I feel it.
I’m not talking about the cooler nights that tell me fall is near.
I am talking about the sadness, anxiety, and stress that come with back to school.
The sadness that the summer went by too fast, again, and that soon my boys and I won’t be playing outside in the gorgeous weather, but rather stuck inside while it snows, and snows, and snows.
The anxiety about whether or not my children will have good teachers, teachers that don’t just get the topics they have to teach, but also really, truly, deeply get my sons and their challenges and what particular needs they have in order to succeed and have a great year.
The stress of having a lot to do to get ready for school (the back to school clothes and supplies, the new routines to master, the scheduling of extra-curricular activities, the filling out of forms) and having to do a lot when school starts.
I feel it all.
But I am not the only one in my house who feels the sadness, anxiety and stress. My boys feel it too. I see it in the more frequent tears over small things. I see it in the strong complaints when I go to work. I see it in the increased temper tantrums. I see it in the refusal to go to bed because, “Well soon enough mom I have to go to bed earlier so I am not going to bed now.”
And I see it in our interactions.
I’m a little more on edge. They are a little more on edge. Together, we are a lot more on edge and as a result, oh has my desire to yell been through the roof (and eh hem, oh have they been yelling at me more!) Oh has my commitment to be an Orange Rhino, a parent who does not charge with words, but remains calm and loving when provoked, been tried lately! This of course is all quite sad because right now, I don’t want to be at odds with my boys, I want to be really savoring the last few weeks of our summer vacation!
I don’t want to find myself taking mommy-breaks every five minutes to stay cool; I want to be breaking water balloons in the backyard with my sons.
I don’t want to be shoving a yell down my throat, I want to be shoveling sand peacefully at the beach building an awesome last “structure” of the summer.
I don’t want to be debating bedtime; I want to be debating what was our favorite moment together that day.
I don’t want my “cold” emotions to determine my last few weeks of summer; I just want the cold temperatures in the fridge to make our homemade M&M’s ice cream freeze faster!
And I most certainly do not want to yell at my kids right now. I do not want to end summer on a bad note; I want to end it on a positive one. I do not want to send them off to school with the last summer memory being mommy yelling at them; I want it to be a happy moment.
Luckily, thanks to The Orange Rhino Challenge, which taught me to create plans for triggers so that I can enjoy more happy and peaceful moments with my kids, I have an idea how to end the summer on the note I wish. The key of course, will be keeping my game plan top of mind so my sadness, anxiety and stress don’t trigger me to yell! The first step is to write down my intentions. Here. Now. And then I will print them out and post them around the house to remind me of my goals for the next few weeks!
In order to Yell Less and Love More as we get ready for Back to School, I plan to:
- Share my feelings with my kids and encourage them to do the same.
Bottled up emotions don’t do anyone any good, adults and kids alike! They just fester and then burst out in not so good ways! I need to release them a bit and so do my kids. The challenge is that they probably don’t know how to acknowledge these tough emotions since they are still learning the whole world of emotions. I figure if I share my thoughts in an age appropriate manner, it will help them open up and release some of their feelings. Plus, I can share my positive spin on how I am managing it, i.e., “I am feeling sad the summer is over, but I am grateful for all the fun we had.” Maybe we’ll even draw their feelings or act them out. We love charades and coloring!
- Focus on the positive.
Oh how important this is and oh how I struggle with it. Right now I am seeing all the negative stuff about this time of year. I need to flip that around because negative thoughts create negative feelings, which well, can lead to yelling! Starting now I am going to focus on what an awesome summer it was; no more thinking is allowed about what we didn’t do on our summer “wish-list”, just thinking about what we did do this summer! And I am going to focus on how great a more solid routine will be for all of us, how great it will be for my kids to be back with friends, and how much we all love the fall and pumpkin picking. I will also encourage my kids to do the same.
- Go to bed earlier.
I too have been fighting bedtime! After the kids go to bed, I sit outside and soak in the peaceful summer night. This is great but then it pushes off what I need to do and, instead of going to bed when I need to, I stay up later. We all pay the price the next morning! A tired mommy equals a cranky mommy. A “more” rested mommy is a more fun and loving mommy.
- Have lots and lots of tickle fights.
When I feel the tension rising, despite my efforts put into the above, I will grab a munchkin and start a tickle fight. I always feel better when I laugh and when I hear my kids laugh. That is the fastest way to melt my heart and push all my worries to the back of my mind. And as Wayne Dyer says, “It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.” Yes. I will choose to laugh!
Back to school always opens up the door for back-to-back-to-back yelling in our house. But it doesn’t have to. I am starting this year on a good note because, as a good school friend once told me when I went to school, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
The Orange Rhino’s new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” shares more of my tips on handling different triggers. It is a 30-Day Guide to help others start their own journey to yell less and love more and includes easy steps to follow, 100 alternatives to yelling, and honest stories to inspire. It hits shelves this fall but can be pre-ordered now to guarantee the lowest price! Click here to get your copy and to start your journey to yelling less!