After a dozen times of escorting each one to a separate quiet, calming activity to try to help them wind down it was my turn. I turned on some calm music to soothe that beginning-to-boil feeling of my patience wearing thin and just sat by myself in the rocking chair, gazing out the window while they roared their roars. One song and a dozen or so deep breaths gave me a better idea.
Rather than sending them off to separate areas to try to calm the chaos; I brought them together. I gathered us in the middle of the living room floor with a kids yoga book. One immediately threw herself to the floor whining that she didn't want to do yoga. Without responding I just started doing the poses and talking about the animals in the pictures. I had one child's interest at least, even if she is a bit young for the poses. The other one continued to flop around ignored.
As the one's interest began to grow, so did our interactions as we talked about the book. The other began to get a little jealous, the m.o. of the day, that we were having fun without her so she began to toss in little comments too which were promptly acknowledged. I was still the only one participating in the moves but at least there was pleasant conversation as we took this time together. The soft music still played in the background.
Finally there was a pose that I knew my oldest daughter loves to do. In her current mood she was still not receptive to this activity though. So instead I pretended I couldn't figure out how to do it. I put one foot up in the air and pretended to fall over. After a couple silly stunts she came to the rescue to show me how to do it properly.
The baby was starting to lose interest but I had them both in a calm mood at least. We switched the music over to kids' dance music and they managed to play together for a short while happily. As tempers escalated again the music went back to calm and I set the yoga book out again.
I will admit for having done yoga three (short) times today I still feel emotionally drained. It zaps my energy on days like this as I use all my resources to keep calm and help steer them back to safe, gentle play. But it is also very rewarding to hear them making positive connections and playing together happily as we practice this again and again.
I am far from a perfect mom but I am so grateful for the tools I have to try my best. I'm grateful to keep reminding myself to give grace as I try to understand what elements are contributing. I'm grateful for the way soft music soothes me. I'm grateful to remind myself that I have to soothe me first so I can respond from a place of calm. I'm grateful to take a moment to just sit and rest. I'm grateful for these two beautiful, sweet girls even on the days there is more spice than sugar.
What do you do to help regain your balance? What helps soothe you then things are chaotic?
May we remember to take care of ourselves. May we find the tricks that help us remain centered so we can respond with grace. Have a beautiful day!