Word of the Week 02.05.14

TRIGGER

Before I had kids, I wouldn’t have said I was particularly prone to losing my temper. I don’t mean the snapping and saying something stupid sort of temper – I’m as guilty of that as the next person after the right combination of alcohol and provocation.

I mean the real red mist temper, where you suddenly find yourself yelling REALLY LOUDLY so that your temples throb and your throat hurts for the rest of the day. This isn’t a frequent occurrence,  and it’s over as soon as it’s begun, but when it happens, I hate myself, the kids look gutted (though often not quite gutted enough to stop doing whatever it was that preceded the yelling, heh) and however lovely the rest of the day turns out to be, I can’t escape the feeling that I have failed as a parent yet again.

In an attempt to tackle this, I have been trying to identify the trigger factors which cause the fuse to finally blow, in the hope that being more mindful of these will help me head off the red mist and be one of those amazing calm parents that never lose the plot, ever. Nothing like aiming high!!

So…First off and absolutely the biggest badass trigger, is sleep, or lack of it. Less than seven hours for a few days in a row, and I’m in the danger zone. Chuck in a couple of broken nights for whatever reason, and you’ve got a superbitch on your hands. Weirdly, back in the days when the kids were babies and six hours broken sleep was the norm, I seemed to lose my temper less – probably some sort of systems shutdown. But now that I’m used to proper sleep again, it turns out that I need it, in a BIG way!

Next up…anxiety. I’m lucky in that I have never suffered the crippling kind of anxiety that means I can’t function, but there is always and without fail a higher or lower level of anxiety providing the soundtrack to my life. Before I had kids it was usually based around social situations and a conviction that I was actually too much of a muppet to have any real friends. Now I’ve got kids I don’t have time for worrying about all the reasons people don’t like me, because I am far too busy worrying that I’m a crap mother. And so it turns put that the more I worry about being a crap mother, the more likely I am to actually be one. Hmmm.

Then there’s lack of exercise. When I’m running even just for half an hour couple of times a week, I do feel more balanced – my temper is more even and I am less anxious. A combination of fresh air, endomorphins and feeling generally healthier, I guess. However there is a trade off with running and sleep…the only time I can run is early morning, and as I get up at 6.30am that would mean I’d need to be up at 5.45am to get even a half hour run in. I’ve learnt enough to know that in the trigger hierarchy, sleep beats everything else hands down, so the running is something I can’t manage as much as I’d like.

And the last real trigger is hearing my voice repeating the same words, over and over again. This alone will never cause me to yell, but combine with another factor and we’re on dangerous ground. One real danger point is the walk to and from school – the route is entirely main roads, mostly with very narrow pavements and also there’s a particularly nasty corner where any large vehicles turning have their chassis taking up most of the pavement (thanks transport planners at Cardiff Council for that genius bit of road safety forethought when considering the routes to the newly built school). So naturally I try and encourage the kids to walk away from the kerb, especially given the fact that they are liable to break into dance moves or random scuffles over who is walking in front of who. I swear, if I say ‘please walk way from the kerb’ once on the way home, I have to say is like a Million. Fricking. Times. And by the time we get in from school, my head is buzz buzz buzzing buzzing away…Realistically, I’m not sure what I can do about this one. Kids are always going to need things repeating a million times over, so I guess I need to just deal with it…

So. Perhaps thinking about and writing down my triggers will help me be more aware of them, and perhaps by being more aware I can head off that red mist before it descends. Here’s hoping!

The Reading Residence
I’m linking up with Word of the Week at The Reading Residence – why not blog about a word that sums up your week and go and link up too?

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13 thoughts on “Word of the Week 02.05.14

  1. Excellent stuff, once again. Concur with most of that the malevolent anxiety is something I suffer too. Oh, and Fridays have become my bette noir for broken sleep; El’s only night out of the week is Thursday, which tends to be when I’m busiest so end up working past midnight anyway… I hit the hay, Els gets home at say 2ish, wakes me up, then the baby wakes and won’t settle, then that wakes one of the other kids, then I have to get them all ready for school whilst tired and belligerently grumpy. Hence, I tend to think that the Boomtown Rats and The Smiths got their days of the week songs mixed up!

  2. I am so with you on this one! And I, too, really try to analyse my triggers and identify what is actually putting me in a bad mood -is it just the kids (and repeatedly saying the same thing?!) or is it something else that is then making my mood glum and intolerant? Sleep does make a real difference, so here’s hoping you get plenty and attempt that calmness. If it makes you feel any better, though, I suspect we all have our shouty moments 🙂 Thanks for sharing with #WotW
    The Reading Residence recently posted…Word of the Week – 2/5/14My Profile

  3. It is defnitely sensible to analyse your triggers – not so easy to always avoid them! I’m exactly the same as you when it comes to the social anxiety about not having any real friends – see my post entitled “Friends”! – having said that I do have lots of friends but it doesn’t feel like I belong in any ‘groups’ if you know what I mean – its like all groups are closed to me for some reason. Maybe its just psychological. We should start our own group! It’d be like all the kids who never got picked til (reluctantly) the very end for sports teams at school (I speak for myself here!). As for the red mist – mm, I think I need a copy of ‘how to talk so your kids will listen, and listen so your kids will talk’…X #wotw
    Sam recently posted…Word of the week: Filth!My Profile

    1. I’d be in that! I was never picked for anything ever and this is still playing out 3o years later in my ridiculous quest to deadlift twice my own body weight!!
      But now, the important stuff – Will there be beer? And biscuits? AND FILTH???
      LearnerMother recently posted…Word of the Week 02.05.14My Profile

  4. So reassuring reading this as I sometimes feel that I’m the only one that loses it occasionally. I try really hard to stay calm, but then some days, an invisible button gets pressed and I explode. Horrid, horrid feeling. Trying to change things to clear some of the triggers, but easier said than done of course!
    Faded Seaside Mama recently posted…Word of the Week #18My Profile

  5. You are so definitely not alone on this one!
    I’d like to tell you it gets easier as they get older, unfortunately the issues just seem to change, oh… and they develop opinions, very strong opinions. Plus hey shout back. The broken nights are few and far between so sleep will not be so much of an issue for you. Plus when they are all more independent you will find it easier to fit in other things like exercise.
    I am at my worst the week before I’m due on, like a real evil dragon lady. No one can say or do anything right and I have a real struggle to keep myself in check. Of course throw two teenage girls into the mix now and I’m sure the others just wish they could move out!
    Katie recently posted…Let’s talk cloth: It’s real nappy week!My Profile

  6. While I am reading your post. There are somethings that are similar symptoms. I am also having some bad day mostly when I lack sleep or when I am not exercising which is a lot lately. When your wrote yours to see what causing your headache I also saw what might be causing mine. #WOTW
    Merlinda (@pixiedusk) recently posted…Same differentMy Profile

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