When I take stock of my daily failings, blowing up at my kids over stupid stuff is definitely at the top of my list.
Yesterday was my twins’ 9th birthday and I had lots of warm fuzzies about how great our day was going to be and how I was going to be such a kind, sweet mama to them all day long.
“Ok, self,” I said. “Let’s see if you can go all day long without hollering at them.”
Then, as I was putting a detergent tablet in the dishwasher, I found three silver tablet wrappers thrown underneath the sink cabinet. It was not the first time I had found them there, littered among the cleaning bottles.
“Boys!” I yelled, gesturing beneath the sink. “This is NOT a trashcan! Throw the trash away in the trashcan!”
It was 8:10am.*
True confessions, right there, folks.
Life is full of irritations, and Motherhood seems to be planted right, smack-dab in the middle of Irritation City.
Most days I feel like the mayor of that city, wanting to abdicate my role but feeling stuck in the cycle of irritation, yelling, and guilt.
“This time, this time, I’m not going to yell. I’m going to use my Calm Voice,” I resolve for thirty-seventh time.
And then someone loses their shoes, or can’t find a jacket, or has to poop 3 minutes before we have to be somewhere and for-goodness-sake-will-you-hurry-up-we-are-all-ready-LATE!!
And I realize my irritation cycle has a pattern, primarily rearing its ugly head when we are trying to get out the door.
“There’s always anger in ‘hurry,’” our pastor once said. I don’t remember what the sermon was about that week but that phrase grew roots in my heart and has caused me to pause me many, many times.
I’ve seen it play out time and time again in my life.
There’s always anger in “Hurry.”
No matter my resolve to use my “Calm voice” or vow not to snap at the kids, I’ve realized that if I am telling them to “hurry up!” I’m already angry.
Angry because I’m rushed.
Angry because we’re going to be late…again.
Angry because I’m not organized.
Angry because my expectations for the morning are not going as planned.
Angry because…whatever. Fill in the blank. Sometime “angry” just comes out sideways in the “Hurry up.”
The irritation cycle is wearing me down and rubbing raw on my relationships with my little people.
So what do you do? How do you take the “hurry” out of your day and reduce the anger, which is really the issue to begin with?
For me, I get angry when I feel rushed and when we can’t find stuff, like shoes and jackets.
Reducing the irritation cycle means I need to increase my “Get Ready” cycle and help my kids develop patterns for putting stuff away (easier said than done, I know…).
It means setting my alarm for 6:30 instead of 7:15 because I need more time to wake up and not be a bear in the morning.
It means shutting down my urge to check Facebook and email before breakfast, my two biggest time wasters.
It means insisting my boys get dressed before they eat and saying “no” to TV after breakfast (still working on that one!).
It means making a mental note of when we need to leave to get somewhere on time and then adding 15 minutes (no, 20 minutes) to that time to start changing diapers, telling all the kiddos to use the potty, fixing snacks, and getting everyone into their socks, shoes, and carseats before we have to pull out of the driveway (Ok…maybe 30 minutes).
It means insisting that “shoes go in the basket and jackets go on the hook” every single stinkin’ time we come back through the door.
When I do all these things, when I plan better, instead of trying to cram everything in at the last minute, there’s less “hurry up” in our morning. Best of all, there is less anger, and the irritation cycle of anger-yelling-guilt is broken, at least for that moment.
There are a million things to be irritated about as a mom (like your kids throwing trash under the sink) and I know my response to those irritations needs to be better.
A lot of irritations are outside of my control. Sometimes my hollering and yelling—the anger response—feels outside of my control too.
But it isn’t. And it isn’t always about muscling my way toward my “Calm Voice.”
Sometimes it’s about creating a new routine so that a new, better response is possible.
It takes a lot of planning to take the “hurry” out of a morning routine, but taking the “hurry” out also takes the anger out, and reducing anger means there’s more room for love, relationships, and the stuff that motherhood is really about.
*Note: While “Irritated Mom” made an early appearance on their birthday, I made sure she took an early exit and she did not come back for the rest of the day. I’m getting there…
I hope that my story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
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