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Lead by example: 5 things to do when you lose your cool

Have you ever had one of those mornings?

You’re in charge of baking four dozen cookies so you wake up at 5:00am to get it done and you entrust your husband to kid duty when they get up at 6:00? And lo and behold 6:30 rolls around and it’s complete silence in the house even though your kids are not known for sleeping in—ever. You tiptoe up the stairs hoping your little ones are still fast asleep and your husband is busy deep cleaning your room even if you know it’s wishful thinking and really you’re just choking back the fear of of the inevitable horror.

*cue ominous music*

You see the hall bathroom light glowing under the door where your husband is held captive.You turn the corner into your room only to see your white comforter spotted like a Dalmatian as a curtain flutters in your peripherals. Your heartbeat is pounding in your ears as you follow the tiny black footprints leading to your bathroom poking and prodding for more clues.

The bathroom door squeaks open, you see your bathroom counter splattered in evidence. You slide back the shower door to reveal the masterminds behind this crime scene; two tiny humans sporting head to toe black bodysuits made from your very expensive, just-opened-the-night-before charcoal powder toothpaste.

So you lose it.

You do the unthinkable and yell.

Me too. Right here. I’m sitting right next you saying, “Homegirl, I have been there.” I’m pretty sure we’ve all had moments where we have been pushed past our limit and we lose it. And if you haven’t then I bow to your expertise.

So you yelled at your kids. You had a bad moment.


Sure you probably feel a little poopy for yelling at the tiny humans because after all, it was just toothpaste and can easily be replaced thanks to Amazon Prime.

So you carry the kids at arms length into the tub, throw another batch of cookies in and, while they cook, you give your kiddos the fastest bath known to mankind while your husband is tasked with washing every inch of your room.

Everyone is clean, the cookies got baked, and you finally had an excuse to wash your rug you’ve been neglecting. It all works out.

But you still yelled. So what do you do?


Everyone makes mistakes and I like to believe that every moment is a teachable moment. Sit on down with those cute little hooligans and model a good apology for them. Acknowledge your faults by addressing it head on. “I am sorry I raised my voice.” Subsection A of this step is the good old “I feel” statement. “I’m feeling _____ because ______.” It’s important to start with how YOU are feeling. Starting with, “When you _____ I feel _____,” places blame and that’s not the goal. Own your own feelings and lead with that. Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Sad? Put a name on it.

Laugh It Out

Yes they may have dumped your entire container of powder toothpaste out but by golly in their curious minds they had a goal. Take a breath, center yourself, and then proceed when calm. Do you respond better when someone approaches you with hostility or with calm questions? The tiny humans feel the same way. Laughing is going to release some of the tension in the room. This may feel like the last thing in the world you would ever want to do. Chances are though, you’re upset, your kiddos know you’re upset, they are probably feeling like they did something wrong, and everyone is feeling a tad stressed out. Laughing, chuckling, or at least smiling lets everyone—yourself included—know that this is a safe place where you can talk it out. It is in this safe space that they can explain and you can teach.

Let Them Explain It

Sometimes they have their own little fantasy worlds and when you give them time to explain their point of view on it you get a little more perspective. It may just turn out that they were just trying to play makeup up, “like you, Mama!” (Lord help me if my makeup ever looks like that). But sometimes a little perspective is all it takes to turn a crazy moment into a laughable story.

Involve Them in Clean Up

Ok so they made a mess. It’s another learning opportunity. When you make a mess you help clean it up. Now they can’t start a load of laundry but they can grab a rag or two to help mop up the powder off the floor.

Make a Game Plan

Ok so this one was a royal screw up. But it happened. It’s done. What about next time? Hopefully you read that and said “I don’t want a next time!” Great! Neither do I. Sit down and chat with your kids about what they can do instead. If they want to play makeup tell them it’s ok to come to you and ask. Maybe you could set aside some old makeup in a bag so when they do ask they have a special and mom-approved option. By coming up with a solution together you are sending the message that you value their ideas. And as a bonus, your toothpaste stays safe and your kids stay curious.

Yelling happens. It’s terrible but it does happen. What you do with it is what really matters and hopefully these tips can give you good tools to put in your toolbox the next time a horror scene unfolds in your house.


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6 Responses to Lead by example: 5 things to do when you lose your cool

  1. Avatar
    Rachael Erway September 5, 2018 at 8:26 am #

    Great article! I have found myself losing my cool more often than not lately. I think making a game plan is a great start for everyone in this household. Thanks!

    • Brecklen Ables
      Brecklen Ables September 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

      I hear you on that. It’s a crazy busy time of the year for us and I definitely think laughter and a game plan are what get us through it. Annnnnnd maybe a glass of wine.

  2. Samantha
    Samantha September 5, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh my gosh! This is amazing! Not only am I laughing hysterically, but I’m slow clapping the crap out of you because THIS IS PERFECT! It’s absolutely how I try to deal with the nightmare situations. And if your makeup ever looks like that, I’ll take you to get your eyes checked 🤣❤️ Bring on more posts from Brecklen!

    • Brecklen Ables
      Brecklen Ables September 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks for having my back! I mean a slight contour every now and then is fine but this is just overkill!

  3. Avatar
    D September 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

    Nicely said! Well done. And love the drawn shimmy!

  4. Nikola
    Nikola September 10, 2018 at 1:31 pm #

    Yes to all of this!!! Involving the kiddos in the clean up has been a game changer in our house