I remember when Jane was a baby and Lee was two. We were in the thick of it at a play date. I mean, no time to chat and talk with other moms. I was redirecting and negotiating a very busy Lee while nursing Jane, when a mother who was watching me said, “You are always so calm!” I think I laughed, I did not feel calm. I felt as though I could flip out at any moment. Apparently, I come off as calm to others as well. I do actually try to remain calm when dealing with my children.
Here are some of the strategies I have used:
1. I take deep breaths,
2. Fake it ‘till I make it,
3. Remind myself that this is a learning opportunity,
4. Turn up the music… loud.
5. Go somewhere. Get out of the house- you are less likely to blow a gasket in public.
Keeping calm helps my kids talk about their feelings, solve their problems faster and get back to their normal exuberance for life. When I remain calm my children feel secure and safe; I am creating the optimal environment for their learning and growing.
Unfortunately, I do not always employ these techniques. I should since I have extensive training and education in understanding child development. I have also had the ultimate model of calm, my own mother whom to this day I can’t remember yelling at me. But I am only human, doing the best I can. It’s just sometimes, “doing the best you can,” isn’t enough. I have defiantly blockaded myself in the bathroom for a few moments. I have yelled at the top of my lungs, and thrown a grown-up rambling fit. Not my finest moments, and not at all calm. I find solace in the fact that I always apologize to my children; even grown-ups make mistakes. At least there’s a lesson in the aftermath of my tantrum. Thankfully, I have never sworn at my children yet. I have a couple of phrases that I use so that I do not swear. They are pretty simple- “I am so mad!” and “I am so tired of this!” Did you notice the use of, I-statements? Well ultimately, the yelling never works. It scares them for a moment (not Frederick though, he just grins much to my chagrin.) I would like to say there’s something to be said for a healthy fear of your parents. You’d better behave or your mom is going to flip. But really, it’s not how children learn. I guess I’ll resolve myself to being an adult, remaining calm and utilize deep breathing techniques.
So, when someone compliments me on how together I seem or my parenting, I always feel that I am pulling off a great charade. I thank them and smile, knowing that underneath I am disheveled, flustered, and anything but calm. My house is always mess; maybe not the living room, but all the other rooms are. I have ten loads of laundry at all times, and dishes in the sink, I rarely dust, and there might be a hostile take-over by children in my house at any moment. Regardless, I love motherhood, and I will always try harder to remain calm, positive, and attempt to pull-off the ultimate deception of a calm, cool, and collected mother to my children.