What I tell myself when I start to lose my temper with my child

These three little words really help. ❤️

What I tell myself when I start to lose my temper with my child

Back when my daughter was smaller and fit better in my lap, I used to take her at night before bed and spend a few moments rocking her. Those were usually the times I would tell her I was sorry for losing my temper that day and that I promised to be a better mom tomorrow. She would stare up at my face in the darkness, not really sure what I was saying, but I always thought it was important to let her know.

As a mother to a 3-year-old, I've had a few bad parenting moments. Maybe more than a few. I've lost my temper, and I've let my daughter enter into a battle of wills with me more times than I've wanted to admit.


During those moments, I've struggled with my feelings.

I've wondered why someone three feet tall can have so much power over me. It wasn't until I started changing my perspective that I've been able to find some sort of good in those times when I've wanted to pull my hair out.

Take for instance the time she took out her painting kit (thank you, washable paints!) and painted her toes, face, hands, couch, dog, curtains and dining room table. That was not a good parenting moment. In fact, I ended up shouting at her, making her cry.

I was pregnant, nauseous and exhausted. After I walked out of the room to have a good cry myself, I realized yet again, how much I felt like a failure when it came to my relationship with my toddler. And I needed to apologize. After all, it was only 7:30 in the morning and we had a full day ahead of us.

I hugged her and we cleaned everything up. She was more than happy to help and I was trying to let go of the resentment I was feeling from not quite being able to get the blue paint out of the cream-colored curtains.

In my three and a half years of being a mom, I have had some really good teaching moments with my daughter. When she was in the stage of wanting to run away from me every chance she got, I took the advice of our early childhood teacher and had a conversation with her each time we'd enter a store: "If you run away from Mama, you're going to need to sit in the cart. You need to stay by me and hold my hand."

The crazy thing was, this actually worked most of the time. It even progressed to me asking her what the rule was and her telling me in her tiny voice that she needed to stay by me or she'd go in the cart. In those moments I'd feel like I was on top of the world. I had this parenting thing down. But then we'd get home and she'd lose it because I cut the peanut butter sandwich wrong and I'd end up struggling to keep my anger in check. Why was it so hard to deal with such a small person who couldn't even say her "Ts" correctly?

In those moments of darkness, it was easy to succumb to feeling like I was an inadequate parent. That I was letting her irrationality get the best of me.

I worked purposely on changing my perspective.

I'm a far cry from perfection, but I try to keep in mind when we're butting heads that really, both my daughter and I are learning this parenting thing together.

I could actually let go of some of that frustration. Just like I'm learning how she likes her sandwich cut, I'm learning about her and who she is as a person. And gaining that perspective has helped me deal with those feelings at the moment.

She's not being a tiny self-centered dictator, she's just simply growing into who she is. And she is going to be a strong independent woman when she grows up. She's spirited and innovative and stands her ground.

I'm not inadequate— we just have to keep working together.

I can't undo those moments when I lost my temper with my daughter. I certainly can't stop her behaviors, that now include a new love of watercolors on her skin. But I can change my outlook on how I'm reacting going forward.

We're learning together. In those bad parenting moments that make us human, I have the power to repeat these three words to myself, sometimes over and over as much as it takes to sink in.

We're learning together. It's my responsibility as her mom.

You might also like:

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less