The Scrapbook

Being ‘The Emotional Catcher’s Mit’

A week’s worth of fast-balls

I’m still shaking the sting out from being ‘The Emotional Catcher’s Mit’ for the kids last week. See that adorable photo of my daughter and her butterfly? She was about to deliver it to our garden to undergo butterfly rehabilitation after a wing injury from a hail storm. It was adorable, it was magical ... and three minutes later, it would get obliterated by a passing car when the wind blew it out of her hand. 

We’d already had a tough few days with other issues they were navigating, and then this. It was a high-speed descent from euphoria to devastation. There I was, once again, being the catcher’s mit for an onslaught of intense emotions. 

‘It was a high-speed descent from euphoria to devastation.’

Our kids need an emotionally regulated adult, to whom they have a strong attachment, to help regulate their emotions when they become dysregulated. They aren’t designed to do this on their own. It’s all part of building their resilience and understanding they can keep moving forward through emotional upheaval. I can’t explain how grateful (and frankly relieved) that I can be this person for them – to be trusted with their inner-most thoughts and feelings. But, holy smokes, does it have an impact. 

The impact of doing the emotional labour

Doing that hard, emotional labour is a role we play that can often not only be overlooked, but sometimes entirely unrecognised. But, the demand on our emotional, mental and physical resources is very real. There’s a reason we sometimes feel exhausted with nothing left to give. 

‘Doing that hard, emotional labour is a role we play that can often not only be overlooked, but sometimes entirely unrecognised.’

I’d love to give you a 2-minute ‘mum hack’ to entirely resolve that exhaustion if you’re feeling like I am right now. But, the truth is, it takes time, space and care to regenerate from intense periods of being that emotional catcher’s mit. If you’re yearning to be put on the bench for a while and left alone with the orange segments, that feeling is entirely appropriate. 

Orange segments and stretchy pants

Without the opportunity to regenerate, it’s a challenge to stay regulated ourselves; and if we can’t regulate ourselves, we can’t serve the ones that need us when they’re dysregulated. And with that, I’m taking off the catcher’s mit and popping on the active wear to walk in nature in sweet solitude. Good luck out there, folks. I hope your high-waisted, stretchy pants are close at hand for you, too.

That’s Not the Plan ... or is it?

If you want to make our tricky job of parenting a whole lot easier, we’ve written a book called, ‘That’s Not the Plan’. It’s designed in consultation with child development experts to help kids build resilience. Alongside your high-waisted, stretchy pants and some sweet solitude, it gives you easy, effective tools to help your kids when they’re in an emotional bind. Check it out on our website where you can read the whole thing from cover to cover. 

‘That's Not the Plan' is all about BUILDING RESILIENCE. Here's how it works ... In this one, we send the kids on a camping adventure where they learn to overcome different challenges and obstacles. They find out how to work through feelings of frustrations, anxiety, fear, and have to adapt to unexpected changes in plans. 

With the support of the people around them, the story helps kids build the foundations of resilience through problem solving, perseverance, mindful strategies and processing their emotions. You can rely on a camping scenario to deliver all those opportunities! It's all about building a toolbox of resilience strategies to use when life doesn't go to plan ... which, let's face it, happens quite often!

Hannah Davison is the author and co-founder of My Big Moments. Join ‘the village’ on Instagram at @mybigmoments for free practical help and support for parents and caregivers.