Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

When thinking about our summer, the good has so majorly outweighed the bad and the ugly, but I wanted to draw attention to some of my struggles over the last two months.

A number of people have told me that they couldn't stay home with their kids because they don't have the patience for it and they just cant imagine spending so many hours with their kids. So let me let you in on a little secret: I lose my patience too, I get frustrated, I get angry. I am not proud of it, but its true. All parents do. 
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There were a few days where I was really bad and really ugly. When my three year old was yelling uncontrollably in the backseat of the car, I threatened to pull over the car and let her out. I saw the fear in her eyes and I cried. That was not okay. It is NOT okay. 

My children are normal children who see the world from only their point of view; they want, they need, they yell, they fight, they cry. That is not an excuse for me to snap at them. They are doing the best they can with their still undeveloped cognitive control centers. I am the adult. My brain is developed. I don't have an excuse.

So, with all that said I have taken theses really low points and turned them into teaching moments for myself and my girls. I talked to my kids about my reactions and to my 3 year old about how she feels when mommy doesn't stay calm.  I explain to her that we are allowed to feel angry, but we need to control our words and actions when we are angry.

So this past week, when my girls colored on our rug, spilled all the bath water onto the bathroom floor so that I almost slipped and cracked my head on the floor and the clincher when my 20 month old pulled off her diaper, pooped on the carpet and came running in to show me her creation in her hand!!!! I was able to take a deep breath, and ask my girls, "How do you think Mommy feels?" and respond with  "Yes, I do  feel REALLY angry, but I am not screaming or losing control. I "will keep calm and carry on". Of course we have consequences that match the 'crime' like having to clean up the mess (poop excluded) or not being allowed to play with crayons for the rest of the day.
 But these moments are priceless opportunities for me to model self control and being slow to anger. "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" (Proverbs 16:32). Imagine how much more peaceful our world be if children all over the world grew up in homes that were slow to anger and quick to forgive. 

 Every family finds a rhythm that works for them. 
Would love to hear about some things other families use to maintain a fun and healthy beat for their families. 


  1. What an honest post! People really do think that in order to stay with the kids at home the whole day takes a saint or someone crazy.
    As for coloring: after too many bad experiences, I only allow washable markers and paints in my house, and I do not own any furniture or articles that I would regret if they get ruined. And I assume that we will repaint in the next five years anyway, that way I can ignore crayon marks on the walls.

    Keep calm and carry on!

  2. I definitely agree. Plus Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge is a miracle worker on walls, floors, etc.

  3. I recently read the following and it has really helped me "Treat your kids the way you expect others to treat them".
    Whenever my kids act up instead of saying "Serenity now, serenity now", I quickly ask myself how would I expect the nanny, babysitter or kid's school teacher to handle this situation.
    All would agree that yelling like a banshee, screaming or belittling would not be acceptable. If we saw a nanny or school teacher do this to our child we would immediately fire them / march into the principals office.
    This one thought has personally helped me a lot- just thinking that I expect others to treat my children better than the way I am about to treat them can be very humbling and often times makes me adjust my intended behavior.

  4. Really great suggestion Joy. I'm going to use that one.

  5. If I can (ie, not in the car!), I do something else when I feel about ready to scream, like check my e-mail or put in the laundry, etc., and then I am much more able to come back to my toddler, who hopefully stopped his tantrum meanwhile, and speak to him in a soft voice. Usually, he's tired out by screaming at that point and I have a little more empathy by then.

  6. Definitely agree! That step back is so important.

  7. I love this post! The best way to teach our kids is by modeling the correct behaviors ourselves. Thanks for the important reminder!


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