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Dear Moms Of A Screaming, Kicking, Crying, Throwing Something Child,

This medal for mental endurance during EPIC tantrums is for you. You rock! You may think to yourself “Oh MY GOD, how am I ever going to survive this nightmare?” I understand how hard it is not to lose it. I don’t even pretend that I don’t lose it from time to time. It’s so hard to deal with a child who is not in the right frame of mind to even hear your voice, let alone respond to threats of punishment, or attempts to figure out what will make the chaos stop.

After WAY too many of my son’s tantrums lately I finally figured out one universal truth – there is NOTHING to do, but wait it out. It’s like the girl at the party crying in her beer. All attempts to make her feel better are lost. You just say to her “alright time to go to bed and sleep it off.”

Sugar High Crash

My five-year-old son’s tantrums are caused by one thing – he’s overly tired. Sure last night’s Desert Fest 2014 at our neighbor’s house at our weekly “booty call” complete with ice cream, donuts and cookies played a hand in the nightmare of a tantrum produced when we got home, but he was TIRED. First he kicked off his fit when he wanted a glass of water and daddy told him he could have water when we got home (I think it’s less than 60 seconds by car door to door).

Exhausted Jayden
Being overly tired means Jayden either passes
out,
or kicks off an EPIC tantrum.

Then he wound himself up into a good cry, followed by pounding his fists on the floor, and after refusing to get ready for bed he just lay on the floor. When I told him he could just sleep in the hallway and let him lie there he started banging on my bedroom door as I was attempting to get the baby to sleep. Then I could feel the anger in me rising like bile in my throat. I always know that feeling when my face gets hot and I start to bite my lip hard. These are the moments I pray, “Lord, please don’t let me beat my child.” Of course I mean a spanking so feel free to put the phone down. No need to call CPS.

My Right Eye For Some Holy Water

During a particularly bad tantrum that lasted well over an hour last week I looked at my son and thought, “Who the hell are you?” “I so don’t like you right now.” It’s ok to admit it mamas. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid. It means your patience is well beyond spent. It means you are at an utter and total loss as to how to stop it and get your sweet, lovable kid back. If I had some holy water I may have been tempted to throw it on him to see if I could exercise whatever demon was possessing his little body.

A Padded Room For One Please

After my anger passed, I went into “survival denial.” This is when in order not to become “The Hulk” I have to remove myself from the presence of my tantruming boy. If that’s not physically possible, I have to go into a separate room in my mind. Call it meditation, call it what you want.  My goal is to survive it. I’ve tried calming, I’ve trying ignoring and eventually I know that I can do just one thing – survive it. If that means locking myself away in a little happy quiet room in my mind well then that’s exactly what I have to do.

Waiting Out The Tornado

The really crazy thing about a tantrum is that it is gone almost as inexplicably as it began. One minute there are tears and stomping and screaming and the next the tears are dry and that sweet voice comes back to ask you a random question or say, “I love you Mama.” It’s taken living through many of these tantrums to find the inner strength to endure the storm to get to that moment in the tornado where it suddenly dissipates and the sun comes out and life is once again beautiful.

So this is my prayer for you mamas out there – I pray for the strength to endure. Endure till the storm lifts, for surely it cannot last forever, no matter how long and agonizing it feels. Your rainbow is coming. Your “I love you” is right around the next tear drop so just hold on.

Push Through

I’ve said before that parenting is a marathon and not a sprint. A tantrum is therefore that moment where your calf seizes up and you feel like you can’t go on. You know there is a finish line somewhere, but it seems too impossible to continue through the pain. I hope these words help ease the knot of guilt a little bit.

Let The Guilt Go

I often tell my children post-tantrum or episode of misbehaving, “mommy may not like your actions, but I love you no matter what.” This is unconditional love -the “I love you through good times and bad.” It’s hard in that moment when The Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and the storm has cleared and the wave of guilt rushes in. The guilt of “did I really just scream or act crazy or hate my kid in that moment.” It’s ok mama, let it go. Let it go as quickly as your child’s tantrum ends. No need to hang onto it. Massage out your calf and keep running the good race. And just in case you don’t feel like the world’s best mama the next time your child is writhing on the ground, completely immersed in a tantrum this medal is for you. The medal of Supreme Endurance. You have certainly earned it.

 

You’re two days from pay day, have just enough money for gas to get to work, are pulling leftovers out of the fridge trying to invent dishes to last you till you can get to the grocery store, and you turn down plans to go out to dinner with friends. Everyone has been here, the scrape and scrimp survival stage.

Empty Pockets

You swear you’ll be better with your next paycheck so you don’t end up here again.  But then pay day arrives, you breath a sigh of relief, and then promptly forget everything you just went through, well until two days before your next paycheck anyway.

I’ve come to the conclusion that for most people, our financial habits when we are broke are NOT the problem, it’s our financial habits once we have money that cause our downfall. Now that it’s just about time for tax refunds here are 4 tips to use your refund wisely so you can avoid those survival days.

1. Start an Emergency Fund – Even if it’s small at first, $500 to $1,000 socked away in a savings account can mean the difference between an emergency and a financial disaster. If your car or a major appliance breaks you won’t be running to use your credit cards, getting loans, or worse trying to pay out of your paycheck leaving you with a huge shortage and unable to pay your regular bills.

2. Skip The Fancy Vacation & Pay Down Debt Instead – Sure you really want to go on vacation and you so deserve it for working hard all year, BUT you’ll be working so much harder for so much longer the more debt you carry year to year. Go camping, visit family or plan a few staycations instead. Check out myfamilytripplanner.com for great family-friendly destinations in the Hudson Valley. Once you’ve paid off one debt, snowball that monthly payment into your next debt. Once you’re free of debt, you’ll be shocked at just how far your paycheck can really go.

My Family Trip Planner

3. Stop Getting Refunds – Yes this sounds crazy right? Who doesn’t want that nice sizable chunk of change? It makes us all feel a little like we won the lottery. But that money is yours and you’ve just lent it to the government interest free for a year, while you struggled month to month.

We tend to view lump sums as “extra,” “fun-money” or a “win-fall” that wasn’t earned, when nothing could be further from the truth. You earned every penny of that money and you should put it to work as rigorously as you would your paycheck. Talk to your accountant and human resources department about increasing your withholding so you have more money per paycheck and a smaller or no refund at the end of the year.

4. Pay Yearly Premiums – You often get discounts for paying car, home, or life insurance premiums yearly rather than monthly so why not use your refund to pay cheaper rates for insurance and eliminate these monthly expenses from your budget.

You could also check with other service providers to see if you can prepay your bills for the year for a discount. My husband and I switched our home phone provider to a VOIP (voice over internet provider) and paid $200 for 2 years of service which works out to $8 a month, which is far cheaper than any other plan I’ve found and it has eliminated this monthly expense for the next 2 years.

What do you plan on doing with your tax refund?

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