This past weekend was trying with the kids. They were loud. They were abnoxious. They were annoying.
Our first mistake? We took them out to breakfast. You know as a treat and something fun to do as a family. Between them not being able to sit still for more than 5 minutes, the fighting, the whining, and the complaining, I could feel my insides boiling up. I was really trying my best not to lose it. Something that I find myself doing more often and too quickly.
And what do we as parents do when our kids are annoying us and we can’t block them out? We threaten. And we punish. And let’s face it who are we really punishing when we do this. Ourselves. Sure when we take away the iPad or send them to their room or don’t let them go outside and play, they are being punished. But we as parents are the ones who are going to take the brunt of it.
There will still be whining. They were still be back talk. No one will be happy.
This is when we practice picking our battles and ignoring the behavior.
I remembered back to my massage a few months ago. The one my husband scheduled for me because I was where I am now. Stressed out, losing my cool, and feeling like I am being pulled into too many directions at once. It was the massage where I couldn’t turn off my brain and instead had a million and one thoughts racing which totally defeated the point of the massage. Relaxation.
But it was that massage where I learned a little trick. Breathe in three, exhale five. By doing this I am focused on my breathing and not what the kids are doing to annoy me. I zone out. I don’t hear them anymore.
Until cars become equipped with standard privacy windows to drown out the constant chatter in the car. Or my kids outgrow this stage (please tell me they do), I am practicing Zen and the Art of Igroring My Kids.
And you should be too. It’s ok to not hover over your children 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You are not a bad parent for zoning out or taking a break. Your mental health is important.
Sometimes it’s ok to let your kids fight it out. They need to learn how to resolve conflicts on their own without you intervening. You need the break from constantly being a referee.
It’s also ok to just let your kids entertain themselves. You don’t have to be their playmate all the time. Independent play is important for children! Just like a baby learns to self-soothe, your child also needs to learn how to self-occupy. You aren’t always going to be there!
It’s ok to look at your phone and scroll through Facebook when sitting at the table at the restaurant. If people want to stare at me and judge me because I am focused on my phone and not the darling faces across from me, imagine how they would judge me if I was the raving lunatic that I tend to become when I just can’t take it anymore.
Say it with me “It’s ok to ignore your kids.” They are going to be fine.
Because when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.