We all get it. That bubbling volcanic rush of blood to the head. When rational thought goes out the window. When you know that you should calm down and defer to reasoning mode, appeal to better natures and what not. BUT you just can’t help it. Hell you don’t much care.
Someone is messing with your child’s well being, making your day a bit tougher, frankly being a bit of a fool and you are going round and round (and round and round) in circles.
The mummy rage is building and there is no stopping it now. No matter the consequences.
YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE THEM HELL!!!!!!
All parents experience the mummy rage at one time or another, but as parents of children with additional needs we tend to be more exposed to the frustrating tangles of bureaucratic red tape and jobsworth professionals who seem to delight in making things more complicated than they need to be.
We’ve all had them. The ones we’ve slammed the phone down on, demanded to speak to their superiors, cried to or screamed at.
The thing is did it make you feel any better? Probably not. Did it get you any further down the road? Did it heck.
There is a time and a place for taking things to the next level, but one thing I’ve learnt the hard way is that you catch more flies with honey. Even if the sweetness makes you feel sick.
We need to calm the mummy rage down and I know it is not always easy.
Mummy rage near fail
Take the other day. I was driving all three children on the most mundane of errands to the uniform shop to pick up a new PE kit for the oldest boy. So far, so boring. A lady driver reversed out of her space and blocked my turn into the road leaving my car hovering in the middle of a busy dual carriage way. With my three babies inside.
I kept calm-ish and replied in my reasonable voice: Listen, can you move your car as we are hanging out on to the road and I have kids in the back.
No, I won’t as you are being very rude.
Are you freaking kidding me? Do you want to discuss my manners when there aren’t cars galore swerving around me. If she thought that was rude well then I’d show her.
YOU ARE BLOCKING MY WAY! MY KIDS ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!!!! I may have screeched this and added a swear word. And perhaps beeped again (maybe three times).
Not my finest hour alas.
I will call the police and tell them about your swearing. She added settling back more comfy in her chair. Pleased as punch. Meanwhile, WE WERE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD.
This is the point when the Mummy rage would have swept in and took over.
But instead I forced myself to calm down and remember the children in the car.
So I took a deep breath, leaned back in my seat, smiled and blew her a kiss. Then waited.
I think the kiss freaked her out. After about a minute of looking startled and wrong-footed as there was no come back to that, she finally moved out of my way.
If I hadn’t done that I think the stand off was such that we would both still be there now. Our husbands bringing us Mars Bars to keep us going.
The mummy rage is a beneficial sometimes, but mostly it makes things worse.
Especially as we just need to get things sorted swiftly and move on to the next thing on our list.
Mummy rage win
This morning, for example, the honey paid off big time.
Gabe’s teeth have been slowly wearing away due to his acid reflux and we need a specialist dentist.
We got a letter asking us to call and book him an appointment but if they didn’t hear from us in three weeks, they would cancel the referral (I so enjoy all my threatening NHS letters).
We were on holiday for the first two weeks so I had a week to book (the pressure). I misread the letter saying only to call on either a Monday and a Friday so I lost the Monday and then on the Friday I was so dreaming of my Friday night Chinese takeaway and wine, that I (erm) forgot to call.
By the time I did get through I was disdainfully informed we’d missed our booking window and I had to go back to our dentist and start again.
WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?
Mummy rage popped her head out and asked whether I needed her.
Tempted as I was, I told her to go back to watching Jeremy Kyle. I had this.
No, I firmly told the booking lady, no hint of a raised voice betraying my frustration. I am not going to do that. We’ve waited 12 weeks already. His teeth hurt. He is four. Your system is ridiculous. Put me through to someone who can help.
Her superior comes on eventually after the required “you are a pain in the bum customer and I am not jumping to your tune” wait time. She was already in fight mode and tells me immediately the next appointment would be 18 weeks away.
So I raise my game. Pour on the sugar.
I tell her that it must make her job so much harder having people like me not reading letters properly, doing pesky stuff like going on holiday and having the cheek to be in work themselves during the allocated time slots when you can catch the (very) part-time booking lady. I tell her a bit about Gabe. How she would be a hero (she would!). I sit quiet as she huffs and puffs as she clicks through the computer.
Three minutes later I have an appointment for Monday morning to get those little peggies sorted.
I feel like a rock star.
A I-don’t-read-the-letter-properly and man-that-is-a-stupid-system-and-I-was-desperate-to-shout-at- you rock star. But a rock star all the same.
So next time you feel like you are going to lose your cool, put the Hulk back in the box and channel your inner Gerri Halliwell (the only other calm person I could think of was Val Doonican).
I promise it does work.
Maybe when you feel like slamming your fist down on the table (we all do it and it makes me feel ace and like I am in a cool film), maybe pause and think of the following:
- You are probably the 4567th person to complain about this and they too think the system sucks
- The person at the end of the phone is just trying to get through the day like us all
- They are busy, going the extra mile will mean taking up more of their time. You have to be worth it.
- Being nice makes you feel saintly and that you deserve a big slab of cake afterwards
- You’ve more chance of actually getting what you need.
You know you can do this.
Nothing worth doing was ever easy.
And if all that pent up emotion needs to go somewhere, there is a uniform shop near me that does a line in excellent argumentative posh ladies who would be happy to oblige you in some restorative banter.
P.S. None of these rules apply to wife rage. Go forth and conquer with that one (sorry lads)