Here within the Mary Tyler Family we place a lot of importance on knowing and understanding our feelings. I attribute it to my training and experience as a clinical social worker. It’s so important in today’s busy and modern families, amirite? But knowing your feelings can be a challenge these days, what with small children running around our ankles all the time.
That’s why I’ve devised a new system for helping the whole lot of us get better at knowing and understanding our feelings, all the feelings. I call it the WTF System — What’s The Feeling? It’s so easy, you and your family can do it, too!
Here’s how it works . . .
Let’s say you come home from a busy weekend day of holiday shopping only to find your kids still in their pajamas, leftover food and dishes all over the coffee table, and your husband in his boxers watching the football game with a beer in his hand. What might be running through your mind in that moment?
This is the time to say, WTF? What’s The Feeling? See how that works? Are you mad? Aggravated? Frustrated? Angry? Well then, saying to yourself WTF will help you identify those troubling feelings. Saying it out loud will only add to the experience.
Here’s another example. You’ve just spent a busy day with your extended family. You’re tired and ready to head back home. As you’re gathering up your kids and things, the munchkins decide it’s time for a meltdown. Your older maiden aunt says out loud to no one in particular, “Sheesh! In my day, we were able to control our children!” You know what’s coming — WTF? What’s The Feeling?! While you might be railing inside your head — What in the Sam Hilll does that old bat know about raising kids?, it’s really important to identify the feeling. Instead, just say to yourself, WTF?! You can even say it out loud! Here, let’s do it together — W T F?
See how well that works?
In employing my WTF System, I learned that a frequent mommy feeling I was having was guilt. You know what I mean, moms, don’t you? I’ve got an acronym for guilt, too. I call it OMFG — Oh, Mom’s Feeling Guilty! This happened just yesterday to me. I was wanting to give my older son a special treat after a long day at school. Ususally, chocolate is reserved for dessert after dinner, and just a bite, but he had had a rough day on the playground, so I says to myself, “Go ahead, mama, give the boy a thrill and offer some chocolate before dinner.”
So I did. And then he proceeded to bounce off the walls with a sugar high. Screaming and hooting and hollering, waking up the baby from his nap! This is when I screamed out loud, OMFG! Oh, Mom’s Feeling Guilty! See? If I hadn’t changed the rules and offered the boy chocolate, he would probably just be sitting quietly enjoying a book. But no, I had to offer the kid some contraband chocolate, probably, unconsciously, in an attempt to curry his favor. GUILT! OMFG!
And when that guilt hits, I know it’s time to take stock of my parenting and let my feelings all out, or what I like to call LMFAO — Let My Feelings All Out. It’s just astounding what a good LMFAO session will do for your soul!
Another positive feeling method I use comes in really handy when house guests are visiting. You know what they say about fish and house guests — three days is what all are capable of before going rotten. For instructive purposes, I will share a personal story with you. The in-laws were in town, and well, let’s just say we were on day seven — well past our collective expiration. We all got into it over the pot roast, and I knew it was the things unsaid that was causing the bickering — those dreaded feelings. Well, I popped right up and gave an inspirational GTFO (Get Those Feelings Out)!
I think it worked, cause the next morning, they couldn’t leave quickly enough. I am sure they just wanted to get home and talk about their feelings! Mission accomplished.
One last tip works really well in large settings. This past weekend I took my first trip to a Chuck E. Cheese establishment. Oh my. Well, there sure were a lot of folks there, and where there are a lot of folks, there are certain to be a lot of feelings. Too much stimulation can cause lots of confusing feelings, too. Why just in a brief snippet of that visit I witnessed about seven melt downs, foot stomping, bells ringing, and crying galore.
I stood up on a table and screamed STFU. That is a great method in a crowd to alert the folks you’re with to Start Those Feelings Up! There’s nothing better for creating calm out of chaos than to stand on a chair and shout STFU to all within hearing distance. Before you know it, dozens of blank and quiet faces will be staring up at you, grateful for your intervention and the opportunity you gave them to look at their feelings.
I hope all you gals learn from my hard earned mothering experience. Some days, us moms just gots to say WTF? If we don’t, well then, OMFG, the guilt will consume us. If we could all just learn to LMFAO, our whole lives would be so much easier.
I hope you, too, learn to use my handy dandy system for feeling all the feelings and when you do, say, “Thanks, MTM! Because of you I can say WTF to my husband, OMFG to my kids and LMFAO in a healthy and productive manner!” And whatever you do, don’t forget to GTFO sometimes. If you don’t, someone will be reminding you to STFU.
And, just because I like to be helpful, I made you a cheat sheet so you can practice feeling all the feelings at home! Happy feeling!
Note: Grateful thanks to my husband for both helping with and inspiring this post. Whenever I’m feeling down, I ask myself, “WWJD?,” cause I know my Jeremy has all the answers.
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