Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stress is the enemy, not the kids

It is all in your mindset

A few weeks ago I had a day that started off all wrong. We slept in a bit, and of course that threw our whole routine off. There is no such thing as rushing a 3 and 5 year old. The end result is that we watched the bus we needed pass us by and the next one was not for another half hour. After waiting about 15 minuets I realized I had left something at home and we had to go back and get it. There was little chance of us getting home and then back to the bus stop to catch the next one.

I tried to and we almost made it. The bus showed up 5 minuets early so we again got to see it pass us by. Unfortunately I did snap at my kids because it had been such a struggle to get them to the bus stop in the first place. I had just spent about half an hour to forty-five minutes trying to get them to get someplace fast. That was my fault, not theirs and I knew it even as I raised my voice. I was stressed about being late for my class and their preschool. Their preschool will not take them after 9:30 and we would not make it in time if we waited for the next bus. We returned home, I refocused my mind and attitude well Daddy took them both to potty.

I took a little breather, accepted the fact that I was going to be at least an hour late for class and let that stress go. There was nothing I could do to change it, so take a deep breath and let the stress go. Daddy called the school to let them know we were running late, so that stress was gone. I decided to walk to the preschool as it would take about 25 minutes to walk and we could make it in time. My kids and I had a nice walk, with a calm Mom (me) and happy kids as we actually talked on the way there, and even stopped to smell lots of flowers.

So what could have been a bad day all day turned into a good day once I stopped the inner dialogue of; “we have to hurry, why are they stopping for everything”, “we are going to miss the bus if they don’t hurry up”, “if they had only walked like usual we would have made the bus”, etc. I knew that there was a chance we would miss the first bus and was positive we would miss the second one. For some reason in my mind I focused on the fact that the more I pushed the kids to hurry the slower they got as why we missed not one but both bus’s.

Even as I was getting upset with them I knew it was not their fault. Yes my one kid was being difficult, but when is she not? We missed the first bus because we were running late, sure we still should have been able to catch it but she wanted to walk slower today. Who knows why? Still not a big deal, we can always catch the second bus. It has happened before and will happen again. We usually talk or play as we wait. Today it was my fault that we had to go back home and missed the second bus. There was no point in getting stressed out at my kids; I was the one who caused us to miss both buses.

It is easy to let stress take over at times and get upset about the wrong things. The difficulty is recognizing that it is just the internal dialogue causing the stress and that it is not your kids. Sure they may not be doing what you want them to but it is what we are telling ourselves that gets us stressed out. We forget that there are always options, like rescheduling an appointment or even changing plans. Life is never smooth, even the best-laid plans can go haywire even when your kids are being perfect.

I had let the stress win for a few minutes, then recognized was an A** I was being. I was able to refocus and get on with my day. I won this time, and so did my kids. Things go much easer when “stress” is the enemy and you deal with the stress.

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