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What to do when your kids stop listening and…you want to start screaming.

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Homeschooling is easy. Parenting is hard. So as a mum or dad, doing “okay” is the new great! But, how do you know you’re doing an okay job anyway?

Well, it’s by looking in the rear-view mirror of your parenting experience. By judging based on what has happened to date. What happened 5 minutes ago, 30 minutes ago, a few hours ago, yesterday, last week, last month, last year and so on. However, the problem is human memory is notoriously unreliable. We tend to remember the worst parts and forget the best. So even as we look back to see how well or poorly we’re doing, we never really know.

The parenting ride

Memory problems aside, I’m sure you’ll agree parenting is quite the ride, isn’t it?

It’s an emotional roller coaster ride of discovery. One moment you’re delighted, the next moment downright flabbergasted at your child.

“Seriously!” you exclaim in disbelief. “Where did you learn that? Is that how I teach you to behave? Have you seen me do that?”

“Ummm nooo?” mumbles your child, unsure whether to be honest about your private display of role modelling. But looking in those innocent eyes, you see a silent replay of your behaviour in a similar situation.

“Whoops!” you think to yourself, “Monkey see, monkey do”. But instead, you blink that embarrassing memory away and, huff “You must be learning that at school!” or “Maybe you need to change your friendship circles!”. The irony is your child most likely learnt said behaviour from their parenting circle. Shudder. Shudder.

A trip down a scary lane

Seeing as we are already skulking down memory lane, let’s go a little further.

Remember your childhood? When you were the backseat driver, with your parents driving the parenting. How was the ride then? Now that you’re driving, how’s the ride? What are your little backseat drivers telling you? Well, my mum made it look so easy. Her parenting style was so smooth, so gentle. It was like being in a driverless car of the future. Now here I am, and my present reality is nothing like the past. With me in the driver’s seat, it seems like this parenting machine is out of control. The brakes don’t work so well. Most times, it feels like I’m careering down a steep hill carrying precious cargo. All I can do is honk and swerve to avoid hitting the many parenting obstacles or damaging my precious passengers with my wayward driving.

Yes, parenting and being parented is no ordinary ride. It is an emotional roller coaster ride of discovery. So, what do you do when you feel like screaming because, well, frankly, your kids have stopped listening?

What do you do when you feel like screaming because, your kids have stopped listening?

What do you do when you don’t know what else to do?

From pregnancy to birth, the focus goes from your growing belly to having a healthy baby. Then on raising happy children and hopefully growing responsible adults.

In the excitement of the motherhood journey, a woman’s self-care has traditionally been sacrificed for the higher care of the new being.

You go through all the baby checklists. But often forget to go through the mother checklist. To check-in with yourself.

However, your children need you as much as you need them. Your physical, mental, emotional health and well-being are just as important as the health and well-being of your baby and growing child. So, from the start, the focus of care should be on both mum and child.

You need to take care of your body and brain from the inside out.

What’s missing on your to-do list

So, every day, especially when you don’t know what to do, start with this simple checklist. It’s the Busy Mum’s Healthy-5-To-Do Checklist.

What is it?

A health list. It’s just like a shopping list but for your health as a mum.

What do I need?

You’ll need a

  • Pen and

  • Paper, e.g., writing paper, paper towel, tissue paper, toilet paper, any paper!

How it works

Five pillars are an essential foundation for a healthy lifestyle. All five work best together. They are a strong support and energy source for you as you go through your day. These five pillars form your daily Mum’s Healthy-5-to-do checklist:

  1. Sleep

  2. Physical activity

  3. Mental activity

  4. Nutrition

  5. Social & soulful connection

What if I skip one or don’t have time to do them all?

As a busy mum, life happens, and sometimes we don’t manage to do everything we hoped. All five pillars work best together. But, if one pillar is missing or not strong, you will still feel a whole lot better than you do now by strengthening the others.

How do I do it?

STEP ONE – SAFETY FIRST. Make sure everyone is safe, and there is no real danger.

STEP TWO – BREATHE. Take six slow, deep belly breathes in and out. Deep belly breathes help relax your tense body and calm your frantic mind. Your muscles will feel less tight, your racing heart will slow down, and more oxygen will flow through your body. It also helps connect your body and mind, bringing you to the present.

STEP THREE CHECK IN with yourself. ASK yourself these three questions:

  1. “What am I thinking now?” e.g. I don’t know what to do; I am going to scream etc.

  2. “What am I feeling right now?” e.g., frustrated, tired, angry, hungry, hangry.

  3. “What can I do to feel better?” – This is where you check your Healthy-5-to-do checklist

STEP FOURCHECK OFF your Healthy-5-to-do CHECKLIST Doing your Healthy-5-to-do is easy as 1, 2, 3. Write the five health pillars down on your paper. Then for each pillar, simply

  1. CHECK IT -have you done it yet? Then either

  2. TICK IT if you’ve done it OR

  3. DO IT if you haven’t done it yet. Try to do it straight away or as soon as possible.

HOW TO DO your Healthy-5-to-do








Physical activity


Mental activity




Social & soulful connection

Check it

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. How did I sleep? e.g., sleep broken because child was unwell or had a nightmare, few good solid hours, slept well.

  2. Did I get some physical activity? Have I moved my body more today? e.g., walk, roll (if in a wheelchair), jog, ride, stretch etc. Whatever your body can do.

  3. Did I train my brain to be more mentally present with what I am doing and feeling? Did I try and focus my mind on only one thing at a time?

  4. Have I fed myself yet? When did I last eat something and drink water?

  5. Did I show myself some love while I lovingly cared for my children? Or do I need to spend time connecting with those I love?

Tick it

Tick the ones you have done. With the ones you haven’t done, ask yourself: “Which ones can I still do to give me strength and energy as I go through the rest of today?”

Do it

Try to do what you still can. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Do you need more sleep? If you can, nap for 25-40mins. If you can’t, try rest with your eyes closed for a few minutes.

  2. Have you moved your body just to move it more? Moving your body gets your heart pumping stronger, your blood moving, and your brain releasing “feel-good” hormones. A few minutes can even help. Walk briskly or jog outside. No babysitter? Take the kids. Put baby in the pram/carrier, older kids on bikes or scooters and go outside. Can’t go outside? Walk briskly/jog around the room or on the spot. Not able to walk? Move your arms fast up and down above your head, to the side, or round and round.

  3. What’s on your mind? How are you feeling? Are you tired, hungry, angry, sad, frustrated …? Simply noticing and acknowledging what you’re feeling at that moment is essential. Although you may not flick the “happy switch” to ON, it is the first step to feeling better.

  4. Hungry? Feed yourself with food and water. Eat something filling. Fresh fruit or vegetables. Dried fruit, seeds, or nuts. Ready-to-eat meals or leftovers. If there is no “healthy” food available, just eat what food you have available today. You can plan your other meals later. Drink water too.

  5. Have you got in touch with someone who loves you today? Gently hug your child. Hug yourself. Yes, hugging, cuddling, and kissing someone, even yourself, may feel weird, but your body still releases oxytocin-the love hormone. This love hormone helps us feel good.

It may not be rocket science, but it is a natural science. The Busy Mum’s Healthy-5-to-do Checklist is a simple yet powerful tool. You will think more clearly and feel much better just doing it.

As mums, we are all doing the best we can, but sometimes we need a reminder we are still human. We may no longer be children, but our basic needs are still the same. We need to eat, drink, poop, sleep, feel cared for and be loved.

So next time you don’t know what to do, CHECK-IN with yourself and CHECK OFF your Healthy-5-to-do.

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