Mommy's (or Daddy's) Time Out

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How do I get into a better mind frame quickly during chaotic moments?

Mommy's (or Daddy's) Time Out

Parenting is, at the least, stressful. Some average days at home can be more overwhelming than a bad day at the office. Children can be attached to your leg all day, watch you go to the bathroom, and be constantly demanding.

After a day (or a morning, an hour, a minute) of being bombarded with requests, whines, and temper tantrums, it takes a great deal of control not to do or say something you'll feel guilty for later.

The most important thing to help yourself is to know when you're reaching your boiling point. Recognize the signs of your impending meltdown and learn to detour feelings of anger and loss of control.

One way to help yourself defuse is to remove yourself from the situation. No, don't get in the car and leave your kids at home alone, but walk out of the room, turn around, or simply close your eyes.

Second, take a deep breath and try to think of something lovely like chocolate cake, flowers, a vacation, or a moment where you felt the most happy. Absorb that emotion and help it keep the screaming and ranting a bay. What you say in anger is something you might regret later.

Third, understand why you're angry. It sounds like a simple question, but it can be complicated. Is the fact your three year old won't potty train preventing you from being able to get a sitter so you can have some quiet time? Is it that your infant won't quit crying and you had aspirations of taking a shower AND shaving your legs? Is it that your five and seven year olds, who won't quit fighting, preventing you from getting work done? All these are completely valid emotions and frustrations, but know that every parent has been there and freaking out on your children isn't going to fix the problem. If anything, it can make it worse.

Fourth, understand that kids don't comprehend what we want either. It's not important to them if the mother gets to shave her legs or a father gets to go to the bathroom by himself. Their only concerns are their wants, their needs so it's important for a parent not to freak out if a child is acting their age. This doesn't condone the constant "mommy, mommy" song, but it should help a stress out mother to better understand why a child is acting like, well, a child.

Fifth, accept that you're human and may need help from other parents/friends from time to time. Talk to another adult, one that you can trust and won't judge. Parenting is hard enough without hearing "well, suck it up, parenting isn't a party". Join a parenting group, either in your community or online and talk to an adult everyday, even if it's about nothing because sometimes talking about nothing can help decompress the everyday stressors of parenting.

Also, if parenting is too overwhelming and you feel concern for your or your children's safety, call for help. There is no shame in asking for help, in fact, it may be the strongest and bravest thing you'll ever do for yourself and your family.



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Patricia Walters-Fischer