Moms With Tempers
I belong to the group known as Short Tempered Moms. If you are one of us, you know the feeling of losing your shit publicly when your son won’t take no for an answer because he wants that Hershey bar SO BAD! Perhaps you have delivered some chosen 4 letter words to the nice cashier simply because your three kids are all talking to you at the same time and you can’t seem to focus on anything and this nice cashier is just person number four chatting to you while you are trying to get 3 kids to 3 different sports practices at 3 different locations at the same exact time!
I can’t be sure how I got this way. There is the whole Irish-bad temper stereotype; yup, I am Irish. Maybe it’s as simple as that. Perhaps it is because I am the youngest of 5 kids and growing up, everything was chaotic and busy and fast–paced in our home. It could even be explained by astrology; I am a Gemini, and we folk are typically impulsive and lack self-discipline. Whatever the case, I am wired with a short-fuse.
I want to change, I really do. I have all sorts of self-help books, mantras, and tools in my metaphorical back pocket and sometimes, they do work. But most times, when the kids ask for a candy bar for the 5th time in a row after I have said no 5 times, my heart races, my blood boils and I just can’t control myself: “No! no, no, no, no, no!” I proceed to reason with a 7-year-old, just as if I were, indeed, a 7-year-old. It is utterly insane, but I go from zero to 100 real fast.
I imagine there are others out there like me. Hell, when I hand my kids off to their dad for a few days and I leisurely shop sans kids, I see you other short-tempered moms. I see you, and I smile, and you may think I am judging you, but I am really saying, hell yea, she is my kind of people! My short temper is part of me. I am working hard to calm it and while it may never be in full remission, I have found some success in combatting my mommy tantrums.
- Practice the Pause
When in doubt, pause. Pause your thoughts and your actions. Breathe, close your eyes and repeat. My quick reactions that I refer to as my short-temper always begin with physical symptoms: racing heart, sweaty palms, shallow breaths. My thoughts follow. When I can stop the physical symptoms dead in their tracks and slow my breathing and focus on simply doing nothing, my thoughts slow, and suddenly, I think before I speak.
Sometimes it is worth it to say yes to that candy bar in line at CVS or concede to the fact that we will be late to practice. When I stop to ask myself what is most important in this moment, it is never that which has pushed me over the edge in the first place. I would rather be a calm and loving mother and say yes to the candy bar then a hyper, crazy mom and say no. Time flies by so fast. Choose your battles wisely.
- Channel My Inner Child
This one is not easy to execute, but it almost always calms my temper. I channel the child within and pretend I am one of them. Some good ole fart humor or terribly dumb potty joke will almost always break the kids into laughter and I soon follow suit. It is quite absurd that sometimes at the age of 39 I convince myself to make a silly inappropriate or crude joke to my own children, but the truth is, seeing them laugh will always brighten my mood, and so, I challenge myself: make them laugh so hard they pee their pants. Problem solved. Temporarily.
It is not easy being a mom with a temper. Patience is a virtue that doesn’t always come easily. Next time your little cherub is begging for a toy at Walmart, remember the three Ps that may feign patience: Pause, prioritize and potty. Don’t underestimate the power of a strategically-placed fart-joke!