Learn The Difference
I was my own worst enemy when it came to results. I fell into the same trap a lot of parents do: Why aren’t my kids acting the same as those other kids? I didn’t understand why following parenting articles wasn’t giving me a perfect result. The problem wasn’t the result: it was my expectations. At the end of the day I felt defeated because I only saw how I fell short of perfection and didn’t realize the actual successes.
When I started focusing on what DID go right, instead of picking out what didn’t, I had a more accomplished, relaxed feeling at the end of the day. Sure, my youngest faked gagging noises all the way through dinner – but he sat in his seat the entire time instead of his usual gymnastic routine of sliding off the chair and under the table. That, my friends, is worth being happy about.
4. Feeling Stressed? It’s Time To Get Silly
Even with all of the new tactics I’m trying to adopt, there are still days where I want to slam my head against wall because nothing is going right. It happens to all of us. We’re only human and when a day just falls apart you want to fall apart with it. I used to cave to the pressure. I’ve sat in the hallway and cried my eyes out because I just couldn’t get 2 seconds to breathe. But, it didn’t help anything. I still felt like everything was crushing down on me – only now I had a puffy face and red eyes.
Now, when I feel the stress bubbling up, I get silly. I stop what I’m doing and challenge my youngest to a crazy dance-off in the kitchen.
I share ridiculous knock-knock jokes with my teen. Cut out funny faces and tape them on. Make a cute video of you and the kids acting out animals. No matter what it is, just make sure it will make you laugh because you can’t laugh and stress at the same time. It’s like sneezing with your eyes open – not happening. Before you know it, both you and the kids will be in a better mood and you’ll have a new frame of mind so you can go back to tackling the serious stuff.
No matter what the day brings you, you CAN be unstoppable. What are some of your tricks to tackle the hard days?