As you are getting out of the shower in the morning your daughter comes in your room asking if she can use your steamer to get a crease out of her sweater. At the same time your other daughter comes in to show you the bump she has on her head from a rough basketball game the night before. Your third daughter is efficiently making her lunch for school in the kitchen. Everything is going along as smoothly as it can on a cold Wednesday morning. Then, as your daughter turns on the steamer, a fuse blows..And all chaos breaks loose. The dog starts barking so she can go outside, your daughter with the bump can’t find the Advil for her headache, you go downstairs and attempt to reset the fuse and instead quickly turn off and then on the lights in your third daughter’s room so she calls you to find out what is happening. You switch every fuse and can’t seem to find the one that will work to turn on the lights in your room and bathroom. The clock is ticking and it’s time to warm up the car to drive your girls to the bus so they don’t have to stand in the 9 degree frigid cold. You attempt to stay calm and your patience is certainly wearing thin.
Does this sound somewhat familiar? If so, you are certainly not alone. While there is no Calgon to take you away (I hope most of you get this reference :)) here are some helpful tips to keep you calm, at least until they are all out the door and on the bus.
1) Give yourself a Mini Time-Out. Spend an extra few minutes in the basement looking for the correct fuse to switch. Take these minutes to do some mindful breathing and repeat a soothing mantra to yourself.
2) Prioritize. Remind yourself that while annoying, it is not an emergency to fix the lights right now. Think of what has to be done right now and what can wait.
3) Ask for Help. I find in moments of mini-crisis most kids/teens will rise to the occasion and help out.
4) Phone a friend. Is there someone you know you can call at this early time and just give a quick vent? It might help to dump some of the stress out and it might make you less likely to raise your voice if it’s to another adult on the phone instead of your kids.
5) Plan Ahead. While the scenario above does not seem to allow for any prior planning, as many stressful mornings do not, try to plan ahead as best you can so there are no additional stressors that will then add to the unforeseen ones. If you know it’s garbage day, have the kids help with collecting the trash and take the garbage to the curb the evening before. Have your kids make sure they have all that is needed for school ready the evening before.
6) Expect the Unexpected. Be aware that there might always be something that comes up in the morning that you did not plan for. The less stressed you act, the better it will be for all to have a good day. You are also teaching your kids a valuable lesson of how not to sweat the small stuff and remain calm amidst the morning rush.