No matter how much you love your children, no matter how hard you worked to have these children, there will be times you wish they would send you on a week long vacation. There may be moments when you *GASP!* do not like your kids. This doesn't mean you are a bad parent, it means you are HUMAN. I adore my children, but there are days when I would rather do what I want to do instead of making little bitty lunches or coercing them to dustbuster dog hair off of the stairs. I want time for me.
I know I have a great life and that we are blessed. But. Some. Days...
I want to run screaming from our house into my old house on Altgeld Street where I had days upon days of endless Me Time. And Silence. And only Myself to make the mess, Myself to clean it up, when Myself wanted to bother. Some days I am so tired of hearing my sweet daughters talk. I remember the sting of my own mom asking me to pleasejuststoptalking, especially when I am repeating those words like a mantra to my own two delightfully verbose Petites.
A pal just asked about her own challenges enjoying time with her preschooler. Why she would ask me, I cannot imagine. I certainly do not model a loving flow of delight when bringing up my little darlings. She made my day by asking, but then I had to give her an answer! Here it is: When you are sick of your kid, here is what you could do:
1) Stop What You Are Doing.
Before you start sputtering at me, let me tell you this works. I find when my daughters are fraying my nerves, it is often when I am very focused on Something Else. It can be work around the house or Facebook or blogging or meal planning or a phone call. They KNOW I'm not thinking of them and must have my attention immediately.
This is a double whammy as I get very irritated and crabby when I am on task and interrupted. I pray, write scripture and journal, but this is an ongoing heart challenge for me in my development as a woman. Instead of escalating the tempers and mood of everyone in the house, just drop what you are doing for 5 minutes of focusing on your child. Read a book, color a picture, get them set up with a new game or toy and then they will have a small bit of your attention and you will be able to return to what you were doing. Without all the yelling.
2) Run Away.
Sometimes this is the best option. Swap child care or a drop off playdate with a friend and run away. Take a walk, ride your bike, exercise, meditate, get some nagging task accomplished, pray, find a labyrinth, sit and read a book at Barnes & Nobles...all free options. Spend a little money on yourself and go to coffee at Blackbird Cafe solo or with an unencumbered pal. Go into your bedroom or the basement or the front porch and shut a door behind you for five minutes of deep breathing and relative quiet. I have a friend who takes her iPhone into the bathroom even if she isn't GOING just to read and regroup. Brilliant.
3) Ask A Question.
It is hard to be little. We say that a lot in our house. They cannot decide much for themselves, they cannot do everything themselves, they do not know how to express themselves fully. Even if you are tired of your child, ask them a few questions. Sit down somewhere fresh (For me it is the floor!) and maybe have a drink together and talk. Ask them about what they are doing, what they are saying, or anything that comes to mind. Just five minutes of interested questions can fill your child's love tank right up. The conversation can refresh both of you and help you appreciate your child more.
4) Reverse Roles.
I let my kids parent me sometimes. I have a pretend tantrum, or refuse to cook dinner, need to be carried or put to bed. They LOVE playing the parent and we all get a new perspective on our family roles. They get a glimpse of how hard it really is to be the parent. They are usually quite ready to go back to following directions or playing solo after this game.
5) Give thanks.
No matter what your life situation is, your hard stuff is YOUR hard stuff. It is easy to feel guilty for not enjoying your children, but even the most balanced parents need a little breather now and then. Make sure you get alone time, friend time, spiritual time, creative time, exercise time... whatever refreshes you the most. Even if you have it relatively easy, it is OK to struggle at times. I find giving thanks for the little and big things on a regular basis help me to feel more balanced and calm. Many families have great pain, so I give thanks for my kids, my husband and my life on a daily basis. I know everything could change in one simple instant. I teach my girls to pray, to give thanks, and to list off what they enjoy about their life. Focusing on what I am blessed to have keeps me more content.
I remind myself I am in a relationship with my children. Any relationship has its ups and downs and this is normal. You love your children, but there may be times when you don't like them so much. You are NORMAL. And here is a newsflash: Your kids won't always like you either, so brace yourself!
What do you do when you do not like your kids? Please share tips with the rest of us in the blog comments...just in case we need them some day (or in five minutes)!
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