14 Jan 2014

Remembering that my kid is not the boss of my feelings

The thing I’m trying to learn is that my kids are not in charge of my emotions.

This is a much harder lesson than I would have thought nine years ago.


Because no one talks to me quite like my kids.

Whether it’s whispering love notes in the glow of the light up ladybug or declaring how I have wrecked the feelings of their temper tantruming baby brother.

My kids. Man my kids can work me over like no one else.

One minute we’re doing homework civilly at the dining room table. There’s Play-Doh and streaks of old paints and brand new flash cards and I’m talking calmly, like a grown woman might do.

The next my six year old is wailing at the thought of writing out the word “for” and languishing on the table top and declaring it, “the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE,” and I can feel all the feelings start to rush through my veins and threaten to explode out the top of my head.

It’s a day when I’ve done all the things and met all the deadlines and look – look at me son – I’m trying to teach you. I’m equipped. I’ve got methods and plans and patience and why then, why are you wailing at me like I just told you they’d sold out the last Justin Beaver (don’t tell them they think it’s how you say it) tickets.




I don’t have a formula for how not to lose your mind in that moment

That moment followed by a decade of moments just like it.

I just have this – from the corner of a small office where I’m trying to gather what’s left of my thoughts after a day of work and dinner and kids and homework and time outs and wrestling practice and late night conference calls – I have this truth:

no one is immune.

Not one of us.

We will all feel the feelings.

You know the ones. The ones of frustration and rage and “for the love of all that’s holy why on earth would you pick the mud off your shoes right here in the middle of the white carpet?!”

But the things is, when my kids are having their own big feelings? I don’t actually have to adopt those.

I can remember that his feelings are, in fact, not the boss of mine. 

It’s radical.

I might even remember to laugh.

I might treat myself instead of the grumpy kid in the backseat to a sundae from McDonalds.

Because I was the boss of my own feelings tonight.

Related posts:

When your temper scares you – some suggestions for defusing

It’s time to tell the truth about motherhood




{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    And I love you. That is all (only it’s not… there is just so much more – but two words should sum it up nicely: Thank You!) There. Now THAT is all.

  2. 2

    My mouth is hanging wide open, realizing that you just wrote all of this in a short amount of time. and. so. perfectly! You are my hero.

    All that you do in your home, and the love you give to all those online…you are amazing!

    Yes, you are the boss of you, and of them. And pound on the fence if they will, at least they know you have a fence around them and that they are safe. Love you!

  3. 3

    Wow, I needed this today. And your day sounds exactly like mine, down to even the wrestling practice. Thank you for this. I’m going to carry this with me into tomorrow and let it help me throughout the day.

  4. 4

    Amen, amen and Amen!

  5. 5

    I really really like the first picture of the tights and tutu.

  6. 6

    Oh how I needed to read this, this morning! Thank you! Bless you!

  7. 7

    Lisa Jo!! Gosh, I love you so. Can we please be friends in real life because our kids surely seem like they would get along FAMOUSLY! My 5-year-old son had to use all his big feelings today to try and ruin his 2-year-old brother’s birthday. And for the past week, the baby has been expressing his disdain for nearly every food or drink offered to him by WAILING at the dinner table. Every. Night. It is hard to not let those big feelings rub off on me. But reading this reminded me that I surely don’t have to let them. THANK YOU!

  8. 8

    Amen, bravo, and a standing O to you, friend. You are a mama-extraordinaire, and I love you.

  9. 9

    This is so hard to do in the heat of the moment. I have one child who is all emotion and one as stubborn as can be. It is very hard some days not to get into a yelling match or burst into tears or let all those ugly words inside spill out. Thanks for sharing Lisa-Jo, as it really helps to know there are other moms out there walking the same road ( sometimes as imperfectly as I do)

  10. 10

    Yours too…? “THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE” is on constant repeat cycle from my 7-yr old…! It use to throw me into doubt in regards to my parenting, my loving, my nurturing, my everything…but now I realise it’s not really my problem..it’s his emotions. Thank you so much for putting it out there for all of us to breathe a sigh of relief that we’re not the only ones..:-)

  11. 11

    Lisa-Jo… I think we may have been separated at birth. We have more in common than you may ever realize (unless you ever read my blog and think the same as I think) but basically, all of your recent posts could have come from my own heart word-for-word. Even the basement on the to-do list (the New Year’s post). ALL. OF. IT.

    I’m doing this with a 4 yo, 6 yo, 13 yo, and 14 yo (two of whom are adopted). And you know what? My 14 yo isn’t the boss of my feelings. PRAISE THE LORD!!! Why I let him or myself sometimes think he is? Because I get sucked in too. No more. May the Spirit of God reign in me and my emotions and remind of these truths (and that I’m not alone in struggling with them) every day. And I hope you are encouraged to know that we feel the same too!

  12. 12

    I wish someone had told me this truth before my daughter entered middle school. Now I tell moms of teenage girls, “Just because she’s on a rollercoaster of emotions doesn’t mean you have to ride with her.”

    • 13

      Oh my! Those tween girls emotions are about to be the end of me. One day at a time. And not letting myself get pulled into her rollercoaster – so important and SO hard, especially when I’m on my own hormonal coaster. She’s only 10 – it’s going to be a long rider. Praying we get to the other side with a stronger relationship.

  13. 14

    Thank you for this much needed reminder, Lisa-Jo. So often, when I’m dealing with the loud, ranting emotions of one of my kids, it’s all I can do to not scream back. And sometimes I do. And then there’s the mommy guilt, and the frustration with myself for not being the adult that I should be; the kind, soft-spoken mommy that I need to be. It’s in those moments when I have to remind myself that Jesus was perfect in my place, because I never will be.

  14. 15

    This imperfect. That’s all I can because I’m Feeling All the Fellings right now, and have to go mediate a sibling fight. But thank you for this post to ponder today.

  15. 17
    Elizabeth Marske says:

    And for me you have nailed it with “I can feel the all the feelings start to rush…”
    thank you for sharing and your humility in the sharing.
    blessings on your day Lisa-Jo.

  16. 18

    “…sold out the last Justin Beaver (don’t tell them they think it’s how you say it) tickets.” — How many times have I been yelled at by my 6-year-old daughter because I don’t know how to pronounce his name! LOL! Great post, as always. You speak right to my heart.

  17. 19

    I wish I lived next door to you right now. Not in a stalkerish way, of course. ;) But just because I’m right there with you. Thanks for this truth today – I feel like I should print it out and put it on my wall so I don’t forget my kids are not the boss of my feelings!

  18. 20

    I love honest posts, real and raw and filled with reflections of who we all are at times. I was reminded of the busy years of parenting. They can zap the energy right out of you, but every day is a new one. Oh, hallelujah!

  19. 21

    Nobody can make me forget I am the adult like my 8-year old daughter. She can make me feel defensive, judged, and hurt with two or three words. And why, oh, why, can’t I remember that she is 8 and I’m 35 until it is too late and I have fought right back as if we were two schoolgirls? Then the look of bewildered pain in her eyes reminds me that I have more practice and skill in sarcasm than she does and there I am, undone. But every day is a work in progress, right? Thank you for the reminder that we are not alone.

  20. 22

    I think those feelings well up only for our own children because their pain is our pain. And their pain, unlike our own pain can only be resolved and dealt with by them. And their pain, similar to our own, looks frighteningly unsolvable at times, doesn’t it?

    I love your suggestion re: humor. When my son was having a full-on melt down tantrum a few days ago, I decided to just listen. At times, I had to stifle a laugh. Thank goodness I was on the other side of the bathroom door where he could not see me. It’s not that I lacked empathy for him. In fact, it was just the opposite. What I heard in his words were the very words I had spoken on a previous melt-down of my own only months earlier on a particularly challenging day that I thought would give me a heart attack (work-related not child related).

    I laughed at the recognition of my own sense of impossible dread and that there is always another day to tackle everything and we will all get through this…somehow.

    Funny how dealing with things calmly and with humor actually works. Today my son could have had a total melt-down over the amateurish hair cut I gave him yesterday that made his head look like an egg today. He commented dead-pan that his head looked like an egg. He wasn’t even complaining, really, just commenting. This prompted his brother to giggle and agree. With howls of laughter, I ran to get the scissors to fix the mess I’d made.

    My son with the egg-head haircut, fixed to a suitable round shape, handled it all with exemplary good grace that I was in complete awe and admiration in his abilities to handle it all so well.

    Lesson taken: To improve my sons outlook on the trials and tribulations in life, I must also examine mine. To date, this has been humblingly, embarrassingly difficult. The reward, however, far surpasses the personal discomfort. I now have a son who is improving his own coping abilities.

  21. 23

    Excellent to remember. My oldest is 36 and he STILL has the power to make his feelings mine. It’s so frustrating! And unproductive! This is very helpful to take to heart.

  22. 24

    I have 2!!! A boy and a girl that make me wanna quit all the time – that make me want to give myself time outs (and some times I do!). It’s so hard so thank you for this post! It’s a great reminder and fuel for me to remember that I’m the adult!!

  23. 25

    Oh Lisa Jo, how I can relate to this! My eight year old was diagnosed this past year with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is very high functioning, but at his best he is an emotional roller coaster and I struggle to keep up with where he is at from one moment to the next. So often he is the gauge for my emotions. If he is falling apart, I am falling apart. If his world is calm and peaceful. My world is calm and peaceful. My heart’s desire lately is that I would be so in tune with Jesus, with my eyes so fixed on him that my emotions would not be so easily dictated by what my sons emotions are from moment to moment. So much easier said than done. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one in this boat (we never are…are we? but how easy it is to forget!).

  24. 26

    Great reminder! I spend a lot of time talking to my daughter about recognizing where her feelings are coming from, I may never have actually realized that sometime my feelings are coming directly from her feelings. Thank you!

  25. 27

    Oh, such good truth! And, always remember, it is just for a season, they will grow up and as someone else stated, they can still try to boss your feelings but probably not. My grown children certainly do not, its a real pleasure being a parent now. :o))) Blessings!

  26. 28

    This is so true. I’m not a parent, but I have worked with kids (and now college age kids and it’s not all that different) and know how easy it is to let their opinion of me make me bothered even when I know I did what was ultimately right by them.

  27. 29

    I can so relate to this Lisa-Jo! Homework seems to make my family ugly! It’s the part of the week that I hate the most!

    I would say that 9 years into parenting, I have grown up a little! I still end up having tantrums of my own from time to time but they are getting fewer. I am able to see my kids behaviour for what it is – little people learning how to deal with the world, their emotions and other people. And most of the time I try to help them.

    Yet, sometimes, the two year old in me rears her ugly head and I succumb to the side of me who needs to stamp her foot and shout too. I keep travelling on this journey of parenting, depending on the grace of God and the forgiveness and love of my kids.

    Oh and my kids call him Justin Beaver too :-)

    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  28. 30

    Thank you so much for writing this! Tears in my eyes.

  29. 31

    I think that God is speaking to my heart big time tonight concerning parenting. This is my second favorite blogger talking about this topic. Thank you for sharing your story with us.


  1. […] Even if it’s just to hide in the bathroom and wait out the riot of emotions in your head. […]

  2. […] Remembering that my kid is not the boss of my feelings @ Lisa-Jo Baker […]

  3. […] Remembering that My Kid is Not the Boss of My Feelings | LisaJo Baker […]

  4. […] Even if it’s just to hide in the bathroom and wait out the riot of emotions in your head. […]

  5. […] Even if it’s just to hide in the bathroom and wait out the riot of emotions in your head. […]

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