It’s tough to remember how obnoxious you may have been as a kid when your own children seem to be striving for top honors in that category. While a mommy meltdown may seem like the natural reaction in many situations, you always have alternatives.

Junior uses your bra as a dog collar.

Your new babysitter is coming for an interview, and you have exactly three seconds to get dressed and meet her at the door. You grab your pants, socks, shirt and reach for your only clean bra you’re sure you left on the dresser. It’s nowhere to be found.

The doorbell rings and you greet the babysitter, sans brassiere, with your back hunched forward, hoping she doesn’t notice. Just then the dog runs through the foyer with your only clean bra draped delicately around his neck.

What a meltdown can make you do: Give the dog to your mother in Peoria, and join a commune that still has that 70s bent where bras are typically not part of the outfits.

What you can do instead: Watch the babysitter’s reaction. If she laughs, she’s the gal for you. You can additionally “reward” junior by having him walk the dog every day for two weeks.

Sally gives you a naptime haircut.

You finally get a taste of that much-needed sleep with a quick nap on the living room couch. You’re awakened by something tickling your nose, something that feels like hair. It is hair. Your hair. And your daughter is standing over you giggling with a pair of shears she nabbed from the sewing basket.

What a meltdown can make you do: Burn the sewing basket and consider getting a series of tattoos of hair to cover the new bald spots your disobedient daughter just created.

What to do instead: Stress your head is off limits when it comes to Sally’s home styling. Then get your daughter a fuzzy stuffed animal and plastic safety scissors so she can go to styling town out in the yard. You can also use the incident as an excuse to invest in a new hat collection.

Someone (who won’t come forward) hid the family hamster in the cupboard.
It’s well after the kids’ bedtime, and you quietly make it down into the kitchen for a late-night piece of cake. You live for these quiet times when the rest of the house is asleep. You open the cupboard for a plate — and out pops the family hamster.

The hamster, of course, quickly leaps out of the cupboard and down to the floor, where it’s promptly spied by the family dog. Mr. Dog chases the hamster, knocks into the kitchen table and sends the cake flying, frosting-first, to the floor.

What a meltdown can make you do: Send the hamster, the dog and the kids to your mother in Peoria.

What to do instead: Since your children evidently like hiding things, direct their attention to a slew of hidden object games they can play online. Start them off with something like Jewel Quest, a free game that has dozens of puzzles that will keep them so busy they’ll have no time to hide the hamster, give you a haircut or dress up the dog in your bra.