At least in my case, it's that you start to think about ways to improve yourself. And I found a big one this week.

Being by myself for almost five days (minus one particularly busy day at a tournament) made me realize how much less impatient I am when I'm on my own, and much less shouty. Also less angry or easily frustrated.

I have a great excuse for my short temper: motherhood isn't easy. It asks a lot of you every single day, and it's relentless. There are so many challenges, so many frustrations... For me, the worst is having to repeat myself endlessly about stuff that ought to go without saying. Every time I have to do it (several times a day, on average), I feel my brain on the verge of exploding. Sort of like the little anger fellow in the Pixar movie Inside Out.

Anyway. It's a brilliant excuse. But like I tell my kids: excuses are for losers. And the fact is: even though I made progress over the years, I still get angry too much, and I don't like it. I want to get this under proper control, but obviously not overnight. That would be setting myself up for failure. I'm tired of failing. So here's what I came up with: the goal is to have a hard limit of one shout a day. That's it. It's a small goal, but also a big one. If all I get is one big shout, I won't want to waste it on small potatoes. And with any luck, there won't be too many big potatoes and I may wind up not shouting at all.

Oh, and there's a prize: For every day that I don't shout at all, I get to enjoy half an hour of guilt-free me time, which I can bank and save for a me-only outing or a movie or whatever.

I started this morning and so far, so good.