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5 Ways to Survive Until Bedtime

If you have kids, then you've had one (or many) of those days. The ones where the kids got up far too early and hit the ground running. You're in a grumpy mood, and they aren't faring much better. There are tears over cereal choices just as you remember that you're out of coffee. And it seems as though your kids have a sixth sense for when you really need them to behave because they take the opportunity to push your every button. I've had my fair share of days like these, and over the years I've developed a few techniques for shaking off the frazzle and turning a bad day around.

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1. Get Outside

I realize I say this from my very spoiled Californian point of view, but if at all possible, fresh air tends to do everyone a world of good. Try to go someplace where the kids can run and yell and play to their hearts' content. Or usher everyone into the backyard in their pajamas, because sometimes the thought of getting everyone dressed and wrangling carseat buckles is just too much.

2. Call a Life Line

It can really help to vent. When I have a particularly trying day, I call my mom and complain. She listens like a champ and reminds me of all the ways my kids are wonderful. I always love my kids, but every once in a while I need a reminder of why I like them. Another great call to make is to a mom friend: They've been there, they totally get it, they will make you feel less alone, and they will just laugh at all the screaming in the background.

No matter what, know that you're not alone, we've all been there.

3. Throw a Dance Party

It's hard to stay mad when you're rocking out to your favorite jam. And I find my kids' dance moves particularly amusing, which is helpful when they're driving me bonkers. If you rock out hard enough, it can totally count as your workout, and it may just zonk out the little nut balls. Now that's what I call multitasking.

4. Give Yourself a Timeout

I've never had luck with timeouts for my kids. But that doesn't stop me from putting myself on one. Make sure the kids are safe and occupied; a day like this is no time to follow a screen-free policy. Then lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes, preferably with a trashy magazine and a bar of chocolate. A few deep breaths and a little pep talk in the mirror might just do the trick.

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5. Just Say Yes

Sometimes these bad days happen because I try to cram way too many "have-to" obligations into a day. It makes me totally crabby and the kids obviously hate it—who wants to run errands all day? Sometimes you've just got to throw the to-do list out the window and say yes to something fun. Grab an ice cream cone, drive to the beach, let fun win.

If you've just Googled "my kids are driving me crazy," I really hope these things help. No matter what, know that you're not alone—we've all been there. If all of these tips fail, just try to keep everyone alive until bedtime, then pour yourself a very well-deserved glass of something and relax, because tomorrow is a brand-new day.

Image via Flickr/Ben Raynal

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