What’s your fuse?

Ever had the urge to scream while simultaneously pulling your hair out and stomping your feet Hulk-style over something seemingly innocuous?

Ever wanted to throw an object really hard at a wall because you’ve just had enough of the crap. Only you’re not quite sure just how bad the crap really is?

No?  Yeah, me neither *shuffles feet awkwardly whilst looking at the ground*


I am loathe to admit it, but I have a short fuse. That has become even shorter with the popping of children. I’d like to think it’s as cute as this:

short fuse madagascar
Naaaw. Surely this is what a short fuse should look like right? Image source.

But it’s more like this:

short fuse monkey
This is my actual face. Image source

I have next to no patience at the best of times, but lately? There’s not even a fuse there to be lit. It could be a tiny irk, a whiny voice, a stupid question, making a decision, food…. anything really, it just rubs me up the wrong way and I get that ick. And a screech might be found to escape my mouth. Occasionally hands thrown in the air are witnessed also. Because by doing such an action, it will magically make everything change for the better, right? People stop and listen to you, shit gets done. Surely?

How short do you think your fuse is? Are you a:

Fuse Master– I am the zen of zen. Nothing really bugs me that much. I can let a lot of stuff slide. The most angry I get is a gentle shake of the head and an ‘oh deary me’ muttered under my breath.

Garden variety fuser– I’m pretty good at keeping my shit in check. I have a fuse, but it takes a bit before it is fully lit and I explode. I can explode pretty darn good, but that’s mainly reserved for A grade jerks and kids who insist on spilling the entire contents of a jar of glitter on my carpet.

How-dare-you-even-ask-me-that-question fuser- Fuse? What fuse? I wouldn’t need to worry about a short fuse if people weren’t so infuriating. And the sun wasn’t so bright. And the grass wasn’t so crunchy. And food prices weren’t so high. And kids weren’t so….kid-like. Just don’t look at me like that, ok?

short fuse meme 2

My fuse and I are at odds of late. If we were a Facebook relationship, it would be ‘its’ complicated’. Hormonal, bloated and tired do not help one’s fuse. Just sayin’.  But I have realised of late my fuse was pretty damn short to begin with. And that guilt cycle? You know the one- fuse shortened=explode=eventually calm down=feel like a jerk= guilt=repeat. It’s on a constant cycle and it’s not a nice one.

Firstly let’s just be clear- take the guilt away from it all- anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s ok to feel angry!! The emotion itself isn’t a positive or a negative thing. It’s what we do with it that’s the issue. And half the time we’re aware that screaming like a banshee whilst jumping up and down isn’t actually going to change the situation. It’s good to vent and get stuff out, it’s not so good to scream and rant. So we need to channel that anger and let ourselves calm down so we can do something with it.

Did you know that chronic short fuse-it is (it’s totes a thing) can actually lead to heart disease, make you vulnerable to diabetes, insomnia and blood pressure? (see here)  So in a nutshell- short fuse ain’t cool.

Can we grow our fuse? Or are we doomed to pluck our nosehairs in frustration forever (don’t pretend you haven’t plucked a nose hair. It’s painfully addictive. And they’re there…)?

It’s a conscious decision to make grow a fuse. To not react so quickly. And a good thing to model to our kids, and partners. Because monkey see, monkey do. Grown ups included.

short fuse meme
He’s got a point….

So what do we do?

A few things:

  • Stop.Yup. Stop. Right now. Picture that big red stop sign smacking you in the head.
  • Calm down– Reeeeelax. Slow that breathing down, squeeze the tension out of your muscles.
  • Understand the emotion behind it all– Anger, and that short fuse, normally are just the surface level emotions for something else going on deeper. So a lot of the time anxiety drives anger. Worrying about being late, worrying about not getting stuff done on time etc. Anger normally represents not having your needs met. Like, the need to be listened to. ARE YOU READING THIS KIDS? Even though you can’t read yet… yes I am aware of the irony…..
  • Get a reality check– is it really that bad? Do you really need to lose your shit over it? In 5 years time will it mean a thing?
  • Sort out an alternative– what else can you do beside losing your shit? Laugh it off? Problem solve? Talk to someone? Go for a run to clear your head?

I realise that the acronym there is SCUGS. Rolls off the tongue, yes?


So there you go, when the fuse is short- SCUGS it. Don’t say I don’t give you anything quality.


How’s your fuse? Do you SCUGS it? Can you lend me a bit if you’ve got some to spare?

  • SCUGS! That’s a thing! I love it! When it comes to fuses, I’m an all or nothing kind of person and when I lose my s**t, I do it with gusto. Lately, I’ve been getting as far as the S and C in your programme, I just stop, breathe and say out loud, let’s be zen! There’s nothing like having a laugh at my own expense and it always diffuses the fuse. Excuse the pun! :)

    • Ha ha oh love I think I need to work on prettying up the ol’ SCUGS. 😛 Lady, you are da bomb. Da bomb that doesn’t go off! Zen is the way to be. I need some chill pills to help with the SCUGS. 😛 x

  • We went through a lot of years of infertility, IVF and then long adoption process to have our kids. That’s my excuse anyway – that I used up my patience waiting for them. I have been trialling something with my 5 year old son – the calm countdown. Rather than ramping up the volume and counting/clapping down to get him to do something, I’m closing my eyes and calming counting. Makes me feel better anyway.

  • i am on the don’t even ask me today with sick child and sleep deprivation! Will have to try and remember what you suggested with SCUGS.

  • Hugzilla

    I’m pretty OK on the fuse thing I think. It takes a LOT to send me over the edge, and when I do it’s pretty scary. I get my Louise Hay on and do some positive reframing, remind myself to put things in perspective. Seems to work OK, mostly!

  • I used to be a zen master… these days I linger somewhere between garden variety and how dare you even ask me fuser! I need to get up with SCUGS to help get me back to my pre-children zen master ways. xx

  • I’m generally garden variety, but during the time of the month I can be fairly ragey! I was yelling at my toddler this evening for something silly, and caught sight of myself in the window reflection – SCARY MUMMY! Took myself off to time out after that and tried to calm the farm. But the other 26 days of the month I’m a delight 😉

  • My fuse can be shot depending on the day and what is happening. I’m working actively on lengthening it. I don’t want to be that shouty mother.

  • Sometimes I can be fuse master and I get all indifferent about most things and I’m the calmest of the calm. Other times I let it build up until I EXPLODE. And yes, it’s almost always due to something else. Dealing with stupid people is my kryptonite. I just have no patience for stupidity. None.

  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    I’m guilty of a short fuse. It’s made worse by a couple of tornadoes who know how to gang up on me and push all my buttons. Add tiredness into the mix and it’s not pretty! I do find laughing it off helps. I just have to remember to stop and do it. And as the maths-loving Peg (from Peg + Cat) says in every episode – “Cat is right. I should count backwards from 5 to calm down.” Never expected to take advice from an ABC4Kids show!

  • I’m pretty garden variety – huge reserves of patience still get depleted and then LOOK OUT! I don’t mind going off my rocker from time to time,though. Keeps the kids in their toes. I likes bit of wariness… x