by Jennifer Dyer
I was having a moment. Actually about 10 moments, all at once. After “helping” me with a smoothie by adding someone’s leftover ice cream to the blender, Rachel scooted her chair over to my overflowing kitchen sink and grabbed two plates to move them elsewhere. The plate hovered over my crowded kitchen island. She started shoving. We were about to have an avalanche of already ruined smoothie, blender, dishes and more.
My hands clenched. My brain switched to static. A volcano spewed lava from my chest. “Stop it, Rachel! Can’t you just stop for one second?” My voice echoed off the kitchen walls. My sister, in mid sentence, clamped her mouth shut. The other three kids hovering in the kitchen stared at me with big eyes. Rachel froze and slapped her hands over her ears.
They all watched me, the question apparent in their eyes. “What is she going to do next?”
I took a breath. Exhaled it. Somewhere deep inside me I cried to God for help. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled. I just lost it.”
Everyone let out a collective breath.
I shook my head. “That was wrong of me. I shouldn’t have yelled like that. I should have stepped away instead of yelling. I’m sorry, Rachel. I’m sorry the rest of you had to hear that.”
Conversations resumed. The tension level dropped. Mt. Vesuvius Mommy had stopped erupting.
Ever happen to you?
The 5 “A” Actions steps for when (not if) mommy erupts:
1. Admit it. Probably everyone, including the neighbors, heard you, so be brave. Own up to the action. Honesty and taking responsibility for behavior is a great thing to model for your kids.
2. Apologize. Always keeping cool is almost impossible. No one is perfect, therefore even parents/adults have to apologize. Sometimes it’s what we do when we make mistakes that impacts kids the most.
3. Acknowledge how your behavior was inappropriate and what you could have done differently. This sort of self-monitoring is a good thing for children to learn, and they learn by observation much better than endless lectures.
4. Allow yourself a moment, if needed. Adults need a time out sometimes too. This might be necessary earlier in the process, but don’t neglect the other steps after time out is over.
5. A new direction. Initiate a new conversation, move the family to another place, smile, hug someone, start fresh.
Do you ever erupt? Share with us some of the ways you have learned to mend the moment.