If you’re reading this, it means you want to be a nicer, happier, yells-at-her-kids-less kind of mom… me too. It’s the second in my series of 5 posts about tactics/resources/a game plan for yelling/raging less – sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss one! And you can read the first post about yelling at my kids + see what other moms had to say about yelling here.
Let me start by saying I am NOT a professional therapist, childcare provider, doctor or expert in child development. But I am a mom who yells at her kids too much and wants to change my behavior… so I did some research and used some of your favorite tips and tricks to compile this post about what I’m committing to doing to be a better mom to my kids. I have another post coming with specific tactics to help you yell less (sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss it!), but these techniques are to help you feel like you have your life together just a little bit more, which can definitely help you feel less crazytown USA when dealing with your kids.
One thing I recently read that really resonated with me is “I cannot give what I do not have” – which means you cannot give peace, grace and patience with your children if you don’t have it yourself. So an important part of the whole ‘being a nicer mom’ journey really is putting yourself first so that you’re ready to take care of everyone else.
Another way to think of it is the oxygen mask analogy – you know how on an airplane they always say to put your oxygen mask on yourself first THEN your child? Same thing… you have to help yourself so you can help others. With that in mind, here’s my game plan for being a nicer, happier mom:
Reading and learning
I’m not a naturally patient person. I’m not a teacher, I wasn’t born with infinite ability to reason with toddlers, nor do I have a degree in communication skills to negotiate with a child who is testing boundaries. It makes me snap; I yell, I threaten, and no one wins. My kids still don’t listen to what I want them to do, and then I feel like shit for being rude to them. So, I’m committing to read and learn about how to best communicate with my children so that we can have a mutually respectful relationship. List of books, blog posts, podcasts, resources coming in this series.
Practicing Self Care
This can be MANY different things to different people – getting a manicure, massage, haircut, working out, reading, running to Target, walking with a friend, happy hour, a nap, a long bath… you get the point. Taking time to do something that serves YOU can be a major refresher. I’m very lucky to have involved in-laws, a supportive husband, and preschool to care for my older children a few hours a week. Before, I took the time to myself to create content/work on Lovely Lucky Life – I love the job and it feels like me-time. And while my job generally takes me away from my kids, it’s not necessarily restorative in the way that self-care is. Which brings me to my next point…
Eating Properly, Hydrating, Exercising, Prioritizing my Health
After almost 2 years of no solid workout routine or regular exercise, I’ve committed to taking an hour a day for myself most days of the week to sweat and do something good for my body and mind. I joined Barre 3 (nope, this isn’t sponsored) and the childcare is included in my enrollment fee, so I bring whoever is home with me. Win/win.
Another common trigger, for me, is eating poorly or allowing myself to get hungry. When I’m hungry, I’m hangry and more apt to snap. Lose/lose. Same with hydrating myself to avoid hunger or junk food binges. All in all, when I’m fed, exercised and hydrated, I’m just a better person and mom. Who isn’t?!
One other thing that one of you mentioned was looking into stress and yelling being hormonally related – I’m definitely going to start tracking my mood to see if it may be hormonally impacted in the form of PMDD or PMS.
Even after 2+ years as a stay-at-home-mom, I’m not a great household manager. I never have snacks in my bag, I rarely bring enough water bottles for everyone, and although my car is full of junk, I don’t have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to keep everyone happy in public. Some of the most common triggers for my children whining and complaining are thirst, hunger, and boredom. Easy to solve with a little prep, no? And it feels like they should be able to be responsible for grabbing their own water bottles and a snack bag on the way out of the house but in reality, I can’t always be responsible enough to grab those things for myself so why am I putting so much pressure on them? Committing to making sure I have all the necessities is going to help everyone stay happier.
Lowering Decision Fatigue
When I was researching for this post, I came across this post about decision fatigue and how it’s wearing us out and making us more irritable. Basically, we are inundated with tens of thousands of choices a day and our brains just aren’t built for it. People who have to make really important decisions – like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg – often eliminate unimportant decisions from their days and stick with the same wardrobe, meals, etc. Her exact example that really made me think this might work for me and my family was:
“Having a schedule for my workouts (weights on M/W/F, walking or biking every day) eliminates the decision of “do I workout today?” I’ve already decided, ONCE, so don’t need to endlessly debate with myself internally.” – YES. Committing to a schedule helps eliminate the stress of making the decisions of “what are we going to DO today?”. I’m looking forward to figuring out other ways to eliminate the other unimportant decisions of my day to make my life less stressful.
Practicing gratitude can mean a lot of different things. One thing I’ve tried to do daily, before getting out of bed or reaching for my phone, is to think of three things I’m grateful for… it can be my health, my home, my kids, my husband, or even something as simple as the fact that the sun is shining or my bed is comfy. It starts the day off on the right foot and it’s so easy to do.
Another reason practicing gratitude is so important is that, as humans, we have a negativity bias (for survival purposes) that makes us focus on the bad. This means we have to make a conscious effort to make the positive LOUDER than the negative and one way to feel that positivity is by reminding yourself of what you’re thankful for.
Waking up before the kids
I freaking hate reading about this tip because it’s never gonna happen for me BUT I have to share because it might be what works best for you! If you’re a morning person, wake up before the rugrats to start your day off on the right foot.
Committing to reading something about motherhood every single day
This tip came from this post and I loved that the author commits to reading something – anything – inspiring about motherhood every day. She says, “The posts are usually about slowing down, cultivating patience, and remembering this time spent raising children is short. Sometimes the post serves to remind me that I’m the adult, and my kids are just that — little kids. Reading these daily posts helps to keep me sane.” I really like the idea of taking 2 minutes every day to remind myself of my role as a mom instead of just rushing through the job on autopilot.
This is the second post in a series of five about yelling & being a nicer mom. You can read the first one – my story of yelling and mom rage – here. I have three more coming each Monday for the next three weeks – sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss one. Up next:
Actual Ways to Help You Stop Screaming at Your Kids – Read it Here
The Best Resources, Books, Blogs & Podcasts for Moms
Tricks to Use on Your Kids to Help Them Behave Better and Drive You Less Insane