Spring is a very busy time in my home. The weather turns warmer and everyone wants to be outside later, which gets us off schedule. The end of school is near and you can feel the excitement in the air. The month of May brings a particular chaos to my house for two reasons. My husband and older son celebrate birthdays at the end of the month (and my younger son is the first week in June). Additionally, it’s the end of the school year and I have to write what feels like a bajiliion and one report cards, attend a thousand birthday parties (seriously, is everyone born in the Spring?!) and wind down the school year as both a teacher and a mom. It’s no wonder I am feeling out of sorts these days knowing that this is all coming down the pike!
A few years ago when my son was going through a particularly rough stage, a friend told me about this chart of equilibrium and disequilibrium and I swear by it. Whenever I feel out of sorts or feel that my kids are extra crazy, I refer to this chart and sure enough, it’s dead on. Today was one of those days that I had to look at the chart. My almost 7-year-old son has been pushing some buttons lately. Saying words that he knows may be bad words, but testing them out on me to be sure, refusing to do what I ask the first time, and changing his clothes constantly throughout the day are just some examples of this unsettled behavior. Sometimes all I can think of is one of my favorite books, Caps For Sale, and think in my head, “First grader for sale! First grader for sale! 50 cents a first grader!” I kid, I kid….
So what to do when these Tough Mama Times come your way? How do we hang in there time and time again when our kids are testing us, our jobs are overwhelming and change is the only constant? Well, we keep moving forward and do our best. There is no other choice. There are a few ways to make it easier though.
Talk to a friend.
If you can manage a coffee or lunch date alone with a friend, do it. If you can only do a phone call in the car ride on the way to daycare pick up, do it. Even a text message can work wonders to just tell your friends how you’re feeling. Venting to a friend gets those feelings of frustration out. That alone will make you feel a little more grounded most of the time.
Go for a walk or run.
Move your body. You get time alone to think, plan and organize. Or, just listen to a great audiobook, podcast or pumped up tunes. You’ll be feeling better in 20 minutes and ready to take on the challenges you need to face.
Read to your kids.
This one may sound counter intuitive when your kid is making you crazy, but hear me out. Reading is a great way to calm your mind and body. I find that when I start reading, my kids always cozy up next to me and want to know what I am reading about. It’s a great way to calm both you AND the kids, as well as set a good example for them.
Just say no.
Remember all those birthday parties and report cards I was talking about? Well, they don’t mix. May has to be my month of, “Sorry, we can’t make it this time.” A part of me feels a little guilty saying no, but the more realistic part of me knows that it has to be done. May is the month of survival! Get back to me in six weeks when I am starting summer vacation and I’ll be a new mom! An entire summer of “Yes!” is just around the corner.