Inside: How to stop yelling at your kids with this one simple tip that really does work every time. All you need is a marker.
The other day, my kids came barreling through the front door after school.
They were being snippy with each other because someone had a bad day and someone else wasn’t feeling well and was irritable.
They dumped their backpacks on my clean floors.
Shoes were left in the hallway.
As they piled the mounds and mounds of paperwork from school I had to go through, they kept bickering and being snippy while searching for a snack.
My frustration started to rise. I could feel my ears getting red. My head was all of a sudden pounding.
And I exploded.
My kids froze and stared at me as I rattled off all the things they had done wrong and needed to change.
But they got super quiet and started cleaning up the trail they left behind them.
As they worked, my anger directed towards them subsided. But my anger towards myself rose.
Yes, their behavior was unacceptable. Yes, they needed to take better care of our home and be kinder to one another.
I have to walk the walk and talk the talk.
I have to figure out how to be mad without being mean and how to not explode when I’m frustrated.
There has to be a way to be a better way to be a calmer mom more often.
Why we need to be calmer
Being a mom is tough and not for the faint of heart.
As moms, we are always on the go.
We’re pretty much always in a rush.
And we multitask as we’re multitasking.
We rarely have time to sit still and take a moment to recoup or breathe or have an actual thought from start to finish.
And that’s all fine.
Until one thing, or five things, go wrong.
Maybe our kids were late to school because we were filling out a form they had to turn in…and then they forgot to take it out of their backpack.
Or maybe our kids are bickering and being unkind to one another. Again.
Or maybe the wet towel from last night’s shower is still on the floor even after you asked your kids to pick it up.
It’s easy to snap.
Our calm chaos quickly turns to actual chaos.
We can lose our ability to have measured reactions.
And we will no longer be the best, most kind, loving versions of ourselves.
Because we’re overwhelmed and annoyed and irritated.
And it’s most likely because we’re exhausted.
So we can’t–and don’t–respond in the way we wish we could.
We yell or speak too harshly or shut down.
But there’s something we can do, when we’re at the breaking point, just before we fly off the handle or snap.
It’s so simple. But it works so we stay calm in tricky or tough situations.
One simple thing we can do to be calmer
So when we’re in the moment of anger or frustration or irritation and feel like we’re going to explode, there is one simple thing we can do that will instantly instill calmness.
We can pause.
We can physically pause and we can mentally pause.
That can be easier said than done.
But the other day, I noticed a girlfriend had drawn a pause button on her wrist.
She drew it as a visual reminder to pause in the crazy moments to be more present. To focus on her emotions and react with control. The way she wants to.
She looks at the pause button, and sometimes even touches the pause button before she reacts in a way she wouldn’t wish she could take back.
So she can respond in a way that sounds like the mom she wants to be.
How to use the “pause button” to stay calm
Listen, we all have angry mom triggers.
And there are several ways to prevent angry mom outbursts to be a calmer, happier mom.
And since we want our homes to be calmer and happier, it starts and ends with us.
We set the vibe and the overall feeling of our families.
To create a calmer home and family, we need to press pause before we do or say something we can’t take back.
So try it the next time you’re buttons are being pushed and you feel yourself bubbling up to an angry outburst.
Press pause (figuratively, or draw the symbol on your wrist and do it literally).
Then purposefully and intentionally, take a breath. Or many breaths.
Close your eyes if you can and clear your mind by focusing on deep breathing.
Then notice your feelings and emotions without guilt or shame.
Because it is what it is.
We can be mad and irritated and frustrated or annoyed or scared. Even at our kids.
They’re little and learning so they are maddening and irritating and frustrating and they scare us daily.
You can even label your emotions. I’m irritated. I’m mad. I’m so flippin’ frustrated.
And then take the time to breathe. Count to ten.
Deep breaths put most things into perspective. Extra oxygen to the brain will calm you down.
And then, after ten, you’ll be able to react in an appropriate and measured way.
Without mom guilt, without regrets. Without having to apologize to your kids.
While you’re pausing, pay attention to this
During the paused moment, I also pay attention to my other senses.
I take a second and think about me and what I’m feeling.
Am I too hot or too cold?
Is my hair in my face and bugging me?
Am I hungry or thirsty?
Do I have to pee because I’ve been holding it in too long?
Are my pants too tight or are my shoes pinching my heels?
Then after ten seconds of deep breathing, I take care of me real quick.
With zero guilt.
Because if I don’t take care of me, there is no way to take care of my family.
I take off a layer of clothes to cool off, kick off my shoes and pull my hair into a ponytail. I go to the bathroom, grab a drink of water, and then I respond to the madness unfolding around me.
When I take a second to put some time into what I need, and I take a minute or two to self-care and feel better, I’m able to come back after the pause, ready to be a better version of myself.
Because when I’ve taken the time to pause, I can tell my kids in a calm and rational voice, “Please hang up your backpacks and move your shoes out of the hallway” without yelling it at them.
I can remind them to be kinder to their siblings without ironically yelling at them to be kinder.
And I can bring some more calm and more peace into my home, even when I’m surrounded by crazy.
All I have to do is pause.