I would love to be posting this morning about how beautifully my day went after I poured out my heart about our awful start to yesterday. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do that. Even after realizing my mistakes and taking a break from my children, I still managed to screw up THE.ENTIRE.DAY. I prayed and gave God the battle for the day, and then I took it right back into my own hands.
Seriously. I need a redo on yesterday.
My stubbornness prevailed yesterday morning, and I lost my temper a billion more times throughout the day. Our school day was not enjoyable in the least. I was angry and embarrassed. I do not even know how many times I apologized to the kids for being so mean….and then turned around and was mean again. 😦
As I finished up the day, I started strategizing mentally for when we have another day like this (I suspect yesterday will not be the last of those kind of days). Here are a few ideas I have tried in the past and a few I plan to try in the future for how to deal with days that just do NOT go well:
- Give yourself a time out. I have joked about putting myself in the corner or sending myself to my room. BUT, removing myself from an angry situation (ahem, that I created) is the best option for me. I have a self-control issue, and when I stick around to try to let go of the anger, it does not work. I am sure most of you have much better control than me, but until I master my anger…removing myself from the situation is the best option for me.
- Pray. Obviously, the best way to diffuse a situation is to let God take over. See above about my self-control issue. I am not great at stopping myself to pray right there on the spot, but prayer is an amazing mood changer. It is extremely difficult to genuinely pray for a situation and remain angry about it.
- Stop the activity from continuing. Whether we are reading together, cleaning up, cooking, or watching a program, in order to keep from having a grouchy situation become worse we stop the activity completely. Continuing to be together and do whatever it is we were doing does not help our attitudes; we have to completely stop the activity and either separate for a bit or send Mom for a time out. 🙂 This may be exaggerated by homeschool; we are literally together 24/7, so continuing to be around each other is a no-no.
- Start a different activity. Ending one activity that caused problems means we may be able to try something else. It is like a form of redirection….for Mom! The experts say to redirect a child that is doing something he shouldn’t. Well, sometimes Mom needs to be redirected to a new activity to get past the bad attitudes formed in the last activity. If we cannot sit through group reading time without me yelling at someone over and over, then I stop and move on to something else. We can always read later…or tomorrow.
- Use direct but respectful language to talk it out. I have not tried this yet (again, see above about my self-control issues). I listened to a podcast yesterday from a mom that said they allow their kids to say whatever they want in the home….as long as it is said respectfully. At first I was thinking that would be an awful idea, but as she explained that she wants her kids to feel respected and able to share their feelings, I started thinking maybe that would be a good idea. I want my kids to be able to come to me with any problem, but I don’t let them when my anger is involved. I speak pretty roughly to the kids, in my anger, yet I don’t allow them to really express their anger or frustration. If I could express my dissatisfaction with their behavior respectfully, then they would see how to do it and would be able to share with me why they are worked up…and perhaps it wouldn’t escalate to a yelling match. (You would be correct in assuming yesterday was just out of control. Honestly, it was utterly awful.)
- Start acting like someone is always watching. Yes, God is always watching, but does that always curb my bad behavior?? Obviously not. I was reading something a few days ago about treating our children the way we do when other people are around. Ouch! That really hit me. I do not scream at the kids if we have company. I do not use hurtful words. I am miraculously able to control my temper when other people are around. What if I started acting like we always had company?! Imagine how much better I would act and sound. (Is it just me or does that sound really bad?…that I have to pretend someone is here in order to behave?) The point of the idea was to form a habit of treating your children how you should be; if you constantly act as though someone is watching, you will form a habit of treating them that way. It should become a natural thing. After being a mom for almost ten years, it brings tears to my eyes to know I still cannot treat my kids with respect at all times. I really struggle with that.
So, numbers five and six are my “in the future” ideas. I have not tried them, but I plan to use them. The others I have used and they work great…when I remember to use them. Hopefully you found something interesting or worth trying, if you struggle with anger or ruined days. Please tell me I am not the only one!
On a totally different note, Lily just brought me the Aldi egg carton to show me there was a verse printed on the inside. How cool! Maybe the verses have been there all along; I have no idea. I just have never noticed it. What a neat thing to see…a grocery store product with a verse on it. 🙂 And a great reminder for me, as well:
Have a great day! The Lord made it!!