One thing I have been an absolute failure at -
Being relaxed and calm, enjoying life at its fullest.
Being relaxed and calm can be extraordinarily hard when little ones are running around, always demanding things.
They are hungry, thirsty, have a belly-ache, all 3 want to tell me things right now at the same time, they need to go potty, they need a tissue, oops they spilled milk, they want to go outside, they want to go inside, and please mommy can they have candy, and no, they don't want to practice piano/violin, do homework, chores, get dressed or brush their teeth.
I am glad I did not know how hard the parenting thing was going to be before I had any kids. I wouldn't have understood, anyway. Now, to be honest - my kids are pretty easy-going, without major behavioral problems. So this is more of my own problem - I find parenting so hard because I kind of suck as a parent. I loose patience. I yell. I get mad.
One thing I've started noticing - the kids, when they talk to each other, they get mad and start yelling because they are mimicking my husband and me. My husband yells, too.
No, I don't yell all the time - I am a sweet and quiet person, about 70% of the time. If I don't get enough food or sleep, I am a sweet and quiet person about 20% of the time. Most of the yelling is the "Son! Come down for dinner!!! Can you hear me????" "We are late!!! Get your shoes on!!!" type of yelling. Yelling to get the attention, because the kids are in a middle of a game, or far away, or not responding after 5 times of normal-voice calling. Occasionally, it is the super-angry "How could you do this? What were you thinking? I am so mad and disappointed!!!" And then there is the ugly full-fury screaming, which happens rarely, but freaks everyone out (including myself).
So what are need are coping methods to substitute the yelling. Coping methods to deal with kids who often are not listening, coping methods to deal with anger that stems from being exhausted and hungry, coping methods that help me reduce yelling (clean up your toys! put away your laundry!) and still get the kids to do the chores.
And oh, their messy rooms, dirty socks lying all over the house, and food squirreled away in a closet - that's a definite trigger for yelling.