Kids. We love them to death. They bring our lives so much joy. They give us purpose, meaning, a reason to wake up every morning. We can’t imagine our lives without them. They can also be frustrating, exhausting, and just plain annoying. Let me tell you—my kids are amazing. They’re well-behaved, sweet, smart, funny, and I am so grateful every day that I get to be their mom. They also push every single button I didn’t even know I had.
Now, most of the time this button-pushing has nothing to do with misbehaviour. Its not their fault. They’re simply kids doing kid things—bickering with each other, asking a million rapid-fire questions, making messes, making noise, and being generally oblivious. Regular (yet super annoying) kid behaviour.
Society puts so much pressure on parents, especially mothers, to be perfect. It’s no wonder parents are wracked with guilt over any negative emotion they have toward their kids. Which is why I think its incredibly important to acknowledge that parents are still human beings, and it’s totally normal to sometimes feel annoyed by your children. There is nothing wrong with sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the constant noise and messes and questions. It is normal to desire time away from your children. You can be an amazing parent who loves their children deeply, but still finds them irritating at times.
So, here are some tips on how to cope when your kids are driving you crazy.
Find Your Village
I know this one is easier said than done, but it’s probably the most important piece of advice I can give to fellow parents. Finding people to lean on is invaluable. Chatting with other parents in online support groups, going to parent-tot classes, or finding a trusted babysitter are all ways to begin to create a village if you don’t have family or friends around you. Don’t be afraid to get creative—many gyms offer childcare while you workout (or sit in one of the massage chairs with a coffee…).
Take A Break
Say it with me: It’s Okay to Walk Away. Step outside and breathe some fresh air. Park the kids in front of the TV and take a hot shower. Put headphones in and listen to music or an audiobook. Hide in your bedroom closet and journal.
Your break can also include the kids. Sometimes a change of scenery is what everyone needs. Go for a walk, a drive, get them in the bathtub for some playtime, or cuddle in bed.
Use this time to breathe deeply. Reassure yourself that you are a good parent; that this too shall pass. Think about your favourite memory with your child; what you love about them.
Establish Quiet Time
You can establish quiet time in two ways. The first is having a designated period every day where your child is expected to play in their room, look at books on the couch, colour at the dinner table, or another quiet, independent activity. It’s preferable if this time doesn’t involve screens. Personally, I find screen time only gets my kids more excited, and the sound of How To Train Your Dragon or Sing 2 incessantly in the background of my life does not help me recharge my mom-battery.
The second is asking your child for a few minutes of quiet in the moment (with kindness, of course!). Sometimes I just can’t pay attention to the story my daughter is telling me while I’m cooking dinner or focusing on driving. Sometimes I really just want to finish the chapter of the book I’m reading. In these situations, I tell my daughter, “I want to hear your story, but right now I’m doing [insert activity] and I can’t listen. I will be done in [time frame] and then you can tell me.”
Visualize The Future
Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize yourself at 70 years old. Your children are independent adults with their own lives. Your home is tidy and quiet. Think about how fondly you will look back on these days of constant chatter and chaos—and how quickly it all went by. When you open your eyes, you might have a little more perspective on the situation.
All of this being said, if you are feeling frustrated and annoyed by your children more than you are feeling excited to be around them; if your negative emotions are getting in the way of your relationship with your child; or if you’re just generally feeling overwhelmed or unhappy with being a parent—you may want to consider speaking to your doctor or a mental health professional.