Being the Strong Mom

It is so hard to be the Strong Mom. Otherwise known as the “Mean Mom,” our kids can get pretty upset when we say “NO” to whatever they may want to do in the moment.

I had one of those mom days the week before last, when my son had been throwing fits after school every day, and just acting up in general and being mean to his sisters. I told him that he could earn a play date with a friend on Friday (a non-school day that week), if he could show that he could be good and nice to all of us. He still wasn’t the best, and even after I set up the play time, he pitched a massive fit that morning about something totally silly.

So, I texted my friend and cancelled the play date. My son was devastated. I sent him to his room until he was ready to be nicer, and he spent an hour up there just pouting on his bed, angry at me for taking away the fun.

My son tells me at least once a week that I’m so mean.

I’ve talked before about how we all need to take a Time Out sometimes, and re-set our attitudes. Whether your kid is storming through the terrible two’s or raging into pre-puberty, kids get overwhelmed with their emotions sometimes and we get the brunt of all of it.

I know that my son was missing his dad, who had been working away from us for much longer than we are used to. I know that he was overtired from our ski trip the previous weekend (so much fun, as I talked about last week in Choose Happiness). I also know that I had to put my foot down and call him on his behavior, so that he can learn how to manage all those emotions.

This last week, our youngest had a play date set up and her friend got into trouble, causing her mom to cancel the fun. My daughter was disappointed, but I reminded her about her brother doing the same thing and losing his playtime the previous week. After that, she didn’t complain anymore.

Moms (and Dads), it is hard to be the strong parent. It is hard to tell our kids “NO” when they really want something. But, every time we do it, we are reinforcing the boundaries that our kids need.

Saying “no” to our kids is hard! Be strong, mamas!

My husband and I are fortunate. He has a good-paying job that allows me to stay home with our kids and have the freedom and flexibility to take on the work projects that fit within the crazy kid schedules and other activities that make up our life. Our kids have a plethora of toys and games, a fantastic swing set and most any outdoor play items that they might need. But we often tell them “no” when we are out and about and they desperately want some new toy or item, right then.

Sometimes, that “no” is so hard. Taking the kids to the timeout chair is hard. Keeping our cool, not letting our emotions take control, and being the Strong Mom – all of it is hard.

Mamas – you’ve got this! This is the part of parenting that no one likes to talk about. The long days, with overtired kids who have kept it all in all day long at school. We have been there!

If you need to, take your kiddo to time out and then go find 5 or 10 minutes of peace for yourself. Yes, it is hard to hear them cry. It is hard to not give in.

Moms, remember that sometimes you need the time out just as much as they do – take the time while they are re-setting attitudes for some quiet time too!

So, what to do? How do we do it? I sometimes set a timer that they can hear in the timeout chair. If the child gets up before the timer goes off, the time re-starts. I don’t do that as much as I used to – my kids are older now – but my general rule is that if there is a time out, you can’t get up (from either the designated chair, stairs, or bedroom – I have 3 kids and have to get creative with space sometimes) until there is no more crying or yelling and you are ready to say sorry for whatever you did.

What if your child will not stay in time out? I had one of those – my oldest was so stubborn! I would spend so much time keeping her in the chair or on the stairs, that I’d forget why she was in trouble in the first place. I got to the point that I would just leave whatever room she was in, and she wouldn’t be able to be with me or talk to me until she said sorry. Sometimes, we have to be creative.

I love my kids, and want them to grow up to be the best people. I want them to respect the things that they have, and not take anything for granted. And I really want them to always be kind.

Part of learning all of those things is having boundaries, setting time limits for Screen Time (as I talked about last fall, I’m not always good about this, but if they’re grumpy with me, TV is the first thing they lose), and taking away things when they are being naughty. Whether it is a special toy or playtime with friends, figure out what will motivate your kids to better behavior.

Also, it doesn’t always have to be about taking away things – you can use new toys (or getting toys back) as an incentive for good behavior, too! I often will give my kids a goal to reach (2-3 days being good, x many days picking up their rooms or helping clear the table at dinner) in order to do something fun.

Being the Strong Mom (or Dad) can be so hard. Just remember, we have all been there, and every time out or “no” from mom and dad is a lesson for our kids. Use these lessons to build your kids up to be good humans. At the end of the day, that is what is important.

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