When I first conceived, I always had this perception of the kind of mom I would want to be. And that perception was a total opposite of my how my mom is. The strict, controlling, paranoid, anxious mom. (If you are reading this, sorry mom. I love you)
I wanted to be the chill mom.
You spilled water on my velvet carpet?
Fine, no problem.
You threw your books just after I have stacked your shelf?
Go play, I got this.
Little did I know that I would turn into this monster mom, with a super controlling nature. A Cleanliness freak (well, aren’t we all). Being organised is a good habit, actually great, but the problem arises when our nature starts affecting our behavior with our kids. If I am overwhelmed with all the laundry loads, sleep deprived, exhausted from constantly keeping the kids engaged, with no time for myself whatsoever, then I will lose myself in the end.
After two kids, two Topsy- turvy pregnancies & now parenting two kids under two, I have had a few realizations. Brutal but true. My kids need me. I am the most important person to them. I am their world. And you must have heard this cliche line a hundred times but I will repeat it- They don’t need a PERFECT mom, they just need THEIR mom.
You know what would make me feel better at the end of a miserable day? Counting all the chores I had finished. Checking my task list and staring at all those checked boxes gave me the ultimate high. But that’s not right, because as I go through my checklist, there are no moments where I am all happy and enjoying with my kids. It really hurts. That’s when it struck me that time is just flying by, and my kids are growing up. And what’s my memory with them? Doing laundry? Feeding them? Cleaning up spills? That’s when I decided to sit back, take a break, relax and think about this.
Here I am going to share my tips and hacks that helped me with raising two kids under two and still remain calm and happy, for the most part of the day if not for all of it.
Because a Happy Mom equals happy kids…
Let’s divide these tips into those that you will need when you are having a tough time, like when your toddler is not listening to you and throwing a tantrum, and those tips which you need to get you through the day.
Disclaimer: Through NO additional cost to you, I may be compensated from affiliate links included in this post. Learn more here.
Tips to stay calm during a tough time:
1. Deep breaths.
This is the single most important tip that I can share and it has worked wonders for me. There is a simple mechanism behind it. Changing your focus. See, when we are angry, it’s a known fact that our brain’s capacity to process is reduced. So we say & do things we don’t mean. Forcing yourself in the habit of taking deep breaths each time you are angry will help you calm down, and rethink the scenario and handle it in a way that isn’t stressful for yourself or your kids.
2. Drink water.
No, not a health tip like you see on the internet. But water does solves all your problems. Imagine this. Your toddler has found the box of cookies you hid over the cupboard. You ask him to stop eating the cookies and give the box back. He takes another bite, you warn him not to touch the box, he goes ahead and stuffs his mouth with two more. Now that must have ticked the wrong buttons in you mom. You snap. Next minute you see yourself spanking your kid or you turn into this monster mom, snatch the box and give the boy a long, loud scolding.
When ever such a thing happens, which is like 4 times a day, just leave everything and go have a glass of water for yourself. You will be relaxed instantly, watch that anger disappear. Then act sensibly in a way that will actually work on your toddler in the long run, not just on diffusing the situation angrily.
Bonus – What should you do when your toddler doesn’t listen? Which is 20 times a day. Lot on that later in this post. Prefer to read it now? Click here.
3. Remember, they are just kids.
I say this because how much ever we moms love our kids, once it comes to repetitive bad behavior, our anger might go out of control. A scolding too loud, a slap too hard,(personally I Am strictly against any form of physical punishment) and insult, may go a long way and might even tarnish the child’s personality forever. So remember whenever you are angry, they are just kids and it’s our job to help them, correct them and teach them. So take it easy.
What if the mistakes are unacceptable?Like grievous, intentional hurt to a sibling. Always have your discipline game sorted. I have 3 levels of disciplinary actions and their consequences.
First for those mistakes which they do daily and you keep correcting them. They might do it less frequently from the time, once you start punishing the act and it will soon disappear. This should call for a low level punishment like a scolding. Practice positive parenting method of discipline for achieving this. In this, praise and appreciation on omission of bad behavior are the key to getting rid of most bad habits.
Next those mistakes which occur occasionally but are grave and warrant a behavior change – choose something like a time out. A new type of punishment will cause a rewiring in their brain cells and they will start associating that bad behavior with a bad punishment. Use gentle parenting to achieve this one. In this, you avoid circumstances or situations in which such mistakes are bound to occur.
The third and the most grievous kind of acts require tougher punishments for eg. hitting a sibling with a wooden bat causing bleeding, or pushing someone at school and being called to the principal. For such untoward incidents, stricter methods of discipline are advised, which should be chosen according to the nature of your household. The key here is to send a message to them each time they engage in such behavior. This may sound fairly simple but trust me, it takes a lot of commitment.
4. Acknowledge your kids.
What is bad behavior in a child? Most commonly a child acts rouge only to attract the attention of his parents. Then there are other causes like, he is frustrated from not being able to stack his blocks into a tower or not being able to reach a book on the shelf. It could also be because the child is bored or just hungry or sleepy.
What ever be the cause, we should acknowledge it first. Let me explain with the tower from blocks example. When you see him all frustrated and throwing his blocks and kicking you, you can say ” I know it’s tough to make a tower, do you need any help?” Or “I will show you how to make it”
Situations like these can be acknowledged and predicted in advance especially for diffusing a tantrum before it starts. Know more about toddler tantrums and get a 10 step action plan to nipping any tantrum in its bud.
Tips to help you stay calm throughout the day
1. Sleep right.
Sleep right? What is this advice? I know as moms, the concept of sleep is now a foreign one. But the importance of a good sleep cannot be emphasized enough. When we say we don’t get enough sleep, we mean the lil one kept me awake last night or the toddler skipped his afternoon nap and I had to stick with him to keep him engaged.
Whatever be the reason, you should try to adjust a quick nap in your schedule. That will happen only when its put in your priority list, which i know it isn’t. I personally work on a different basis. If I have been up the last night then I make my hubby tend to the kids in the noon so I can sleep and make up for it. Or I wake up an hour late the next morning. But I try to stay energized somehow, and a good sleep is definitely one of the key ingredients to it.
2. Get out of the house.
Either run errands or just for a walk. Either with kids or without. Without kids is as good as a vacation but still not possible always for most moms. I tend to take whatever I get. Also a gap of max two days without stepping outside the house is acceptable. It should not extend beyond that. You will start seeing changes in your behavior if you stay indoors for long, due to the monotonous nature of our routine. Walking releases hormones that help in reducing the bad fat and help in burning calories. Not to mention its a stress buster too.
3. Eat right.
First thing I would like to tell you here when we talk about eating right is, stop grazing. Eating kids leftovers constitute to almost a main meal in some households. That half eaten cheese cube, the half eaten pack of cookies, the juice, the mac n cheese or even leftover veggies for that matter. You are what you eat. Also its not only about eating a lot but also about not skipping meals. In the morning frenzy of school n job and preparing tiffins, a mom usually skips her breakfast, or survives till noon on a glass of milk.
You got no time, absolutely fine, I can understand. Here’s how you can do it. Condense calories into your food. Make a banana+yogurt+protein powder smoothie or a salad with chicken, egg and veggies. A balanced diet is important. Here are 10 most effective ways of losing weight for a stay at home mom
Functional training, and zumba ? No no. Just plain old warm ups. Its very important to give movement to all your joints. We moms work a lot but that doesn’t count because its all sedentary work which means doing the same things every day. Say only 4 of the 8 joints are getting used, what about the rest? Hence a whole body exercise regime should be followed.
A min of 20 min daily workout is advised. It’s totally workable if you have a newborn or a toddler. I have tried with both. I was so apprehensive about starting to workout but the thing which worked for me was I just paired my workouts with either one of the kids.
If you have a newborn then club it with their playtime. If you got a toddler then it’s great because they actively engage. My toddler literally did the whole regime with me, just a little music in the background and we would be all pumped for the evening. Also it has the additional benefit of energy expenditure for the toddler hence they sleep quickly.
5. Skip social media.
If you are one of those moms who are hooked on to Snapchat or Instagram then please pay attention. Yes it’s a great outlet to gain some friends, especially our kind who have no time but are still ready to mingle with out meeting up and taking our time. But while doing so we are constantly exposed to other people’s lives and updates and it alters us subconsciously. You remember, Tanya posting pics of her Postpartum body and you staring back at your love handles and that flabby tire. Or Emily showing off her vacation pics and you troubling your husband ever since to take you and the kids on a vacation.
We might deny it but it does have a lot of side-effects. Not to mention the time it takes up and the child neglect that might happen occasionally. Get rid of it. Start a better habit like read a book or make a list of good podcasts to hear and finish them off one by one.
6. Have a clean house, not a spotless, perfect one.
This tip here has me going nuts still. I was a control freak and obsessive about having my house and the things in it, in a particular way, my way. But now that i have kids, it’s all gone down the drain. I have understood that having a clean house is enough. Messy house means happy kids. That’s my motto now and it helps me a lot. Here’s how I do it.
I pick up the toys just once at night after they have slept. I clean up after every meal. Yes, the high-chair, the dining table and the kitchen. That’s the key.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Any spills, throw ups are all cleaned then and there. And once you get into the habit of it, it will become second nature to you. And then laundry loads or toy piles won’t bother you much. There you go stress free. Enjoying with your kids.
7. Self care.
No, not talking about weekly hair spas, manicure and pedicure.
Self care implies a basic level of importance to oneself. It can be anything that you find important. Straightening your hair, having water daily, or taking your vitamins, not skipping meals. It’s just the idea that you are important. And that one task or few tasks will help you gain the much required confidence back.
Parenting is tough, it literally sucks the life out of you. Stay at home or working, the struggles of a mom are the same. I am here to help you make your life a little easier and happier. Is your life plundered with toddler tantrums? Understand them, and diffuse them by using these 10 most effective ways of controlling toddler tantrums.
Singing off, hoping to have helped you regain your older self back if not then may be a better one.
Got something to say? I would love to hear. Comment below. Ask me anything. Share anything, or you can email me too.