Life / Parenting

Emotions, Exhaustion and Almost Giving Up

Ever looked at your child and thought: Who are you?

Our week has been exceptionally challenging, and to be honest, I still don’t really know why. J, our 7 year old, is entering a phase I can only describe as emotional. He obsesses over schedules, has to have simple directions repeated more than what is really reasonable, and any sort of discipline or frustration on my part is met with tears and an exasperated cry of, “I tried!”

Day one, all my normal parenting techniques were tapped. By mid-week, we were in a desperate spot. Screaming, yelling, grounding, crying, threatening, punishing, lecturing, re-explaining…nothing worked. So I did a reboot and changed two major things.

1. I learned.

Between Parents magazine on getting kids to listen, Steady Days, and some research on J’s particular stage, I learned a few important points.

  • I am not alone. Apparently 7 is a weird age full of emotionally-charged kids. 
  • Perfectionism is a sign of the age, and feeling like something can’t be done exactly right can cause kids to freeze up and not try at all.
  • Though more adaptable to change, kids this age still really need a pretty strict schedule and structure.
  • Simple changes in the way I convey expectations or give reminders can change the tenor of our day.
  • Focusing on the good, even in bad days, can lift the morale of the whole house.

I am so thankful for this book
steady days

Mostly, it refreshed my memory on why I need to keep organized, but this little section on Steady Blessings has already given our home a boost. I was inspired to create worksheets that help me and J list out the things we want for the day–things like no yelling or taking a breath when we’re upset before answering–as well as things we’re thankful for. Kids Daily Goalsand blessings and Daily Goalsand blessings

jpeg kids goals jpeg goals

They are essentially the same except the spaces for me to write in are smaller. Now we begin each day by filling these pages out together and talking through what we hope for the day.

DSC08496

Then the sheets are hung on the fridge for us to refer to if (or rather, when) things begin to spiral out of control.

2. I gave in to the cliche of “me time.”

I started getting up 45 minutes before the kids. It isn’t easy. I have to force myself to go to bed before I’m really ready and wake up much earlier than I would like, but the payoff is worth it.

  • I stretch my achy pregnant joints.
  • I meditate and or pray.
  • I make a list that simply has goals to focus on throughout the day with supporting quotes and verses to help me remember.

It sounds simple, but I have time to wipe the sleep from my eyes, recover from the lingering waves of morning sickness and settle my thoughts for the day.

Such simple changes are making huge impacts. Instead of coming home to a stressed, emotional wife my husband is greeted with relative calm from me, even if the kiddos are sickly or crabby or fussing at each other. I realize that so much joy is stolen by stress on bad days, and I decided not to let it.

So many issues arise for children out of times when they are feeling out of control and no one knows how to help or handle them. I have simply resolved to stop being forced into being the mom who yells and screams and stomps to intimidate her kids into compliance. Instead, I am choosing to be the kind of mother I want to be.

My goal is to have a level, steady outer composure in the face of pain, pregnancy, and obstinate children. At the same time, I want my inner strength to be undeniable and obvious inside my home. I can only do this if I am the mother I feel like I want to be. For me, this means no yelling, calm reminders, consistent reprimand systems and a consistent schedule. These are all things I can do. These are all things I can control.

In the end, I have to have faith that my evolution into this “mother I want to be” will provide my children what they need in the good times and the bad…and maybe preserve my sanity in the process.

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2 thoughts on “Emotions, Exhaustion and Almost Giving Up

  1. Also remember that it is okay to just need a break sometimes, and that we are here to help! 7 is a tough age, all the things you mentioned Ian is doing too, plus we have to remember that boys are so completely different than girls, adn they really do mature at a slower rate emotionally.

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