Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Coping mechanisms

Linking up again today with Kelly’s Korner, Blue-Eyed Bride, Life in the Green House, and Lil Light O’ Mine for the Build ‘Em Up Series.

Do you ever lose it? Like wanna kick and scream and have an epic toddler like tantrum. Yeah, me either. ;)

Okay, okay. Not true. It happens. A series of events unfolds and with each one the breaking point gets closer and closer. Here’s the scene: In the kitchen, working on a shopping list. “Mama! I need a drink.” Get a drink. Start again on the list. “Mama! Hungry.” Get the kids something to eat. Go through cabinets to see what we need. Write list. “What are we having for dinner this week?” And so on, and so on, and so on. Or hearing MAMA about seventy four times in a three minute span like I did last night. The incessant whining and fighting and tattling. You know the drill. Or what about when you have a scene SO perfectly planned out in your head??? Because THAT always works out, right? And then when it doesn’t, if you’re like me, you get upset, a little angry, and maybe, just maybe, have another one of those tantrums.

I don’t like to get to the point where I pretty much lose it. No one does. I have always a been a bit explosive. I’m just highly emotional, wear my emotions on my sleeves and sometimes I let those emotions get the better of me. I’m like one of those cartoons I used to watch when I was little where you could see the red boiling from their feet all the way to the top when they finally erupted! I tend to hold stuff in until that red gets to the top of my head and then it’s all bets off. But I don’t like to do that. And I really don’t like to get to the place where I overreact and regret how I act. I especially don’t like to say stuff that I will regret. Words hurt and I try really hard to choose my words in the moment so as not to hurt someone I care about (or even maybe some I don’t care so much about). So, how do I combat that? I’ve had to learn when I’m about to come unglued. And then I try to STOP IT before it happens. It’s not always easy, and I’m not always successful, but I think being aware of it makes it less like to lose my cool.

When I’m in the moment, these are some things that help me:

  • Stopping right then and praying out loud! I’ve done this before when I was about to lose it and I just prayed over and over for patience. Ava looked at me like I’d lost my mind. ha! But taking that time to stop and redirect my focus definitely helps.
  • Counting to 10. really. This so basic. It’s kinda like the praying – it just makes me take a step back and get out of the heat of the moment.
  • Mommy time out. Some days I’d like to give myself a whole lot of time outs. ;) When I feel like I'm about to erupt, I sometimes declare a time out and take myself completely out of the situation. I only do this when I’m not the lone parent or if it’s a situation where I need to remove myself from others or something. I just take 5 or 10 minutes completely away from everyone and get a breather. When I return to the action, I’m much calmer.
  • Get goofy. I usually do this at home. If things are tense and people are whiny or gripey, it helps trying to make the situation lighter. If I act like a big doofus, I can typically make the people in my life happier – at least the little people.

When I’ve reached the point where I’ve passed the breaking point, I usually have to have a longer break. Zach is really good about noticing when I’m there and he suggests going out for an hour or so on my own. A few of the things that I do when I make time for me are the same coping mechanisms that I use when i come unglued – reading, watching a tv show, or just laying down to rest. All of it makes me feel better and gets me back to a place where I can be the mom my kinds need me to be. Of course some of those chances to regroup don’t come until the end of the day when everyone’s needs are met for the day.

This thing they call parenthood and life – it ain’t easy. Especially when you are a mom. I don’t know about you, but I know that when someone is tired or hurt or sick, they usually want mama. This past weekend in church, Ava was sleeping and Reed was CRANKY. When Ava was waking up, she wanted me to hold her and Reed wanted me to hold him, too. So I had a half awake Ava on my lap and was holding wild Reed off to the side. You just do what you have to do. However, the crazy insanity that comes with being a parent and with life is enough to sometimes push you over the edge of sanity, and it’s important to have ways to keep yourself sane! I’m curious to know - what do you do when you come unglued?


  1. Oh, Sarah. Those mommy time outs have helped me so much. Mine are super short- maybe 90 seconds- but just removing myself and taking deep breaths to gain some perspective always helps me. I love the "get goofy" idea. Love it! I'll be trying that one today, I'm sure!

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  3. Love it Sarah! It is great advice that I will need to remember!

  4. I never ever have a tantrum when my perfectly planned scenes go down the toilet. sigh. At least I know I'm not the only one and it helps me to know we're all in the trenches together.

  5. I LOVE YOU! this is the kind of thing i'm looking for! i needed tactical thing. totally counting to ten out loud tomorrow. here's to adult tantrums caused by small people!

  6. This is great, Sarah! Such perfect, real-life, applicable advice. I always look forward to your posts from this series, they never fail to inspire and encourage me. Thanks for sharing!


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