Scrunchy Mama

“Mom, you were mad.”

“Yeah, I was. Sorry.”

“You were scrunchy.”

“You mean grumpy?”

“No, scrunchy.” Little Sister scrunches up her little face then continues on brushing her teeth.

This was the conversation between me and Little Sister just moments after the incident that turned me into…well, apparently…Scrunchy Mama.

It was bed time and I was herding my munchkins upstairs. Big Brother was as rambunctious as ever chasing Little Sister around our room. I’m gathering PJs, when I hear a thud…then a whole lot of crying. I run over to see Little Sister sprawled out on the floor and Big Brother running away. Seeing as this was the third incident of its kind tonight and my patience was nowhere to be found, I pretty much lost it.

Scrunchy Mama appeared and yelled at Big Brother to go to his room. He didn’t move, just stared. “Just GO!” I yelled. And…I really yelled. If I was a cartoon character, my face would be red, eyes bulging, and steam coming out of my ears. I must have been a sight. Big Brother looked at me with his big brown eyes as they filled up with tears. The look he gave me was one of fear and confusion. It was like he didn’t even recognize me. Then, he quietly sulked off to his room.

The second those anger filled words left my mouth I wanted to stuff them back in. But it was done. I was immediately remorseful but it couldn’t be undone.

After tending to Little Sister, I went to Big Brother’s room and apologized for yelling. I hugged him and asked him to please go check on his Little Sister and make sure she was okay. He did and everyone seemed back on track again. But…my guilt remains because I fear he will remember this moment. My Scrunchy Mama moment when I lost my patience and couldn’t contain my anger.

I spent extra time with Big Brother during bed time, singing songs and cuddling…trying to erase his memory of Scrunchy Mama. While I know he went to bed peacefully and he knew I was sorry, I went to bed with a heavy heart.

If I could have one wish right now it would be to turn back the clock and tell Scrunchy Mama to take a hike or, at the very least, take a deep breath and turn down the volume.

What do you do when you feel you’ve lost your patience? How do you get back on track again?

47 Responses to Scrunchy Mama
  1. Cheryl D.
    October 22, 2010 | 9:57 am

    I lose my patience more time than I care to admit. I think everyone does! Don't beat yourself up over it. You just showed your kids that you were human. It's great that you apologized.

    I think it's awesome that you had your son check on his sister to be sure she was okay! That's a great technique. Hopefully, next time there's an incident like that, he'll remember to do that right away!

  2. Cheryl D.
    October 22, 2010 | 9:57 am

    I lose my patience more time than I care to admit. I think everyone does! Don't beat yourself up over it. You just showed your kids that you were human. It's great that you apologized.

    I think it's awesome that you had your son check on his sister to be sure she was okay! That's a great technique. Hopefully, next time there's an incident like that, he'll remember to do that right away!

  3. treesflowersbirds
    October 22, 2010 | 10:15 am

    See, I don't see anything terribly wrong in what happened. You showed you were human, that sometimes emotions DO get the better of us, and then you apologized.

    My youngest is 14 and I think I've raised my voice like that to him 4-5 times. It's going to happen.

    “Scrunchy Mama” hah! – that's adorable :-)

  4. treesflowersbirds
    October 22, 2010 | 10:15 am

    See, I don't see anything terribly wrong in what happened. You showed you were human, that sometimes emotions DO get the better of us, and then you apologized.

    My youngest is 14 and I think I've raised my voice like that to him 4-5 times. It's going to happen.

    “Scrunchy Mama” hah! – that's adorable :-)

  5. Mrs. K
    October 22, 2010 | 11:45 am

    I remember when I was a kid and my mom had a few of those–not too many. Looking back what was important to me then and what is important now is that she apologized. One day when I have kids I will try to remember to do the same :)

  6. Mrs. K
    October 22, 2010 | 11:45 am

    I remember when I was a kid and my mom had a few of those–not too many. Looking back what was important to me then and what is important now is that she apologized. One day when I have kids I will try to remember to do the same :)

  7. Magic Ear Kids
    October 22, 2010 | 12:14 pm

    I apologize, then let it go. I think it's almost better to show a kid that sometimes even the parents overreact. It's more honest than being some kind of even tempered robot. And it's loads better than a little girl I know that always says her mom “doesn't care” about anything she does. This is not license to be mean to a child, just relief from crushing guilt of the occasional scrunchy face.

  8. Liz
    October 22, 2010 | 12:39 pm

    I do go back and apologize, and then we talk about it.

  9. Liz
    October 22, 2010 | 12:39 pm

    I do go back and apologize, and then we talk about it.

  10. TheBabyMammaChronicles
    October 22, 2010 | 12:56 pm

    It's ok Mommy. I find myself having to walk away from my Stepson a lot when he comes to visit so I don't do/say something I will regret later (differences in rules in different households can be hard to grasp, I know). I've definitely lost my patience though too. I must say I was a bit disappointed when I read your post and found out it wasn't about my favorite 80s hair piece, the Scrunchy!

  11. TheBabyMammaChronicles
    October 22, 2010 | 12:56 pm

    It's ok Mommy. I find myself having to walk away from my Stepson a lot when he comes to visit so I don't do/say something I will regret later (differences in rules in different households can be hard to grasp, I know). I've definitely lost my patience though too. I must say I was a bit disappointed when I read your post and found out it wasn't about my favorite 80s hair piece, the Scrunchy!

  12. alison
    October 22, 2010 | 2:02 pm

    patience and i are two people who need to be reacquainted. i lose it more often than i should and i feel like crud afterwards…..which makes me even more edgy and anxious. i try to make it a point to always talk it out with my kiddos though and tell them that i was wrong. then we talk about what they should have done differently and what mommy should have done differently. now we just need to start DOING things differently.

  13. alison
    October 22, 2010 | 2:02 pm

    patience and i are two people who need to be reacquainted. i lose it more often than i should and i feel like crud afterwards…..which makes me even more edgy and anxious. i try to make it a point to always talk it out with my kiddos though and tell them that i was wrong. then we talk about what they should have done differently and what mommy should have done differently. now we just need to start DOING things differently.

  14. Mrs.Mayhem
    October 22, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    I am intimately familiar with the feeling you described. It's an awful mix of regret and sadness. I apologize for losing my temper and then explain why I was mad. I usually throw in how I should have reacted, and that even moms aren't perfect.

  15. Mrs.Mayhem
    October 22, 2010 | 3:17 pm

    I am intimately familiar with the feeling you described. It's an awful mix of regret and sadness. I apologize for losing my temper and then explain why I was mad. I usually throw in how I should have reacted, and that even moms aren't perfect.

  16. flyrish
    October 22, 2010 | 4:18 pm

    It makes me feel good when other moms talk about this as I'm going through a trying time with my toddler. Patience is a virtue that comes and goes in my world. But I think you did the best thing you could by apologizing. Like you said, deep breaths help. Or stepping away from the scene for a moment.

  17. flyrish
    October 22, 2010 | 4:18 pm

    It makes me feel good when other moms talk about this as I'm going through a trying time with my toddler. Patience is a virtue that comes and goes in my world. But I think you did the best thing you could by apologizing. Like you said, deep breaths help. Or stepping away from the scene for a moment.

  18. Booyah's Momma
    October 22, 2010 | 4:26 pm

    I turn into Scrunchy Mama more than I'd care to admit. Particularly when dealing with Scrunchy Kids. We usually loop back and talk about it after we've all calmed down.

  19. Reyna
    October 22, 2010 | 5:20 pm

    Not that this will make you feel any better, But if that is all you did and said, you are WAY ahead of the game of a lot of the rest of us parents.

    I believe that God gave children erase and re-record buttons that like our Savior, forgets what we did when we apologize and are remorseful and try to do better next time. (They even forget when we don't apologize).

    It often leaves us wishing we possessed those buttons ourselves (for our own self judgment).

    I am not saying to purposely create these incidents, but it IS important that our children know that we make mistakes and can ask for forgiveness and try again. Otherwise, how are they to learn the pattern of example for themselves when they make mistakes in their own lives (which surprise, surprise they will)?

    As my blog on guilt says, do not create “wrongs” that really aren't major sins to beat ourselves up with.

    You are apparently a very conscientious and loving parent!
    Which by the way, is a good example for the rest of us parents.
    Thanks!

  20. Reyna
    October 22, 2010 | 5:20 pm

    Not that this will make you feel any better, But if that is all you did and said, you are WAY ahead of the game of a lot of the rest of us parents.

    I believe that God gave children erase and re-record buttons that like our Savior, forgets what we did when we apologize and are remorseful and try to do better next time. (They even forget when we don't apologize).

    It often leaves us wishing we possessed those buttons ourselves (for our own self judgment).

    I am not saying to purposely create these incidents, but it IS important that our children know that we make mistakes and can ask for forgiveness and try again. Otherwise, how are they to learn the pattern of example for themselves when they make mistakes in their own lives (which surprise, surprise they will)?

    As my blog on guilt says, do not create “wrongs” that really aren't major sins to beat ourselves up with.

    You are apparently a very conscientious and loving parent!
    Which by the way, is a good example for the rest of us parents.
    Thanks!

  21. Sherri
    October 22, 2010 | 8:30 pm

    Scrunchy Mama sounds very cute…but I know how you were feeling inside and that's not a fun feeling. I have always tried to apologize so that they know I'm sorry. But that guilty feeling lasts for me, too.

    I do think it's good for them to see that we are human. But still….ugh!

  22. Sherri
    October 22, 2010 | 8:30 pm

    Scrunchy Mama sounds very cute…but I know how you were feeling inside and that's not a fun feeling. I have always tried to apologize so that they know I'm sorry. But that guilty feeling lasts for me, too.

    I do think it's good for them to see that we are human. But still….ugh!

  23. Laura@OutnumberedMom
    October 22, 2010 | 8:55 pm

    Oh, I hate those moments, and so long to take them back!

    What do I do? I just 'fess up to the kids. I let them know Mommy shouldn't have lost it. My oldest told me the other day that he remembers Mom and Dad being willing to admit they were wrong and ask forgiveness — and it meant so much to him. Then I say thanks for grace.

  24. Paula {Simply Sandwich}
    October 23, 2010 | 10:52 am

    I have been a Scrunchy Mama many times over the years and I know that “heavy heart” feeling you had. I think appologizing is a must and letting the kidlets know that we all feel frustration at times and try to talk about better ways to act on those feelings. These life lessons are tools the kids will use as tools during their journey.

  25. Paula {Simply Sandwich}
    October 23, 2010 | 10:52 am

    I have been a Scrunchy Mama many times over the years and I know that “heavy heart” feeling you had. I think appologizing is a must and letting the kidlets know that we all feel frustration at times and try to talk about better ways to act on those feelings. These life lessons are tools the kids will use as tools during their journey.

  26. Sorta Southern Single Mom
    October 23, 2010 | 6:50 pm

    I've had moments, two that I can think of, where I've gotten so upset that I've yelled to the point that I scared my children. I apologize for losing control and we usually have some quiet time.

    But I think it's also important that the child realize that while Mamma should never have gotten SO upset, if the children hadn't been doing x,y,and z, and had been respectful of each other and Mamma, then Mamma wouldnt' have gotten so upset. They need to apologize to.

  27. Sorta Southern Single Mom
    October 23, 2010 | 6:50 pm

    I've had moments, two that I can think of, where I've gotten so upset that I've yelled to the point that I scared my children. I apologize for losing control and we usually have some quiet time.

    But I think it's also important that the child realize that while Mamma should never have gotten SO upset, if the children hadn't been doing x,y,and z, and had been respectful of each other and Mamma, then Mamma wouldnt' have gotten so upset. They need to apologize to.

  28. Making It Work Mom
    October 23, 2010 | 8:54 pm

    I think it is harder when they are little because they really don't understand. The good part is they always forgive easily when you apologize and love that extra special cuddles.
    Now that I have two that are older (especially my Tween who is always trying my patience) I feel like it is okay to say I need to walk away from you right now because I am getting upset. I need a few minutes to cool down. And then I leave and come back a few minutes later in hopefully a better frame of mind.
    Oh and I know you feel guilty, but Scrunchy Mama is such a cute description.

  29. Making It Work Mom
    October 23, 2010 | 8:54 pm

    I think it is harder when they are little because they really don't understand. The good part is they always forgive easily when you apologize and love that extra special cuddles.
    Now that I have two that are older (especially my Tween who is always trying my patience) I feel like it is okay to say I need to walk away from you right now because I am getting upset. I need a few minutes to cool down. And then I leave and come back a few minutes later in hopefully a better frame of mind.
    Oh and I know you feel guilty, but Scrunchy Mama is such a cute description.

  30. Viki
    October 23, 2010 | 11:58 pm

    I don't remember my mother's anger with hurt because I also remember my actions along with her reactions. I was a grade-A PITA. :) As my children's social skills improve, they start to see my flaws. It's good practice for them — there is nothing else except flawed people in the world. I don't enjoy feeling impatient or angry. Like you, I struggle to forgive myself, especially when I know I have the skills to do better. But I think apologizing, admitting our mistakes teaches them our kids that we have integrity. That's what you want them to do when they make a mistake: apologize, make it right, try not to repeat (too often).

  31. Viki
    October 23, 2010 | 11:58 pm

    I don't remember my mother's anger with hurt because I also remember my actions along with her reactions. I was a grade-A PITA. :) As my children's social skills improve, they start to see my flaws. It's good practice for them — there is nothing else except flawed people in the world. I don't enjoy feeling impatient or angry. Like you, I struggle to forgive myself, especially when I know I have the skills to do better. But I think apologizing, admitting our mistakes teaches them our kids that we have integrity. That's what you want them to do when they make a mistake: apologize, make it right, try not to repeat (too often).

  32. Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop!
    October 24, 2010 | 8:41 am

    I do exactly what you did and what I expect my kids to do when they make a mistake — apologize. We are all imperfect. Al. We can do is learn to be gracious and humble in our imperfections.

  33. Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop!
    October 24, 2010 | 8:41 am

    I do exactly what you did and what I expect my kids to do when they make a mistake — apologize. We are all imperfect. Al. We can do is learn to be gracious and humble in our imperfections.

  34. Ameena
    October 24, 2010 | 7:43 pm

    I am a scrunchy mama 24/7. You are a superstar for barely losing it and then going and apologizing! I am too proud and stubborn to apologize to my child, even when I should.

    Don't feel guilty – there is nothing to feel guilty about!

  35. Ameena
    October 24, 2010 | 7:43 pm

    I am a scrunchy mama 24/7. You are a superstar for barely losing it and then going and apologizing! I am too proud and stubborn to apologize to my child, even when I should.

    Don't feel guilty – there is nothing to feel guilty about!

  36. Annette
    October 25, 2010 | 4:02 am

    Don't feel guilty. This really happens to the best of us. It's hard to stay positive 24/7 and make everything into a learning lesson. However, I bet if you ever get angry again, you can turn it into a learning lesson–that all us us feel different emotions sometimes; it's only natural, and if we say something or act in a way that we don't really mean to, we can always say we're sorry for being crabby.

  37. Annette
    October 25, 2010 | 4:02 am

    Don't feel guilty. This really happens to the best of us. It's hard to stay positive 24/7 and make everything into a learning lesson. However, I bet if you ever get angry again, you can turn it into a learning lesson–that all us us feel different emotions sometimes; it's only natural, and if we say something or act in a way that we don't really mean to, we can always say we're sorry for being crabby.

  38. The Empress
    October 25, 2010 | 6:57 am

    I am the mother of teens, and it's not the yelling, or the losing patience, or any of that that I regret:

    It's the times I said “no” when they wanted to play trains, because I just “had” to get the bathroom done.

    That, I regret.

    They may not remember, but I do. And it brings a lump to my throat everytime, because I'd hand everything over right now, to have just one more “mommy, pway twain, mama..pway twain?”

  39. The Empress
    October 25, 2010 | 6:57 am

    I am the mother of teens, and it's not the yelling, or the losing patience, or any of that that I regret:

    It's the times I said “no” when they wanted to play trains, because I just “had” to get the bathroom done.

    That, I regret.

    They may not remember, but I do. And it brings a lump to my throat everytime, because I'd hand everything over right now, to have just one more “mommy, pway twain, mama..pway twain?”

  40. Veronica
    October 25, 2010 | 9:13 am

    Srunchy Mama… i love it! I turn into Scruncy Mama more than I want to admit, too. But after I've calmed down, I go and apologize and then we talk about my “passionate” response and what triggered it. I don't make excuses, nor do I encourage lashing out. But I do let them know that I'm only human and I make mistakes, too. I think it's important to teach our kids that we are not without fault, and that emotions happen. It's also important to teach them that they can have those emotions, have an argument, and then work through it afterwards. I give them lots of hugs and cuddles to let them know how much I care for them, in spite of my “passionate” responses. Love comes in all forms… including “Srunchy Mama”. :-)

  41. Sarah at The Stroller Ballet
    October 25, 2010 | 6:10 pm

    I have so been there – and I love the way you've described it: scrunchy mama. I apologize to Peanut (even though she's still really little). We all make mistakes, and I think it's most important to show our children that we are human, and how to move on from those mistakes (which you did). This is even more important than pretending we are perfect, all the time. Awesome post, xo

  42. Sarah at The Stroller Ballet
    October 25, 2010 | 6:10 pm

    I have so been there – and I love the way you've described it: scrunchy mama. I apologize to Peanut (even though she's still really little). We all make mistakes, and I think it's most important to show our children that we are human, and how to move on from those mistakes (which you did). This is even more important than pretending we are perfect, all the time. Awesome post, xo

  43. Morgan B.
    October 25, 2010 | 10:10 pm

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who looses her patience sometimes. My husband works long hours and I have almost no childcare. I feel very spread thin and I'm having a hard time adjusting to having two children. I don't enjoy many of my days right now. The one thing I know about motherhood is that it is always changing. Things get easier. Others get harder. Nothing is forever.

    When I find myself really loosing it, I look my three year old in the face and tell her how much I love her. I might not be feeling that way at the moment, but the power of suggestion is incredible. :)

  44. Morgan B.
    October 25, 2010 | 10:10 pm

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who looses her patience sometimes. My husband works long hours and I have almost no childcare. I feel very spread thin and I'm having a hard time adjusting to having two children. I don't enjoy many of my days right now. The one thing I know about motherhood is that it is always changing. Things get easier. Others get harder. Nothing is forever.

    When I find myself really loosing it, I look my three year old in the face and tell her how much I love her. I might not be feeling that way at the moment, but the power of suggestion is incredible. :)

  45. --
    October 26, 2010 | 8:31 pm

    Lately, I lose my patience daily. I'm not proud of that, and I think it's time for me to go back to work. Being home with two kids is really incredibly hard, especially if you know you have other skills that are atrophying. Don't beat yourself up. I'm sure your kids know you love them.

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  47. […] Not by a long shot. In fact, I’ve been very candid about my parenting mishaps. Take a look here and here. Oh, and here […]

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