Kids, Mom diary

11 things to do when Mom can’t take any more

My third child is two and a half. She’s killing me today. Over the last couple days she has climbed up the washing machine to get in the medicine cabinet, colored her entire face with a purple marker, destroyed all my makeup as she got “boodeefull,” walked out the front door without a word, refuses to wear clothes, turns on every light in the house, laughs when I’m mad, gets up at 4:30 in the morning … you get the idea.

My husband is gone all week and my mood is FUSSY. Do you have days like this? I’ve got to pull it together. Having three babies in four years, I’ve had many a day like this, so I know what I’ve got to do to turn this day around. Here are my tips to change your attitude and theirs:

The time Clara saw a blank canvas. (I really do try to keep writing utensils away from her!)

1. Stop yelling.

Vow to stop yelling for the rest of today. You’re the parent, if you don’t stop yelling nobody will. Unfortunately you have to be the example. Just stop no matter what. One mom told me that she would just start whispering to her children to get their attention and it freaked them out! Haha! I’m going to try it.

2. Hug your kids.

Tell them you love them. This is the start of changing the direction of the day. If they’re old enough, tell them you need a few minutes to do some things.

The time Clara had a hoarding problem.

3. Tidy the house for 20 minutes.

Take 20 minutes and pick up the house and wash the dishes. Wait, don’t be annoyed with me. I know you want a bubble bath and a glass of wine, but when that’s not possible, you might as well reduce visual chaos. Tidying up makes me feel like I have less to do and less overwhelmed. Go set the timer. Maybe kiddies can have some alone time in their rooms now if they’re fighting.

4. Put some oil in the diffuser.

Put some essential oils in the diffuser. I’m sticking a few drops of lavender in mine right now to hopefully help calm everyone down.

The time Clara used a whole bottle of sunblock.

5. Pray.

This is step four, but it’s actually the most important step! I placed it after picking up the house only because it feels better to me to sit down without toys at my feet and Cheerios sticking to my bum. When I’m in this kind of mood I can’t absorb deep books or theology. I’ll just get down on my knees and ask Jesus to help me, to lend me His strength and guide my steps and tongue. No fancy words or beautiful requests, just fill me up with the Holy Spirit, please, so I can be the mom and wife You want me to be. I also read a short devotional. Maybe something from Jesus Calling. That daily devotional book has an uncanny way of speaking just what I need to hear in that moment.

6. Eat.

Nobody’s mood gets better when they’re hungry! Take a few minutes to eat a good meal and nourish your poor, tired body.

The time the kids put on crazy clothes and danced around. Oh wait, that’s every day.

7. Jam out.

Put on some happy music to boost your mood. You don’t know, you might even break out a move. Here are few of my Spotify playlists to try.

8. Smile and be grateful.

Just do it, even if it’s fake. Make your kids do it! I bet they’ll start giggling anyway. Studies show that even fake smiles decrease stress and make you happier. Also mentally list 5 things you are grateful for. Have your kids do it too if they are old enough. You cannot think of something negative and positive at the same time.

The time Clara wore sunglasses every day.

9. Play a game with your kids.

I know, I know, it’s the last thing you want to do when you’re exhausted mentally and physically. But trust me here. Tell them you are going to play one game and that’s it. Engage them fully in conversation and in the moment. The idea here is that their little needy love tanks get filled up so that they can calm down and feel connected with you. A lot of the time I find that a child is acting up even though what they really want is more attention from me. Hopefully spending a little concentrated time together can curb some of that.

10. Do something for you now.

Finally. FINALLY! Hopefully it’s nap time for someone by now (if it’s not, put on her favorite show) and you can do something you want or need to do. Do something that makes you happy. Work on that project you’ve been waiting to get to, watch your favorite show, call a girlfriend, something that will make you smile. Take a nap if you can!

The time we actually went to church like this.

11. Get your game face on.

If the kids still aren’t getting it together, put on your game face and get to disciplining, only without yelling this time. Time outs for little ones. Taking away privileges for older ones. Every. single. time. They won’t change unless they see you are serious. Sometimes an entire day of timeouts means tomorrow will be better. Get my 25 effective toddler discipline strategies here.

This raising humans things is not for the faint of heart. Take a deep breath. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. It won’t help and it’s destructive. God picked you specifically for your child. You are the perfect mother for him. You’re doing a good job! Email me if you need a pep talk and a prayer. Or feel free to email me and give me a pep talk and a prayer!

Instagram @housemixblog pic

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10 thoughts on “11 things to do when Mom can’t take any more

  1. Whew. I knew I wasn’t alone, but it’s good to hear it from another mom. My 3 boys (ages 2, 8, and 13) can really make me feel like RUNNING AWAY. I remember (when I only had one child) my sweet friend who had 3 kids told me she sometimes felt like running away, and I was thinking goodness… are you OK? Don’t you love your children? Why would you ever want to run away? HA! Oh, my word. I totally get it now! Thank you for all the good suggestions and reminders.

  2. Oh my gosh, Jenny, you’re comment really did make me laugh out loud!! I totally get it too! Thank you so much for your honesty. I think it’s so very helpful to be able to relate to each other as mothers. Three really does tip the balance, doesn’t it :)

  3. Oh wow Kate! Your little Clara reminds me of my little two and half year old girl too!!! She is a spitfire! I loved seeing Clara’s hoarding, my little girl does that exact same thing. She will come walking us to me with her sunglasses on carrying every play bag or purse with her swimsuit in hand (even tho it’s 19 degrees here)!! She is a crazy girl. I have pretty much all of our house “baby-proofed” for her climbing abilities. Thanks for hilarious pictures!!! 😆👍🏻😊

  4. Oh my goodness that is so funny! Every bag and swimsuit in hand! It’s crazy that you say that because apparently I used to wear bathing suits all the time as a kid. When my mom saw Clara wearing bathing suits every day (even over her clothes) she said, “How is that genetic? How?” Hahaha! Oh, I’m so glad you shared because it feels happier to laugh and bond about it than be angry. xo

  5. I have six children, five of which I had in four years… So I can totally understand the feelings you shared. Your tips are good. We should always seek to be there and not run away, of course. Our thoughts rule our emotions. However, I have come to realize that it really is our job as parents to shape our children. They are wild by nature, some more than others, and they each need that one on one, and a heart to heart talk, and time. We need to reach their hearts to get to them. They really seem to calm down and understand you and want to please you once they understand that what they’re doing is not okay and what they should be doing instead. It takes a lot of time to get there but little by little you begin seeing the changes. I hope the best for you. Your children are so cute. Blessings.

  6. Beautiful advice and wording, Gabrielle. Sometimes it’s hard to see the small changes that evolve in them over time, but they’re there. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement.

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