Those days. You know the ones. The ones where you lose your shit over something. Or everything. And the moment that follows the shit losing where your kids look at you with big eyes that seem to say, “Where the eff did the evil ogre that looks like mommy come from?!?!”
Never mind that the nursing baby decided to grab you nipple in her very sharp, razor-like nails of death and use it as a handle, or that the big kid spilled water All Over™ and walked away and left it without a word. YOU, valiant parent, are going to look (and feel) like the prize winning jackass at the county fair when you snap and everyone ends up in tears. Before noon.
Here’s a secret though: unless you are up for sainthood for your unfailing patience (I believe that qualifies as a miracle), on quaaludes, or are actually dead – everyone has days like this. No one tells you that, but it’s true. It comes of being in a small space (any house without wings is small on this type of day) with tiny tyrants who lose their shit on you whenever they are
So, I offer some tips (and reminders for myself):
1. Get out of the house.
Doesn’t matter where. Target, grocery store, library, fast food drive thru, walk to the mailbox, whatever. Take your tiny humans and leave. The change of scenery will reset everyone’s mood. Outside is great if weather permits, but if you don’t have a yard and its crappy out, the mall offers plenty of exercise. (Protip: If children asking for everything they see will set off another round of Mommy Ogre, avoid the mall.)
2. Do something out of the ordinary.
Let the kids paint a wall, let them watch TV or play video games, see how long you can all be silent. Make it something they don’t normally get to do that will make everyone happy or focused on something. Again, shaking up routine is what you’re going for.
3. Bake something.
Nothing will unite the forces faster than making something yummy to eat. If you’re feeling ambitious you could even make it healthy.
4. Bath time. I don’t know why this works, but just like nakey time for a baby, bath time resets the children’s moods. It also confines them to an easily watched space, which makes it easier on you.
5. Give up.
Most parenting stress comes from the idea that something needs to be done or happen at a specific time. At least at my house. The harder I try to get something done, the more short tempered I get, the more tense the kids get and the louder the meltdown in the end. So, give up. You aren’t going to get the dishes done, and that’s okay. Throw in the towel, plop down on the floor and hang out with the kids. Play, climb around, laugh and chill. Order pizza. Give up on the “should” part of the day. In the end, you might find that the time connecting with them was exactly what everyone needed.