Fanning the fire midweek, we are tossing you a spontaneous quote, question, or conundrum related to Monday’s post. We invite you to riff on this prompt or share a story—heartbreaking or hilarious—to spark further conversation about the path of motherhood.

Imagining that every mama could use a few more secret weapons when faced with the inevitable “I’m going to lose it!” moment, I conducted an informal survey of a few mothers while out and about today. I asked them how they rescue themselves (and their children) from the slippery slope of impatience. Here are some of their Aikido moves; what are yours?

“I pretend someone else—handy man, mother-in-law, fairy god-mother—is in the house so that I must be on my best behavior.”

“I pause for a deep inhalation and a long exhalation, and then I glower at my children in warning.”

“I ask for help. If my husband is around on a day when I wake knowing that I cannot cope with much, I ask him to take the reins.”

“I ask my kids, ‘What do you need because I am going to take fifteen minutes for myself?’ I then walk outside to a special spot that I have and sit.”

“Shakta Khalsa of Radiant Child Yoga once assured me that it is okay to set boundaries when we need space, so I say to my children, ‘You may not ask me for anything else right now.'”

“I pause and imagine a light shining out of my heart and onto whatever is testing my patience—my child, a project, the driver in front of me.”

“When I feel I am closing my heart and contracting into myself, I take a moment to reorient myself toward the world. I feel my body. I notice the trees. I look into my child’s eyes.”

Eye