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I know, we’ve all been there. Those days where everyone seems to be crying, including you.
Where one more whiny question is going to make you just lose your mind. Absolutely. Lose. Your. Freaking. Mind.
You are only human, sweet mama.
Those clinging, screaming banshees are the thing you protect most fiercely in life.
Then you snap. And you feel like failure is tattooed across your every pore.
Those are your babies and you hurt them with your harsh voice or the cut of your eyes. You treated them the way you always swore you would never treat your own children.
You hear that scary mommy monster rise from its angry cave and you are powerless to stop it.
We have all been there.
Our days are spent pouring our very souls into these precious beings. Showing them how truly cherished they are. Remembering who likes grape jelly and who likes honey on their peanut butter sandwiches. Playing the same pretend game on repeat all.day.long. Kissing every boo-boo, wiping every tear, and relishing a million tiny moments each day.
And sometimes, it all goes well enough. The tantrums happen and we are able to remain calm and let the storms pass. And other times we get triggered.
Maybe we are tired from staying up late to put the house back in order. Maybe getting the bills paid this month just doesn’t seem possible right now and you’re worried sick about it. Maybe you’re hungry or completely touched out from being so intensely needed.
Sometimes, try as we might, we just don’t have the tools we need to be the moms we want to be in these trying moments.
I find that I am constantly relearning how to respond to my children. I certainly don’t want their childhood experiences to mirror aspects of my own. I am aware that I lack tools to bring up mentally healthy children.
So I do a lot of research and reading and questioning my internal dialogue. I still struggle, often daily.
I’ve reached a new level of awareness that my mother did try her best. She did. She tried her best with the broken tools she had.
I know this because I try my best. I try my best, y’all. And I still fail regularly. With better tools, with deeper awareness of my actions and myself and my intentions. I still fail.
I don’t think the goal is not to fail. True failure as a mother would be no longer trying.
If you even care enough to worry about these things, I have a feeling you are doing a pretty amazing job at this motherhood thing.
With all that being said, I have found it helps me tremendously. Did I say TREMENDOUSLY? To have some brand new tools in my parenting toolbox.
Things I would have never in a million years thought about on my own. Things so far removed from my own childhood they can feel alien in nature.
Which is why I have to study and memorize them.
Here are 7 of my personal go-to parenting tools that help me be a calmer mom.
- Setting firm and calm limits is something I am still learning to be consistent with. In the moment, sometimes it feels easier to let things slide. However, when I feel my calm slipping away it’s almost always after I’ve been avoiding setting proper limits for too long. Limits help all of us know what to expect of each other and get along better (even if they may cause some tantrums).
- Letting them cry has been one of the hardest things for me to learn to do. I am not talking about heartlessly letting them cry. I am talking about being a safe place for a child to offload big feelings without trying to distract them or make them stop. Once that storm clears we are closer and much, much calmer and happier.
- Finding creative ways to connect through play is another tool that can completely reset our day. When I take the moment to be as silly as possible and get my kids (and myself) laughing we are able to move past our upsets much more easily and start working with (rather than against) each other once more. I forget why I’m angry and am able to enjoy my children again.
- Special Time deepens my connection with my children and lets me really appreciate them as they are. I sometimes struggle with giving them this undivided attention, but when I do there is a huge shift in their behavior- and in mine.
- Giving choices helps me confidently but gently set appropriate limits which cuts down on my frustration. When a firm binary choice is offered there is much less whining and arguing which makes our days run much more smoothly.
- Listening to behavior is another way to reduce stress. When I take a minute to remember that all behavior is communication I am able to respond much more appropriately. Maybe my child is whining because I’ve said “just a minute” to her all day long. Maybe they’re bickering because they’re hungry and tired. Taking a step back to view the behavior as clues to how I can help them gives me a mental reset when I need it most.
- Paying attention is another area where I sometimes struggle. How many times do I catch myself not really focusing on what my children are trying to tell or show me and simply saying something like “way cool!”. Ouch. When I take the time to really notice them they magically stop demanding so much attention. Their cups get filled.
I am by no means telling you these tools have made me a perfect mom.
I am just sharing some things that can make a huge difference in my level of stress and how I interact with my children.
I hope these ideas help you be more of the mom you are always striving to be and less of the scary mommy today. Mothering is tough work and we need all the resources we can manage to help us muddle through.
Tell me- how do you help yourself be a calmer mom when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed or triggered and angry?
I love discovering new tips and tricks to make this journey a little bit easier!
And if you’re feeling burnt out, please take a moment to go treat yourself to my FREE 30 page Self-Care Workbook for moms just like you.