Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Different Mommy

I stood, speechless, watching my 4 year old son sob on the sofa. I'd just been very short with him. Actually, I'd classify it as a low-level yell. He was sputtering and stuttering over a sentence while I waited to see what he had to say. "I want a different...a different...a different..."

"I want a different mommy."

I stiffened. Hurtful. But then I thought, of course you do. I said it out loud.

"Of course you do." His sobbing subsided a little to listen. "Why wouldn't you want a different mommy. This one is yelling at you. Hold on. I'll get you a different mommy."

I closed my eyes. Breathe two three four five. Out, two three, four five. I thought, poor little man, so sad about so little. I need to help him learn to work through this grief, whether or not I agree with the severity. I want to be a different mommy. I am a different mommy.

"Okay, here's a different mommy for you."

He came willingly to my lap, and sighed.

"It's hard when you really want something and it turns out a different way, and then mommy starts getting mad because you're upset and that just makes it harder, huh?" He cuddled in like he did when he was smaller.

"Maybe we can think of a way that you can keep track of whose turn it is yourselves, so I don't have to keep arbitrating this conflict."

He looked up, excited. "Yeah! I can have ideas! I'll think about it!"

"What do you need to think about?"

"Maybe like using stickers, or maybe we put a paper and practice writing it, or maybe...I don't know. I want to think about it."

He jumped off my lap. Tantrum finished. Because I was a different mommy.


  1. That was a neat resolution ... good thing 4 year olds are so simple ... maybe that would work on world leaders?


  2. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is teaching them how to navigate on their own. I think you did a fabulous job, just then.

  3. What a lucky boy to have such a tender Mommy. I love this post!

  4. "What do you need to think about?"
    ...I don't know. I want to think about it.
    I read it again and again...

    Finds out
    I think everyone needs an idea, a favour and time to come out from disputes/confusion/negative approach to life!!!
    your son got an idea, just favour him through giving him time!!!
    Just try to be his friend!!! Listen him carefully, whenever he wants to share something with you!!!

  5. Brilliant! Showcases what a terrific mom and problem solver you are.

  6. Sometimes we all need to close our eyes, take a breath or two and become a different version of ourselves at a moment, if only to just navigate through a crisis or weather a storm better. If only we can help others do the same. What a necessary skill to have. What a great mommy, and friend.

    Love you. All of yous.

  7. This was an awesome post and exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you.

  8. Brilliant. I don't remember EVER having the thought in the moment that I could become a diifferent mommy. To this day, I am not able to function in unexpected situations. I just freeze. My poor daughter had to wait.. I would say that I needed a time-out to think about what just happened and then we could talk about it. I tried for us never to go to bed without having resolved the issue.

    I like your way much better!

  9. I absolutely love it!
    I have to admit I'd like to use the story in my office with couples. It is a great skill to use when they are feeling disconnected.
    Do you mind?
    Again, love it!

  10. Thank you, Kim - from you in particular I'm honoured. Of course you can use it! Please let me know if it helps people.


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