As mere humans, we as a species are prone to BIG emotions. Even as an adult I know that sometimes I have a hard time controlling my emotions. As we grow older, we learn about helpful techniques to regulate our emotions and how to recognize the stresses that trigger them. Using those techniques is a great tool in helping to prevent outburts and as parents we try our best to teach our kids those techniques as well. Sometimes those emotions slip through the cracks though and we can find ourselves in sticky situtations such as saying unkind things that we regret, possibly throwing or hitting something out of anger, or raising our voices at someone else. These are all things that not only have a physical effect on our body, it also has an emotional and mental effect on others’ bodies. Since we cannot un-say hurtful words or un-do hurtful actions we put ourselves in a position to lose the trust of those close to us, and it can be very difficult to earn that trust back. I propose a helpful alternative…the screaming pillow.
Ta-da! Introducing the screaming pillow. It’s soft, it’s fluffy, it’s great at muting sounds that would otherwise disturb others. Coming to a store near you!
Okay, in all seriousness though, its just an ordinary throw pillow that has been designated for the purpose of screaming into it. We call it the screaming pillow because of the time that “Mommy lost her marbles” and yelled at the pillow. I remember the day clearly, it was in the middle of the 2020 Covid-19 stay at home orders. I have always had anxiety and of course the pandemic had me spiraling into a big hot anxiety/depression riddled mess. We had been stuck inside the house for at least 3 weeks, my husband who had just graduated straight from med school into a world-wide pandemic where the medical field was begging for healthcare workers was working over 13 hour shifts, I had cleaned the house for the millionth time that day and the kids were just NOT listening. To top it off, I had just recieved official notice that I was being laid off from my job and we ran out of my daughters favorite snack and she was throwing a tantrum. Enter mommy meltdown here. I was filled with so much anger and anxiety and fear, I was about to burst, but I didn’t want to burst at my children who were just as affected by everything as I was. So I grabbed the first thing I saw, a throw pillow sitting on the couch, and I raised it to my face and just screamed and cried. I sat there screaming for what felt like half an hour, in reality it was probably a minute or two. That kind of energy though, you can’t hide it from your kids. When I was all screamed out and finally settled down, my wonderfully sweet boy sat down beside me and asked if I was okay. I told him that I was not, but that I am doing the best that I can and will try to do better.
Then my daughter sat down with us too and asked me “Mommy, why are you mad at the pillow?” and honestly I just started laughing. Then my son was laughing and then my daughter and before I knew it, we were rolling around on the couch laughing our heads off at who knows what. When we finally stopped laughing, I explained to my kids that I was experiecing alot of emotions at one time and I didn’t want to take that out on them, so I screamed into the pillow instead. My son asked me if it helped me feel better, and I told him that it really did. He wanted to try it too, and then my daughter, and then we all counted to three, put our faces in a pillow, and screamed together. I didn’t know it then, but this would become a regular practice in my house for when we have BIG emotions. From that moment on, we all had a designated screaming pillow.
Now ordinarily, this is isn’t something I would recommend, screaming to let out your emotions. But damn, does it feel good. I think that screaming in a controlled environment with my kids, showing them that its ok to have emotions and showing them that we can let them out without hurting others, is a wonderful thing. I believe it is extremely important to let out your emotions because carrying them around with you only leads to outbursts that can hurt others just as carrying them inside you can hurt you. I encourage this practice with your children. It doesn’t have to be a screaming pillow, it can be something else, but teaching your children to release their emotions in a controlled safe space and participating in that will give them a healthy outlook seeing that everyone has feelings and it’s ok to express them as long as no one is being hurt by them.
Choosing a screaming pillow
Now comes the fun part, choosing your screaming pillow. The OG screaming pillow I first used, was a throw pillow that was meant for asthetic, not comfort. It was a rough, scratchy feathered pillow with a zipper on it and was definitely not the most comfortable thing to stick your face into. I’ve since upgraded to a much softer, plain throw pillow that is easy to grab onto and doesnt leave zipper imprints on my face. The kids got excited about choosing their pillows and they are both soft, fluffy, and light up. The three top things you want to search for in your screaming pillow are safety, comfort, and durability.
Obviously, safety always comes first. When you purchase your screaming pillow make sure to read the tags that come on them. Make sure they are appropriate for the age of your child. Make sure they don’t contain anything harmful such as beads or sequins that could come off and potentially be a choking hazard. Another thing to look out for would be excessive fluff. My daughter originally wanted this extremely fluffy pillow. It was super soft and cute but the fluff would fall off in tufts, definitely not safe to be sticking your face into. Obviously the most imprtant rule of safety, don’t smother yourself in the pillow and teach your kids not to do that as well. You don’t want to be sticking your face into a pillow for extended amounts of time. ALWAYS exercise caution if you choose to use a screaming pillow and never leave your child alone with it until they are at an age you know they can be safe about it.
When choosing your screaming pillow, go for comfort not looks. This is essentially a pillow that is not going to be made for others, this is made for you. It should be kept somewhere private and not left out, can you imagine having that conversation with your guest(s)? Point is, this pillow should be comfortable enough to scream into but firm enough to not fall apart. In my opinion the best pillows are feather free and made with a cotton/poly blend material. It can defintiely still be cute, but if it comes down to choosing between looks and comfort, go for comfort.
It’s assumed that if you’re going to get a screaming pillow, you’re probably going to be using it for a long time. You definitely want to get a good quality pillow that wont fall apart. First pillow that we got my son was not a very good one, the strings started coming loose and soon the cotton fluff on the inside started falling out. I tried my best to sew it back together but I’m no seamtress so that didn’t go very well. When buying a screaming pillow, look at the seams of the pillow and even pull on them a little bit to test out the durability. It’s kinda like goldie-locks and the porridge, you dont want the seams to be too tight and you dont want them to be too flexible, you want something just right, somewhere in the middle.
Make this into a fun activity with your family. We all need to let out our feelings sometimes. Doing this more often actually leads to less stress. There are less emotions that have the chance to build up and therfore it’s less likely that outburts will arise. You can make it fun by having a screaming contest (who can scream the loudest or the longest?), have a gentle pillow fight afterwards, or plan something unique for your family’s needs.
Have the tough conversations
The most important thing about having a screaming pillow is the conversation that comes afterwards. While it’s great to have fun with your family and it feels great to let out your emotions, you still need to discuss what led to those feelings or that almost outburst. Just like after my outburst with my kids, I took the time to explain what I was feeling and why I think I was feeling that way. As young kids, they won’t always understand adult situations and emotions but that’s ok. Make sure to share with them anyway and normalize having conversations where everyone can feel safe openly sharing their feelings. More important than sharing, is listening. When your child is telling you what they were feeling make sure they have your full attention, no distractions. This will reinforce their trust in you, knowing that they can come to you whenever they need to talk. Help them work through those feelings to find what triggered them, ask questions about what happened before that feeling occured. Always validate those feelings, it doesn’t matter if those feelings don’t make sense to you, they are still valid and important. Then help them think of ideas on how they can help themselves work through those feelings next time without needing their screaming pillow.
That’s all I have for you today, I hope some parents found this helpful. Always remember that we aren’t just raising tiny little people, we’re raising the next generation, shaping tiny little hearts that will grow up to be mentally and emotionally secure adults who make the world a better place. Until next time, friends.
Leave a Reply