I spent my day being “on” as a stay at home mom.
I made three semi-nutritious meals, cleaned up two “I do it, Mama” spills, and wrangled several children into their car seats. Multiple times.
I kept it together through the tantrum in the middle of the frozen food aisle and I got my newly potty-trained preschooler to the bathroom in the middle of unloading the groceries.
I breastfeed the baby while reading books to the other kids, found one missing shoe, and moved furniture to find all the lost pacifiers.
The toys are picked up, the dishes are done, and two loads of laundry are folded so I can wear clean underwear tomorrow.
The kids are bathed and finally tucked in after more books and sweet snuggles and one last cup of water.
I’m done until tomorrow morning. I’m officially off duty.
The Anger Trigger
So I sit down to watch TV or read my book or actually catch up on emails.
But then I hear it. The unmistakable thump thump of my kid getting out of bed.
My patience is spent. I’m exhausted. The day is done and I made it to bedtime. Or so I thought.
But I relaxed too soon.
So I get up, and put them back to bed. Again. One more kiss. One more reminder/plea to stay in bed. I sit down again just long enough to think it worked. And then I hear the thump thump again.
So I begrudgingly get the water that they have to have. As I say “I love you now stay in bed” through clenched teeth, I really am done.
Emotionally done. Physically done. There’s nothing left to give this day or these kids. I have no more kind mom moves left.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be refreshed and ready to go again.
But for today, I have maxed out my calm and my patience and my understanding.
But I know what’s coming. I can’t relax. And just knowing that they’re going to get out of bed again gets me agitated and irritated before I even hear them.
And with the next thump thump, I explode.
GET INTO YOUR BED!! Enough. Just lay there. Don’t move. If your feet touch the ground again I will lose my mind. You can’t talk to me until tomorrow morning!!!
Not my finest mom moment by far.
Why It’s Easy to Lose Your Cool as a Mom
Moms are constantly firing on all cylinders, all day long. We have twenty things on our minds while multitasking household tasks and parenting. So by the end of the day, we’re absolutely exhausted. It makes sense that we’re quick to anger at the end of the day. When you’re tired, you’re never going to be at your best.
All the amazing tips and tricks to be a calmer mom, a more peaceful mom tend to get forgotten when we’re tired.
Bedtime issues trigger a lot of anger in moms because of this. We’re tired. Our kids are tired. And so we have a hard time controlling our frustration and anger. We yell. We scream.
We let the mom anger get the better of us and we often say things that our refreshed morning selves would never say to our child.
And while we know yelling at our kids is no way to end a perfectly good day, we feel so out of control.
I get angry because my day should be over. This sliver of time before I fall into my bed is me time. My only time that’s for me.
I want it protected. I want to read. Or stare at a wall. Or work. Heck, I’ll even fold laundry if I can do it in peace and quiet.
As a mom of three kids, they’ve all taken turns being this kid who won’t for the love of anything just stay in their beds. They have all felt my uh oh mom’s really mad this time wrath at 8:05 and 8:10 and 8:15. And usually again at 8:20.
I’ve tried everything to keep them in bed.
Lights on and lights off. Door open and door closed. Insisting they stay in their bed, letting them pass out on their floor.
So the calm, collected mom that came to tuck them back into bed the 3rd and 4th time is spent. Tired, frustrated, defeated and yes, ANGRY!
It’s only natural. All moms everywhere are angry moms on the 5th tuck in of the night.
The Key to Being a Calm Mom
The one thing that has consistently worked over the decade or so that I’ve been at this parenting gig isn’t a trick that keeps them in their beds. (That still eludes me).
It’s a trick that keeps me from exploding at them when they get out of bed 7 times a night. Because THIS is something I can control.
When I feel the anger rise up, and after a long day, the anger will rise up, I close my eyes and count.
1, 2, 3.
I take deep breaths and I count until I feel a calmness come over me.
Some days I only need to get to three and I can calmly remind them the day is over, and it’s time to lay still, even if they’re not sleepy.
Other days, I have to count up to ten to feel like I’m not going to yell at them that this is Mommy’s only me time and I deserve a damn break because this is more than any one person can handle without having mental health issues.
Yikes. Must count to ten.
So as you feel the anger creeping in when your own kids get out of bed and ask for one more kiss, one more drink of water, one more snuggle, close your eyes and count.
Feel the calm before you respond to them. Even if it’s the fifth time you have to do it in one night. Count first. Then respond.
It will allow you to react to them how you would like to respond. How you would maybe respond to them at the beginning of the day rather than at the end of a long one.
Then give them the extra kiss and remind them that you can’t wait to see them again. You can’t wait to talk to them and you can’t wait to snuggle them again….
Ready to be a Calmer mom? Sign up for the FREE video series from my friend, Amanda, From Angry Mom to Peaceful Home!
Nicole is a mom of three loud, exhausting, and surprisingly determined kids. She’s a recovering elementary school teacher, a food allergy mama and spends her free time making sure my daughter’s IEP accommodations are being met. When she’s not in her car driving carpool, she lives a perfectly unperfect suburban life. She’s just desperately trying to keep it all together until bedtime. Coffee helps. Follow her at Coffee and Carpool, Facebook, and Pinterest.