I’d love to say I’ve never lost it as a mom, but unfortunately, I can’t. I get tired, cranky, and overwhelmed just like my kids. What I CAN do is try to avoid “trigger” situations in the future and have a plan in place- just in case.
So the other day, I totally lost it. We had a lovely road trip that included my daughter throwing up five times, overly warm temperatures, smelling vomit for seven hours, and a seat that left my back aching for days. Needless to say, it felt very long. Well into the day, something happened that pushed me over the edge. I walked away and tried to squash it, but when I was pushed again, something set off my release valve and out it all came.
I wasn’t mad at my kids but unfortunately they saw it. This isn’t something that happens often in my life, but when it does occur, it’s epic. My kids wondered what was wrong and asked how they could help, which I appreciated, but mostly I wished they hadn’t had to ask.
Have you ever lost it?
Here are 7 steps to help in the future.
1- Create a Trigger List. If you lose it or feel yourself getting there, write down what’s triggering you. Is it a person, or too little sleep, hunger, or several things put together? Keep this somewhere you can access it.
2- Go through your list and think about the situations you don’t handle as well. Single out the aspects you have control over and those you don’t. Write them down and look for any patterns.
3- Consider the things you can control. Maybe you need to be better rested or fed. Maybe there are people or places you should avoid. Maybe there’s a change you need to make.
4- Look at the things you can’t change. Maybe there’s a family member causing strife, or something at work. Not all triggers can just be erased from life. Break things down even more and see if there are small, specific things you can try to deal with that will help you handle the bigger issues. If possible, specifically structure those times to help focus things on a more positive note. Maybe the way your co-worker chews her gum makes you want to scream- could you listen to music to help drown her out? Be creative and willing to experiment.
5- If there’s anything your family or friends can help with, let them know! Maybe seeing socks on the floor is a major issue for you or negative talk affects you in a major way. Unfortunately they can’t read your mind so help them.
6- Take care of you! We all get busy taking care of everyone around us, but sometimes you need to take a few minutes for self-care. You could do something big, or something less glamorous, but do something. When my kids were small and I was feeling extended beyond what I thought I could handle, I’d take a extra minute in the restroom (or 10 seconds if that’s all I could manage) and listen to part of a song that brought me peace and buoyed me up so I could get through the next while.
See some ideas for self-care HERE.
7- If you’re still struggling, make a priority list. Write down which things are A) crucial, B) important, C) nice but could live without, D) why was this on my list in the first place, and E) love but it isn’t the right time in my life. Compare this to your trigger list and see if there are triggers that you could eliminate from your life right now.
8- Keep trying and focus on the positive! This is an ongoing process as our situations change. Re-evaluate and make changes if needed.
Okay, I’m trying but I lost it. Now what?
1- Apologize if necessary. Maybe you were totally in the right and nothing needs to be done or maybe you need to make amends or apologize for the way you handled something.
2- If your kids were involved, make sure they know you still love them. Spend time doing something happy with them and, if the situation is appropriate, let them what you were struggling with at the moment.
***To clarify, by saying “losing it” here, we’re not talking abusive behavior, just those moments when you feel overwhelmed and struggle to contain it. If you’re having issues with more severe behavior, look for resources in your area. There are people to talk to who can help!