One of the most challenging parts of parenting for me is keeping my outlook and mood positive when I’m in the thick of a long week and short on time. I have to constantly remind myself to push less and give more with those daily chores and timetables like getting dressed, bedtime routines, and preparing meals. I like to think of myself as the easy going mom, but in all reality, my hidden Type-A personality comes roaring out when the stress is high and things don’t go my way. There, I said it. My husband can have his moment. That one where he gets to be right. I’m a dinosaur when things don’t go as I have planned.
When entering prehistoric territory, I’ve learned how to stunt a full out transformation. Having three kids in four years, I’ve learned how to adapt to a half-dino, half- woman type of beast. A manageable transformation; a Momasaurus-Rex. I know that I will mostly likely never shed the scales completely.
Let’s be realistic, the perfect parent just doesn’t exist. But I’ve learned to downplay my roaring emotions and keep my mouth shut until I can manage my words. I’ve learned several little tricks and behaviors that have changed the way I parent. They have helped stunt my dino-transformation and they have changed the way my kids see and perform daily routines and tasks.
I pause and think. Before I react, or speak, or do; I pause. I take just a few seconds to play it out in my head. Will my words be gentle, and kind? Will they encourage or discourage? If discipline is needed, are my words respectful, thoughtful, and firm? Or are they angry, hurtful, and shaming? Taking just a few seconds to reflect and plan out how I want to respond to my young prevents my full blown transformation. By the way, I totally get how some animals eat their offspring. It might not even be intentional. Nor even related to hunger, but rather a “Hey Momasaurus, you didn’t pause and think before you devoured your kids.”
I quit blaming them for something that is usually my fault. Are we running late because my son’s not putting his shoes on fast enough? Or are we running late because I didn’t leave the office when I should have? Is that extra long minute they are taking to pick out what cereal they want to eat the reason why everyone will be late to school and work or wherever? Or is it that I didn’t wake up when I should have to get myself and the kids ready on time? Young kids are slow. Slow to eat, slow to make decisions, slow to dress. They cannot hold the role of time managers when they do not fully understand the concept of time itself. Unless of course you are taking more than five seconds to get them a cup of juice, then their world seems to spin at hyper speed and they can grasp every second you delay. Hey maybe that’s why the dinosaurs died off… their mothers didn’t get their sippy cups filled fast enough. Extinction by way of juice deprivation.
We find delight in daily tasks. We sing. We make up songs and we sing them while doing all the things we hate to do. Kind of like the seven dwarfs and “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to Work We Go.” Throw in a little song or rhyme and it makes everything seem a bit brighter and a bit easier to handle in their world and in mine. This little trick was passed down from my Grandmasaurus. She had a song for nearly every chore we did with her, from feeding the cows, to watering the garden, to brushing our teeth. Sometimes they’d be little rhymes passed on from her childhood and sometimes they’d be little ditties she would just make up and start belting out. I have tricked myself and my kids into thinking that daily tasks such as washing our faces, marching up the stairs to bed, diaper changes, and getting dressed in the morning are fun and exciting every day. So much fun, they warrant a song and dance. Choose expressions of joy and fun, for yourself and for your kids. Singing and dancing dinosaurs are way nicer than those young-eating kinds. You remember Barney don’t you? Now there was a dinosaur that could sing and dance.
I also remind myself that we often have to choose joy and happiness during the hard parenting moments and those daily schedule struggles. They are not always emotions that are easy to surrender to. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to be happy and joyful and much easier to Roar. To see the challenges the day presents, or the difficult behavior your child is displaying rather than the opportunity to create joy in the day and to foster happiness. I choose joy and happiness and positivity, because I know that’s what my children truly desire to feel and to be; and under those scales, in those moments of Momasaurus transformations, I do too!