Your day started off with your toddler flinging oatmeal all your blinds.
Then you notice water on the kitchen floor and realize that a pipe has broken under the sink.
Even though you have enough toys to stock a toy store, the kids are fighting over the same toy.
If that’s not enough, you walk into the living room after preparing lunch and see that someone has decided to draw a mural on the walls.
Oh, did I mention, the baby is teething and you didn’t get any sleep last night.
These may be extreme examples (or maybe not), but you know those days when you don’t feel well, you’re exhausted, and nothing seems to be going right. The end of the day can’t come fast enough.
Most days are good and we laugh and have fun, but then there are those days when I feel like I am going to lose it if I have to clean up one more mess, referee one more fight, or listen to one more whiny child.
We all have breaking points and some days we can take on the world and others we can barely make it to lunch.
You know those days. You want to pull your hair out and escape to a beach on a private island.
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As parents, we use time out with the kids to remove them from a situation that is not working and escalating out of control. Time out gives them the time to calm down and regroup.
Sometimes, we need to do the same for ourselves.
How do we give ourselves a time out when we have young kids that need supervision and care.
Call in reinforcements:
- This might be one of those easier said then done things. We don’t have extended family nearby and therefore when we moved a few years ago to where we live now, it was paramount that we develop a support system. I use this support system sparingly, but I have used it:
- When I spent a night as best buddies with the toilet and knew I was no shape to take care of the kids.
- The time when I had a preschooler and a newborn and the preschooler was throwing up all over me.
- When I had 3 kids and was recovering from a c-section.
- Days when I had a sick baby and the baby would not let me put her/him down.
- Calling in reinforcements does not always mean someone comes and picks up the kids. There have been times when I called a teenager and asked him/her to come help.
- There were many days when I had 3 kids under 5 that I couldn’t wait for my husband to walk in the front door and hand over the kids. There were even a few days over the years that I called and asked him if he could leave work a little early.
Remove the kids
- Send the kids to their rooms. Explain that they are not in trouble, Mommy just needs a few minutes. They may grumble, but once in their rooms they will discover something that catches their interest.
- If you have a baby or toddler place them somewhere safe, such as their crib or buckled in their car seat. They will be fine crying for a few a minutes.
- If your kids are old enough, this is one of those break the no TV rules and let them watch a movie.
- Go outside and get some free air.
- Lock yourself in the bathroom, have a good cry, splash some water on your face. Again if you have young kids make sure they are safe.
We often react in ways we don’t want to when stressed. I have lashed out at my kids more than once during times of stress and found myself regretting it just seconds later.
Most people who abuse children are ordinary people who become overwhelmed by stress. I’m not saying that you are going to abuse your children, but you will be a better mom to your kids after taking a few minutes to catch your breath and regroup.
If you have children with special needs you may qualify for respite. Find more information about respite here.