It’s hard to keep your own frustrations under control when you’re under pressure from tiny humans.
They’re irrational, always speak their mind, always hungry, always want what you don’t have in the cupboards and always one second from a tantrum if they don’t get their own way.
The lack of sleep, long days, absence of spare time for yourself, and the seemingly endless crying or complaining mean that your patience is tested to the limit.
I don’t always manage to keep my patience in check, but these tips can really help you to keep your cool:
1. Count to 10
Just pausing for 10 seconds can make a big difference. It can give you the chance to reset and clear your head before biting back.
Clear your mind while you’re counting and completely ignore whatever noises your children are making.
2. Leave the room
Get out of the room and stare out of the window for a few seconds. Removing yourself from a stressful situation can help you to put it into perspective.
3. Recognise the signs
You’re the parent so you know your kids better than anyone. You should know what the signs are when they’re about to kick off.
It’s a snowball effect when toddlers start to lose the plot and it can take you with it. If you can nip things in the bud early, you can save everyone a lot of grief.
The distraction method is a brilliant one. When it’s about to happen, change the subject, get out a treat or stick the TV on for half an hour.
4. Remember this isn’t forever
Yes your children are for life, but they won’t always be quite so full-on and demanding.
At some point your toddler will be less inclined to scream at every little thing they take issue with.
5. Get organised
As parents we are dashing around and constantly playing catch up. This adds to the stress and means you’re more likely to lose it when your patience is tested.
Try to organise your life. Declutter, do some batch cooking so dinners are easy, organise your paperwork, pack the changing bag the night before, whatever can get you some extra minutes so you’re not racing about quite so much.
6. Have a strategy
Having a mantra that you repeat in your head when you’re about to lose the plot can really help.
Whether it’s to remind yourself they’re only children or telling yourself the old favourite “this too shall pass”, try to have something in place that will remind you to take a deep breath.
7. Look after you
There are certain things that can contribute to having a short temper.
Being hungry is a big one, so try to remember to eat! It can be tough to take care of yourself when you’ve got children running rings around you all day long.
Have some energy bars in the cupboard and your handbag just in case you do skip a meal.
Keeping hydrated is also really important. I have pint glasses of water on the go all over the house as otherwise I do forget to drink enough water.
8. Take time for yourself
Sometimes a mental and physical break from caring for children can be brilliant for hitting the reset button on your short temper.
Get your nails done, walk down the road to get a cup of coffee, meet a friend, just get out of the house, even if only for five minutes.
9. Phone a friend
If you’re being driven to distraction it can be really helpful to vent to a good friend or relative.
Give your mum a call and get some sympathy for your current situation. Trying to laugh it off with a fellow mum can be a big mental boost.
10. Remember you’re only human
If you do lose the plot, don’t beat yourself up. Guilt can cause you to go into a bit of a downward spiral, which in turn can make you more likely to lose your temper again.
Try to stay upbeat and don’t be too hard on yourself.