Here is Heather in her own words. “I hope you will stop by. As women we are constantly trying to juggle a million responsibilities. With these responsibilities can come a lot of stress. Throw children into the picture, and before we know it, we are taking all our stress out on them. Our kids are right in front of us so they seem to be the ones that have to endure our short fuses. It is not on purpose, it just happens. Isn’t it interesting that we often treat strangers and coworkers better than our own family. If we will slow down for a minute and think about it, we can usually pinpoint the cause of our stress. Are we tired, overwhelmed, marriage stress, money trouble, or work issues?Maybe we have just had a long day. Regardless, Stress is going to happen, and we should do all we can to avoid taking it out on our children. They don’t understand what we are dealing with and it is not their fault. On top of that, dumping our stress on our children is not the answer either. It isn’t healthy for them, or us. We don’t need to make them our sounding board and tell them all our problems. At their age, they don’t to be worried about grown up issues. They don’t understand them, and can’t fix them. Given that life is not stress free…what can we do?”
Don’t Multi-task – Focus on your children
Remember LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E. When we have a lot on our minds, and a lot to do, it is easy to think that multitasking is the answer. When we are trying to answer the phone, fold laundry, help kids with homework, make dinner, AND listen to our 8 year old talk about their school day, everything else will be more important than what our child is trying to tell us.
We take our frustrations and stress out on our children because they are making it hard for us to get EVERYTHING ELSE done.
The laundry can wait, and so can dinner. Sit down with your child. Eye level, face to face. Give them your undivided attention and focus on their words and their facial expressions. Not only will it bring you closer, but we won’t see them as a stress, we will see them as the children we love more than anything. Besides, children can see right through us. They know when we are not paying attention. It doesn’t make them feel good.
See things from our children’s perspective
Our children don’t mean to upset us. They are young, learning, and inquisitive. They don’t know hurry, rush, or quick. If we can take just a second and see things from their eyes, we will not be so quick to take our frustrations out on them.
See our Children as People
When we are stressed, it is easy to see our children as objects. Objects that are keeping us from what we are trying to do. We are trying to make dinner, or answer the phone, or fold the laundry and their need for help or attention is getting in the way. We need to see them as people. Little people. They have thoughts and hopes and dreams and good days and bad days just like us. It is the laundry that is actually getting in the way of us being with our kids, Right?
When all else fails, Laugh. When you are ready to loose your temper with your children because you are stressed, laugh first. Even if you have to force yourself. You will find it fixes a lot of things.
We need to make the spaces in our lives manageable. When we have more than we can maintain, everything becomes overwhelming and stressful and we take the stress out on our kids. Give away, throw out, and get rid of. The clutter in our homes AND cars becomes overwhelming and makes the other stresses seem even worse.
Don’t Over Schedule
We shouldn’t over schedule ourselves or our children. Too many things on our family plates will always bring stress. Our kids don’t need to be involved in a million extra curricular activities, and we don’t have to say yes to everyone’s requests. We need to PROTECT our family’s time. This protection will bring peace and time together. Plus there will be less rushing. Rushing compounds stress.
Establish a routine
We need to put our families and children on a routine. With a routine, we will know what to expect and so will our children. This will eliminate a lot of stress that comes from the unknown and from struggles with bed time and meal time. Our children will be better behaved when things are predictable. This mean less stress triggers for us as mothers.
Have Realistic Expectations
We don’t have to be super women. And, we SHOULD NOT COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHER MOMS. We need to be realistic about what we can tackle and undertake. No one has our unique set of circumstances. When we start comparing we tend to see everyone else’s strengths and our weaknesses. It is never a fair comparison. We should surround ourselves with people and things that are supportive and uplifting. Not things that make us feel inadequate. Just because we aren’t doing the same things other mother’s do, doesn’t mean we aren’t doing a great job.
Manage your Time
Clique, I know, but vital. Time management is so important to our lives. We do need to stay organized and manage our responsibilities and the time it takes to get things done.
This goes right along with managing our time. Being prepared and planning ahead will help eliminate a lot of our family stress. Make lunches for school the night before, lay out clothes the night before, even set the breakfast table before you go to bed each night. Round up backpacks and school work, shoes and socks before everyone goes to sleep. Make reasonable preparations to eliminate having to rush. Rushing brings stress, especially with children. Children don’t understand rushing.
As mother’s we are always taking care of other people. We forget to take care of ourselves. We should pick one or two things we would like to learn or get better at, hobbies or interests, and find time for them. Along with this, we need to eat right, exercise, even if it is just a walk around the block, and get enough sleep. When we are hungry and tired we loose our temper and take our frustrations out on our kids.
Play together as a Family
Find time at least once a week to do something fun together. It doesn’t have to cost money. We have to find time to recreate and relax together as a family. It is through these fun times that we really get to know each other. Life needs to be filled with work and play. When families play together they grow closer, develop stronger relationships, and have more patience for one another. Plus it is a needed diversion from the stress we deal with each day.
Stress is part of life. Taking it out on our kids doesn’t have to be.
DO YOU EVER CATCH YOURSELF TAKING YOUR STRESS OUT ON YOUR KIDS?
It was so fun to be here on "The Idea Room". I hope you will stop by Family Volley and say hello.
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