No one will debate that motherhood is hard. I mean, the job description is literally this: you are solely responsible for keeping a tiny human alive almost twenty-four seven. And a lot of mommas are responsible for multiple tiny humans all at once. Not only do we have to keep them alive, we must teach moral codes, weather tantrums with grace and patience, and keep the house at some level of sanitation. Some days it’s just too much. Some days the tiny humans throw tantrum after tantrum or whine without stopping. And some days you just can’t handle your tiny human.
When you can’t handle your tiny human…
Sometimes I just feel like a failure when I can’t handle my little one anymore. I snap when he whines at me, and then I wallow in mom guilt that I snapped. But then it all happens again, over and over again, and by the end of the day, I’m done being Mom. I can’t handle anything anymore. I’m so overwhelmed by annoyance, frustration, and guilt that I can’t function .
Patience has never been a strong point of mine. I’m a very “pick-yourself-up-and-get-on-with-it” type of a person. So toddlerhood is pushing me. Toddlers require enormous amounts of patience and compassion. Empathize with the tantrum then help them through their big emotions. Yea, I’m not that kind of person. I wish I was, but I just get so frustrated when he whines over and over at me or I can’t figure out what he needs. I feel so guilty when I get to a place of such frustration with Will. When I get to such a place of frustration with Will I feel so guilty. I feel guilty when I react poorly to him, when I yell at him, or when I have to hide for a little bit in my closet.
The guilt overtakes me even more when I know why he’s upset. When he’s cutting a tooth or is sick, he gets so whiny and throws so many tantrums. And I don’t blame him for reacting that way when he feels so horrible. Yet, I still have such a hard time keeping my cool in those situations. I expect myself to have more compassion since I know he’s not feeling well, but sometimes I just can’t. By the time we make it through the day and he’s finally in bed, I collapse onto the couch and replay all the times I reacted poorly. The poor little man was in a ton of pain or was feeling horrible, and I got mad at him for it. I dig myself into a deep hole by the time I go to bed. I promise myself I’ll do better tomorrow.
And somehow, tomorrow goes the same as yesterday.
So how do we break the cycle?
Conquer the guilt first
We have to break the routine of guilt first. We have to stop comparing ourselves to other moms or ideals of motherhood. Put aside your expectations of the mom you think you should be. Remember that you can’t be perfect, and no one else can be either. You can’t have a better day tomorrow if you go to bed thinking you are a bad mom tonight. Dwelling on the things you did wrong is a bad habit that breeds more pessimism and a bad attitude.
Find your triggers and break points
Then we need to establish some boundaries. Start noticing your triggers and your breaking points. One of my biggest triggers is when Will is sitting at his high chair and grabs me with a slimy hand while crying at me when he doesn’t like the food I made. I tend to lose it after he does this about 3 times, and therefore, 3 times of the slimy hand is one of my breaking points. I also can’t handle when he flops himself to the floor screaming when I stop playing with him or have to get something else done.
So think through your day. What are the behaviors that get you? What are your triggers and breaking points? Make a list of them.
Find strategies to cope
I’ve found that if I sit around the corner of the table from Will rather than on the same side as him, he doesn’t try to grab me with his slimy hands. He may still cry and throw a fit about the food but I don’t get slimed. Or I ask my husband to do dinner for tonight. These are my small strategies to avoid one of my main breaking points. The strategies you find to deal with your tiny human’s behavior don’t have to be elaborate, they just have to work for you.
It’s also important to remember to leave the mom guilt out of it when finding strategies. Sometimes you have to just walk away from your toddler or hide in a closet for a minute or two and that is ok. Leave the guilt behind and do what you need to do to make it through the day. When Will throws himself on the ground, I have to walk away and into another room to keep from reacting negatively.
So next to your list of your triggers, write out a strategy for keeping your calm and sanity next to each one. This may take some trial and error to find what works for you and your kiddo. To make this easier, I’ve come up with a list of tantrum strategies for you! Print it out and put it somewhere you can easily access it the next time you feel yourself losing your handle on the tiny human or humans in your house.
What are your favorite strategies to stay sane? Share in the comments below!
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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.
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