Back to School: Mom Check Part 1

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by Angela and Laura

The pictures are coming. You know the ones on your news feed. The cute kids lined up by the front door. Boys in polo shirt uniforms. Girls in dresses and Mary Jane style shoes. Some are holding signs. Most will be wearing backpacks and a few are holding lunch boxes. It’s almost time for the First Day of School Pictures!

Some Moms will be teary and telling us how OLD their 1st and 3rd graders are. (Cue eye roll for every Mom who has a teenager entering their senior year in high school). Other Moms are seen dancing and jumping and cheering that they survived summer and are celebrating this glorious day. What side of the mom camp do you land in?

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Little Laura is second from the right on her first day of second grade.

What does back to school mean for Mom? Sadly it isn’t a new back to school wardrobe!! That is sad.  For some it means some extra kid free hours where the floors stay clean for 5 hours straight.  It means running some errands ALL. BY. YOURSELF.  It might mean a new school year starting for you Homeschool Moms. Maybe some new curriculum to figure out. Some mixed emotions about tackling some areas that were a struggle last year.  It means juggling your daily activities with school again.  It also means back to school lunch packing. It means getting out of the house on time for carpool or a bus schedule.  And homework hours between 3-5pm and soccer practice and dinner and more homework up until bedtime.

Are any Moms feeling a bit concerned about the dreaded morning rush? A snap shot memory of being “that yelling Mom” who drops off the kids and then slumps in the front seat of the mini van feeling like a failure again? Excited to put a new routine into place, but worried it might not last a week? Ready to start homeschooling, yet your kids didn’t get the cooperate memo?

Laura and I want to encourage you Mama! We want you to look back on this school year as the most delightful one yet. No matter where you are in the back to school Mom spectrum. We want to remind you that you are enough. Life is full, but that is different than crazy busy.

You are an integral part of the family Mom. But be sure to keep in perspective that life doesn’t rise and fall solely on you. God will guide your Mama heart! You can set the tone of your home. You are wired to do exactly that. Laura shared in her Morning Routine Post that she has a sign on her desk that says, “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection”. Be graceful to yourself so you can share that grace with others.

Have a “No Yelling” policy 

First, I, Laura, am a recovering Mom Yeller.  Just so that you know that I am speaking from the been there.  

I had to check myself on early in my parenting journey about my yelling. I was horrified that I could ever do something like that.  But, looking back on how I handled the terrible two’s and three’s and even some now, there was a commonality in those situations that pushed me over the edge. These are not a list of excuses, they are helps understanding root issues so that root can be worked on.  

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1. I allowed my poor management to become their burden.  

When I chose not to wake up on time to be out the door and they were having a difficult time dressing under pressure-that was partially my fault.  When I chose not to create a loving environment and made their morning into a race track dictatorship-that’s my fault.  When I didn’t have enough sleep, enough reprieve, enough food-mostly that was on me to fix.  A mom who is overwhelmed will sometimes crush others in order to achieve her results or another option is she will give up all together and begin to stop existing for her children.   

2. I let disobedience build up.   

I was willing to be shocked at their behavior instead of correct it, willing to let it slide this time rather than stop it on the spot, willing to give countless warnings instead of immediate consequences.  I’m not talking about harsh directives, but firm guidance.  

This only hurt me, made my blood pressure go up, and increased their defiance.  Once they were pressed to comply they acted more out because they knew I might bend and then it became a game of who could outlast who.  Then the yelling mama, came in, and brought tears to eyes, shame all around, and damaged the spirit of the child and defeated the spirit of that mom.  Believe me, I know.  

I recently read an article about Mom’s who yell.  The article patted the mom on the hand, told them not to worry and to drink some more wine.  I wondered when the article would ask that mom to commit to whatever it took to strip herself of the Mom Yelling title, and begin new with her children.  I wondered when that mom would stop crying about her tendency to scream and start seeking solutions.  

For me, I waged war on my reflex to yell under pressure.  I confiding in my dearest friends and asked them to be be honest with me and ask me the tough questions.  I read a few books on parenting that helped me know what to say and do when I didn’t have the words.  

Here are a few titles that I recommend very highly to parents.  

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Have a new Kid by Friday 

Give them Grace

3. I let Preventative Boundaries slide.

I, Angela, felt most frustrated and most vulnerable to start yelling when the everyday tasks began to get away from us. I wrote about ways of keeping some order, age appropriate boundaries and some verbiage to help communicate to your kids what is expected next. Putting these things into practice kept my tone calm and my kids knew and understood what was expected.  Read it here.

4.  I was at the end of myself. 

I, Laura, have had those mornings of sheer exhaustion, days of depression, anger at unfairness, lack of interest in good things around me, and I still had little ones to care for during those times.  

I usually pushed through and did what I was supposed to that day.  I should have taken a few hours or a day NOT because I deserve it, but because I needed to make myself healthy enough to be a good and safe parent.  There are needs and there are wants.  When mom’s don’t have enough sleep, you don’t say, “you deserve more sleep”,  you say, “you NEED more sleep.” So mom’s don’t have to use the word deserve on their needs.  They can just explain to their husbands or their good friends, or a counselor that their needs aren’t being met.  Maybe on Saturday mornings you ask for a sleep in morning from your husband.  You don’t “deserve a night out”, you need some time to develop friendships and not stay in a bubble in your house.  Friendship is a need.  

Take a look at how angry, disappointed, or sad you become when you think of your unmet needs.  I sometimes acted out against the innocent for those feelings.  Do some thinking, and decide how you can help fill in those needs.  

Another thing I should have done was called in the friend SWAT team on the really bad days.  When I needed accountability, needed a friend to say, “we’re not cooking or cleaning today, we are going to talk quietly while the kids play around us and eat Chick Fil A for lunch.”   

My friend reading this, if you need sleep, if you need a break, if you are totally overwhelmed, there is help everywhere.  If you don’t have an understanding husband or your Parenting SWAT team, you can even private message us on Facebook , or email if you need confidential assistance and ideas.

So today’s mom check was heavy huh?  Tomorrow we’ll continue this conversation.  So go hug your babies and determine to start working on reducing the yell.  

Remember, “Grace not perfection”. Doing the hard thing now, will bring the easier later. The fruit of your hard work to stop the yelling will come.

We love you,

Angela and Laura 

 

 

 

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