When Mommy Loses Her Cool

He is full of 'fits' and vinegar!

He is full of ‘fits’ and vinegar!

Max is in the shower now.  I almost lost my mind trying to get him in.  It went a little something like this:

Max: Read the dinosaur book again!

Me: OK, I’ll read it one more time and then it’s time to take a bath or shower.

Max: No shower! No bath! 

Me: You will take a shower or bath.

Then I read the book again.

Max: Again! Read it again!

Me: Nope, it’s time for a shower or bath.

Max: I don’t want to smell clean! 

Me: Too bad.  Pick a shower or bath or I will pick it for you.

I carried him towards the stairs and he started bucking and thrashing.  We barely made it to the next level without falling and surprisingly I was able to hold him gently but firmly–it just took me clenching my jaw while deep breathing through my nose.  I turned the shower on and Max grabbed his tooth brush.  He rarely wants to brush his teeth so I decided to go with the flow since he wasn’t throwing a fit any more and I let him brush his teeth.  That took a long time.  I eventually turned off the water which was probably his master plan in the first place.

Finally, I set the timer on my phone and told him that he had 5 minutes and then he was getting in the shower no matter what.  5 minutes came and went and I managed to wrestle him out of his clothes successfully by tickling him the entire time.  Yes, it took longer and no, I didn’t want to do it but a mom has to use whatever tricks she can.  Am I wrong?  Then I carried him to the shower.  He was having none of it.  As soon as I set him down in order to turn the water on he started to run.  I grabbed him and the bucking and thrashing started again.  This wasn’t the first fit of the day.  There was also an epic one when we came home from our play date and he didn’t want to get out of the car.  That one had lasted for 30 minutes.  Then there was the one about what he was going to eat for dinner.  And the one when I was cooking dinner and he wanted to be held.  All of those had happened in the past 2 hours.  So I was done.  I snapped.

I looked my precious 3 year old in the eyes and glared as mean as I could.  I yelled like an army sergeant.

Me: That’s enough! I’ve tried to be nice and it’s not working.  You are getting in the shower.  NOW!

And I put him in and shut the door.

My throat hurt and I felt like crap as I gathered up some waterproof toys for him to play with.   Then, as I carefully opened the door to slide the toys in, I looked at him with eyes of regret and almost apologized.  Yes, I do usually apologize when I yell at my son.  But this time I didn’t because he looked at me cheerfully from underneath the stream of warm water and accepted the toys with a great big, “Thanks, Mom!”

I’m not saying it was appropriate to yell at him.  It’s not a moment I’m proud of.  But it did end the fit.  Just sayin’.


  • Tammy says:

    This post makes it sound like that’s the first time you yelled at him and I am in awe. You do what you have to do!!! And they do forgive easily 🙂

  • Jody Robbins says:

    We’ve all been there! One tip I got was to always use the choice talk before you lose your cool. Like, “Max, you can choose to get out of the shower right now, or you can choose a time out as soon as I get dried off.”

  • Rilla says:

    In our house I still ask, “do you want mean mom or nice mom right now?” when my almost 10 year old son is being difficult and I am about to lose it. Fortunately so far he’s always chosen nice mom but mean mom has made spontaneous appearances by necessity on a number of occasions. 😉

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