Last night, while I was organizing a training for our team, Olivia covered her entire face and hair in my husband's hair gel. I washed her hair twice and it still looks wet. This morning, when I watched a 3 minute video celebrating our team's incredible success, she covered the living room floor with water and bubbles. Later, as I made a cup of coffee, she put pink chapstick all over 2 white stuffed animals.
I'm not going to lie; I lost my cool with that sweet 3-year-old who can cause the most destruction in the smallest moments of time. Lately, it feels like this moments are more common than not. I don't know if it's my own exhaustion + stress or her determination to be independent (or a combination of these things) that has led to me exploding.
I hate it. I feel guilty immediately after. But, I'm learning how to make amends; hopefully, she is learning that even mama makes mistakes and that I am modelling behaviours for after you screw up. So, let's talk what to do after you lose your temper with your kids.
Take a Moment
Before anything else, you must cool down and regain a level head. For me, this looks like saying something like, "Mama needs a minute, Olivia." As a work-from-home mom, I have learned to do this quickly with a moment in my kitchen, eyes closed, drinking some water and breathing deeply. A minute of solitude prepares me to...
I'll be honest, I never really thought about apologizing as a part of motherhood until I became a mom and started realizing that I was never going to be a perfect parent (mind-blowing, right?!). Look, we all mess up. We all make mistakes. Being able to own those moments and express an apology to our children allows us to be honest and transparent with these tiny humans.
Look, I'm not saying that when your child is disobedient that you're just going to let it slide. Nah, let's get that clear real quick. You are apologizing - and taking responsibility - for your response to their behaviour ... just as you want them to learn to take responsibility for the things that they do.
Be Good To Your Kids
Tell your kids you love them. And then, show your kids you love them.
For us, this looks like hugs, reading a story together on Olivia's bed, and laughing together as we make funny faces. Remember the fun that comes from being their mom.
Be Good to You
You want to know when I'm most likely to lose my temper? When I am stretched thin, stressed, and exhausted by everything I'm trying to juggle in my life. Yes, my toddler is testing my patience but so are about a million other things because that's adulthood, apparently.
So, be good to YOU, too. You cannot pour from an empty cup and a mom who takes care of herself can take better care of her family. Get enough sleep, if you can. Exercise. Eat right. Have a date night with your partner or take a bubble bath after the kids go to bed; the laundry will still be there tomorrow (and forever after, it seems).
What do you do when you've lost your cool with your kids?