When Wes was struggling so much with anger control issues, I really had to take some time to work on how I controlled my anger as well. It’s hard to teach someone not to hit or say ugly things when you yell in the Angriest Of Voices every time they do it. I’m not saying I’m an angel, but the yelling in this house has dropped substantial the last few years. And I don’t know if I’ve done the Angriest of Voices in over a year. Now, I do “raise my voice” often – you kinda have to have some sort of noticeable different between NAGGING MOM and ANGRY MOM And that’s the best way to do it – but it’s no where near the yelling I have been known to do.
Basically, in trying to help him, I learned better habits too.
I have even perfected the Creepy Calm reaction to bad behavior. It’s not necessarily as attention grabbing as yelling was, but it does seem to sometimes scare the kids into backtracking and isn’t that what parenting is about? Terrorizing your children into proper behavior?
Just Kidding. But the Creepy Calm thing is often effective.
Similarly, inn the last month while we’ve been really trying to help Nikki with her anxiety, I have noticed improvements in the way I handle my own stress levels. I had fallen in to the bad habit lately beer and binging before bed. (Alliteration! It’s what’s for dinner!) I’ve always had this weird compulsion when I’m really stressed, that I need one last filling meal before bed in order to sleep so that there is NO emptiness in my stomach whatsoever. It always makes me feel crappy the next day that I did that, but an overfull stomach always seems to help sooth me at bedtime. As did the beer.
However, last night I had neither and I didn’t really think about it until I was dozing off. Hmm…I’m about to fall asleep and I didn’t have that bedtime sandwich or any beer…interesting…
But you know what we did do? Since last night was not a soccer night we were able to implement a lot of our suggested tools to end the day on a calm note. Nikki’s therapist really wants us to retrain ourselves so that we’re not doing the What Terrible Thing Happened Today conversations in bed as we fall asleep. She wants us to work those out earlier and have that time before bed be just calming time.
So! We went for a 2-mile walk. The kids took showers. We all drank some sleepy-time tea. And we did some aromatherapy massaging. I try to include both kids so that Wes doesn’t feel left out as I can tell he has been lately as we’ve focused on Nikki so much. But it was great! 90 minutes of bedtime prep and it never occurred to me to make a peanut butter sandwich. I did miss having a beer, but mainly at dinner time, not that much before bed.
I still didn’t sleep great, but it was a nice feeling to have fallen asleep relatively easily without the two vices I’ve been depending on lately.
We’ll see if I can do that tonight. Tonight is a soccer night and soccer nights always stress me out because it’s kind of a frenzy from the time I get off work until the time we get home and then it’s bedtime so we don’t have the luxury of long nighttime rituals. I try to at least do the massaging a little, but I’m usually so frazzled that I’m not sure I’m full of the best energy when it’s happening. So tonight, I’ll try to recall the benefits of last night and take a least 15 minutes to mellow with the kids before putting them each to bed and see if that calms me enough to help me decline that last sandwich or beer.
If I could eliminate that pre-bedtime binging or the weeknight beer I feel like I’d be a new woman. All thanks to the efforts to help my daughter cope with her anxiety enough to sleep better.
OH! I’m also going back to getting off of the Diet Coke train. I’ve had some success in the past but I always fall off the wagon. I bought 4 6-packs last week and I told myself when they’re gone, I can not buy anymore Diet Cokes except for the periodic restaurant out. I’ve been having about one a day and y’all? That’s HUGE. I was having at least 4 16-ounce bottles a day. AT LEAST. I’ve been drinking those flavored carbonated waters as an alternative as well as late-in-the-day coffee. I figured I’ll get the Diet Cokes out and then I’ll work on the caffeine dependence.
All in all? Making some progress in many areas! Operation Increase The Awesome, Decrease The Suck is going well!