Mom Needing Advice on How to Stay Calm and Not Over-react

Updated on February 09, 2010
B.H. asks from Detroit, MI
13 answers

For some time now I have been having a really hard time trying to get myself and my two boys (5 and 3) dressed and ready for school and daycare in the mornings. I get so stressed out until I start screaming and yelling at everyone.
Alot of nights I have a hard time sleeping and I'm to be up by 6a.m. but because I'm so tired I don't get up until 6:30. I spend sunday evening making everything is ready so we don't have a hard time which does not help much .
Most nights I have a hard time getting the boys to stop playing around and go to sleep. So, by morning they are sleepy and they give me a hard time. I have to argue with them about getting out of bed, brushing their teeth and so on.
Then they start arguing or fighting over a toy or about something. My youngest one ends up crying. My husband gets mad at me because I'm so upset by the fact that all of this is going on, I'm running late. He tells me that I overract while I feel that he is doing nothing.
This morning I came downstaris to get get breakfast. And their is screaming in the kitchen because they were fighting over a toy. He is standing right there and was not saying anything. I got so mad I took the toy (yo yo) and threw it against the wall and behind the refrigerator. They all start looking at me like I'm crazy.
I need to stop this. Should give my husband a change and just get up tomorrow morning and get myself dressed and just leave the house like he does.
I don't like myself when I get this way and its not the type of wife and mother I want to be.
Any advice Please.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your very helpful advice. It's good to know that others have had the same feelings. I guess this morning it was not just about the toy but all the stuff and just feeling overwhelmed before the fight over the toy just caused me to "lose it" I just could not control myself. I don't do well with time limits but I will try some your suggestions.

Featured Answers



answers from Toledo on

Things that I have found that make my mornings easier....Even though you hate it, get up early enough so that you are not rushed. Being short on time makes everything more stressful. The way I look at it, I am still tired if I hit the snooze a few extra times, so its not like that extra sleep benefitted me anyhow. Also, I put everything in my car the night before so I don't have to worry about forgetting anything, or taking the time to get it together in the morning (bookbags, diaper bags, things I have to take to work). The other thing I do is set time limits. I tell my son, "If you are not dressed when I get done blowdrying my hair, then I am going to dress you." I do the same for brushing teeth, eating, getting his coat on. Mornings are not entirely peaceful at my house, but these things have definitely helped. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I know it can be really frustrating to get out of the house in the morning. Especially when your DH doesn't seem to feel it's his job to help you. My MIL once told me her mom was dealing with a husband who would sit in the car and wait for her to get herself and their four kids out of the house each morning, so she could drive him to work and drive a couple of the kids to school. Apparently he would honk the horn until she came out. Finally one morning she just came out alone and got in the car. He asked where the kids were and she told him she was guessing inside and he should take care of it. He started to help more after realizing how hard the job was.

One thing you should maybe evaluate is just how stressed out you are. Why are you not sleeping well at night? Money concerns? Other family issues? Addressing the sleep issues might take care of a lot of the other problems. Enlist your husband's help if possible, but lay down the law about the boys falling asleep at night. Be firm. Take away amusements or determine some punishment for disobeying (and stick to it). When they go to bed, you go too. I know after the kids go to bed is the time for you to relax but sleep might be more important at this point. Depending on how you feel about OTC sleep aids I might consider one of those too.

Tell your husband you won't do it alone anymore. Have him be in charge of one of the boys in the morning. It sounds like they get each other in trouble anyway and separating them a little in the morning might make things go more smoothly.

Take deep breaths. At least you recognize your behavior as not ideal and are taking steps to change it. You will get through this and so will the rest of your family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh girl, I feel for you. I was in your shoes about 3 months ago. I would get so angry all the time, I found my temper getting the best of me. I had never been like that. So I started do a little soul searching. I started praying. I sat my husband down, and had a really deep talk about what I needed from him. If your husband is anything like mine, you have to lay it all out and tell him. Hints won't do. It took awhile but now we're more of a team in the mornings and very rarely do we have WWIII at our house.
Also when I feel stressed. I take a deep breath and tell myself "I'm to blessed to be stressed". I'll keep saying it till I feel better.
Good luck to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

First of all, you are not alone! I feel like this almost every day. (I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old.) It is so frustrating when the kids don't listen, especially when they're clearly doing it just to irritate you. My husband also gets upset and doesn't understand why I am so stressed about it, he tells me I'm bringing him down and making the boys more upset. And of course that doesn't help!!
I have done my fair share of throwing things, it can feel really really good. But then, if you're anything like me, after throwing whatever it is, you feel guilty and are worried about scaring your kids.
It is really really hard to break out of this stress cycle, because for me, that's what causes these constant freak outs--just an insane amount of stress, and no break.
Your husband just gets dressed and leaves the house without helping? That would make me even madder! If you trust him to wake up (mine sleeps so deep that I don't trust him to get up when babies cry), I'd let him know the night before that you plan to get up and leave first thing in the morning, because you reallly really need a break. Just make sure to give him notice, so he doesn't think you just walked out!
Trust me, I know what you're going through, and as I am still in the midst of it, I cannot guarantee how fast it'll get better, but I do believe that it will. I agree about not liking yourself when you're like that, I hate myself when I get like that. Being a mother is extremely stressful.
Another suggestion I have (please don't be offended, as it's not meant to be offensive), is an anti-anxiety medication? I had to go on one of them, as well as an antidepressant, because it was getting the point that I simply did not want to wake up in the morning anymore. But the anti-anxiety medication has been wonderful. I understand not wanting to be drugged, because I was against it at first, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. I am no longer yelling constantly.
Sorry this is so long, but I can relate and I'd like to help however I can. I know it doesn't feel good right now, and I wish you all the best. Feel free to email me, if you'd like my email address send me a message and I'll give it to you there (not posting it here for random people to see it).
I hope you feel better, and if you get the chance to write back, please do!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Casper on

I feel your pain. One thing that might help is to sit down with all of them (like a family meeting) and discuss all the things that have to happen in the morning. What everyone's roles are and what can be done to make it a bit more equal. I would also express your sorrow for acting the way you have, and vow you will try harder to stay calm, if you think that is valid. Write everyone's suggestions, comments and decisions down, so you can post it some where later as a reminder. Make sure everyone is clear on what part they are going to play.
Perhaps your husband can get the boys breakfast while you get ready, and then you can take over when you are done. Let your husband know that you need somethings to change and ask him to come up with some ideas or just let him know of things that would really help you out. Maybe you could trade responsibilities every other day. Then you could enjoy less stress as he does and just get yourself ready and leave at least a few times during the week.
You could also talk about consequences for the boys for not doing their parts and possible rewards for obedience and compliance.
Make sure you are all getting up a little over an hour from when you need to leave the house. That way your bodies have time to fully wake up and be functioning.
What ever you decide to do, try not to do it out of anger or resentment, that will only cause more problems, talk with you family and let them know what you are planing to do.
Good luck getting everyone on the same page!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I can totally understand. I think you need to learn some basic parenting strategies and such. I'm a work-in-progress myself. I have a friend with four boys ranging from 4-12, and they all share a room. In order to get them to go to sleep, she stays in the room with them after putting them to bed to make sure that they go to sleep. The oldest has to be up early to catch the bus before 7.

Also, I would highly recommend trying out the flylady. She has a free internet coaching thing, where she sends you an email daily with a list of tasks that will make your life run smoother. For instance, before bed she has the "before bed routine", where you lay out your clothes for the next day and have everything you'll need in the "launch pad", so that you're all ready to go in the morning, and the same goes for the kids.

Also, I would recommend any books by John Rosemond to help you get a handle on discipline. I don't know where I would be without him. If they are fighting over a toy, absolutely take it away, calmly. He also teaches to "strike when the iron is cold", meaning to expect the worst (how they normally behave) and have a plan in place, and tell them what the plan is. Then, when they are doing whatever awful thing they are doing, act on the plan. His book the Six Point Plan for Raising Happy Healthy Children is excellent. He has a new book out on discipline, but I haven't read it yet. The six point book makes a big point of putting your marriage first and foremost. Maybe read it with your husband so that you can both be on board, and both decide what strategies to put in place and can both be consistent in discipline. It sounds like you both just don't know what to do. Also, like the flylady says, go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can get up in the morning (get up 15 minutes before everyone else so you can get a headstart on the day, which makes a huge difference). And, John Rosemond says to get the kids up half an hour sooner if they need that much more time to dawdle and fool around. Have them go to bed sooner so that they can - I know, easier said than done. If my kids aren't going to sleep, I'm not afraid to go in and administer some appropriate swats (John Rosemond says 1-5 swats with an open hand on the bum only is appropriate).

Anyway, do get some help (read the book, start doing the flylady) and start going on dates with your hubby if you aren't already. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I know how you feel! I have 3 girls, 16 yrs, 3 1/2 & 2 1/2 with very strong personalities. It sounds like you're overwhelmed and all the responsibility is on you. Your husband needs to help you and not stand on the side lines and let you be the "bad guy" all the time! I would recommend a family meeting, (the boys are old enough to understand) where you calmly sit down and explain how you feel and delegate responsibilities, establish consequences and a reward system. Prepare them in the morning for it, "at 6 o'clock tonight, we are having a family discussion", don't spring it on them last minute or when your frustrated.
I would turn the TV off 30-45 mins. before bedtime to help wind them down, My girls LOVE books, so the best and fastest way for me to get them upstairs and brush their teeth and get in bed is to say "the first one up and ready gets to pick out the book" and they can't get up fast enough. Find out what grabs their attention the most and use it to your advantage. Turn it into a game, rather than an argument. Reverse psychology is your friend!
Sometimes, when they are fighting over a toy, i just let them...and tell them they have to learn to work it out themselves and walk away for my own sanity. They usually stop when they realize I'm not going to participate.
I know I wrote a lot and I am certainly not an expert, but I have been where you are and it's not fun or healthy for anyone!!
I hope my 10 cents helps.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Right now I only have one to get ready in the morning for school, but next year I will have 2 to get out the door for school by 7:50. Then we go through it again for a noon pick-up for pre-school (which won't change next year cause my 2 yr old will be going instead of my 4 yr old). And I will have an infant next year (I'm due in July).

But since you and your hubby are also getting ready, why can't he help a little? One take one boy the other the other, that way it not all on you. As for waking them up, mommy tries - if they don't wake, send daddy in for the 2nd wake-up call. That way it's not all on your shoulders.

Breakfast idea... bake muffins on Sunday or in the evening for the next day or two. My kids love muffins and they are super easy to get out of a container & give them. Plus, depending on which you give them they are healthy.

My daughter isn't alloud to play with toys in the morning when she is getting ready for school. Unless she is completely ready to go out the door (that is except the coat). She is 5 - I get her clothes ready, sometimes I put out 2 pairs of pants & 2 shirts for her to pick from (they were uniforms, so there isn't a lot to pick from) a pair of underware & socks. She has been told when I go to start the car she is to start putting on her shoes, then we do hair & and start getting on coats & stuff. Our school offers lunchs for free, so she eats one there. But if she wants something it's usually a muffin or pop tart. Sometimes when she is on meds & has to eat with them - I make her toast w/ p.butter or jelly. We don't do much cereal on school mornings because my kids eat 2-3 bowls of it & it takes way to long for them to eat it. We use it more for weekends & after-school snacks.

Hope a few of my ideas will help - I know it can be stressfull when kids don't listen... sometime I think I'm talking to the wall, cause everyone listens to me about as well as it does.

Take care!!


answers from Jacksonville on

YES, I think we have all had our moments like you have described.
Something I discovered was that if I ignore whatever it is going on, then it tends to resolve itself. For example, You came down to get breakfast and the kids were fighting and your husband was standing there (eating? watching? what... ?). You could have gotten your breakfast and not said anything. Then gone back upstairs to brush your teeth. I KNOW I KNOW.. it is SO incredibly difficult to ignore these things... but just imagine what would have happened if you had been able to do that. How empowering would that be for you? The kids would either work it out, or not. Hubby would intervene, or not. But you would be another 2 steps ready to get out the door. Often, NOT intervening is SO shocking to the kids that they separate themselves from each other without you doing anything.

If I intervene in my kids' arguments, they both argue AT ME about who was doing/not doing, etc... Then I have to decide who "wins" and "loses" the argument AND deal with the aftermath. If I let THEM work it out (or not) they just stop talking to eat other and go into avoidance mode. Amazing how quiet that can be sometimes. But the elder child started trying to make up with the younger after I stopped stepping in. Now I'll just tell them... "I'm not in this, you two work it out yourselves".

One other thought, is to get your husband more involved in bedtime. Is he not at home? Or is there some other reason that he can't go in and tell them to GO TO SLEEP at the appropriate time when they aren't falling asleep like they should be? It is amazing what a Daddy's voice can do, with the exact same words. If you are stressed like this all the time, it's a wonder you sleep at all. Knowing what your morning is going to be like would keep me up too. So vow to let it go and just get your shower, get dressed and eat. Give the kids a heads up that from here on out, if they misuse their time in the morning and aren't ready to leave on time.. then it's too bad. They will go to daycare/school in their PJ's (or whatever). And let it happen one time if need be!! (you might want to mention to the teacher/daycare in advance that this is a possibility as you are making some adjustments to the schedule at home ;) ) My kids used to tune me out when I'd say if you're not ready you'll go to school that way.. until I made my daughter get in the car barefoot. (she had her shoes and socks in her hand). Now they are a little snappier about getting ready.


answers from Chicago on

Deep breaths!

You could create a poster for the boys to review in the morning. You can take pictures of them getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, making their bed (hey - you can dream!), brushing their teeth, packing their backpacks, shoes, coats, etc. Put the pictures and words describing the actions on the poster - you can glue little velcro dots in boxes next to the pics so the boys can put colored felt on the things they've completed. Or you can have the poster laminated and use dry erase markers.

Then refer to the poster. If they are fighting over a toy - why? It's not on the list of things they should be doing. Take the toy and move on. There's no need to yell. What's next? Enlist your husband's help in keeping the boys on track. Give warnings: 15 minutes until we go! 10 minutes! 5 minutes = Last chance! Consequences can be going to school/daycare unprepared, and an earlier bedtime that night since they had so much trouble in the morning.

Whatever you decide, be consistent. They're still young and learning. If you have the tv on, turn it to the news or turn it off - you don't want the kids to be distracted.

I think you should talk to your husband after the boys are in bed and tell him you need his help in the morning. They are his kids too. Tell him that you will ask him to step in when you feel you are getting too stressed. Float some of the ideas mentioned here by him. Come up with a plan together. You both are partners - and should work together!

Good luck and let us know what happens!



answers from Chicago on

some ideas for you:

let the kids where their clothes to bed, who cares, soon the boys will get out of this stage

you & your husband are responsible for one kid in the morning

or your husband gets ready for the first 20 min while you are downstairs with the boys then your husband stays down stairs with the boys for 30 min while you get ready, lock yourself in the bathroom & turn on tv or radio so you cant hear the chaos & tape a piece of paper to the mirror thats says "It's no big deal, let it go" or

i used to be a thrower too when i have had enough & everyone looks at me like i am crazy, but i have learned that it doesnt get me anywhere, nothing changes, so now i just walk out, my husband doesnt like that so thats what has gotten his attention....i really hope you got some ideas that will help you thru this stage in life



answers from Boston on


I would still get it all ready the night before. I would get up-get ready-leave for work like he does. I would tell him from now on that we will switch every other week. This is now his week.

Stop throwing things!!! LOL your not crazy just overwhelmed ! I would also go out and purchase sweatpants they can sleep in and take them to daycare like that. They brush there teeth at night, I would have them brush them when they get home from daycare. Just do a quick face and hand washing and your done!!

At bed time from now on you should have story time, they each can pick a book....or you pick it. Read to them while they are in there beds. When you or your husband are done. LIGHTS OUT!! it will take a few nights with a new routine.

If you cannot sleep try changing your intake of any caffine. Maybe get a workout in to your routine ....this will help with your stress.

I would have an easy breakfast also, maybe a cup of cereal or a banana for the the kids. But make it as easy as possible so that yours and your family can leave the house happy. It not a good day for anyone when there is fighting in the morning.

Good luck



answers from Detroit on

can definitely understand and totally relate!
We have 3 small boys (3.5, 2, and 5 months) and we are late almost everywhere we go, no matter how much prepping we do the night before. Part of the problem is me, I tend to procrastinate. Part of the problem is just having young children.
No matter what, do whatever works best for you to stay calm (deep breathing exercises, counting to 10 before responding, faking a smile during a response) - because your boys will only react to yelling with the same behavior. At least that is the way it happens in my house ~ they are modeling my (our) behavior.
Next, learn to make some things easy on yourself. I liked what others had to say about letting them sleep in their clothes, feed quick/easy breakfasts, etc. And yes....though it seems impossible at times, learn to let some things go. That makes a world of difference for me and my demeanor!

And when you have time, read this blog post from a woman who has 4 small children (5 and under) and is pregnant with #5. She manages to stay sane and make parenting look like a dream, but in a practical, non-judgmental kind of way.

I hope you find some peace soon!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions