Every mom knows what it’s like to have a rough day. Here are 5 easy tips for reconnecting with your kiddies!
by Ashleigh Lorenz | staff writer for The Snap Mom
1. Take some time for you
I know that it sounds counterintuitive to spend time alone when you are trying to connect with your children. However, if you are carrying baggage from a day of stress, it will make it all the more difficult to shift your focus to enjoying your time with them. When you walk in the door from a crazy day, do yourself a favor and take five minutes and do something for you. Check your email, pray, read a magazine article, go for a quick walk around the block – whatever will help you decompress, unwind, and shift into loving mommy mode. (This article is being written during nap time… while eating chocolate chips out of a jar of peanut butter and drinking a glass of wine. Yup, that’s my “me time” for today – don’t judge me.)
2. Be willing to apologize
Let’s face it, some times our moments as mom become REALLY overwhelming, and we don’t handle them exactly as we would have hoped. More than once, my newborn’s crying mixed with the screams of my two toddlers’ fighting has proven more than this mommy could handle. Especially before my cup of coffee, I have…gasp…lost my cool and, regretfully, yelled at my kiddos. In the past, I would spend the day hating myself for this and feeling like the worst mother in the world. I have since learned the power of this teachable moment. If I ever interact with my children in a way that I regret, I immediately sit them down and apologize. How important is it for our children to learn the power of humbly acknowledging a mistake and the grace of forgiveness? This is a huge opportunity for connection.
3. Disconnect Yourself
A study released by E-marketer states that Americans spend over 5 hours a day engaged in digital media. That is insane, but not surprising. Nothing says I love you like checking your iPhone every two minutes…said no one EVER! Let’s be intentional with our children and put down our electronic devices and give them our undivided attention. We are our children’s first teacher and believe me, they are WATCHING! One of my intentions for this year has been to completely disconnect from media when I am engaged with my children. I want them to learn the value of looking someone in the eye and completely engaging in a moment of life that can never be recaptured.
4. Stop trying to do it all
Moms are seriously superheros and capable of doing 10 billion things at one time. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. I find that the times when I am most exasperated with my children is when I am attempting to do too many things at one time. If I say I am going to play trains, then I need to play trains – not write a grocery list in my head, scan Pinterest for birthday party décor ideas, fold laundry AND play trains. Put it all down and intentionally engage with your child. Try to see the world through their eyes. Give into the fun of a tickle fight. Get excited about building a fort in the living room. The days are long, but the years are short. Before you know it you will be watching your baby put on his cap and gown and wishing with all your might that you could indulge one more request to build a tower up to the sky.
5. Use daily tasks as moments of connection
Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of turning it all off and sitting down with our kiddos to play. Dinner needs to be made, baths taken, and bedtime stories read. If one of my children is experiencing a need to connect at one of these critical moments, I have learned to connect by engaging them in my “must do” task. Of course, it would be much easier and faster to cook dinner without the help of my 1 and 4-year-old, but to see the smile on their proud faces when mama engages with them makes it worth it. Accept their help in making dinner; it’s worth the extra 10 minutes cleaning up the spilled rice.
Ashleigh is a licensed clinical social worker who spends her days chasing her 1 and 4 year old around while nursing her 5 week old every 10 minutes. When not in the mommy role, Ashleigh works as the clinical director of Selah Freedom, an organization that works with survivors of human trafficking.