My kids have been sick for the better part of a month. Actually, it might be even longer than that…the days are starting to melt together into one endless cycle of slime, nebulizer treatments and pharmacy meds. I’ve been to the doctor’s office more times than I can count, and my house is a disaster zone. It’s ugly out there. Stay-at-Home Moms, I salute you.
I have a confession. I really don’t like my kids right now. I love them dearly, and it breaks my heart to see them struggling and not well. But I haven’t slept properly in about a bazillion years, I’ve been sick twice myself thanks to their inappropriately timed sharing (remember that?) and the latest and greatest? I am walking around like an elderly woman right now because I threw my back out lifting the 34 pound cement tank that is J. At 32 years old. My visions of holding onto my youth are slowly slipping away. I can’t put a proper sentence together (my husband is quite amused by this) and now, I can’t walk. If I hear “Mama! Wait for me!” one more time as I try to take 5 steps to the left of their immediate position, I’m going to scream.
Oh wait. Did I mention the “deep South” of Virginia Beach is also stuck in that Polar Vortex fun, which in normally non-snowing environment equals school cancelled (and day care cancelled) for days on end? I’m literally trapped. And now we’re in the midst of another snowstorm. I swear, I started crying when I heard the weather report the other night. Ugly tears.
What have I taken away from this season of horror? That I am in no way, shape or form, built to be a stay-at-home mom. And that those who are at home with their children are especially gifted, immeasurably patient, all-encompassing super heroes. Stay-at-home Mamas. I salute you. You blow my mind.
I need my office. Desperately. I am sure a great deal of it is due to my OCD. I need to enter an office bubble where I can go all Katy brain zone super focus for hours at a time. Working hard professionally recharges me emotionally. I actually feel more rested when I can go to work. And I miss my kids. I am a better me when I go to work. I admit when I am home too long, my patience is beyond thin, I have trouble focusing and I often find myself resenting just about everyone on the planet. I want to give up. Going to work reminds me that I enjoy pushing myself professionally to provide for my family. And in this case, pushing myself professionally not only provides for them financially, but emotionally as well. I am a better mom when I work hard.
Stay-at-home moms are a special breed. You have the most difficult job on this planet (I don’t care what anyone says and yes, I’ve read it and yes, you know what I’m talking about). I’m a special breed too. In this, as in all things parenting related, different strokes for different folks.
All of us moms are pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. And you should say so too. To yourself and any other moms you know. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me over the course of the past month to hear “Hang in there. You’re doing great.” from other friends and mothers while I sit in this mess and contemplate my repeated failures at being patient and caring among all of the tissues, spilled food and breathing treatments. Those simple words, coming from someone who knows, someone who might parent completely different than I do, it’s enough. It’s more than enough. It’s a pull back from the ledge. Say it loud!!! Make somebody’s day!
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.