I had to put myself in time out.
It had been one of those days. You know, the ones where it seems nothing will ever satisfy your kids? Where you haven’t had a single uninterrupted minute to pee or eat or take a breath? My husband was not home so I was alone, frustrated and at the end of my rope.
It was bedtime. My baby son was overtired and fighting sleep. He was crying, loudly. I had been rocking him, shushing him, patting his bottom and praying to the baby sleep gods to please give me a freaking break. To no avail.
My daughter was sitting on my bed watching YouTubeKids (with which I have a strong love/hate relationship) on the phone. I was trying to keep her quiet enough so her brother could fall asleep, so she was watching with her headphones on. Her neck was cranked wayyyyyy over. I’m sure this youngest generation will all have neck problems, but that’s beside the point.
Her headphones kept slipping off of her head, and she was getting visibly frustrated. A vicious cycle began: the headphones would start to slip, she would shriek, she would attempt to adjust them herself, they would ultimately fall down, and she would whine/yell for me to come help her. This cycle repeated about four times (meanwhile, her brother is screaming is tiny little head off while I continue the rocking and the patting and the shushing) before I lost it.
I opened my mouth to yell, then put the baby down and walked out of the room. I parked myself in the hallway against the wall and covered my face with my hands. My daughter followed me into the hallway and thought I was playing some sort of weird hide-and-seek game. “Are you hiding, Mommy?”.
“Yes, from my responsibilities”, I thought to myself.
I told her I was putting myself in time out so I could calm down and not have to be a mean mommy. She accepted this without question and walked quietly back into my bedroom. I was not expecting this reaction from her and made a mental note to put myself in time out more often. In fact, maybe my next time out should also include some form of chocolate.
I gave myself a minute, calmed down, and went back to my room. My daughter grilled me with questions about why I was “in trouble”, but I did not get annoyed at this interrogation. I had successfully composed myself enough to finish out the bedtime routine without collapsing, crying, or yelling at my kids.
I call that a better day than most.
How do you stop yourself from losing patience with your kids? I have to say, this was a rare occurrence for me, but I’d love to continue to find ways to prevent myself from losing my temper.
This is Day 8 of my 30 Day Writing Challenge.
Feel free to join me by writing about “why you could not do it”.
Post a link in the comments below and I’ll be sure to read and comment.