I’m sure we’ve all had those days when we’re feeling a little down and worried about our parenting or our children. I know that no mother would agree that raising young children is easy. I’m saying this as a mummy to two small boys, I still want to keep the illusion that things will get easier when they’re older (although I’m sure parents of Tweens and Teens will disagree here!).
So anyway, sometimes I’m just unsure of how everything is going, I’m sure you know the days. When you’re tired and all you want to do is sit down and do nothing, but the kids are intent on screaming and crying over very little thing, even when there is nothing to cry about it. ‘What are you upset about?’, ‘I donnnnn’t knoooooow!’ Is then screamed back in sobbing fits. So most the day is taken up by cuddling one or the other of the crying/screaming children. The joys! Not all days are like these, they seem to only happen when I’m sleep deprived?! At the moment the deprivation is due to a silly night cough I have caught from O and small teething toddler waking up a several times a night.
So whilst waiting for a better day, these are a few of my tips for getting through those difficult days, when you’re tired and just want a break but can’t have one!
1. Take a deep breath when you’re getting to the end of your tether, count to 5 (I never have time to count to 10!). This helps me calm down enough to think a bit more clearly and consider a solution and not shout!
2. They’re only little and although they may act all grown up their brains are just not as developed as ours. When they tell us they don’t know what’s wrong it’s because they are having such big overwhelming emotions and they can’t calm down let alone work out what’s wrong. I find it best to give a cuddle at this stage to help calm them down and give me time to think.
3. Read a book. If they won’t stop crying/screaming and won’t let you cuddle them, my next tactic is to pick up a book, preferably a rhyming story and start reading. My boys will calm down and sit next to me after a minute or two and listen to the story. This has a 98% success rate!
4. Make some snacks and put it on the table. This works if you know they haven’t eaten much recently. Sometimes little ones get hungry, but instead of asking for food they can get quite upset about nothing.
5. If the boys are still acting out of sorts after all of the above then we get our things together and head outside, either the garden or a park or a general walk. Fresh air makes us all feel better, there is room to run, they can shout and scream and throw stones in the water, climb hills and just get out all that pent up energy. This was my go to whenever O got upset when A was a newborn, he didn’t cope well with the change so I put A in his sling and we would get outside whatever the weather.
Please remember that kids are kids, there will always be some hard days, but you really are doing wonderfully!