Updated: Mar 31
Growing up with many younger siblings, I was always the designated babysitter. I enjoyed playing with younger children and I looked forward to the day that I could have my own. During my pregnancy, many people warned me of the difficulties I would face as a parent and I brushed their comments aside. Not because I was confident to become a mother, but because I expected to have at least some natural instincts when it comes to child rearing. After all, I had spent a lot of time with children in my younger years.
I can only speak from my own experience, but after giving birth, motherhood has never come naturally to me. There are times that I have overwhelming guilt and feel that I am not doing enough. That same guilt consumes me because of my moments of weakness and impatience. Or even when I long for a break. The guilt that comes with parenthood is constant and extremely heavy.
I will be the first one to admit that when my son started to throw temper tantrums I had no clue how to handle his emotional outbursts. Especially in those moments, I found it difficult to control my own emotions, and wondered how it was even possible for me to teach my child how to manage his.
I still don’t have all the answers, but I have found value in being what I call an “intentional parent”. To me this means that I need to be consistently aware of how I am reacting to situations. Teaching emotional control starts with me. Not only situations that directly involve my child and his behavior, but also in other situations that I find myself emotionally stressed. What my child needs most right now is for me to model appropriate behaviors and even though I am not naturally good at controlling my emotions, it is a necessary skill set for me as a parent and my toddler as he develops. Here are a few things I have found helpful when I feel like emotions are getting the best of me.
TRY TO GET MORE SLEEP. I can't stress this enough. It's not always possible, but I think we have all had those days where scrolling through a phone has taken away from precious shut eye. For me, when I am tired it's harder for me to be patient. I become a grumpy mess and can't deal with big emotional outbursts from my toddler while also trying to accomplish the tasks on my to do list. Making sure I do my best to get to bed at a decent hour makes a world of difference for my emotions.
START THE DAY WITH PRAYER OR MEDITATION. When I say my prayers in the morning I always ask Heavenly Father to help me stay calm and remember to have patience. And when I make time in the morning to have a moment to myself it's easier to give the rest of my day to taking care of other things. I have noticed that these things make me more conscious and aware of when I am starting to become angry or emotional throughout the day.
STEP AWAY FOR A MOMENT. If I am feeling particularly angry about a behavior tantrum, or situation, it helps when I am able to step into a different room and talk myself through it. And sometimes I literally talk to myself. I say things like "Okay mama, it's time to calm down and breathe". Many times after I take a second to really think about it because I stepped away from what was happening, things aren't as big of a deal as I initially