10 Ways to Stop a Crafting Tantrum

I don't read many parenting magazines. Mainly because I'd rather spend any magazine-reading time I have with the ones that speak to my leisure activities versus more "ideas" on how I can keep from screwing up my kids even more, and all the additional crap we need to help with that. And the kids clothing suggestions always piss me off to no end, no matter how cute they are. I always want to yell at the parenting magazines, "Really? My 1 year old needs a $100 pair of shoes? You do know like most infants, she just started walking about 2 weeks ago right? So basically she's taken about 100 steps total so far. That's $1.00 a step! I'm thinking she's more in the 15-20 cents a step range at this point. Whatcha got?"

They also like to scare you with feature articles like "Poop! What to Do When It's Not Brown and Round" and "Disease XYZ..Why It's Killing More Kids Than Ever." And every issue of every parenting magazine offers some sage advice telling us clueless parents how to manage our kids through various stages of their lives. "Your Moody Kid: Like a Wild Dog, Don't Look Him in the Eyes" and "Stripper Poles for Tots: The New Way Mom's Are Helping Their Kids Beat Childhood Obesity"

The big issue that every parent has to tackle at some point or another with their little beasts darling children, are temper tantrums. These "Parenting Signs of the Apocalypse" start around age 18-24 months, and end about....well, I'm still waiting for them to end since they take on various forms as kids get older. All in all it's a time when you often look at your kid and wonder how you ever gave birth to such a little monster. Like Bill Cosby famously said, "all we wanted was a kid to send to college." Or you have moments when the tantrum is so bad you think it might just be easier if you go outside, lay in the road, and wish for heavy traffic.

But have you ever been so fed up with your crafting that you just wanted to scream like a banshee for 10 minutes? Maybe it's a technique you've done 100+ times. Maybe it's that you sewed an entire row together and all the blocks are going the wrong way. Maybe you're just ticked to still be working on that particular project and you're "done" with it, but it's a promised gift or guild item so you have to finish it. Whatever the reason, most people who have been making stuff awhile have "those moments" when they wonder why the Hell they're putting themselves through this? Why is something that should be so simple so damned hard to do today of all days? You're feeling like a good old fashioned temper tantrum may be in the cards.

As I said, they take various forms as we get older: throwing something across the room in a fit of temper, slamming a door, driving a car too fast, housecleaning frenzy, yelling at everyone around you, etc... No matter the reason, in those moments of pique, it's hard to remember "this-crafting-shit-is-supposed-to-be-fun-goddamnit!" So to take a page right out of those parenting magazines, here are 10 Ways to Stop a Crafting Tantrum and save the next person who looks at you sideways or asks you, "How's that quilt coming?" in a cheery tone from an ear-splitting diatribe on why you're quitting all crafts for good and taking up public drunkenness as your next hobby.

1. Counting: forwards by 2's to 100, backwards by 10's.... it doesn't matter how you do it as long as you have to stop and think about something other than what's pissing you off.

2. Distraction: also called the "shiny object method." Spend 5 minutes on Pinterest, leave a comment on your favorite blog, take a look at the new yarn or fabrics on your favorite online shops..anything to take your mind off of what's really bugging you right then.

3. Removing Yourself: sometimes you've just got to get out of there. Go sit in your garden/back porch/bedroom/on the toilet..wherever you can get far enough away you can't see your object of disgust for a little while.

4. Deep breathing: in through the nose for a count of 5....hold for a count of 3....out slowly for a count of 5. Do that as many times as you need to feel calm again. Don't make yourself hyperventilate though!

5. Listen to Music: Pandora is my personal favorite while in my craft room. But when I really need to calm down, I like to get up and dance, which also releases stress. Maybe you're the type who likes to listen to classical or Gregorian Chant music when stressed...whatever floats your boat!

6. Get a hug: because sometimes you just need one.

7. Go to bed: sometimes we're just too tired to see straight or reason. I've been known to push myself late into the night out of sheer stubbornness, but all the extra time I spent trying to fix something in a snit late into the night could have been easily fixed in 5 minutes after a good night's rest..or even just a quick 15 minute power nap.

8. Set your timer: If not, I stop and come back to it later when I can keep from chucking it.

9. Re-read the directions: Seriously, if it's not coming together, re-read those directions sloooowly. Because we've all done it at some time. We get to a point in our project where we're cursing the pattern maker for being an idiot who doesn't know how to add, and then we re-read the instructions, and realize we should have cut a section different, or we're using the wrong pieces altogether, or it's something so simple we feel the need to wear the "Dumbass" shirt for a minute.

10. Walk away: if it just isn't your day, it just isn't your day. Sometimes no matter how much we want it to work, it just doesn't. It could be the color, pattern, fabric, yarn, the way you cut it, it's a technique you're not used to, or any number of other reasons...if it's not working for you, just let it go for now and come back to it when you're ready.

I know, I know, #11 should be "start drinking until you don't give a crap" but I've never seen that in a parenting magazine before (even though we ALL think it!). Aside from getting shit-faced on your favorite white or red, try 1 of the above, a couple in succession, or all of them! I know there are plenty more techniques..in fact, I encourage you to leave a comment below and let me know the way you calm down when your crafting isn't going the way you'd hoped.


Note: All magazine headlines above are made up/fake and have never been on the cover of a real parenting magazine, to my knowledge. However, if you do find one like the stripper pole headline, please let me know so I can ignore my own advice, and thrash about on the floor in a tantrum on behalf of all mothers trying their best to keep their daughters off the pole their entire lives. Thank you!


  1. After you have calmed down, explain it out loud to someone else. I have found that just trying to explain my issue makes me sort it out on my own. Had a boss that stopped listening, just sat there as a target for my ramble, knowing what would happen next.

  2. I leave my studio. Doesn't matter where I go or what I do, as long as I leave the room for a while to clam down.

  3. Perfect timing Tanesha! I've been trying to finally piece my Swoon blocks into a top and they've been hard work for me right from the word go. Even just adding sashing today was all wonky! Every time I work on this quilt I end up totally fed up with it. So here I am, having a blog break and you seem to have read my mind! It's good to know the crafty tanty happens to all of us sometimes!

  4. Oh you crack me up! Especially with the toddler pole, having just finished up my 5yo's dance recital last weekend where the next oldest class was shimmying their non-existent chests and sticking their buts out. Why do people think it's cute in their 6yo and then expect something different when the girl is 15? (or less)

    Crafty tantrums usually send me to the internet, the quilt shop, or the fridge. Especially if I have just chiseled out time away from the kids. Sometimes I can vent to my husband, and give the man a trophy, he actually listens! Nothing will slow my crafting streak like the frog stitch; rip-it,rip-it....

  5. I vote we change your name to the "Psychic, crafty garden mom" because you can read our minds and have the courage to put it in print!

  6. I love this post. Sometimes I just have to let a project fester - um I mean ferment - for a little while before going back to it. Sometimes, the craft frenzy for that project has run its course and I need to put it away until the beading, or quilting,or scrapping bug bites me again.


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