the “herd” effect

when the baby is screaming (teething), and the 2 year old is “getting herself water” (playing with the water dispenser on the fridge), it becomes, suddenly, unforgivable that the 4 year old is still not wearing pants, after repeated orders to “put on pants, for goodness sake.”

each incident, on its own, is not so bad–but when it is all at once, it is really easy to over-react with the one who “should know better.” as a firstborn, i cringe at that phrase–i heard it a lot, like all firstborns do–you can’t help if you were born a couple years before all the others–and you can’t help if your parents Have “all those others.”

so i’ve been thinking of strategies to better deal with this when it happens, those times when having 3 kids 4-and-under gets to be TooMuch.

i think, a big thing for me, being introverted and quiet, is that if i can somehow escape for even five minutes to a quiet place i can pray and breathe and dive back into it. retreating is not always an option, but, often, it is. Does it hurt to put the baby in her crib for a few minutes while i get things together? probably not–she’s clean an fed, just cranky. or to just ignore the water-park being created on the kitchen tile? it is just water, after all. or to let that 4 year old go pantless for another hour–no one is over, and we sure aren’t going out yet.

i find that with retreating for just a few minutes, praying, maybe reading some encouraging scripture, i can get it together and Not Yell at the kids just because my emotions are maxed out and all the kids are screaming.

as far as what to do when they go to pieces in only strategy is to get them in the minivan and turn on some music. so, still working on this one (and on everything, really, goodness)

readers, any tips? am i the only one this happens to?


3 thoughts on “the “herd” effect”

  1. I find that I’m more peaceful when we spend as much of our time at home as possible. It’s only when I have a lot of outside obligations, whether it’s running errands (solution = Amazon), play dates (solution = not sure yet…), or other appointments that creep up. I find I most often lose my cool when we’re out in the world or just back from being out in the world. I feel like when we stay home it’s all more manageable somehow. This past week we were home every morning for potty-training boot camp, a week that was supposed to be extremely stressful, and it was one of the nicest weeks we’ve had in months and months. I’d really like to cut out everything in my life this fall besides Milo’s therapies and homeschool co-op. Those things actually benefit us; errands and play dates honestly stress me out. I don’t know how to do a play date where I’m not just giving percentages of my attention to everyone around me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is some good insight–you know what, I think that I feel that way too. Trying to get places on time is stressful, and playdates usually end up being time that I focus more on the other mom than my kids (which isn’t Bad–but not too much of it, I think). Home is easiest–all our stuff is there, it is all babyproofed and set up for ease of existence with lots of littles. Maybe I need to cut outings back to maybe just every other day. We went out a lot this past week and June has been really whiney–I think she needs her introvert time. BTW, i’m glad potty-training boot camp turned out well! i enjoyed the week “off” as well–i hope things are going well with the training?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s going much better than expected, though we’re not nearly done. Still tons of accidents, but they’re really starting to get it, which is amazing! I credit any/all of our success to your tips, actually! I have the potty in the living room now (except when people are over — ha!) and it makes it much easier to say, “Wait! Potty!” and guide them just a few inches over now.

    I definitely focus more on the other mom than I do on my kids, too, when we have play dates. I enjoy catching up with other moms, but I don’t like doing it at the expense of my kids. I keep thinking, “I should be playing with them.” Or I’m hovering over my kids looking stressed while they’re sitting on a park bench chilling and I feel like a fool. Haha. For me, I feel a lot better about scheduling “coffee nights” with moms on a weeknight or something, so I can totally focus on them while knowing my children are happily with Dad or in bed for the night. I don’t like feeling like I have to ignore my kids, but that’s pretty much how every play date goes. Still, I haven’t come up with a solution yet for avoiding play dates. It seems to be what most moms like to do on weekday mornings.



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