Ways to feel better when you have been a dick to your kids

On the weekend I had a couple of really bad nights with Harper. On top of almost 7 years of bad nights with Harper, I snapped. And it wasn’t just me that snapped, Rob snapped too which kind of made me feel better, but we snapped. A duo of snapping in epic proportions. It wasn’t pretty.

The morning would come and we would apologise and get on with the day and make promises to ourselves to deal with it better and then the next night? It would happen again. Rinse and repeat. By the third or fourth (5,678th?) night it was bad for all three of us. The next day both big girls went to my Mum’s for a sleepover (where she slept perfectly BUT OF COURSE SHE DID) but I could not shake the absolute feeling of despair and awfulness at the way I had responded to her. I felt shame, guilt, exhaustion, despair, GUILT and a general faint feeling of sickness about how I had let her down. I was the adult, the Mum and I completely lost it. I am meant to be the grown up and yet? I was acting like a tantruming 2 year old. Bluergh.

So I wrote about it on Instagram (because I just had to get it off my chest somewhere) and I was overwhelmed at everyone’s lovely comments. I wasn’t alone! Of course we are never alone and yet it was SO nice to be reminded again. I wanted to collate some of the suggestions into one big master list so I could share it with YOU in case you were having a shit day, and for ME to read again because OF COURSE there will be many, many more in years to come.


1. Apologise & acknowledge your poor behaviour

If you expect your kids to apologise to you when they act like a little shit, then you should do the same right. Apologise for what you said/did and acknowledge the way your reacted and how that was NOT to way to respond. A hug will help things instantly by a gazillion percent and you can pretend they are little again when they just smiled and loved you.

2. Discuss the problem

If you can get some one on one time with the child that you lashed out on then try and get them alone, out of the house and focused on you so you can discuss why you acted out the way you did and to see if there is something you can do to fix it for them AND you.

3. Surrender to all the bad feelings and go on strike

Sometimes all those feelings are STILL all too much and you just need to give in to them. Take yourself to bed, take yourself to the couch with a bad TV show and headphones and just tune out. Put music on and listen to it loudly. Read a book, read a crappy magazine, aimlessly scroll through your phone, whatever it is to distract and wallow in your problem. Pour a big drink. Sometimes it works.

4. Have a big cry

I did this and you know what? It helped. All those words, those emotions those feelings that are JUST under the surface ready to blow can be released through tears too. Let them flow!

5. Get some fresh air

Get out of the house! Get away from the scene of the crime! A change of scene with give you a change of mind as well and distract everyone from what has gone down. Meditate. Sit in the sunshine, if you can get a chance to be alone go for a big walk/run/gym session and push out those cranky feelings and turn them into sweat. For me? Well I found myself scrubbing my kitchen cupboards!

6. Don’t be hard on yourself

If you were looking at a tally of ALL the shit you do for your kids. Like ALL the things. The feeding, washing, cleaning, teaching, fund stuff, educational stuff, holidays you work hard for, work you do to make sure they can do or go to stuff and then the occasional bad behaviour and lashing out from you…well I reckon the good side would FAR outweigh the odd shitty bit from you. Am I right? Cut yourself some slack!

7. Remember you are a person too!

Kids are these precious little things that we REALLY want to look after and love and do the right thing by ALL THE TIME but you know what? You are a person too! With feelings and emotions and needs and you are allowed to feel all those things you know? I bet ANYTHING that the reason you lost it because you were TIRED. I swear to God it’s the reason for 99% of all poor behaviour. You’re just tired. SHIT I’M TIRED.

8. Take some Evening Primrose Oil

My mate Kim swears by this stuff and I have a HUGE bottle of them on my bench but I STILL forget to take them. I used to take 2 a day, every day and it really helped me to regulate my moods and hormones. I am no doctor and obviously talk to your GP/Naturopath/whoever about what is best for YOU but I really have to start taking them again. Kim takes 4 a day and swears by it.

9. Release the guilt!

You know why you feel SO bad and SO guilty about what you did or said to your kid? Because you REALLY want to do a good job all the time! And when you feel like you have let down your side of it? Well you punish yourself. But look at that! The reason you feel it all SO much is because you care. You really care. You are a good person, a good Mum/Dad and you are doing to best you can, really. Imagine if you stopped giving a shit? That’s a problem!

10. Remember tomorrow is a new day

These feelings will pass, you have a whole new chance tomorrow to learn from your mistakes and move forward and try harder. We are lucky enough to have a whole new day without any mistakes or anything bad in it, every day. Tomorrow is a brand new day.

11. Most of all? Remember you are not alone

EVERYONE does this. Maybe only once, maybe once a year, a month, a week, but every parent will do this. You are not a monster. You are not alone. Someone, somewhere, is feeling exactly the same way too. They feel the shame and guilt too. And tomorrow? They will try again too.

Being a Mum is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had. It requires unending patience and energy. It is relentless. It is a thing of beauty and pain, of joy and frustration and anger. For me it sometimes brings out the best in me and sometimes (and I have to remember only occasionally) brings out my very worst. Every single day I work my guts out for my family to make our home a happy and safe place filled with love and laughter and good times. I only ever want the very best for every one in my family and I know with 100% certainty that I will always put myself and my own needs at the very bottom of the pile. Even the bloody dog is ahead of me! So if I occasionally lose my mind, it’s OK. I’m still trying, I still care, and I’m still just one person.

I know my family knows that, I just have to remind myself too sometimes.

Go easy Mama, go easy. Deep breaths, collect yourself and onwards we go…


  1. Leeanne Boyson says

    I swear I LOVE YOU !!!!!!!! everything makes perfect sense, but at the moment of trying to get the six year old to get dressed for school, eat his breakfast and COME ON FOR GOD SAKE – i forget I am a person too…..

    My very handsome man has always said that ” he is his number 1″ – but I wanted to be his number 1 – madly in love of course!!
    I always thought it was selfish that he put himself before anything else, but then he explained that if he isn’t right then nothing is right… it filters down.. after much thought, frowns, ahuh moments sometimes i think he is right – but not always !!

  2. I love number 1 the most. Trying that has made me feel so much better on those odd, awful occasions. I like to think that we’re role modelling how to be a good human. Because all people make mistakes, but you can show how you’re not too proud to apologise where it’s warranted and that you can resolve things with good communication.

    Also a massive fan of mummy going into time out!! x

  3. Elizabeth Woods says

    Beth, I had an epic meltdown with my 7 year old a few weeks ago and still carry the guilt! Thanks for this post ….. its nice to know all mums snap everyone now and again!!! And some great tips on how to deal with it (now printed for future reference). xx

  4. You are such an inspiration! I love your posts! Thank you especially for this one!

  5. YES. All the yeses in the world. I have been losing my shit way too often and the guilt just hangs around in the air like a real stink. I tell myself that this is going to really affect their development and this is what they will remember about me forever. The truth is, I’m doing the bloody best I can and they know, they really do know, that I adore the shit out of them.
    I think all your points are mighty fine ways to deal with this mummy shit storms. Thank you x

  6. A wise person once said to me – Do you really want your kids to grow up and think they are a parent failure because they just yelled at their kid and thought “Mum never lost it with me – I must be such a bad parent?” One of the best pieces of advice ever shared with me.

  7. I’m going to keep this post in mind, for when I have a newborn and I am constantly snapping at my three and two year old – because, well, I will be tired and overwhelmed.

  8. Michelle E says

    Yes Beth…….yes. Thanks for this post, it normalises our struggle to be good role models and not being able to hold it together as much as we hoped we could…..because we’re human beans. Nobody is perfect, but striving for perfection teaches our kids that failure is not okay and that’s not a good path to go down. So yes let’s embrace our crappy parenting moments instead of thinking we’re going to cause lifelong damage to our kids.

  9. This posts speaks to me SOOOO much. #crankymum

  10. I HATE myself when I lose my shit at my kids. Their faces haunt me as I go to bed. My voice & the words I’ve screamed just play on loop in my head. Even though I know I’m not a terrible mum in those moments & quite often the ones after I could not feel like a bigger piece of shit. But every time they forgive me faster than I forgive myself. And I vow to do better, be better. I guess the fact we keep trying means something right?
    Big love from one mama ti another xx

  11. oh beth, we’ve all done it!
    all of your points are very valid!
    she has set up a pattern and you may need some help for her to break it! …
    cognitive therapy! … for everyone’s sanity!
    it is very wearing on the parents, as you are expecting it too and that is heightened every time it happens! … the same pattern and everyone’s on edge!
    them mind is very complex!
    “emotional intelligence” by Daniel Goleman … it’s a brilliant book to have on hand hun!
    I think you can even get it as a pdf! … many amazingly helpful strategies in there!
    all the best love m:)X

  12. All points are great advice but that still leaves the problem of a child who won’t/can’t sleep. Can I ask if she’s seen a doctor or other health professional about it? I wonder if hypnotherapy or Bowen therapy would help her? Just wondering…

  13. I swear to god Beth – you always know just when I need to hear something… just like that very first blog post I ever wrote of yours about Over Expectations… or something like that. Yes yes yes to everything. I am such a cranky bitch of a Mum at the moment and I just can’t seem to pull myself out… you should hear me, I can even hear myself and still can’t stop myself… what the F is wrong with me, seriously. I need about 72,000 Evening Primrose Oil tabs, or maybe just a Valium. I spend my whole life worrying that my kids are going to be little monsters or iPad playing arseholes that I forget to have fun with them (FYI: they don’t even play iProducts…)… but I am just so worried all the time… Bloody hell. I wish I could be a fun Mum.

  14. Helen Vallance says

    I love love LOOOOVE this post! Thank you Beth for your honesty and for the practical and realistic suggestions, they are going to come in handy the next time I crack it with my two.

  15. Lynda M Otvos says

    So needed this post today. You are my favorite logger for this type of soul-cleaning and loving our families encouragement. Many thanks.

  16. Take the evening primrose Beth, just take it, don’t forget. I didn’t really suffer too much from pmt but it seemed to increase after each pregnancy. By number three I was a raving lunatic and evening primrose helped so much.

  17. Thank you for this post. My girlfriend just sent me the link to it after Iโ€™d told her what an awful mum I was to my two beautiful boys yesterday. I did apologize to them both this morning but I still have that awful tightness in my chest of guilt and despair and so I am at work now writing them both a letter. Just writing (what is turning out to be quite the essay) is helping a lot. Iโ€™m not perfect, far from it. Iโ€™ll stuff up again but Iโ€™ve promised to never behave THAT bad again and telling them that I love them with my whole heart each and every second of everyday. Parenting – geez Louise itโ€™s exhausting.

Speak Your Mind