Motherhood is an exciting and challenging journey.
There are days where you feel like you are winning as a mother! Your kids ate well, played nicely together, got to school on time, and you were able to enjoy a cup of hot coffee that day without interruption!
Then there are days where they refuse to get dressed, crying before you send them off to school, fighting with each other over every small thing. Plus, you did not sleep well the night before because you worked late or your kids called for you during the night. Days like that can make you short on fuse and frustrated!
I have those tough days too! A friend of mine once said she would like to see me blow up, and I can tell you it ain't pretty! Just ask my husband. He told me that I look like someone that has been possessed—possessed by something ugly and angry. But, thankfully, it doesn't happen that often and I've learned some strategies to help me remain calm over the years.
First, I want to point out that everyone has bad days- parents and kids. So it's normal not to be 100% happy and calm all the time. Significantly more so when we are exhausted, sleep-deprived or have not met our needs, our threshold for being patient diminishes by half. Throw in a child who made a mess, doesn't listen or cooperate; it's a recipe for disaster! The slightest thing can trigger you, and BOOM!
Second, ask yourself if you have taken care of your needs.
Are you sleeping enough?
Are you eating healthy food that keeps your energy up?
Are you moving your body daily?
Are you creative- journalling, painting, dancing, crafting, making music?
Are you doing too much- at home, at work, for family and friends?
Do you have a supportive group of friends around you?
Because all of the above things affect how you feel and when your needs are not taken care of, you are more likely to react than respond.
Third, do you need extra support or help? There is no shame in asking for help and getting help. You don't need to feel like you failed as a mother by asking for help. It's human to get support from others, from family, friends or professionals.
Do you have a supportive partner? Is he actively listening to you? Do you feel like he helps you out with the kids or housework?
Do you need to see a therapist? Perhaps anger and yelling are something you witnessed as a child, and you need help managing your emotions and anger.
Do you need support from a coach? Get guidance, support and accountability. It might help you become a better mother.
Ok, so now moving on to the five tips on how to calm down when stressed or anxious:
Count to ten- this gives you enough time to pause before you say something hurtful or yell. You can even teach your kids to count to ten together with you. Counting to ten helps you and them to regulate their emotions.
Take a deep breath- Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Feel the breath and connect to your body. It allows you to reset your mind before you go into reaction mode. You will be able to respond instead of exploding.
Remove yourself- Give yourself a timeout. Timeouts aren't just for kids. Parents also need timeouts to calm down. Scream into a pillow or take a couple of deep breaths in another room. Give yourself a few minutes to calm your mind.
Name your emotions- You can even label your emotions- "I'm so annoyed", "I'm so irritated", "I'm mad.", "I'm so frustrated". Then take the time to breathe. Deep breaths put most things into perspective. The extra flow of oxygen to the brain will calm you down.
Say a mantra- Before you go down the road of yelling and punishing your kids, pause and say a mantra! Here are some mantras you can put up on your mirror. Practice saying them in the morning when you get ready.
"I choose love."
"I respond with grace."
"I am their mother."
"I am here for you."
"Observe with an open heart."
"Act with love."
I use the first three tips a lot, and it has helped me remain calm even in the thick of a storm. I realized that all I need is to create a pause before responding to my kids. It does take practice, practice, practice! And you will soon be able to use them whenever you feel stressed. It takes conscious awareness to pull back that reactive muscle that can run on autopilot when you are exhausted.
I hope these tips help you. Let me know in the comments below what you think.
If you ever need support, I use Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help you get to the source of anger, and I can give you tools to anchor yourself so you might help feel more in control and calmer. So book a discovery call today!