I’m going to go out on a limb here and take a guess that every mama of little ones has had a day (or lots of days if you’re me) that she just wants to pull her hair out and scream “My Kids are driving me CRAZY!” This has been me this week, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.
This has been a pretty challenging week at our house. Hubby has been working 15 hour days, meaning he leaves for work before the kids wake up and he gets home after they are in bed. Since he’s working extra, he’s had to drive himself to work most of the time, instead of hitching a ride with a coworker. This means I’ve been stuck at home with two toddlers all day for multiple days in a row. Sure, we try to do fun things, we go for walks and we had a play date earlier this week, but it’s still been a long week. And yesterday I started to lose my peace.
This afternoon, hubby was home and the kiddos were overjoyed to see him. This evening I’m able to take a step back and relax out of the house and by myself. It’s wonderful. And it’s given me time to reflect. I’m proud of myself for lasting 4 days without the car & stuck at home with the kids. I’m happy that I didn’t feel as crazy this time as I would have last year if I’d been in the same position. Progress has been made, and for that I’m thankful.
As I reflect, I can think of a few things that I’ve discovered along the way. These simple tricks that help me keep my cool when the kids are starting to drive me crazy.
- Tickle Time – It never fails, I’ll be sitting down stealing a quiet moment to clear my head, and one (or both) of my kids will come jump on top of me. They will push and pull, trying to get me off the couch and over to where they are playing. I don’t know why, but this really annoys me, but I have found a solution! When this happens, and they will not be appeased with a “please go play and give mommy just a minute”, it’s tickle time. Instead of shoving them off me, or yelling at them to stop, I start tickling. There is nothing like hearing their sweet giggles to remind me how sweet they are, that they are only young once and gosh aren’t they the cutest things in the whole entire world?!?
- Throw them in the bath – Okay, don’t literally throw them, but you know what I mean. Bathtime is glorious because they entertain themselves. If I’m lucky I can get a good 20-30 minutes of peace as they play in the bath. I have to stay in the room with them for safety of course, but they aren’t demanding snacks or launching themselves off the couches every second, and in those moments I don’t have to say “no” or “get down” or “stop doing that to your sister!” they just play and have fun, and it can be absolutely blissful (albeit noisy).
- Just Go Outside – There is something magical about outside. I learned this trick when my oldest was a baby. He’d be screaming and crying for the longest time, but the moment I took him outside he would calm down and look at the world in wonder. The same is true today. The kids could be fighting or fussing, but the moment I take them on a walk outside they are much happier (bonus, they also get worn out and nap better later in the day!)
- Ask Them to Run – My oldest can never resist an opportunity to show off, and I’ve learned to use that to my advantage! When he’s driving me crazy and clearly has too much pent-up energy, I ask if he can run fast. Then I challenge him to run his “super fastest down the hall”. I tell him I want to watch how fast he can run, and he gets SO excited about it. He runs his little self down the hall and back as many times as I will watch! Afterwards, he’s typically a bit more calm, and a bit less crazy. Nothing like working the energy out to help the kiddos behave!
- Play with them – Sometimes, my kiddos act crazy because they just need my attention. I’ve noticed that some days they just need more attention than they did the day before. On these days I try to give myself a breather, and then jump right in and play with them. If the kitchen stays dirty today that’s okay. My kids need me, and I’d rather have a dirty kitchen and a happy home, than to stress myself out trying to clean it while the toddlers vie for my attention and fuss.
- Pull out the closet toys – On crazy days, sometimes I pull out all the closet toys. Usually they only get one a day, or at least one at a time, but if I feel myself losing it I just get them all out and let the kids go crazy. WE may have a big mess at the end of the day, but I can pick up toys a lot easier than I can pull myself back together after a day that’s been beyond stressful.
What is your best tip for staying sane when you’re stuck at home with the kids? I’d love to hear more ideas!!!