|Picture stolen from here|
I'm currently trying out a new parenting technique. You may have heard of it - it's called Staying Calm. I've had mixed results with it.... earlier in the week it didn't go so well, but the last two days have been quite wonderful. (We did drop the kids off at their grandma's house and spend the night in a hotel.... that's right, no kids..... no, not even the smallest one.... it's called Detachment Parenting and it makes me Very Calm.)
Now that we have the spawn back again, my Calm is being tested. (As I type this, the older two are supposed to be tidying their room. It is 43.2 degrees in there and they have precisely three things to put away. So far, it has taken them thirty-three minutes. The four year old walks in whining that the three year old hit her on the head with her metal water bottle - well, chicken, you have two arms, two legs and a metal water bottle of your own. Work it out! The three year old then comes in declaring dramatically, "I can't walk!" The Husband says, "Oh no!! How did you get here then?" She looks at him disdainfully and says, "With my legs!")
Anyway, I am not one of these parents that just Stays Calm naturally. I have to work at it, and I am generally opposed to things I have to work at. My usual response to the whining/dobbing/pestering so masterfully dished up to me by my children is to put my hands in the air, close my eyes and say "I don't want to hear it! I don't want to hear it!" repeatedly until they give up and go away.
But now that I have managed to stay calm for the forty five minutes, I consider myself quite an expert and would like to share with you some of my tips on how to Stay Calm in the face of a small, determined army.
#1: Instead of yelling, sing. Turn whatever you were planning on yelling into a song. The kids will think you are being nice, and you won't get that nasty sore throat you get from screeching at them. Also, they are more inclined to do what you ask. I don't know why, but it works. Just ask Mary Poppins.
#2: Socialise.... a lot. Us mothers are ALWAYS nicer to our children when we are around other parents. No-one wants to show off the veins in their forehead to their friends.
#3: Count to three. Any more than three wines is just irresponsible parenting, but three definitely takes the edge off.
#4: Take some time out. Barbados is nice this time of the year, I hear.
#5: Play a game together. Some of my favourites are musical statues (take the time to enjoy a nice, long bath while they are 'frozen'), hide and seek (my no-fail hiding place is in the next door neighbour's chook shed - be sure to remember your book and a block of chocolate!) and the one where you throw a pack of hundreds and thousands open on the kitchen floor and tell them to pick up all the blue ones.
#6: Try meditation. It relaxes you, and with any luck, while you are sitting cross-legged on the floor humming, the kids will tire of waiting for a response from you and leave you alone.
I hope these suggestions help. You may look a bit silly sitting in the neighbour's chook pen, singing the words of your favourite book while shovelling chocolate and wine into your mouth, but at least you will be Calm!