How Figuring out my Pet Peeves made me a Better Parent

What is it that drew you to this post? The title? The picture? The idea that becoming a better parent could be as easy as figuring out what drives you crazy?

Well it’s true. I pay attention to my pet peeves, do something about them and because of that I’ve been able to eliminate the extra stress of nagging annoyances. Could it really be that simple?… just take away what’s bugging you so that you have a calmer, easier-to-be in environment.


What is Your Pet Peeve?

I sent out an email and asked about your biggest pet peeve. The answers ranged from a bit silly to pretty serious. Of course that didn’t surprise me. The thing is that no matter how insignificant something seems, it can really affect your mood and your patient level. (Both pretty important when it comes to parenting… wouldn’t you say?)

For me whistling and clutter are huge pet peeves. I bet whistling made you chuckle a bit… and clutter maybe made sense to you? Why should it matter? They both have the same end result. They both draw more attention from me than they should, negative attention.

I have a challenge for you. Grab a pencil and spend the next couple of days jotting down the things that make your skin crawl. Those things that irk you, even the slightest bit. Write it down even if you think it’s silly, even if you don’t think it matters. If it raises an “ugh” at all for you… add it to the list.

Extra tips for completing the challenge — 1. Ask your spouse and kids if they know what your pet peeve is. I imagine they know what little things drive you over the edge. 2. Pay attention to times of day that you seem really irritable. What’s happening around you?

Now that you know… what are you going to do about it?

Now that you have your list, I want you to really study it. Accept the fact that being annoyed by too much noise or tapping fingers or empty ice trays (are we the only ones who still have to fill ice trays?) doesn’t make you strange! It makes you normal.

Here’s where it gets good. Most of the things on your list are fixable! You can do something that will make them disappear. You can take this into your own hands and bring some extra calm to your space.

Take the whistling as an example. I didn’t actually know it bothered me so much until I was married. I guess Hubby likes to whistle (or used to). So we made a deal, he doesn’t whistle around me and in turn I am very aware of how I chew gum (no chomping allowed). We’re both happy.

Keeping the house free of clutter is a bit more time consuming but well worth it. I know that sticking to a 30 minute a day cleaning schedule keeps me in a more patient and positive state of mind. So it takes priority.

The second part of your challenge is to write a solution for every single pet peeve on your list. It may be hard and the answer may not be something you can get to right away. That’s okay because now you are aware of it and you can start to make changes.

I even suggest getting the family involved. Use the steps in conflict resolution for the bigger stuff and make simple requests for the smaller stuff. I’ve been known to say “There is no real reason for this to bug me… but it does. Will you please stop?” That works especially well when everyone is on board for making it a pet peeve free area for the entire family!

What’s driving you crazy? Leave a comment, maybe we can help you find a way to make that pet peeve disappear. 


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