My Most Difficult Mommy Challenge: Keeping My Cool When My Toddler Drives Me Nuts

controlling angerI recently confessed to all of you that my worst mommy moment was when my baby slept on the stove.

Well, that was a lie.

Was it a poor parenting decision? For sure. Was it my worst? It’s probably in the bottom five, but let me dig a little deeper.

My worst mommy moment was actually on a Thursday morning last September. My husband’s paternity leave had ended that Monday and it was my first week alone with two kids. I was trying to get all three of us out the door to Kindermusik class, a tornado of travel packets of formula, diapers in two sizes, a stroller and a sling carrier (just in case), and on and on.

The baby was crying, the toddler was whining, I was a flurry of stress tearing through the house. I snapped. It was ugly. I stomped my feet and slammed a door, just like my toddler daughter might. I said the meanest thing I’ve ever said to her: “I can’t stand the sound of your voice,” but with a profanity (yep, the worst one) thrown in to make it even sharper. I have a lump in my throat just writing about this because I feel so sad for my daughter and such deep, deep regret.

I’ve only been a mom for 2 ½ years, so I’m new to this, but so far learning how to cool my temper has been my most difficult and critical challenge. As my husband aptly puts it, I “run a little hot.” Whether by nature or nurture, my eldest seems to be the same way (though don’t all toddlers run a little hot?).

My new trick is when I feel myself getting wound up, I step out the back door and take 10 deep breaths of fresh air. It sure sounds like a healthy coping mechanism, right? It doesn’t exactly restore me to a place of Zen, but it does prevent me from having an ugly outburst. It also feels good to be modeling healthy coping skills for my girls so that maybe they will have better tools for dealing with their anger than I do.

Does anyone else have any tricks for dealing with those really infuriating parenting moments?