I think that one of the hardest things about positive and gentle parenting is trying to remember your purpose under stress. It is so very hard to not react with your gut, start yelling, or in some parent’s cases spanking. I have said before that I am a yeller. I just naturally get loud when any kind of emotion passes through me… doesn’t matter if it is happy, sad, mad, stressed… yell, yell, yell. But it’s a habit that I am slowly but surely breaking.
I am lucky in that my girls realize that I am just louder by nature and they tend to take me raising my voice with a grain of salt. They pay more attention to the words than the tone. Still, I find myself striving to maintain that gentle sing song voice that I so admire in my gentle parenting mentors. More Mary Poppins, less ghetto mama, lol!
This past week I was under extreme stress, my personal breaking point. But I didn’t have the option of taking a break to get righted, I had to just put it aside and be a mom. It wasn’t easy. There were times I wanted to close my bedroom door, pull the covers over my head, and just sleep for about a week. But that wasn’t in the cards… I just had to deal with it and not let the girls feel what I was feeling.
Here are my tips for positive parenting under stress:
1. Change the scenery- take a walk, a drive, go someplace new. If you are stressed out about home stuff then take an hour and go somewhere to give yourself a chance to cool down or find some balance.
2. Put on some music- music helps. Whether you want to rock out or need something peaceful and calming, just put on some music. People who listen to music when running run longer and music makes cleaning a lot more enjoyable- there is just something about it.
3. Get out the crayons and paper- sit down with the kids and draw, paint, color. It is therapeutic for you, the kids get the interaction that they want, and in the very least it won’t cause you more stress.
4. Scream if you need to- seriously… take a pillow, go someplace private, and let her rip! I’m sure my neighbors think I am a nutcase but I use my car to scream my frustrations… I always feel so much better.
5. Learn another language- I like to swear like a sailor when I am upset and of course the last thing I want is Moira following behind me using the same words. So I swear in Spanish when I am home. (Don’t worry, I am fluent enough that they can’t even begin to replicate the words!) Bonus points if it is a language that isn’t used where you live, then you can swear in public too! =) Finnish anyone?
6. Walk away- if you just can’t get a handle and feel your resolve slipping then do what you need to do to give yourself some downtime. This is a situation where the TV is perfectly acceptable, video games, etc. What is worse- a little screen time or you losing your cool and yelling at the kids? I like to get some laundry to fold because that is a surefire way that the girls will leave me alone, lol.
Hope these tips help. Stress is a normal part of life and once in awhile it can be too much. Recognizing when you are at your breaking point is important because you want to keep that positive parenting mindset as much as possible.
Have a good day friends!