Every mom has at one point or another has had days like the one depicted in the comic above. Maybe you didn't sleep well, perhaps you are fighting a headache or a cold or have lots of stress from work and the kids have been, screaming, fighting, whining, climbing, talking back etc. and basically making you wonder if you are losing your mind. Days like this make it very difficult to feel like the calm rational person you usually are. We have all been there.
On days like this I find that my patience runs thin and I have a tendency to be grouchy and yell a lot. It feels like a constant downward spiral. But how do you get it to stop? For me, I find that no matter what is going on around me I need to give my self at least a 5 minute breather from it all. More would be nice but not always practical or feasible. So as long as the kids are safe, I step outside by myself for a few minutes of quiet so that I can finally hear myself think. It gives me a chance to regroup and plan a strategy on how to deal with things.
Kids, just like adults, often get irritable when tired or hungry. Kids need to eat at fairly regular times so if it is between meals I try offering them a healthy snack and make a mental note to send them to bed a little earlier that evening. I have also found that no matter how whiny the kids are or how much fighting they are doing, if I change their location things calm down for a while, so I take the kids for a walk outside or drive to the store with them. Giving the kids art projects to work on or a job in the house to help you out with are other great ways to put a stop to the madness. It gives them something else to focus on other than each other. Anything to put a stop to the out of control momentum that is ruining the day.
Another important way to break this cycle is to be sure to be taking care of yourself too. Eat regularly, try to get a decent amount of sleep and exercise. I'm sure we all love our kids but without any time to ourselves we are just not good parents. We all need "me" time. It is how we regain perspective on our lives and recharge our energies. So be sure to schedule time just for yourself where you can be kid free even for 1/2 an hour although more would be ideal. If you don't have someone to help pitch in and babysit for a while then at least get up early or stay up a little later after the kids go to sleep to have some much needed "me" time. Read a book, do your nails, work on a hobby, watch some TV ... what ever helps you recharge your batteries so that you can be a better parent. You deserve it and so do your kids.
So what do you do? How do you recharge yourself? What helps you gain that much needed centering amid all the chaos our wonderful kids bring to our lives?