All of life is about growing and changing. Even as adults. Maybe especially as adults. The more experiences we encounter, the more we realize the need for change. Obviously, we could float along at the status quo, but would we ever truly be happy or see success if we did that? No, of course not. As a parent, I feel like I’m constantly pulled between the needs of my children and the wants of my own selfishness. And there’s no way around that – we are as humans selfish beings. We have the opportunity to lay aside our selfishness to serve others, but we often don’t chose to… or at least find that process difficult. Call it my humanity, but giving up what I want for my kids is just crazy. And yet, it happens. Day after day. Because God puts within a parent a heart of service. Whether we want it or not, we have this amazing desire to do whatever it takes to help our children succeed. To the point that we often forget who we were before they came along, and lose track of our interests and hobbies for the sake of becoming merely “Becca and Grayson’s Mom.” As a mom, we give and give and give. All day long. Our pitcher constantly gets poured out to water these little beings we are raising. So what are we doing to refill the pitcher?
I think so often we as moms get so wrapped up in our kids and their needs that we forget about ourselves. When this happens, our pitcher of water starts to dry up. And when the pitcher is empty, how can we pour anything else out to help our kids? We feel tired, dry, depressed, frustrated, and yes, even angry. Anybody with me on this? I bet you are. Because I know that I’m not the only mom who has ever felt the weight of the final straw. I know I’m not the only mom with regrets. Those “oh how I wish I hadn’t said that” moments. And when those moments start turning into frequent events because your pitcher of water is constantly dry and you just don’t have anything else to give to your kids, it’s easy to start feeling hopeless and helpless – and stuck. Like there is no other way to live but with a dry pitcher and feeling anger and depression pressing in on all sides – like you are some sort of human waffle being burned on all sides and formed into a shape that you don’t want to be.
Ya’ll, I’m here to tell you – IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!!! I recently took a class on how to combat mommy anger, and the biggest thing I pulled from it (other than the concept of GRACE, which I’ll mention later) is that we as moms need both offensive AND defensive strategies to help combat our anger. So I wanted to share some of mine with you to maybe give you some ideas.. and I also wanted to encourage each of you to take the time to go through this seven day course. It really will change the way you interact with your kids!
-Take the time to tidy that one area that you’ve been putting off for whatever reason… because just walking by that area has been adding to your stress unknowingly. It’s amazing how just FINALLY tidying up our mudroom has reduced the anger in my life! I never realized that that out of the way place was causing my anger meter to start higher with the kids. (You’ll learn all about your anger meter and your personal triggers when you take the course!) But now, when I walk through there, I’m not constantly thinking “oh I’ll get to that someday.” Because day after day of thinking that builds up to a LOT of stress. Ya’ll, when I cleaned it out, I found the Easter egg hunt plastic eggs from LAST Easter. I found a Christmas present that was supposed to be exchanged. I found shoes that haven’t fit the kids in over a year. I found last summer’s half empty bottle of sunscreen. It had been building for a LONG time. I also found those library books that we (yes, even still) need to return…
-Find a comforting scent for your home. Whether you are into candles or Scentsy or DoTerra or YoungLiving or any other such thing, it doesn’t matter. Having a scent in your home that refreshes you is just such an incredible and powerful thing. It might also help your kids! You might talk to them about what scents they like and let them have some input. It could be that you’re already using a scent that puts THEM on edge and you don’t even realize it!
-Plan to have ME TIME every day. I prefer to have mine first thing in the morning before the kids get up, with my quiet time. (I love Hello Mornings – you should check it out!) It’s amazing how committing that time to begin the day with me and God has made me start out refreshed. Instead of crawling out of bed depressed and dragging about all the chores I have to do, I start my day by greeting the Son and watching the sunrise! Nothing better.
Do these offensive strategies fix it all? No. Because as Alicia says in her course, anger isn’t going away. And my main triggers are my kids and their behaviors and words. So that’s where those defensive strategies come in (which really, they can be offensive too… you’ll see why)!!
-Adult coloring is the latest and greatest craze. And ya’ll, I have fallen into it hook line and sinker. It is WONDERFUL! When I am upset with child behavior, I can say “ok – we BOTH need to take a time out. I’m going to choose to color while I take my time out to calm down.” Sometimes I allow Becca to sit on her car rug and play ALONE with the cars. It calms her just like coloring calms me. (note: coloring is a very active process for her that excites her and also causes stress. But when she is upset and playing with cars, she either sits or lays on her tummy on the rug, rubs the rug with the palm of one hand, and drives the cars repetitively back and forth on the same spot. This gives her the sensory input she needs to calm her down incredibly. Obviously, for many kids, coloring would be calming as well, and playing cars might be too much excitement. Know your kid!) Offensively, I love to color in the evenings after a long day to de-stress so that I sleep better, which thus starts me off on a more well-rested day the next day.
-Food is an addiction for many Americans. It’s why so many of us are obese. Alcohol is also a very dangerous addiction. I have found that I used to defensive eat before I started the Best Body Countdown back in January. (Read about my weight loss journey here.) Thankfully I’ve never defensively drank. But, I have discovered that coffee is a very benign addiction that calms me considerably. On days when I’m just frustrated out of my mind with the kids and my anger is about ready to bubble out of the pot, I make a pot – of coffee. The world can swirl and spin out of control around me, but that moment of standing at the coffee pot and sipping the first sweet sips of hot relief are freeing. It’s a moment that I can close my eyes and just escape.
-Another way that I have found to escape and calm myself down is to duck into the pantry and read the daily verse from my morning Bible study again and say a quick prayer. Like literally taking two minutes (sometimes less) to run away and hide. Offensively, I figured out that I was regularly ducking out around 4:00 each afternoon, so I set an alarm on my phone that goes off daily at 3:45 to remind me to go ahead and step out and reset my mind before it becomes a defensive need. I also love using that quick moment away to look up the verse on my YouVersion app and make a photographic reminder of the verse using their easy photo/verse maker.
Obviously, I have discovered these things over time, and they are what works for me. They might not work for you, or you might need to modify. I HIGHLY recommend that if you are struggling with anger, or even extreme frustration, that you take the course and come up with your own combative strategies. (I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments below!!) You’ll also learn how to approach your emotions, how to voice them, how to offer yourself grace, and so much more. Don’t think that offensive and defensive strategies are all the pieces to the puzzle… you’ll have to take the course to get the rest of them. 😉 (Yup, I’m an affiliate, so your purchase helps out our family, as well as yours!!!)