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By Jocie Ferron

I'm sure every parent can think of at least one moment when the irrational took over the logical. That time when the adrenalin kicks in, the panic button has been pressed and suddenly you are imagining any number of different scenarios taking place.

For me it happened a couple of months ago...

I was shopping for t-shirts with my 2 boys, A (eight years old) and B (five) in a reasonably sized shop. It wasn’t overly busy and my attention was grabbed by A as he was pointing out the shirt he wanted to buy.

In that moment, B just vanished. Literally disappeared into thin air! I looked around the boys' wear department, I called out his name, nicely, then angrily, then worriedly. Without realizing it, that mom panic button had been pushed and I went from mildly irritated to full blown "I am going to be on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper for losing my child" in two seconds.

I continued to look, continued to call out … nothing! A was bugging me to try on his t-shirt, not realizing mom had turned into a crazy lady. It wasn't until I grabbed his arm and started dragging him out of the store, thinking perhaps B had decided to head back to the car (yup random thought there!) that he started to think 'Oh oh, something is not right!' Later he told me it felt like he was in a movie.

By this stage I had three staff members looking for him and everyone was calling out for him … and still nothing! I asked for security to be called and had all the worst case scenarios running through my head, wondering what I was going to tell my husband … and worse, the grandparents! ("Ummm, sorry, I was looking for t-shirts and he was possibly abducted by aliens or fell into a time warp…"). At this point the adrenalin had kicked in, the heart was pounding and I couldn’t think straight.

One of the staff members decided to systematically look under every clothes rack … and there, poking out where apparently everyone else had missed … was a little boy's shoe. Attached to that little shoe was B, who had decided in his five-year-old brain that it would be fun to play hide-and-seek with mommy!! Oh and apparently all the people calling out "B, where are you?" was for another little boy with the same name!

Needless to say, it took a good few hours before my heart rate subsided, and a good many weeks before I could go back into that store without my heart beating out of my chest!

Parenting, although wonderful, can often feel hard at the best of times.

But being a parent when you are stressed, worried, overwhelmed with work/life/study/FIFO and feeling like you are barely holding the strings of life together can make the calmest mother lose it spectacularly. The day I "lost" B, I remember feeling stressed with all the study I had to finish, the upcoming exams, my husband being away and working a lot. By the time we left the store (two t-shirts in hand) I felt like a rotten mom who couldn’t keep an eye on her kids and a drama queen who panicked at the drop of a hat! I went home and had a good cry that night.

Since that day, I have made a mental effort to relax more and realize that sometimes as a mom I don’t have to do it all. That it’s okay to take that step back and say to myself "I’m feeling a little frazzled, I really don’t need to go to the shops for a t-shirt today". Or "It’s okay if the boys watch TV for another 30 minutes so I can take a coffee break or spend some more time on my assignment", or even "Let's just go have an ice-cream and enjoy being together rather than fighting about homework, or piano practice or whatever else it might be."

They will only be young for so long, before they're off living their own lives. Then I'll be in the background, remembering those crazy moments when they were still little boys who needed their mom.

Speaking of crazy moments, B somehow managed to accidentally flush his underpants and clog the toilet today. I was not even mad – amazing! Like how…?

More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.