Thanks for writing this great guest post – you made several, no many more than that great and inspirational points. I even followed your advice, item #4, and WOW what a difference. I think it helped me get through the night tonight. No, I know it did. It made all the difference in the world. Whenever I get stuck I am going to come back and read your post. And I have a feeling our fellow Orange Rhinos might as well.
The Orange Rhino
I am a stay-at-home mom with two kids: Logan (4 years old) and Brenna (2 years old). I recently started The Orange Rhino Challenge because, hey, even though I would love to change the fact that my son can be hot-tempered, competitive, and defiant… as Maya Angelou wrote:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Well, I can’t change how my son acts (sigh), only how I react.
Now,Logan is also sweet, funny, and very smart (if I do say so myself) and I love him to pieces…but his aggressive tendencies really threw this mama for a loop. I grew up with a sister, so dealing with a little boy is a new experience for me! Add that to the fact that he inherited my passion and his daddy’s competitive streak and someone’s hot temper (not sure who to blame for that one, lol) and you’ve got a kid who is both amazing and challenging at the same time.
Did I mention I HATE conflict?
I’m a people-pleaser and never really learned how to handle conflict well. I tend to try to make the other person happy in an argument, which really doesn’t work when your conflict is with your own child, and you have to stand your ground. So, I have tried hard to teach Logan that he has to respect his parents and he has to listen to what I say. Which of course many times he doesn’t. (Go figure!) But when he disagrees with me, it’s a loud, angry ordeal.
So I thought the only way I was ever going to get this kid to listen was to yell. Snapping and raising my voice worked for reluctant obedience but caused serious conflict between us.
I haven’t really known what to do until I read about this Challenge. I was SO excited about starting my 30 Day Challenge (my own personal goal)- I printed out all the voice levels and a count-down chart to put on the fridge. I even posted some encouraging quotes for when I was struggling. I got 6 successful days into the Challenge thinking I SO had this…and then it happened.
I messed up.
I got lost while driving and the kids were fighting (both major triggers for me) so I snapped for them to shut it. Started myself right back at zero feeling like a jerk, and tried again the next day. Messed up again, and again, and again. I felt like I was never going to even get back to Day 1! And here’s why: I felt seriously DEFEATED. And that feeling of guilt and frustration made me want to give up. (YUP. I’ve been there Becca. I’ve been there. You are NOT alone.)
Any other perfectionists out there?? I hate messing up, and I’ll tell you what, nothing will force you to give up being a perfectionist like parenting. You can’t be a perfect parent, and that’s OKAY! Read that last sentence again, and believe it! I have to remind myself daily.
And that’s what I want to share today. The fact that you are a wonderful mom!! I’m sure you’re thinking, “How do you know? You don’t know me.” But the fact that you are investigating this challenge says that you are someone who deeply cares about your kids. You want what is best for them and you are humble enough to admit that you are struggling in some areas and need help. That is a true sign of strength! So here are some things to consider next time you are beating yourself up over snapping at your kiddos.
1. You Made a Mistake, but You are a Good Mom! Sure, there is room to improve. But you made a mistake in a single instance, and that mistake does not define your self-worth as a mom! You aren’t giving up, and that takes courage.
2. Love Goes a Long Way. When I start feeling overwhelming guilt, it can be crippling. I have to remind myself that there is a lot of love in our house, and that consistent love and forgiveness of each other will get us past the tough moments.
3. You CAN do this. When I started failing repeatedly, I thought “I just don’t have what it takes.” That’s not true! We do have what it takes and we have to believe in ourselves. We have been blessed with these kids, and we are their moms…not the “perfect” moms at the park, not the magazine moms- they can’t do it! YOU know your children, and you alone have been given the awesome responsibility to be their mom! You can do it!
4. Give Yourself a Break. Give yourself some serious grace. We all make mistakes, and we just have to keep trying. But also, give yourself a LITERAL break. I forget to take time for myself and then all that giving ends up not helping anyone because I get completely burned out! I start twitching when I hear “Mommy!” for the fiftieth time. I feel my blood boil when the kids are arguing constantly. And it just doesn’t end well for anyone.
Hand daddy (or grandma, or neighbor, or best friend) the kids and back away slowly! Even just a couple of hours away can do such a world of good, for you AND the kids. If you are like me and feel guilty when you do fun things for yourself, remember that you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of you!
So what about you? Do you ever feel like giving up? How do you make time to take care of yourself? Share in the comments because I’m sure we could all use some new ideas!
If you want to write to be the next guest blogger (and I would love you to be!), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.