This is the first year of writing exams for us and let me tell you, trying to get a ten-year-old to sit down at a desk and study is like trying to put a tuxedo on a slug. Add a three-year-old into the mix who wants everything now and you have a recipe for “Mega Mommy Meltdown”.
And I have spoken to enough of you to know I am not alone.
So ladies, here are 5 things we can do right now to avoid becoming unhinged:
1. Press Pause
When you feel the temperature (and your voice) rising, it’s ok to excuse yourself and turn on your heel and go into the kitchen or the bathroom or anywhere else where you can be alone to think.
Often we want to settle everything right there and then and “win”. Except, then you become Crazy Mommy and feel ashamed and guilty.
Now the last thing I normally want to do when I lose my temper is to pray. But this is exactly what I need to do. Run to Him. Say I’m sorry and ask for help. That is all.
There are so many promises for peace and help for us in this situation , but one verse that is normally a warning to me is: Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
Getting so angry that we can’t control ourselves, opens us up to attacks from the devil.
3. Ask yourself- Who am I really angry at?
“Well, I am angry at my child, off course?!” It’s not always that simple. Once you’ve stepped out of the situation, think about it: Who are you angry at? I will give you an example:
When we lived in London we used to give Justin loads of extra homework to do, because we knew that a lot more would be expected from him in SA. So every afternoon we would sit for about an hour and do extra work, dubiously called “Magikats” to try and make it sound fun (lies, all lies). The problem was, I also had cleaning and cooking and a little one who wanted my attention and at times, other children.
I would get hopping mad when he couldn’t do the work. I thought I was angry at him until I realised that I was angry at myself because I couldn’t give him all my attention and because I was terrible at explaining maths. (My sister confirmed this the other day when she reminded me how bad I was at explaining maths to her.) My son was just the easiest person to take it out on.
Who are you really angry at? Yourself, because you messed around on Facebook and now you have to do homework and supper at the same time? Your husband for being late…again? Yourself for not saying “No” to that late meeting. Your mother-in-law, because she compares the grandchildren to each other and now you feel pressured to perform? Be brutally honest with yourself and ask the Holy Spirit for help.
4. Say you are sorry
“What? If I show weakness they will walk all over me.” If you don’t apologise, you may damage your relationship with your child in a way that will only show itself in their teenage years.
In a way, apologising humbles you to the point where hopefully you will think twice before you blow up again.
No “but’s”! One of my bosses used to say, “If you say: “but” that means everything before it is a lie.” How? “Mommy is sorry for shouting at you, but you made me so angry.” Translation: Mommy was angry but it is not really her fault.
Go down to their level, apologise, admit that you acted in a way that you shouldn’t. Give a cuddle. You will be amazed at how much grace a child can give. And you will be teaching them a very valuable lesson about taking responsibility for their actions.
5. Use your “happy voice”
Ever heard the saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”? I know, it sounds false and a bit creepy, but if you have to go back to the task (like homework), slow your voice down and really try to use a higher tone.
As an article in the Huffington Post shows, participants could actually affect their own emotional state by altering their voices.
During the test, the tone of voice on recordings were also manipulated and perceived differently by independent listeners.
That means: 1. You will reassure your (possibly scared) child and trick them into thinking you are happy and 2. Your feelings will eventually catch up with your tone of voice.
There you go! 5 Simple things to save your sanity during meltdown. I said simple, I didn’t say it was easy. But let me know how you get on.
One more thing: Be kind to yourself please? Get enough sleep, eat well and move a bit. Not only babies get cranky when they are hungry.
- “Unglued – Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions” by Lysa Ter Keurst
- “Seven steps to stop Sandbagging yourself” by Cheri Gregory