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