The truth is I’m not entirely sure how to NOT lose my cool, but I have some pointers that may help. If I’m being extra honest with myself, I started losing my cool the minute I read the the email saying that my son’s school was closed for two weeks. Then before those two weeks were up, we got another email saying until May 15th. Now, I’m just waiting for the email that the school year is over. Then I will cry copious amounts of times.
Having two very busy bodied boys ages 6 and 1, while my husband works from home, has its challenges. I’m typically a pretty patient parent; but as of late that hasn’t been the case. Since this is all new to us (not being able to really go anywhere except for a walk around the neighborhood) and everyone else, we’re going through the learning curve.
My older son is seeing how far he can push my husband and I to the edge. So far we’re both hanging onto the pointy edge of the cliff by our pinky toes. So, my son’s plan is working. As for the baby; he’s seeing how much sleep he can deprive us of at night by screaming once every hour for several minutes. Teething and him do NOT mix well. In summary, my husband is working full time at home (took over my office), and both of my children are trying to see how far they can push until we break. Oh, and let’s not forget the dog. She has been barking at us for approximately twenty minutes every time we have food. This started the last couple of weeks.
Here are some things that I plan to start doing this week, because losing my ever loving mind is NOT an option right now.
1. Limit Screen Time for Everyone: Yep, everyone. I noticed that when I’m on my phone scrolling through Social Media, I’m often more irritated when my children need me. A friend of mine alerted me to the option of setting a screen time limit on your iPhone. You can do this on iPads as well. Go to Settings, Screen time, Social Media, and then choose which accounts you want to limit and for how many hours per day that you are allowed to be on them. I actually already set this up today for myself. So far it has helped me to be more mindful of my time and focus more on my kids.
2. Plan out your week: This is where I’ve been falling short. It makes a huge difference when things are mostly planned out versus just winging it. I’ve noticed when I have specific activities planned for my kids (moreso for my 6 year old) his behavior tends to be more positive. Whereas, when I just tell him to go play, he ends up bringing me something gross that I have to clean up after. Don’t get me wrong, kids should totally be allowed to be bored and figure things out. However, if your kid is into Science he/she may test the limits along with your nerves. So, have a few tricks up your sleeve just incase.
3. Walk Away: It’s okay to walk away and take a few minutes for yourself. Your little mini spawns will still be there five minutes later. I love my kids more than my own life, but not having a real break from them (whether it be school, grandparents, neighbors, friends, etc.) can be trying on one’s soul.
4. Pick and Choose your Battles: I’m a firm believer in picking and choosing your battles. Some battles are just not worth your energy and time. My basic rules on how to choose are this: Are they hurting anyone else or themselves? Are they saying something hurtful to anyone else or themselves? If the answer is No then be like Elsa and let it go! For some (like my husband) this is easier said than done. Some things just do not have to be dwelled upon, especially during a quarantine. I will add that waking up a napping sibling is punishable by removal of all electronics for an extensive amount of time.
5. Carve out some Real time for YOU: Of course with everything during this time; this is easier said than done. If you have another adult there, play tag you’re it! I do this often with my husband, he doesn’t find it as amusing as I do, but mama needs a break too. Take a shower, color a picture, journal, sleep, and etc. Do what you need to do to feel better. Check out my last post on how to take care of yourself while you’re stuck at home.
I have been a Stay at Home Mom for six years. Before that I was an Elementary School teacher. I swear to you, my students were always well behaved. It’s definitely different when you have your own kids. However, I do use a lot of my techniques from teaching regarding behavior management for my kids. The setting is different, so adjustments need to be made on occasion. This situation is nothing like we’ve every experienced. Be kind to yourselves and as much as it pains us (particularly me) give your kids some slack too. We’re all learning how to adjust together. We’ll find a new normal. We have to.