Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Every Mom (and Dad) Can Use a Little Rescuing

dealing with parenting frustration

I give you all permission to rescue my children from me.

Not that I would ever ever EVER do anything particularly onerous to my daughter or son.

(Of course if you ever suspect that I did, the permission I just gave you goes double.)

But like just about all moms, I get frustrated. Sometimes I get really frustrated. Sometimes I yell.

And sometimes I get stuck in a feedback loop of frustration that makes it impossible in that moment for me to see what’s happening in front of me clearly.

It’s all… colored by frustration. Small things seem big. Everything seems more significant. Suddenly it’s more essential for things to go my way.

My children get louder so I get louder so they get louder. I get more angry so they get more angry so I get more angry. It’s all hurt and volume and it’s at that point where the obedience I’m demanding is for obedience’s sake alone.

I don’t like that place – that part of myself – so I try to recognize when I’m getting too close to the point of no return.

That’s where the whole cloth of the moment has unraveled and I’m just hanging onto that thread that says “Go to bed!” or “We have to be out the door, like, five minutes ago!” or “Just put on your shoes!”

By that point my children, who are still little, have more than likely forgotten what it is they wanted and what I wanted and how the whole thing got started.

They’re stuck in my feedback loop, too.

I say mine because I am in my mid-thirties while together my daughter and my son haven’t even seen a cumulative decade, so while we all can escalate I’m the only one who ought to know enough to de-escalate when we’re losing our cool as a trio.

I’m also only human, though.

As is my husband, who occasionally finds himself in similar feedback loops of frustration because it’s a parenting thing, not just a mom thing.

That was his reality on a recent night that should have been peaceful but ended with our five-year-old screaming. Long story short, I got up to walk into her room after my husband walked out of it. He got mad. My sin? He told me he felt like I was charging in to rescue our daughter.

And I said, “Well, yeah. Just like when I’m losing my cool and not being the parent I want to be and can’t seem to get out of that headspace I sure do want someone to charge in. I’ll probably be annoyed for a second but I’ll feel better about it later.”

I will, too. That loop is hard to escape from sometimes. Like when your child is having an epic tantrum and nothing you do or say is getting through but you just can’t stop trying to get your word in and that’s just throwing fuel on the fire. Or when your child’s behavior has made you late or hurt your feelings or wasted your time in a big way and suddenly every small wrong thing they do seems a hundred times bigger. You’re frustrated and you just can’t let anything go when the best thing you could do in that moment would probably be to tag out so your co-parent can take over.

But through all the frustration, it’s hard to remember that you even can tag out. That you even can take a breather.

So by all means, please do charge in and rescue my children. Because when you rescue my children, you’re also rescuing me.


  1. Thank you for this very timely post. My husband's away for 10 days so it's work, home, kids- rinse and repeat…i'm planning to take 3 hours off on Saturday to catch my breath and my sanity before I get all bitter on my kids…thanks again for writing this- it's calmed me plenty just when i needed it :) best of luck to you!

    1. Best of luck to you, too! I know how tough it can be to be the solo parent. The time will fly!

  2. I so related to this lovely piece! I am very lucky that my parents live close by and there have been times when they have rescued me and them. But I have also had to learn to rescue myself either by reaching out past my family for help, making a phone call to release some pressure, or change the mood in my family by singing, or talking in a silly voice, or doing anything that changes my mood because, it's amazing, but when I can laugh and lighten up so can my kids! Thanks again!

    1. Great tips. I don't know why I'm not faster to pick up the phone and call a mom friend but next time I'm going to!


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