When you become a parent, and you look down at this beautiful little bundle of joy, you can’t imagine ever screaming at it. This incredible, fragile, infant is immediately the most precious thing you’ve ever been tasked with caring for. You would never predict that this little baby will make you so angry that you will cry in frustration.
And yet, ask most parents and they will tell you that there will be moments when you completely lose your cool. Whether the tears come in those first colicky months, or you manage to hold off until those disobedient toddler years, that beautiful wonderful baby will inevitably bring you to the end of your patience reserves.
There are no high horses here.
So, it’s happened – you lost your cool. Maybe you yelled. Maybe you stomped your foot in frustration. Maybe you slammed a door or tossed a toy in the trash. Whatever your overreaction, it was not you at your best.
You probably feel ashamed and mad and guilty, and relieved that no one was around to see. You might feel embarrassed and angry and tired and fed up and frustrated. I know I do.
The aftermath is more important than the meltdown. What happens next is crucial! Here are my top 5 steps that must follow a mommy meltdown:
- Take some quiet time to get calm, and to pray. Be honest with God, he cares for you!(1Peter 5:7) Repent, confess, ask for forgiveness. Sometimes it seems like our society is so focussed on being positive and encouraging, and that’s great, but sometimes we need to be sorry and apologize-first to God, then to others.
- Apologize to your kids. Go find them, sit down and have a hug. Look them in the eye and be honest. Tell them you lost your cool, you gave into sin, did not demonstrate self-control, and you’re sorry. Just like you demonstrate how to eat properly with a knife and fork, and a million other daily tasks, show them how to apologize sincerely.
- Discuss the “tunnel of chaos”. I read this line on a blog somewhere ages ago… “I firmly believe my children need to recognize what it looks like when someone is about to lose it” Ha! Gave me a giggle and, yet, kinda true. Important life skill: what it looks like when you are annoying/frustrating/irritating other people and you are about to reach the boiling point. Talk about what was bugging you, what they should have done differently – then circle back to what youshould have done differently. Saying it out loud will help both you and them the future.
- Preach the gospel to yourself out loud in front of them. I say things like, “guys, this is why I need Jesus. My heart is full of sin, just like yours. If it weren’t for Jesus I would be an angry, impossible person. Left to my own, it would be not good! I am so thankful that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I am so glad that Jesus knew that I was a sinner when he died for me. I’m sorry I messed up today, God is working in my heart and I am going to try to better.”
- Reflect on what got you to the point of melting down. Do you need some me time? Do you need a plan for discipline? Do you need to go back to the basics of routine in your home? Do you need more sleep? Do you need to make a better meal prep plan if that’s the crazy time of your day? Reflect and make a plan so that this doesn’t become normal.
We’ve all been there. Losing it on our kids is not unique to any one parent or circumstance. What you do afterwards can be restorative, and gospel centered. Don’t miss the opportunity to live your faith out in front of the people who know you best-your kids.
These books have had a huge impact on me and my parenting, and I highly recommend them: