a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Aug, 2007

Mental management

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I don’t cope with heat very well. I’m not a hot weather lover. I’m a Spring. And a Fall. I like warmth but I don’t like to broil. And this is broiling.

I know myself well enough to know that I get grouchy when I am “off” in any way. If I’m hungry, tired, or hot, the unfortunate truth is that I am more likely to snap at somebody. But I have learned something: the trick is to eat right, get adequate sleep, and stay cool. And if THAT doesn’t always work I have another trick to keep my temper from bubbling over.

I was at the grocery store the other day. The girls were seriously trying my patience. Emma was carrying her sister around the store. They were loud, and narrowly bumping into other shoppers. And I kept reminding them, over and over, to pipe down and be careful. I hate repeating myself. It is so trying. If I had to ask the girls to “please be watchful for others” one more time I was going to explode.

I knew they were just being goofs. They get like that when they’re happy or excited. But sometimes I can’t help myself. I unravel. I lose my temper and snap at them. What can I say. I’m a yeller.


When I get to this stage, the one thing that helps me keep it all in perspective is this:

Pretend someone is watching.

None of this “take a deep breath and count to ten” crap. I just pretend someone’s watching. It’s a last resort for me. But for some reason this keeps me calm and I am able to regulate my voice. On one hand, I think, this is stupid, who am I kidding? On the other hand I think, there really IS someone watching, and it’s either Emma, or Sarah, or both. They are absorbing everything around them, including my snappish remarks at the grocery store. They are learning how parents should behave. Do I want to yell? No. Do I want them to feel bad? No. So I have to do it this way.

In this hot weather I am trying to be kind to myself by taking the easy way out.  I let the kids watch some TV in the mornings. We eat ice cream. We hang out by a pool. That’s what I’m going to do today. Why should we overexert ourselves when it’s going to be scorcher?

1 Response to "Mental management"

1 | megan

August 2nd, 2007 at 10:24 am


There was a lady at Winner’s the other day who should totally follow your “someone is watching” rule. I felt so bad for her little guy who clearly had enough of watching his mother thumb through the tank tops. I like to tell my girls (loudly) that if there mother were here, she would be really upset with them. It dosn’t fool anyone but at least people think it’s funny.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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