Unraveling: Allowing Ourselves Moments of Humanity

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

I am in the fourth week of a five-week-in-a-row stretch of some sort of out-of-town traveling, some personal and some business, and I am definitely unraveling.

We were at a super fun indoor water park over the weekend that has a wave pool and at one point I watched Marlowe get hit by four waves in a row, each time before she was quite recovered from the last, and I couldn’t stop laughing as she nearly got upright only to be knocked down again… unsuccessfully trying to clear her eyes of water and gain her balance. She was laughing too, but I wonder how many more waves she would have been able to take before it stopped being funny.

That’s how I feel.

I think it’s only because I know, or at least I hope, that the waves of travel are nearly done that I’ve not come completely undone.

But I am unraveling.

And in that unraveling I have become SUCH an a-hole to my kids.

And we all know how much I hate it when that happens, since I seem to write about it quarterly.   

Anyway, I talked recently about ways to keep the lines of communication open with your kids, and now I’m thinking about what we do when we just can’t get there. When, despite our best intentions and efforts, our communication is… well, slightly less than stellar. Not the model version of who we’d like to be.

When, as parents, we’re just big old jerks.

I try to say “I love you! I’d like to watch that video with you for the fifth time in a row, yes!” or “Sure, I’ll play baby with you because it’s just so much fun!” But instead what comes out is “Just a MINUTE!” and “That’s not funny, STOP IT” and “No, just NO” and all other manner of yuck.


So, how do we allow ourselves these moments of humanity—these very real “I’m barely holding on by a thread and therefore unable to be the Super Mom I’d like to be” moments—while still making sure our children know we love them, feel they are loved, and believe that they matter?

Let me know if you’ve got this one figured out. I’ll take all the parenting advice you’ve got at the moment, for real.

In the meantime, I’ve decided that in the moments (or, er, days) when my words keep failing me, I’m going to activate the hugging and kissing machine. More hugs! More kisses! Ignore my snapping-turtle mouth and pay attention to my cuddles because those cuddles will show you how I really feel. I’m going to close my eyes and breath them in, and hopefully in doing so I can breathe out this feeling of unraveling. And remember, once more, to say yes.  

How do you tame your moments of unraveling? 


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.   Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika



“Unraveling: Allowing Ourselves Moments of Humanity”, The Leadership Program, 2016


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.