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Life with kids is always challenging. If you’re desperately ready to learn how to be a calm mom when your toddler is losing it, you’re in the right spot.
Whether it’s the 5 am wake-up calls, their refusal to eat anything that’s not their favorite color, or the constant stream of chatter and questions, almost every mom wishes that her life was a little less stressful at times.
Whilst a Zen-like existence may seem impossible to imagine right now, there are certainly some simple steps you can take to bring calm into your life.
Identify “Why is parenting so hard for me?”
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and we all have our own unique struggles.
New moms may feel anxious that they’re making the right decisions or worry that they’re not qualified to look after a baby alone.
Parents of multiples may struggle to leave the house for fear of the kids running off in opposite directions as soon as they step out of the door.
And moms of teens may find themselves struggling to deal with their unruly offspring’s shocking behavior.
On your journey from chaos to calm, it’s important to identify exactly what it is that makes parenting hard for you personally, so that you can address this.
If you find you feel just a bit all over the place and unable to identify any real triggers, I’d suggest looking into one of these 3 courses:
Practical parenting is an online (100% FREE) course to help you set parenting boundaries and give you the tools you need to simplify your day to day hectic mom life!
Overcoming Mom Guilt is an excellent online course created to help you get yourself out of the mom guilt trenches that cause stress & anxiety — ultimately preventing you from being able to show up for yourself and your family.
Learn helpful ways to overcome mom guilt and work through those triggering points with instructor Bryana Kappadakunnel, LMFT, endorsed as an Infant-Family Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, specializing in the care and support of infants, toddlers, and their families.
Getting your partner on board is an online course to help you PARENT WITH YOUR PARTNER. That’s right. Say bye to the days where only mom makes the parenting decisions and turn your family into a dynamic household where BOTH you and your partner are going through parenting as a team together.
Because sometimes, feeling like we aren’t alone in this parenthood game is the change we need to ease our frustrations and live life a little more calm.
Consider the demands of parenting today
Parenting has changed a lot over the past couple of generations. Moms who have full-time jobs spend just as much time tending to their children as stay-at-home moms did in the 1970s.
As well as the tricky balance of family and career to worry about, there’s the overload of information from the internet, which can leave parents confused over which advise is best when it comes to raising kids.
Parenting is hard. But hopefully, this list of tips will give you some actionable ways to bring calm into your chaotic world.
Practical ways to be a calm mom without driving yourself crazy
1) Don’t take the things your kids do personally
You ask your child to stop messing around with their drink and five minutes later the drink is all over the floor. It’s a common scenario and one which might lead a mom to have feelings of irritation, failure and hopelessness. Particularly if similar scenes are repeated day after day.
It’s important to recognize that your kids aren’t doing these things to annoy you.
Their short-term memories are still developing and they often don’t have the mental capacity to consider all the possible consequences of their actions.
This is nobody’s fault, least of all yours, so don’t take it personally.
2) Make time FOR YOURSELF
Going to the grocery store on your own may feel like time for yourself, but it’s not.
You need real, uninterrupted me-time at least once a week.
Take a long bath, end the night with some journaling, go for a run, or have coffee with a friend.
Of course, it’s hard to fit in with the demands of parenting, but skip the time to unwind and you’re setting yourself up for a life of pent-up stress.
3) Eliminate ‘Time Outs’ for ‘Time Ins’ (trust me, it’s better for everyone)
Children naturally crave attention from their parents. The principle behind ‘time outs’ is to punish the child for bad behavior by taking away your attention and put them in an isolated scenario.
The alternative method of ‘time ins’, however, involves reinforcing good behavior by showering the child with positive attention whilst they are behaving well. This can also include taking time to turn to the needs your child is displaying during a tantrum.
Here’s an example: Instead of punishing them for throwing their food on the floor, get down to their level and express that you can see they’re having a hard time controlling their urge to throw. Let them be part of the solution in fulfilling whatever need it is they’re seeking while holding the boundary that “I cannot let you throw _______”
‘Time outs’ on the other hand is time spent AWAY from positive reinforcement.
By swapping ‘time outs’ for ‘time ins’, you’ll fill your child’s “attention tank” in response to good behavior, meaning that over time, they’ll be less likely to act out. It’s a win-win for both of you.
My friends and childhood development experts over at Raising Children You Like talk a lot about this type of parenting method in their decoding the tantrum workshop.
4) Try practicing meditation
Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower anxiety levels, and cultivate more creative problem-solving. These are all things that will be of incredible benefit to anyone who desires to become a calmer mom.
If you can find five to ten minutes per day to meditate, you’ll soon reap the benefits.
Even one minute per day spent practicing mindfulness is better than nothing, and we’ve all got time for that, even if you have to hide in the bathroom.
A simple meditation technique you can try at home (even on the craziest of days) is this:
- Sit or lay down comfortably
- Close your eyes & breathe naturally
- Let your mind clear of all thoughts
- Focus mind on feeling & listening to each breath you take
- Allow every exhale to rid you of tension and stress
Practice this simple technique as many times a day as needed. It’s very basic and great to do when you’re on the go or feeling trapped at home.
5) Find someone to talk to
A problem shared is a problem halved. Even knowing that others are going through the same stresses as you can provide you with a sense of relief.
If you don’t have other mom friends in your area, check out Facebook groups where you’re sure to find other lonely and stressed parents who are up for a chat.
6) Pick your battles
Unless you’ve somehow spurned little robots instead of children, your life will never be perfect. They will do things that annoy you, forget to listen, and act out. It’s natural.
It’s hard, I know, but you’re always going to have to let some of that bad behavior slide and reprimand only the worst of it.
Because what’s the alternative? Being a naggy mom that criticizes every detail of their child’s behavior won’t make them behave any better. It’ll just make both of you stressed out and unhappy.
7) Create a flexible routine
There’s definitely a sweet spot on the scale between a military-type agenda and just winging the whole day.
For the least stress, plan the outline of a routine, but know that you can deviate from it when you need to.
8) Don’t react out of anger
If you have a temper, it’s vital that you recognize your anger so that you can take action to immediately neutralize it.
As soon as you feel those feelings of anger, you should physically distance yourself from the situation (even if that’s only by one step).
Employ relaxation techniques such as counting to ten, meditation or even just taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly.
9) Be more present
It’s a cliché, I know, but they’re not little for long.
Take time to enjoy living in the moment and enjoying your children, rather than planning your next move or worrying about what’s gone before.
Here are a few ways to help you practice more present parenting:
- Put down the electronic devices.
- Spend some time outside exploring.
- Attend a parent child class or workshop together.
- Dedicate 20 minutes a day of uninterrupted play.
- Get down to their level when interacting.
10) Eat healthy and exercise
There’s a lot of truth in the saying “healthy body, healthy mind”.
Yoga is great for boosting both your physical and mental health, whilst preparing and eating meals made from fresh ingredients is a great way to spend time as a family.
By applying these practical tips & techniques to your day-to-day routine, you’ll be well on your way to be a calm mom & practice more mindful parenting!
Have you tried any of these tips before? Which ones worked best for you and your toddler?