Poops! How ya doing? Hope everyone had a nice weekend! With the exception of our sweet little D catching a wretched 24 hour tummy bug, our weekend was fantastic. Poor little thing woke up yesterday morning with a bellyache and a low fever. She puked until about 3pm and then, like magic, the fever went away and the food stayed down. Today she was completely back to her normal self. Kids are so resilient! You wouldn’t even know she was sick 24 hrs ago. And for that, I am feeling very grateful today. The only thing worse than feeling sick yourself is seeing one of your babies sick. I don’t often use the word “hate,” but I truly to hate my girls aren’t well. It breaks my heart.
And do you know what else I find a little heart-breaking? When I lose patience with one of my kids and see the sad, bewildered looks on their faces after I’ve yelled at one of them. Nothing makes me feel lousier than when I lose my cool and go on a verbal tirade. Why do I feel lousy? Well, for starters, nobody likes to get yelled at, especially me. It hurts your feelings to have someone up in your face raising their voice to you. And I’m an adult with a major backbone and what I’d like to believe is a decent amount of emotional maturity. Imagine if you’re the recipient of yelling when you’re a four or five year-old child when your emotional intelligence is still developing.
Secondly, it never ever has the desired effect. Meaning, sure, I get their attention, but rather than listening to what I’m actually trying to communicate, they are more focused on the volume of my voice and what is most likely a crazy, unattractive housewife-gone-mad kind of look on my face. But mostly, I feel terrible about yelling because I simply know better. It’s my shortcoming and my weakness and my lack of patience that sometimes causes me to lose it and shout at the girls in the heat of the moment. Sure, we all have our moments where our tempers get the better of us. We’re only human after all. But, if you’re like ‘ole Poops here, and have two daughters who despite being adorable and smart and creative and loving, still spend a ridiculous portion of their day either fighting with one another or delving into major mischief together, then patience is often hard to come by. Hence, my new invention! Check it out in the pic below!
exhibit a. “mommy’s patience jar”
This is my new solution to Poopie’s “Losing My Cool Syndrome” (an affliction by the way that comes and goes in various stages of our lives and will no doubt become seriously inflamed when the PoopieGirls become teenagers!) It is called “Mommy’s Patience Jar” and so far it is working! This is the parental version of the “Naughty Jar.” In case you’re unfamiliar, a lot of families, ours included at one point, use naughty jars as motivational tools to encourage positive behavior. Instead of time-out or other separation or removal-type punishments, the naughty jar sits on the table as a reminder of what you will have to give up should you decide to make a bad choice. For example, when our A decided to take jar of Vaseline and practice smearing her letters on the wall last year in her room, she had to make a serious contribution to the naughty jar. What is a contribution? Well it can be anything they will be seriously bummed to sacrifice. Some people have naughty bins and make their kids temporarily give up their favorite toys or games or stuffed animals.
For us, money did the trick. A has been obsessed with her piggy bank since the day she began to understand what it is and the value of the currency it holds. So, when she would make really bad choices, she had to give up some change from her piggy bank and put in the Naughty Jar. This may seem cruel, but I assure you, it was highly effective. She couldn’t stand putting her own quarters and dimes into that jar and after a few contributions, she seldom made naughty choices.
So, I figured if it works for a little kid, why not give it a whirl myself? It certainly couldn’t hurt, right? And of course it has been great! If I lose my patience and freak out unnecessarily on one of the girls they get to tell me what to put into the “Mommy Patience Jar.” As you can see, so far there have been coins, nail polish and jewelry added to it. They are the weekly beneficiaries of its contents. Rather than making me sacrifice something I don’t want to give up, we decided to have me add things instead that they might like. It seemed like a better way to get them involved, as I wanted a tangible concept they could understand so the girls could clearly see that just as mommy expects a lot of them so they too should expect the same good choices from me. I want them to see that I am not perfect, not by a long shot, and that the jar represents my way of trying to make self-improvements to benefit us all. They need to know that Mommy doesn’t always make the right choices or behave optimally, and that’s okay as long as I acknowledge it, own it and try to work on it.
Poopies, you guys know that part of why I started this blog in the first place was for all of us to have the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about everything that goes on with this parenting racket everyday. I am still amazed sometimes at how difficult being a good mom is. It would be much easier if I didn’t care so much. But I do. Deep down, I always want to be the best I can and do right by my kids as often as possible. Nothing is more important to me. And so, admitting my flaws is part of that process. How can I ever expect them to always make good choices and behave accordingly if I’m not modeling that same good behavior? Patience is a challenge for me. I admit it. I find myself sometimes so flustered by how incredibly crazy the two of them can make me and I know it’s not always their fault. Sometimes I’m able to take a step back, recall my mantras and breathe my way through it. And sometimes I blow. But I’m getting better and the “Mommy Patience Jar” helps. Just picturing it in my head sometimes sends a cue and I’m able to slow it down, stay calm, let it roll of my back, take a breath and back off whatever situation we’re in.
If you’re anything like me, Poopies, then you often find yourself parenting by the motto “you do what you gotta do. ” And this is no exception. It’s not realistic to say I’ll never lose my patience again or I’ll never ever yell at my kids. I think that would actually be incredibly unhealthy. But, I am doing what I gotta do. I have a million other great qualities as a mom that I’m very proud of and I’m sure if you asked my gals they could attest to that. But losing my cool more than I should is something I need to work on. And so I am doin’ what I gotta do!
I would love to hear what techniques or strategies you employ to keep calm as often as possible in your own households. Please leave reply with a comment and let our community know what advice you can offer up on this important subject. As always, your fellow Poopies appreciate and value what you have to say! Thanks Poopies!!!
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