All moms can relate to the awful feeling of being the "angry mother" every once in a while. While having children is a blessing and a joy, the truth is motherhood is really hard, and sometimes you can't help but vent your frustrations on your kids. Kelly Holmes, who writes a blog called The Reformed Idealist Mom, was struggling with this problem.
Holmes had noticed herself snapping at her preschool-aged daughter over even the smallest things, and she wanted to stop.
"Unfortunately for me, I’d developed a bad habit of talking sharply to my preschooler, " she wrote. "My brain was on autopilot headed in the wrong direction towards being an angry mother."
But a simple trick helped her completely change her attitude.
Holmes solution was to re-wire her brain, so instead of falling back on her bad habits and getting cranky, she would instinctively be positive. All she needed to pull off this dramatic change was 5 hair ties.
Her method is to wear 5 hair ties (or bracelets, etc.) on one wrist. Whenever she snapped at her children, she would move one to the other side. Her goal was to end the day with all the bracelets on the good side.
If she made a mistake, she could "earn" a bracelet back by doing 5 positive things to make up for her attitude. Holmes also only wore the ties when her daughter was around, to reinforce the habit and keep herself safe.
Holmes saw her behavior improve right away, but expected the effect would wear off. Instead, she managed to completely change her everyday mood.
"Months later, the hair tie trick is still working wonders," Holmes wrote.
"I talk to my preschooler with love and kindness in my voice instead of annoyance and frustration."
As an added bonus, she says her daughter's behavior has improved over the past few months too, because of the positive reinforcement. Win-win!
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