Parenting is hard work. Children bring us joy and laughter, but they also spark our anger and frustration. It is easy to be a good mother when our children behave well, but it’s way more difficult when they test our patience and challenge our sanity!
When you’re at your wits’ end, on the verge of tears or about to combust, repeat these mottos to yourself. Mantras help calm you down when you are highly stressed or upset.
#1 Breathe deeply…
…and count to 10 when things get too much to handle. Clichéd as this may sound, it does help you get a handle on your emotions. It makes you pause and think, so you can respond more clearly or react to the situation in a level-headed manner.
#2 This is just a phase
The wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-for-milk stage, the teething phase, the tantrum throwing chapter, the Terrible Twos and Horrible Threes — remind yourself that all these are just stages in their life. They are indeed annoying and emotionally draining for you, but they aren’t permanent. Your anger and frustration will pass, your tot’s meltdown will end and both you and she will be grinning from cheek to cheek…in time to come.
Fight one battle at a time. Your child will behave better when you are willing to meet her halfway.
#3 One battle at a time…
School’s about to start but your child is only half dressed. Picture this: You are ripping your hair out trying to get her to school on time, yet she insists on donning her princess gown and high heels to school. Do you fight two battles now — dress fast and right — or just pick one issue to tackle? For the sake of your sanity, fight one battle at a time. Your child will behave better when you are willing to meet her halfway.
#4 Kids will be kids
Spilling juice, making a mess everywhere, screaming in the background when you are on the phone, or asking the same question for the nth time — these are just some of the daily minor frustrations that frazzle your nerves. However, that is what they are — minor. Remind yourself that they are children, not adults, so junior IS expected to make mistakes and messes. It’s all part and parcel of growing up. Let kids act like kids, so they’ll enjoy themselves while they explore and learn.
#5 I must enjoy this while I can
Your children are growing every day. There will come a time when you will offer her her last milk bottle, clean up her last mealtime mess, change the last poopy diaper, give her her last time-out and bathe her one last time. So, embrace what you are doing now, regardless of how tired you feel. Because you will miss doing all these now-mundane activities when she enters those school-going years.
#6 I deserve “me” time
It’s a challenge for stay-at-home mums to be on the job 24/7 with no sick or annual leave benefits. As for working mums, theirs is a never-ending battle to juggle work, household chores and parenting duties. While mothers put in 110 per cent, it’s quite common for them to feel guilty when they finally decide to carve out some time for themselves. Don’t! It is perfectly all right to take a break and indulge in something you enjoy. Junior will be fine with daddy or the helper while you take a well-deserved soak in the tub. She will enjoy spending time with por por or Aunt Wei Lin if you need an afternoon to shop. You aren’t neglecting your child — you are looking after yourself – so don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember, a happy mum means a happy family. Kick mummy guilt to the curb and start enjoying “me” time, you deserve it!
Embrace what you are doing now, regardless of how tired you feel. Because you will miss doing all these now-mundane activities when she enters those school-going years.
#7 I should respond, not react
When we lash out in anger, frustration or fear, our reactions can exacerbate an already high-tension situation and hurt our loved ones’ feelings. But when we respond, we are guided more by reasoning and logic rather than our emotions. So, we should try to make a conscious effort to observe the situation and decide on the best course of action.
#8 My children are my priority
Remind yourself that you are never too busy for your child. Sure, you may be bogged down by numerous work deadlines, trying to rush the kids to school on time, itching to finish the dishes or clear the pile of laundry as soon as possible. But nothing is more important than your child. If she needs a cuddle, a kiss on her boo-boo or a chat before bedtime, make time for her. Everything else can wait.
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