When behaviors are bonkers and your triggers are tripped, use these calm down strategies for moms to regain control and simmer down when you feel like boiling over!
**Links in this post may be affiliate links. This means that if you click that link and purchase the product, I may receive a small compensation. I am, however, committed to honestly assessing the products mentioned. Please read my disclosure policy for more details. **
Motherhood has a way of bringing out the not-so-pretty in us, doesn’t it?? Before we had kids, we swore we would never yell at them, yet here we are. Even the most laid-back, sanguine among us can fall prey from time to time to the “momster” inside. (Let alone those of us who have always struggled with anger!)
Erupting tempers and frustration boil-overs happen to all of us. We’re imperfect moms parenting imperfect kids.
But that doesn’t mean we have to let our emotions rule us. We can (and should) grow in this, progressively strengthening our self-control muscles. Both for our own sake and the sake of our children’s hearts.
Trust me when I say this is not something that has come easily to me. (Remember the anger group I mentioned? I’m a card-carrying member.) My temper tends to be quick and my frustration tolerance low. But since my vision for motherhood does not include yelling at my kids, I’ve intentionally developed strategies to control my moods and outbursts.
If that’s something you could use in your mothering, as well, use these calm down strategies for moms. These are tactics I’ve learned to keep my cool, prevent over (and bad) reactions, and protect my children’s precious hearts.
7 Calm Down Strategies for Moms
When behaviors are bonkers and your triggers are tripped, use these calm down strategies for moms to regain control and simmer down when you feel like boiling over:
1. Stop everything and take deep breaths
The best first thing to do when you feel yourself losing control is immediately stop everything. Then, take several deep breaths. This inserts a little time between the stressor and your response to ensure you’re not reacting out of high emotions. It also slows your heart rate, allows more air flow into your body, decreases your blood pressure, and reduces your muscle tension, calming your nerves and relieving stress and anxiety.
The next thing you can do to calm down is pray for God’s help. Admit you’re angry and don’t know what to do. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay calm and give you the wisdom you need to address the situation. You can even pray out loud! (As long as you’re not insulting or passive-aggressively shaming your kids.) It’s good for our kids to see us struggle sometimes and watch us turn to the Lord for help.
3. Take a Time-Out
“Time outs” aren’t just for kids – they’re great for moms, too! In heated moments, don’t be afraid to tell your kids you’re angry and need a minute to calm down. Remove yourself from the situation until you can respond with a calm heart and level head. Not only will this help you calm down, but it will also model a healthy calm-down strategy for your kids!
4. Remind yourself of your mothering vision
When we feel the urge to react in anger, we can ask ourselves, “Does what I want to do right now align with my values as a mom? Will this support my mothering goals?” By taking a second to think about how we want to mother our children, we can keep ourselves accountable to our overall vision. When we do, our responses will be more about correcting and teaching our kids than venting our own frustrations.
5. Think beyond this moment
It’s so so easy to react in a way that feels good in the moment, but think about how you’ll feel later. Focus on the big picture of your mothering and your relationships with your kids. Consider the effects on their hearts of exploding in anger. I love this quote from Karen Ehman in her book Keep It Shut and have found it to be a powerful reminder: “Don’t say something permanently painful just because you’re temporarily ticked off.”
6. Flip your inner script
I have found I can change the direction of my emotional spirals simply by choosing different thoughts. When I catch myself thinking things like, “I can’t handle this!” or “They’re driving me crazy!” I intentionally flip my script to affirmations such as “God gives me the wisdom and strength I need” and “My kids are a blessing and a joy”. It sounds too simple to be true, but it transforms my attitude and perspective and, therefore, my response.
7. Ask yourself why you’re so upset
After you’ve taken a minute to calm down, try to get a little clarity about your reaction. Ask yourself why the situation upset you so much. Are you taking your kids’ behavior too personally? Are you expecting more than is reasonable from their age and maturity? Are you actually upset about something else entirely and reacting out of that stress?
Identifying the true source of your anger may help you realize the situation with your kids doesn’t actually warrant such a highly-charged response. (A few examples might be spilled milk, accidents, unintentional messes, miscommunication, age-appropriate behavior, etc.) Recognizing this will help you respond in a way that better reflects and resolves the situation.
How to Be Proactive With Your Emotions
Calm-down strategies for moms are valuable and completely necessary. But it’s also good to ward off those momster moments before they rear their ugly head. Here are 3 ways to be proactive with your emotions:
Know your triggers and have a plan to manage them
Using your answers from #7 above, pay attention to any patterns you notice. Is there a time of day (or month) that is hardest for you? Do certain situations or scenarios tend to set you off? Are you noticing the same external stressors popping up and causing you to lose your cool?
Once you’ve identified some of your triggers, you can make a plan to manage them. Maybe you need a better morning or evening routine to make your days smoother. Maybe you need to set up household systems to relieve some of that stress. Or maybe you need to pursue healing for deeply rooted insecurities and issues. Investing time now managing your triggers will pay peaceful dividends in the long run.
“Plan for peace”
I am not good at thinking on my feet, so responding to behavior issues and other stressful parenting situations in the moment is difficult for me. So, I’ve learned to think through possible behavior issues and create a plan for how I want to address them while I’m cool and level-headed. This helps prevent reactions based solely on emotions or feelings in the heat of the moment and helps me calmly respond when situations arise.
I wrote about this in an EARLY blog post of 10 Practical Ways to Plan for Peace if you’d like to know more about this strategy, which comes from Proverbs 12:20.
Practice, practice, practice
The more you implement the above calm down strategies, the more natural they will become. Try practicing them in low-stress situations, first. Practice stopping to evaluate your reactions. Practice taking deep breaths. Practice choosing intentional thoughts. Practice thinking long-term. And practice tracing your emotions back to their source. Practicing when the stakes are low will help you be ready when emotions run high.
Motherhood comes with a fair number of challenges. More than most of us expect! And it’s easy to let our emotions run away from us and react in the moment. But it is possible to control our moods and outbursts (I’m living proof!), and these calm down strategies for moms are a great place to start.
Do you have other strategies to add? What has helped you calm down in heated parenting moments? Share with us in the comments below!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- 10 Ways to Refuel Your Mom Tank Every Day
- 6 Steps to Freedom From Mom Guilt
- 20 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Mom Life
- How to Set Motherhood Intentions to Grow as a Mom