My last post talked about my short temper. Here’s some strategies that are working in lengthening my fuse:
1. Me first
I snap at my kids when I am hungry, tired, or running behind. I never realised how stressed out I am just getting out the door until my two year old started shouting “LATE, LATE, LATE!!” when we were headed on a leisurely outing to the park. Where did he get that from?
I have to do a better job at not over scheduling
my kids myself. I’ve got to get a more consistent bedtime, make the kids play by themselves, and decline some opportunities, even if they are great.
It’s like the safety video at the beginning of a flight- Put on your own air mask first. I haven’t been doing this. Recently though, I’ve started prioritising my own self-care, because this mama becomes a bear without some sleep and food.
I mess up all the time. I shout, “E!” and then I remember my slow to anger snail. Instead of finishing my outburst (“Stop climbing on that!”), I create some ridiculous song and dance (“Did you know the tiger got let out of the zoo, and it’s going to chase you!?”) and pretend my enthusiasm is coming from a happy, ridiculous place. Our house becomes a musical. We all laugh. They have no idea the storm I just avoided. I then address the behaviour without going mental at them.
I’ve been whispering to my children when I ask them to do something the first time. Then if it escalates, I’m just using a normal volume. There is a seriousness in a quiet voice. A firm hand on a shoulder is very powerful, too.
4. Set Boundaries
For example, my kids aren’t allowed in the kitchen during meal prep anymore. We used to all cook together, but I become a crazy person with the rug-rats under my feet demanding to be fed or have a go
spilling stirring. Cooking gives me a quiet, creative break, and our meals are surprisingly much more family friendly. It’s taken a bit of getting used to, but luckily, my kids are VERY motivated by food.
5. I move my feet.
I used to just shout down the stairs to my DH. Now I make eye contact when I have a request, or I do it myself. It’s respectful, and it means we are more likely to work together as a team.
6. I pray.
I pray. God please give me patience and self-control. I pray in my own head and around meal time. I remind my kids when they tantrum that love is slow to anger, and that God wants to help us do that. I confess to them when I mess up, ask for forgiveness, and try again. Kids need this demonstrated to them-
How much better would our world be if kids grew up to be adults who had the courage to admit their shortcomings and be responsible for their own actions?