Today has been one of "THOSE" days.
You know the ones? The kids are screaming, and whining from the moment they get up, they fight, they cry, the lack of milk in their sippy cups is an all consuming world catastrophe, drama drama drama! (Who knew boys would be such over dramatic divas!?) I think I have played referee more today than anything else. In fact I know my husband is going to say "What!? Didn't you do anything today!?" the minute he walks in the door.
Honestly it has taken almost all my energy just to keep the kids from destroying each other and the world. Housework was the furthest thing from my mind. For the record I did manage to get a load of dishes going and the corned beef is is in the oven! And school you may ask? Well I took a cue from another Home school blog I like to read and decided it would be a "bare-bones" school day. We watched documentaries on the universe and did a bit of Spanish language practice. Yeah pretty laid back today...but then most of my day has been divided between the refereeing and cleaning up after my two year old. He has a horrible habit of throwing his food onto the floor if he decides he is either 1) done, 2) not going to eat it period, or 3) bored. And while my dog is in heaven I am not. ;-)
It doesn't matter what I do on days like today, they will fight regardless. The oldest wants a "secret hide out" so I make him one. Then they proceed to fight over it. So I make the youngest a "secret hideout" of his own, and they still manage to fight over it! There is still crying and screaming and hitting and spitting, and occasionally biting. And don't forget the classic, "Nobody loves me, I want my daddy!" It is enough to make me pull my hair out, except that I'm a wimp and that would hurt!
So needless to say my patience, which I have never been blessed with an abundance of, was wearing very thin. Some days it is all too much and I end up doing a lot of yelling. (Ahem, Today.) Which I know, in my more rational moments, is never helpful. I am a loud person who comes from a family of loud people who do tend to speak, well, loudly. I also come from a theatre family and have been trained so that I may be heard all the way to the cheap seats. Is it my fault I have an overdeveloped diaphragm? All kidding aside, I do yell far more than I like.
This is something I have been working on for many years, and I am definitely better than I used to be, but I forget more often than I remember. My particular religion is very much about loving kindness, compassion, and not doing any harm, as most religions are. But growing up in an environment where raising your voice was not out of the ordinary does not condition one to talk softly, nor did I learn how to deal with my anger effectively. (I realize that this makes it sound like all my family does is yell and scream, which is not the case, as my sister so eloquently put it "we just make sure we are heard even if it means escalating our volume to do it") My problem is it is my default setting when my children misbehave and that is something I wish to change.
So for 9 years I have been trying to retrain myself. Sometimes I feel like I am doing really well and other times I am back at square one. Trying to recondition 20-some odd years of projecting ones voice is really hard to do! My husbands family is exactly the opposite. They are probably the quietest people I have ever met. (Truthfully they were probably scared to death the first time I opened my mouth!) I would like to be somewhere in the middle. Not too loud, not too soft, just where I need to be, the middle path. But how in those moments of insanity when the kids are screaming and crying and spitting water all over the place (true story) do you keep it together enough to not give in to that first initial response: raising your voice? How do you maintain a peaceful center in the midst of the storm?
I have tried all sorts of things to find/maintain a peaceful center on days like this. Anything from, singing, to playing video games, to eating large quantities of chocolate, to the much talked about "Mommy time out". The truth is none of these seem to work. When I come back into the room I do not have a true sense of peacefulness. It is as they say, only skin deep, and quickly disappears in the wake of another trying situation.
What does help is meditating, but that takes time and sometimes, especially on days like today, there just isn't any. So what do I do? Well I stumbled upon something today, quite by accident, that I hope provides the answer, at least for me. I was close to exploding (again) and knew I was going to start yelling if I didn't find some sort of calm when I suddenly visualized myself meditating. I am not sure why, I didn't do it on purpose it just sort of popped into my head. Me sitting on a cushion and meditating, in a quite, peaceful place. And suddenly I felt grounded and focused and better able to handle the situation.
Is this some sort of weird fluke? Will it work again? I have no idea! I only know it worked this time. I am feeling a bit superstitious about it, so I will definitely try to sit down and meditate tonight after the kids are asleep, don't want to mess with the meditation mojo. And I will be trying it again in the future to see if it will indeed still work. I'll let you know, in the meantime what works best for you on "THOSE" days?