I'm a mom and sometimes... sometimes... I lose my cool.
(Really? Nah. Oh yes, it's true.)
The biggest challenge I have found when I'm irritated is that as an extrovert I tend to vocalize when I'm upset. This really, REALLY, doesn't work with kids. No child thrives in a nagging, negative environment. Heck, no adult does either, but at least the adult can walk away and go to a movie or something. That little kid who is just getting more upset and acting out because of the icky vibes will be with you all day. Like right with you. Probably even while you are trying to go into the bathroom and shut the door.
When you have an adult roommate or you live in an open office environment you can usually put up a hand and the person will back away lest they upset the tiger. Little kids? Not so much. They probably forget you are in a terrible mood. They might remember for... say... 30 seconds.
So one day years ago, after realizing the old adage again was true–if you can't say something nice... I had an inspired idea.
What if I put a sticker on my mouth?
That way I would not talk from my non-heart place, and the kids had a visual when they looked at me to remind them that Mommy was not in a good place to be talking to.
Not only did it stop the stem of unnecessary nagging and negative commentary from me, it stopped questions from them which would open the floodgate of nagging and unnecessary negative commentary from me. With this small measure of peace, peace began to descend. Or maybe I just got a chance to breathe through my nose and calm down. One thing happened that was unexpected, though.
It eventually made us laugh.
It's hard to stay mad with a sticker on your mouth. Try it. My favorite stickers are the ones from Trader Joe's. I also like their bacon.
Really Good Life... With Kids
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