Hello there, friend,
I have been reading through a book that talks heavily about stress. One of the things it mentions is how our culture has made it nearly impossible to feel negative emotions without freaking everyone out with them. Only when we are alone or with someone we trust can we sit and process those emotions and, like you said, most of the time, that's inconvenient. The book goes on to say that we need to find a way to discharge our stress and complete the stress cycle, so we can even out and get back to a healthy place. Sometimes you just need to cry for ten minutes to get it out of your system, you know?
I talked to my husband about this yesterday. We've both felt a lot of stress this year because of his intense work/school schedule. We deal with the stress in our own individual ways, but neither of us is any good at completing the stress cycle. It came to a head on Saturday when I was thrown into a tailspin as our day got hijacked and my expectations went right out the window. And what did I need? To talk (a lot), cry (a fair amount), and take a nap for about an hour.
Being a parent makes all of this tricky, of course. Like you said, the kids are watching. They're watching the good and the bad, and waiting to see what we're going to do with all of this mess. I think it's important to be transparent with them, to let them know that their feelings are okay. They need to know that we're here for them. That's all I've ever wanted from my parents, even when I was a teenager. I want to know that they're there for me when I need it. And that's what I want to do for my kids too.