September 27, 2011

The Chaos Theory

image via pinterest

I had a bit of a breakthrough last week.  It was a hard week.  Work is particularly busy and stressful right now, my husband was out of town, I haven't been sleeping well, and my kids decided to flip out on me a bit.  Let's just say there was some screaming and things flying through the air.  I couldn't figure out why they were so much harder to deal with than usual.  On the occasions when this happens, I typically chalk it up to them being tired, or perhaps reacting to dad being gone.  I'm sure those are factors sometimes.  What I realized, though, was this:

It's me.

When I'm stressed out, I tend to handle my boys with less patience, and my reactions are harsher than they usually are (harsher than they need to be).  As a result, a typically short-lived situation escalates out of control.  This makes me more stressed, the kids act out more, and the downward spiral continues.  

The other thing I realized - or perhaps reminded myself of - is that when I'm having a particularly busy week, the things that tend not to happen are the very things that need to happen to keep me on an even keel:  sleep, exercise, those ten peaceful minutes at the end of the day...  Without them, a hard week gets even harder.  

It really was an "a-ha" moment for me.   I know this is common sense stuff, and of course I already knew that kids get stressed out when they see mom stressed, but for some reason, I hadn't really applied it to myself in this way.  This week, I've been much more conscious of the way I react to the typical brotherly situations (you know the ones I mean...when they steal toys from each other, whine about not wanting to get dressed, throw toys at each other's heads...).  By reacting in a firm but calm way, the situation gets diffused so much more easily, and I remain in control.  I know I will still have to deal with stress, and I will definitely lose my cool from time to time; but I have to remember that I not only have to take care of me for me, I have to take care of me so that I can do a good job of taking care of them...


  1. Soooooooo true- and you're not alone in the late discovery. Mine are 13 & 8(!!) and I've only recently discovered this... I mean, REALLY discovered it as it applies to us- to *me.

    I try so very hard to take care of myself now- to stop whatever I'm doing to get to the "place" that I need to be before picking them up from school each day. ...and, on the other hand, to get what I need to get done (the things that stress me out when unfinished/unstarted) instead of putting it off until later and being totally behind.

    But I still need reminders here and there, so thank you for sharing your experience!

  2. you are a great mom. thanks for sharing. we can certainly all learn from this. love to you. keep up the good work. these days are not easy, but they sure are beautiful (and flying by)!

  3. i'm so with you on this. stay ahead of them, take care of yourself, and let at least one or two things go around bedtime.

    otherwise, it's a total yell-fest, isn't it? i'm so guilty, too.

    who knew this would be such a hard job? xoxo.

  4. GREAT POST. I do have to remember to stop and breath from time to time.


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