It was Summer vacation and I had just started my journey as a stay at home mom (SAHM). I was overwhelmed by all the new things I had to get used to as a SAHM from having worked outside of the home for so long. Read about it in So It Begins…The Journey and I’ve Lost My Marbles.
From Cubicle to Square
Being at home with them was something I had been wishing for after I had my second child.
Well, as they say, be careful what you wish for. The company went through a change that caused them to relocate to other cities.
Long story short, I ended up in the unemployment lines and while I waited for a job, I stayed at home with the boys. Now, I wasn’t in a cubicle, but in a square of four walls called home. Not long after spending a few weeks at home, panic mode kicked in.
It seems that no matter how many toys they have, it always seems that the one toy that one of them has, the other will eventually WANT IT! Their play room is an ocean of toys, from Legos to cars to books and more but NO, if the youngest wants a toy that the oldest wants, he WILL go after it.
Then the fighting begins.
I have to be the referee and interfere and take away the toy from both of them. Why? If I let one of them have it, the other will be upset. If I take it away from the first one that had it and give it to the younger one, then the oldest will be upset and it’s a win for one and not the other. So this way, I take it away from both and neither get to play with it.
Fear in His Eyes
After a while it was back to normal, sort of. I was trying to finish up some chores when all of a sudden:
“No, it’s mine! Give it to me!
BANG! SLAP! THUMP! WHAAAAAAAA!!!
If you’ve never heard these sounds, lucky you. But as soon as I heard the hitting and the banging and then the crying, I ran to their room to see what was going on. Immediately as I entered the room I could see my youngest rubbing his head, tears rolling like rain down his puffy cheeks and pain in his cry.
Seeing this made a fuse in my brain just SNAP! Instead of asking calmly, I had had it and burst out yelling and demanding an answer from my oldest as to why my youngest was crying.
As he tried explaining what happened, I just stopped him in his tracks and yelled to him that he shouldn’t be hitting his brother and just talking and talking 100 words per minute as to why he was wrong and why he shouldn’t do this or that and all of a sudden there he was, CRYING.
He turned to me and started raising his voice at me. His eyes were bright red and I could see myself in the reflection of his tear-filled eyes. His voice was full of fear and just wanting comfort. Then it hit me, he was afraid of me.
I stopped the yelling and just hugged him tightly as my youngest was already reducing his cry. He hugged me back with much sentiment as if he didn’t want me to let him go. While he was still sobbing uncontrollably, I felt the knot in my throat and abruptly, tears filled my eyes. We were both hugging and crying at the same time.
It was just so painful that I had caused this wailing in the room and could’ve been avoided. What to do when you’ve had it and don’t let it get worse? Here are the five techniques I’ve learned to do before blowing up:
1. Breath In, Breath Out
Before you say or do anything, try to take an EXTREMELY deep breath and do some quick breathing exercises.
Breath in and breath out, listen to your breathing and tell yourself, “I am calm,” or something that will take you out of anger mode until you feel that your body has cooled down and let oxygen flow into your brain.
As the article, 6 Breathing Exercises to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less states that you need to “calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.”
2. Change Your Attitude
If you have been in a situation like the mentioned above, you realize that you first have an attitude toward what’s going on. You immediately go with your first instinct which is feeling upset and wanting to take control right away.
You allow your attitude to determine the outcome of the situation without first seeing how your attitude might make things worse or make them better. If you are already feeling upset, then think about your “happy place” so to speak.
Think about all the positive thoughts with your children and how much you love them before we do or say something we will regret later.
3. Reduce The Daily Stress
I know that during this time, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do without a job and how I was going to get money to pay the bills. All this was causing me stress and anxiety that my attitude and actions were displaying in my way of handling my family.
Try to reduce as much stress as you possibly can. Talk to your spouse about having your own “me time” to relax and share the responsibilities. Once your spouse gets home, have him take turns in watching the children while you go off and read a book or go out for a walk around the neighborhood.
Not only will reducing stress help you manage your family but also your health.
As this article, 15 Rules to Live by For Optimal Health mentions: “Stress is a great factor for weight changes, heart diseases and mental illness. When you manage stress properly, you can minimize the health risks.”
4. Don’t Take It Out On Them
While you will have some days that you just can’t take it anymore, taking it out on others is not the solution. I know first hand what it takes to not want to vent and bring your stress or worry onto others, but if we do what’s on points one and two, then we will learn to not take it out on them.
We need to analyze and realize that what we are stressing about might not be because of them but because of our own attitude. So just think to yourself, “it’s not their fault for how I’m feeling and I shouldn’t take it out on them.” Even though, something they do might cause a button to be pushed the wrong way, causing you to explode at times.
5. Gain Self-Control
It’s much easier said than done when you tell someone to gain self-control, but it can happen. Before the issue begins, try to put yourself in their shoes. How do you react when someone passes you on the freeway and almost hits you? Do you hear yourself cussing or yelling at that person?
We have that control to be positive or remain calm in those situations that can cause irritation and anger. I know that I find myself having to self-talk before I begin to raise my voice. It’s almost as if we have a little voice talking to us.
You need to listen to that inner voice and actually follow through if it’s a positive one. Take self-control and understand that your children watch and learn what you do. If you yell and lose control, then they will follow your lead too.
After seeing myself reflected in my son’s glassy eyes and seeing an upset woman, I realized that I was doing something wrong. I let the daily stress of my life take over my attitude and removed my self-control. This caused me to take it out on them when I should be the adult and not raise my voice.
As parents, we make many mistakes that later in life we regret them. If you are struggling with being more patient and losing control of your attitude, try doing the above steps before doing something you will regret for the rest of your life. If there is something that is taking control of yourself, seek help from those closest to you, such as your spouse, a relative or a close friend.
P.S. Have you ever lost your patience with your children? If so, what other recommendations do you have to prevent raising your voice or becoming upset? I’d love to hear your recommendations.
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