Are we stressing our kids out?

stressed children
There, there, children, no need to stress just because your dad has put his head inside the car bonnet again

Are we responsible for creating stress in our children?

Take travelling for starters.

As very young children, my three were bursting with carefree excitement when it came to holidays.

Little people don’t need to realise that flights involve very busy airports and endless queues of people. People who do not have young children, and therefore like to meander very slowly in front of you. Or be outraged when your child zooms over their toes on their Trunki (are those great big hulks of plastic really a ‘fun, hassle-free’ way to transport kids around an airport?).

I defy anybody to say they can travel with children without extreme levels of anxiety and soaring blood pressure.

As parents, we have to manoeuvre children to the right places at the right times (with hours of boring sitting around inbetween) while they need wee wees, ask endless questions, and dart across packed airports into the throngs of people, without a second’s warning.

But it’s not until my kids are now older, that they are no longer such carefree travellers. Anxieties have started to creep in.

They constantly check the departure board, and feel the need to get to the gate a good four hours before the flight is due to leave.

I fear this can only be a reaction to the number of times their S.H.I.T parents have made them desperately sprint for flights, as the family name is embarrassingly called out over the tannoy. Once on board the flight, huffing and puffing and pouring with sweat, everyone quite rightly hates us.

And the continual questioning as to where the passports are, must be due to witnessing incidents such as when Mr S.H.I.T. declared at the car hire desk that he had no clue where the five passports were. After the entire contents of the backpack were emptied on to the floor – wet wipes, spare knicks, the secret stash of Percy Pigs (mine) – thankfully the passports were found.

Not, of course, without extreme hatred between us parents hanging heavily in the already stressful air.

And naturally, all of our stress effects the little S.H.I.T’s ‘dreamy’ travel memories, and the anxiety association is embedded.

But it’s not just travel. What about the joy that is the morning school run for example?

Now this could, I’m sure, be a calmer and more pleasant experience all round. However, it never is.

It’s like watching a frantic mother who’s just been told she can spend an hour alone in a lift with Ryan Gosling if she gets her children out of the house in thirty seconds flat. But without the nice treat at the end. So, not so much Emma Stone in La La Land, as Sharon when she’s really, really crazy in Basic Instinct.

No matter how many times I try to rearrange my morning’s logistics, with two minutes before we have to leave, I am inevitably always screaming at people to brush their teeth, brush their hair, brush each other, whatever….

I go from calm, friendly, nice mummy to psycho, hideous, screamy mummy in one second flat.

No wonder the children are on tenterhooks. Who knows which Mummy will appear next – the laughing, fun one, or the mad, deranged screecher?

And it’s because I am guilty of not having it all up and running a little earlier, that my stress levels shoot through the roof.

Yes, children choose their moments to tell you their school shoe has actually been wedged up Build-a-Bear’s bum, but I don’t necessarily need to self-combust over it and create a highly angsty atmosphere.

They look at me with wary anxiety in their eyes, not sure what to expect.

One minute I’m encouraging beloved time with Paddy, the iPad nanny, then the next I have decided that far too much screen time has been had.

I’m furious, and screaming because I’m stressed and feeling guilty that my children aren’t outside counting duck eggs and being all Swallows and Amazons on the river bank. The fact that we live in town and these activities are near impossible does not, however, seem to prevent me envisaging such dreamy ‘river’ scenes.

I put my stress on to their little heads.

I’d love to float around in ethereal white robes with nothing but tranquil thoughts swishing around in the motherhead, even when shoes are being wedged up Build-a-Bear’s bum. But that’s just not reality.

Will their natural instinct be to avoid such stress and become extra cautious in life? I hope not.

But it is helpful having children who now lie to me about how much time we’ve got until our flight leaves. S.H.I.T. hasn’t been called out on the airport tannoy for a long time.

As featured in Huffington Post.


I have amazingly made it into the finals of the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2017 under the Fresh Voice category.

I would be so grateful for your vote if you like what you read at S.H.I.T.

You can do it here, and I will be forever indebted to you.

Thank you! xx

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  1. mike ward
    February 23, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    Love this. I actually laughed out loud. I think everyone around me thinks I am mad. It was worth it. Great post.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 25, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      Like the thought of you guffawing to yourself Mike! Thx for commenting. x

  2. February 26, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    I relate to this a lot and love how honest you are about it! I’m not one to be late for planes but I definitely have times when my own stress levels make me get all angry at my kids about little things! Hopefully with age and practice I will start to chill the heck out #kcacols

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 26, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      I’m pleased you’re more organised than me when it comes to travel – being on time for anything has never been my forte but being responsible for getting children to places on time is even harder! And they get stressed in the meantime! Hoping I will chill out in time too! Thanks for commenting x

  3. February 27, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    This is so true iv often thought this! Great post. #postsfromtheheart

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 27, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting – glad it’s not just me! #postsfromtheheart x

  4. February 27, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    Oh yeah I stress mine out daily- hourly I am sure. Then I beat myself up over it and repeat. Gah! Parenting is hard.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 27, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      It certainly is, I’m a ticking time bomb! Thx for commenting x

  5. February 27, 2017 / 5:40 pm

    Love this and I can definitely relate, especially with the morning rush. I’m sure I never used to be this stressed before my kids came along! xx

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 27, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      I definitely didn’t – used to be quite laidback! My ability to see the red mist in 1 second flat is quite alarming! Thx for commenting x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 27, 2017 / 10:25 pm

      Me too – it’s the sudden psychotic way I just explode – it comes from nowhere! No wonder they don’t know who I’m going to be next! Thx for the comment #KCACOLS

  6. February 28, 2017 / 3:03 am

    I am like you children, four hours before the flight I NEED to be at the gate! I think my mother always making us late for everything was the actual cause haha!
    funny post, I had a giggle. #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 28, 2017 / 10:42 pm

      That definitely means that my kids will always be early for everything as I am that mum, late for everything! Thanks for commenting x

  7. Mom Of Two Little Girls
    February 28, 2017 / 6:46 am

    haha … love this. Flying with kids and school runs are THE most stressful things a mother can do, especially travelling alone with the kids. Picture me with a 5 weeks old and 2 years & 2 weeks old toddler). I would NEVER do it again. Madness.
    But yes, we definitely project our stress on to them, and then when they kick off/bolt it’s even worse. I really have no answer for this though, other than to never travel anywhere ever, even to school.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 28, 2017 / 10:41 pm

      I’ve often thought when I’m pouring with sweat and finally sitting on the plane – never again! I try so hard to keep calm, then ruin it all by absolutely exploding! Thx for commenting #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 28, 2017 / 10:41 pm

      I’ve often thought when I’m pouring with sweat and finally sitting on the plane – never again! I try so hard to keep calm, then ruin it all by absolutely exploding! Thx for commenting #globalblogging

  8. February 28, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    I suffer from anxiety and always worry about stressing my bab out with my own anxiety. #kcacols

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 28, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      I know, it’s so hard not to put our anxieties on to our kids. Thanks for commenting #kcacols

  9. February 28, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Every word, true and hysterical! Thanks so much for sharing this on #globalblogging I love the ‘Paddy, iPad Nanny’ Chortles out loud! xoxoxo

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 28, 2017 / 10:35 pm

      Thanks Lisa! Paddy is doing more and more shifts at our house it seems (holds head in shame!). Thanks for hosting #globalblogging x

  10. March 1, 2017 / 8:07 am

    I’m with you. I hate being that screechy shouty mum in the mornings before the school run but sometimes it’s hard not to project your stress onto the kids even though it’s not fair.

    Thankfully my kids are still at the age where they love flying and don’t worry about being late and so far we’ve never been called out over the tannoy.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 1, 2017 / 4:50 pm

      I’m hoping my kids wipe all memories of screechy shouty mum from the memories, and only remember cool, fun, nice mummy! I can but hope..Thx for hosting and commenting #KCACOLS x

  11. March 1, 2017 / 11:38 am

    This is so funny! And reassuring. And scary, actually! It’s the truth. And we’re all like this. But why, oh why are we all like this?!? It’s not just me then, but what made it so mental?? Because I don’t remember my parents being so mental on the school run! Or is it just because I didn’t understand. If it is, there’s hope that our children won’t remember it 😉 Thank you for sharing #PostsFromTheHeart

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 1, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      I know, I only remember my mum being cool, calm and collected, but is that because we’ve scrubbed the stressy memories from our minds, or are we just far more frazzled and shouty? Hoping our kids will wipe it from their memories, and only remember nice, fun mummy! Thx for commenting x

  12. makinghermama
    March 2, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    I haven’t travelled with my smaller kids yet but my mom and I are planning on taking the younger 3 on a plane ride to visit LegoLand. They’ll be 1, 3 and 8…. I feel craziness ensuing already!!! #KCACOLS

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 3, 2017 / 12:11 am

      Good luck! Once you get over the stress of the journey (!) then it’ll be absolutely brilliant. But you never know, your kids might be complete angels on the flight, and at least your mum is going with you to help. Let me know how you get on! Thx for commenting #KCACOLS

  13. March 3, 2017 / 1:33 am

    Love your honesty in this post! Almost woke up my OH and Son by LOL at parts 🙂 #KCACOLS

  14. barriebismark
    March 3, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Ugh…I worry about stressing out my kids all the time. Especially about stressful times in my own life. Parenting is so hard! #brillblogposts

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 7, 2017 / 2:48 pm

      I know, it’s so hard to get the right balance isn’t it and I inevitably go from calm nice mummy to psycho mentalist in 2 seconds flat, then hate myself for it! Parenting is indeed very hard! Thx for commenting #brillblogposts x

  15. March 4, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Yep – I totally get this. My son is constantly asking me about being late for school – because in the past I STRESS so much about it! #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 7, 2017 / 2:47 pm

      I know, I’m creating a phobia of being late in my kids’ minds! I’m naturally a late person so it’s extra stressful for me trying to get them to everything on time. Inevitably they have to turn up late sometimes and they HATE it. Must try harder. Thx for commenting #globalblogging

  16. March 5, 2017 / 12:05 am

    OMG – I think my kids are stressballs 🙂 I blame their father erm…… OK maybe its me…..#globalblogging

  17. March 5, 2017 / 9:32 am

    I think you have a point and it is one I have considered often as my teens are definitely stressy in that they are always worrying about the same things I do which can only be a result of having watched and experienced my stressy episodes up close and personal for so many years. What goes around comes around. #PostsFromTheHeart

  18. March 5, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    I love this post so much. I am utterly disorganised, much the disappointment of Number One who is probably the most organised person on the planet. I try my best to save her by complying to her rules, but sadly do not always get there. Number Two thankfully is still in that carefree stage, and fingers crossed by the time he is old enough to know I will hVe got my act together. Thanks so much for linking up with #PostsFromTheHeart and making me feel a little more normal!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 6, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Thank you! Glad it’s not just me – just wish I was a better time keeper (never have been) as I’m sure I’m responsible for making my girls really stressed about being on time for things. Thx for the lovely comment #postsfromtheheart x

  19. March 6, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    Ah, such an insightful post. I can so relate and if I may say so, I’m guilty as charged too! I guess we do take the joy out of things for our kids sometimes:(

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 6, 2017 / 5:10 pm

      It’s good to hear it’s not just me! I can go from nice calm mummy to a total mentalist in 1 second flat! It’s scary! Thanks for commenting #globalblogging x

  20. March 6, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, so true. We’ve got our first flight with our two this year. Eeek

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 7, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Good luck with that! Just try to ignore the disapproving looks from people travelling without children and bribe the kids with lots of snacks! Thx for commenting.

  21. March 7, 2017 / 2:58 am

    For as much stress as they give me I think a little back in their direction is healthy! Lol!! #brillblogposts

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 7, 2017 / 2:33 pm

      I’m liking that attitude! Quite right! Thx for commenting #brillblogposts x

  22. March 10, 2017 / 11:35 am

    I could have written this Susie! This very morning I was trying to supervise maths homework, make a packed lunch AND get my son to PUT SOME CLOTHES ON all at the same time and with half an hour to leave the house. All because I’m disorganised and a bit S.H.I.T too! Thanks for being a part of the #bigpinklink this week

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      March 12, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      ha ha! Just like a typical morning in the S.H.I.T. household then! I’m feeling your pain – the multi tasking that the pre school run involves is quite something. Think we’re all a bit S.H.I.T!! Thx for your very funny comment. x PS would you have been able to do it all in half the time if you’d been offered an hour with Ryan G in a lift?! Thx for hosting #bigpinklink

  23. randommusings29
    March 10, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Haha, loved this! I love the fact the kids now make sure you’re on time for your flights
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂

  24. March 12, 2017 / 11:47 pm

    Good point! I can’t get mine out of the house without creating stress! #bigpinklink

  25. May 15, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    I’m such a stresshead with our two – in the morning and especially at mealtimes. Youngest is only 14 months, so she sits in her high-chair happily enough, but there is regular warfare with her big brother. If I could stay calmer, it would definitely be a lot easier, but that’s the trick, eh?

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      May 29, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Everyday I aim to be calmer and more organised and it never ever happens. Think we’re all in the same boat, luckily! Thx for reading x

  26. May 24, 2017 / 5:15 pm

    Every. Word. Is. True. I wake up in a panic attack!!! Thanks for the giggle!!!

  27. October 7, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    Ah this has really given me some food for thought. This is totally what we are doing. I try and let George understand we have deadlines such as the school gates closing and is not being inside them in time but I’ll try to make a more conscious effort to do it without offloading my stress onto him.

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      October 9, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      I’m so guilty of laying my stress on the kids but I think it might be impossible not to. I just wish I didn’t go from zero stress to whoosh, crazy screaming stressed out screamy lady – the kids don’t know what’s going on. I can’t seem to help it though. Hope I’m not scarring them for life. Thx for commenting lovely lady x

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