Rex Ryan’s Pause Button

Rex Ryan’s Pause Button

“Shut up already! You’re SUCH a brat!”



How many times a year, a week, a day does the blood rush to your head in blinding anger and cause you say and do things you will heartily regret?

One of my biggest struggles as a mom is my natural lack of a “pause button”*…in other words extending my cooling down period/response time long enough so that when I do respond to a driving-me-crazy child, the words that issue forth from my mouth will be words I can be proud of rather than ashamed of.

So, I felt a lot of sympathy this week for Jets coach Rex Ryan who was fined $75,000 for cursing at a fan (though I didn’t feel excessive sympathy…my marriage into the Weisberg clan was contingent on a life-long declaration of allegiance to the New England Patriots;)…

Here’s the AP account of Ryan’s mightily costly outburst:

A 49-second video shot by a fan at MetLife Stadium shows the Jets walking off the field and when Ryan appears, someone is heard yelling, “Hey, Rex, Belichick is better than you,” referring to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Ryan looks up and tells the fan to “shut up” while also using an obscenity.

Ryan apologized a day later for what he called “a mistake,” saying he “was full of emotion and just popped off.” Moments earlier, the Jets had just allowed the Patriots to take a 13-9 lead into halftime. He reiterated Monday that he has owned up to what he did since the incident became public last week.

It’s not the first time Ryan is in trouble because of his mouth, which likely contributed to the hefty punishment. He was fined $50,000 by the Jets in February 2010 after he was caught on a cellphone camera giving the middle finger to a fan during a mixed martial arts event in Florida.

“Was full of emotion and just popped off…” Sounds familiar? It does to this JewishMOM…

So what can we do to keep our mouths and our selves more under control at challenging parenting moments? Here’s a few thoughts:

1. Bribes: When I was going through a tough time with one of my daughters, and I was blowing up at her frequently, I decided that every day I DIDN’T lose my cool with her, I would allow myself to eat a special treat at the end of the day. And yes, this was an extremely effective way to keep my tongue under control. This self-bribing technique is what Sara Rigler calls “Speaking the language of the Yetser Hara.” Your Yetser Hara wants to spank your naughty 2-year-old, but your Yetser Hara wants 2 scoops of Cherry Garcia even more.

2. Fines: My friend told me that every time she misbehaves, she does what the NFL does… she fines herself (though she fines herself $74,998 less per transgression than the NFL). And the money that she collects she gives to charity.

3.Beware of Stimulants: I know you hate it when I tell you to stop eating sugar and caffeine, but I love you, JewishMOM, so I’m going to tell you again… If you don’t have a pause button, there’s a good chance that sugar and caffeine are the culprits. I stopped eating sugar and caffeine 7 years ago, and while it was tough for those 1st two cold-turkey weeks, I am a much calmer mom because of it.

4. Exercise: Make sure to get those calming/pause-button-boosting endorphins flowing at least once a day with some vigorous, heart-pumping exercise.

5. Parenting class: Take a parenting class to learn how to deal with your kids with love, boundaries, and a pause button. I highly recommend Dina Friedman’s Chanoch Lnaar class starting next week…

6. Sleep: If you are not sleeping enough, before long you will start “popping off” like Rex Ryan. You need at least 7 hours of sleep at night, so if that’s not happening, make sure to supplement with daytime naps.

JewishMOM, what ways have you discovered to keep your cool at challenging parenting moments?

*The concept of a pause button is taken from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


  1. Thanks. As JewishMOM who has benefited from the love you pour into your blog, I know you are in this to help. I agree with most of your tips. Most of them – learn the tools of your trade, get appropriate sleep and exercise – are supported by scientific evidence and by many Moms. Caffeine is another story.

    Anyone who is happy without it – fine – I’m not selling anything. But there is not a body of scientific evidence against drinking coffee or tea (I’m staying away from the question of sugar which I know less about. Search the NYT Health section if you want to see links to lots of studies of coffee drinkers). Some people function much better with a regular coffee habit, are calmer, more efficient, more self disciplined and happier. It is not true that everyone on coffee is hyper, tense, anxious, irritable…it’s just not. It does not disable the pause button for everyone. I know many people are ideologically opposed, and I respect their right to their, um, opinion, but it should be clearly marked as a personal opinion or ideology, not something that is True. It’s NOT.

    • Interesting, I didn’t know that there are differences of opinions about this. I cut out caffeine after reading that it’s problematic in the book Mother Nurture. I do notice, though, that some people drink coffee and aren’t irritable, like I used to be when I drank coffee. I guess what I’m saying is if moms ARE irritable and pause-button-less then they should try stopping caffeine.

  2. Great tips. I don’t find coffee to be an issue but cutting out sugar is a great tip for young moms. So many of us think we need sugar for energy, but in reality, it just brings our energy way down. Yasher Koach, very nice!

  3. Interesting new twist on an old idea: I thought I had to cut the sugar out of the kids afternoon snacks to curb THEIR hyperactivity!!!

    I didn’t think about my OWN behaviour!!!!

    Good one!!!

  4. At a parenting class I am taking, a similar topic came up- what to do when you feel the panic gauge rising inside of you- one thing you can ALWAYS do is ask Hashem for help!!!! surely you can also do this when you are about o yell or scream or critisize and He will be there for you!

  5. I just started something similar myself. I took a pushka-like box, wrapped it in bright red paper and labeled it “When I hold myself back… munachim bikufsa”. It sits in the back of my closet. I place a coin inside whenever I hold myself back / push the pause button. It works! It really works!

  6. I have also found that if I let my blood sugar get low (too much time between meals) then I am super snappy with my LO. That just ties back into taking care of yourself so you can properly take care of the kids – eating regular, healthy meals, getting enough sleep, etc.

  7. Thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone in struggling with my “pause” button. Hearing that other people are successfully battling this also gives me more patience with my kids. Thanks for the tips!!! Not enough sleep is the number-one culprit for me. I’m too tempted to stay up late enjoying the peace and quiet.

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