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Monday, January 17, 2011

Who Needs a Time Out More? The Kids, or Us???

You can learn many things from children.  How much patience you have, for instance.  ~Franklin P. Jones

Just recently, I really started to pay attention to my moods. To what is going on around me when I start to lose my patience with my girls, even just with life in general.
Some days I don't "lose" my patience, I just didn't have any to start with.

What makes us mommies lose our patience so quickly??? (those of us that aren't perfect)
It's amazing really, when you start to pay attention.
I have found that usually it has nothing to do with my girls. It is either everything to do with me, something to do with my surroundings or everything to do with the people around us.
It might be that I'm frustrated with my husband and the fact that he's sitting on the couch while i'm running around like crazy. Maybe it's because the person next to me in Walmart has a look on their face like it is the first time they've watched a 3 year old have a meltdown. Maybe it's because we're running late. Maybe it's because we're at a friends house and I'm worried about their floor getting dirty or the little fingerprints they are leaving on every single thing they touch.
Can anyone else relate to me on this? Gosh, I hope so, or I must sound like a complete nutbar.
Next time you find yourself getting ready to lose your cool, stop and pay attention. Why are you losing your cool?
For the most part, (for me) it comes back, AGAIN, to what other people think.
Don't get me wrong, there are still many times throughout the day that my kids are simply driving me crazy and doing stuff that they shouldn't be. Usually during the day when I'm home alone with the girls, we all get along fairly well. Add some people or a different setting to the mix.......

Last week, someone (in MY house) made the point of saying that my (just) 3 year old is getting saucy. As soon as those words were uttered out of his mouth,, I started analyzing everything that she did. I was like this sudden drill sergeant who was going to make sure that she wasn't saucy. I was going to prove him wrong! Really, why did I even care what he thought or said? Even if she is saucy, what's it to him? I did defend her by saying that she was in nursery school all morning and didn't have her afternoon nap. That gets me "good mom" points, right?  I still felt the need to worry about it though. Within minutes, I was getting upset with her for every little thing that she said did, or didn't do. How was that fair to her? It wasn't her issue, it was MINE!
The very same night, another friend made a point of saying "wow, this is what it is like when two kids eat sugar".... I was thrown a little off guard. I'm sure he meant nothing mean by it, but it just struck the wrong nerve. Yes, my kids were running around having fun, and when a 3 year old and a 1 year old play together, it isn't always quiet, but they were having a blast... Until I stopped them.
I stopped them from playing, from having fun, from entertaining each other, from laughing "loudly" all because I was concerned that it was "bothering" our guests.
As I type it, and read it back to myself, I can see just how wrong this is, but at the time, I guess I just didn't want my kids being judged.*I* didn't want to be judged!! Naturally,, lol.. the way to deal with that would be to get mad at my children, right??!
Once I laid in bed that night, I realized just how horrible of a mother I was. My kids were being kids, why would I ever stop them? Maybe instead of getting up and putting my children to bed, I should have told our guests that they were free to leave anytime they wanted.

Some days, I can almost feel the anxiety building in my body as I look around my house and see 5 loads of laundry, toys scattered on the ground, dishes piling up in the sink, an empty fridge and 2 hungry children. I'm sure if I looked in the mirror, I could probably see the patience floating out of my body. The feeling of being completely overwhelmed takes over my body, and even the slightest thing makes me lose my cool. (when i say lose my cool, i just mean that I get irritable, snippy, short-tempered. I don't want you to all think that I'm a raging lunatic or anything) Again, this has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me. I say this as if I'm an expert and know better, yet I get upset because my 3 year old doesn't want a nap, or if she takes too long to get up the stairs or put her coat on. It still irritates me that I just changed my 1 year olds diaper and I can already smell her across the room. I get upset that she won't sit in her high chair or in tub. I could cry because she is throwing her dinner on the floor and I just mopped. Why??  Because I'M having a bad day.Because I didn't get enough sleep last night. Because I didn't make it to the grocery store yesterday. Because I didn't get up early enough to have things done before they got up. Because I slept in and now we're in a rush and running late..

So.... who needs the time out? Who deserves to be yelled at? Mommy does! My girls definitely do not!

I read a story recently, I wish I could remember where I read it.  This very subject was discussed. I may not have the story perfect, but I will tell what I remember.
It discussed a primary teacher and her students. The teacher had a fight with her husband the night before and was stressed when she got to school. She had no patience at all. The children were being children and she got mad, yelled and put them all in a time out.. After a few minutes, one of the children came to her desk and asked her if she thought she might feel better if she came and had a time out as well...
Isn't that hilarious?? Kids are smart!! She realized, like I have so many times, that the children weren't behaving any differently that day than they did every other day. Because of her mood though,, she had no patience.

Things haven't changed much since I came to the realization of all of these things. I still yell, I want to pull my hair out some days. I do find myself stopping and thinking about what is going on now though. Once I can actually stop and figure out what is "really" bothering me, I can feel myself calming down.
Sometimes I do need a time out, 5 minutes in a room by myself to just sit and breathe, or cry, or even bang my head off the wall.. HA!!
Just yesterday, with tears streaming down my face, I told my husband that I just needed 5 minutes upstairs, because I could feel the patience "floating away" (I had a tough day for many reasons).... 5 minutes was all it took. I laid on my bed, let the tears flow, and that was that!!
It saved my blood pressure from going crazy, and it saved me looking really mean to my girls.. Everyone was a whole lot happier and it only took 5 minutes of alone time!
In a perfect world, every day would be like that, until then I'm sure I'll continue going into my girls bedrooms at night, looking at the little angels sleeping and wondering how I could ever get mad at something so perfect. I will continue to lay in bed and beat myself up, wondering why I can't be a better mom. I think this is just our life from here on out. We'll have good days and we'll have bad days, but hopefully as we spend more time figuring out what is going on with US, and taking more TIME OUTS, we'll start having more and more good days with our "little angels"!!

Have a great day ladies, hopefully you don't need too many "time outs"!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow Sarah you are way to hard on yourself hunny, who cares what anyone else has to say, you are a great mom and if they think they can do better tell them to come and live a day in your life. You have wonderful girls and they will act like kids because that's what they are...they will be kids like all the kids before them.
Remember Sarah if your house is spotless and there are no toys or blankie's or storybooks etc lying around then 9 chances of of 10 then your children are not happy either. But a house that has fingerprints and toys here and there and a few other things they like around then I would call that a house where a child is happy and has been playing and having fun so tomorrow when you find yourself upset about the house if it's a bit disorganzied take a step back and look at those beautiful girls and see if the things around are making them upset or are they having the time of their lives because I will tell you that the only opinion that matters is those girls and they are not judging your house cleaning skills.
I am not a mom yet and you may think I have no idea and maybe I don't but I am sure I will yell at my child more then once and probley go and cry about it after and I won't always make the best choices and I will probley want to tear my hair out from time to time but that only means that I am human. I remember this one time I had Chelsea(my neice) and we were painting and it turned into a huge mess with paint literally everywhere(chairs, table, floor etc) and I felt myself starting to get a little upset when I relized how much mess there really was and she was only about 3 but she must of picked up on it because she looked up at me with those beautiful eyes and said it's ok aunt manda(no big deal) we can clean it up after.....well when she said that it really opened my eyes and I smiled and said yes baby girl we can clean it up after and I thought who cares really??? She is right paint has never hurt no one and a bit of soap and water can clean it up so what is the big deal??? We went on to paint and had a blast!!!
Anyway Sarah hunny don't ever let anyone make you feel like you aren't a good mom because you are an excellent mother and I am sure I will be looking to you for advice when my precious baby gets here!!! xoxoxo Give those beautiful girls a kiss and hug for me and have a great day!!
Love Amanda

adrexler said...

I have to agree, you are too hard on yourself. BUT I can also sympathise with a lot of what you said. I too get extremely overwhelmed by the laundry, the "dirty" house, what should I make for dinner (when I haven't even had breakfast), what day can I get groceries ect...ect... I started going to supperworks once a month. A girlfriend of mine asked me to go and I thought it would be a one time thing. I thought it was too expensive, as it turns out i've been going for over a year. For around $13 per dinner, I don't have to think everyday what i'm going to make, the meals are healthy and I have one less stress. You can also take Gracie with you if you want some mother daughter time or just get out of the house on your own for an hour. I get an hour and a half and have 12 meals made.
As for the people that make comments about your kids or you feel they are being disturbed....they don't have to come over if they don't like it! Let the kids have their tantrum in Walmart, people can look at me all they want...if anything I feel like a better mom sometimes for NOT giving in to my kids. I know people who give in to their kids every needs....and I don't want their kids!

Sarah said...

Maybe I am too hard on myself... do you guys think that i am nuts??!? Please tell me that someone out the there is relating to this blog.. PLEASE?? Now you all have me second guessing myself..
At the end of the day, I never care what people are saying or doing, its at that very moment. Silly, I guess.
And,, I guess I also should have clarified that the days that I have talked about, aren't my day EVERY day,, just some of my bad days. I know that I'm a good mom and yes, that is all that mattters!! Amanda D, I am going to try SupperWorks for sure!!

Victoria said...

Hey Sarah, WOW, *tears*! As I read this I started to cry. With 3 CRAZY ACTIVE boys running around my house breaking everything, taking my new lamp apart just to see where the wire comes from, my oldest 6 yr old changing his clothes 600 times a day because he has his mothers OCD for cleanliness, my middle 5 yr old giving a full blow circus a run for their money when it comes to CRAZINESS, and my youngest 4 year old acting like he is completely incapable of doing ANYTHING for himself I find myslef all to often at then end of my rope. I really wonder now if it is becuase of them, or like you said is it me who needs to take a step back and realize that I have 3 CRAZY boys, and this is LIFE! Trust me you are NOT NUTS!! There are so many times that I storm off to the gym angry that my house is a complete mess, my $300 worth of groceries only lasted 2 days and now my fridge is empty (but thank god for PIZZA DAY at school), and my youngest STILL can't figure out how to wipe his bum! Then, given that time to think about it, come home, sneak into their rooms and realize they are perfect, I am the one who needs to change. THANK YOU!!

Carolyn said...

Sarah, my bestest, I just want to tell you how extremly proud I am of you!!!!!!! I want to tell you how I have always thought from day one, when I first saw you holding Gracie, how awesome of a Mom I have ALWAYS felt you were. Your little girls could never ask for a better Mommy then you!!!!!!!!! To me, you are the one who always has it together!!! I think that you do an absolutly amazing job as a wife, a mommy, and most important to me, a friend. You are someone who is extremly important in my life and I don't know what I would ever do without you. There have been times when our friendship has been tested and I am so happy to say that we have always passed the test!!!! That is true friendship.You really are an inspiration to alot of people. I think that what you are doing here for yourself, for everyone, is something that you should be SO proud of. Don't ever doubt yourself, most people could only wish that they could be as honest with themselves as you are being!!!!!! I love you very much and I look forward to this journey together as Mommy's!!!!!!!


Sarah said...

Thanks Carolyn!!! That means a lot!! I don't think that I would be human if I didn't doubt myself once in a while! Thank you for your reassurance though! That is sort of the message that I'm trying to get out there.. It's okay to feel less than perfect some days. I'm not going to fool myself into believing that I'm perfect, or that my life is perfect. I do hope that I can be an inspiration to other mommies out there. In the meantime, getting all of these amazing comments from not only my friends but also from strangers has made me so greatful for the way my life has turned out.. Even if it isn't perfect!! Love ya and thanks again!

Lindsay said...

awhh....that made me a little teary eyed Carolyn!! That was so sweet to write about your "bestest". I agree Sarah you have always come across as "put together" and a great mom!
I was about to tell you to NOT be hard on yourself....then I had a little epiphany....I should take my own advice!!!! Thanks!!!

Sarah said...

AH HA!!!! Linds!!! You just got it my friend!!! Why are we so quick to tell everyone else not to be hard on themselves yet we don't tell ourselves?? I'm glad you got it!! It's so easy to see when we're looking at someone else, but when it comes to our own lives,, its not so simple!!
Thanks for the comments ladies!!
PS~ Put together??!! LMAO is all I can say to that! xo

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