I lost it today.
Between the stress of moving, living in a temporarily empty house that magnifies the boys’ all-ready-too-loud-bickering voices, and handling the roller coaster of emotions that is going back to work after almost 3 years as a stay-at-home Mom, I just lost it. I cried in the kitchen, the family room, and the bathroom. I toured a child care center with puffy, blood-shot eyes and a you will never be good enough for my kid attitude. I picked fights with my husband and yelled at my kids. I was feeling bad, so I behaved as I felt.
Why am I sharing this with you, a stranger who just happened across this blog one day?
This post contains affiliate and distributor links. Opinions are my own.
I’m sharing because blogs often make the author’s life appear perfect, and my life is far from it. The photographs of my boys happily exploring nature and engaging in art activities are very real. We do those things together, almost daily. I am intentional about the time I spend with them, whether our day is planned or not. But like any other family, we also have those other moments—the moments in which grabbing my camera is the last thing I want to do!
Meltdowns happen to everyone—they are perfectly normal— and for me, they are usually due to a build-up of stress, exhaustion, and emotion. A meltdown is a train-wreck that fills you with guilt, but thankfully, children are forgiving creatures. After a long walk and a shower, I turned my day around. My oldest wrapped his arms around me and said, “I’m glad you aren’t sad anymore, Mommy. Let’s go play!” Playing and snuggling with the boys genuinely made me feel better, as did my time alone. (That, and finding an exceptional, affordable childcare center for my youngest. Thank goodness that nightmare is over!)
Recovering from a Mommy Meltdown
A meltdown can often make you feel hopeless and out of control. Thankfully, it is within our control to recover from one, and even prevent one, if practicing good self-care. Listed below are 10 suggestions for recovering from and preventing Mommy Meltdowns.
1. Calm Down
Take long, deep belly breaths. Yell really loud inside of your car. Go for a walk. Diffuse Stress Away™ essential oil and close your eyes. Spend some time at a coffee shop drinking mochas and reading fan magazines. Whatever you need to do, just do it. When your body is calm, your amygdala will transition out of fight or flight mode and allow you to reflect, plan, and make good decisions.
2. Burn Excess Energy
When I’m upset, a long quiet walk always helps. A good friend of mine hits the gym for cardio. A teacher I work with practices yoga. Exercise makes us feel balanced physically, emotionally, and chemically.
3. Go to Bed Early and Consider Nutrition
Many people are more emotional when their bodies are tired. If rotten moods have been getting the better of you more often than not, perhaps it’s time to get into bed earlier. While your drifting off to sleep, think about your nutrition. You may be well-fed, but is your body well-nourished? Are you drinking enough water and eating plenty of vegetables and fruits? If not, commit to making a change. When I feel emotionally or physically exhausted, I find that going screen-free for a weekend helps me recharge!
4. Call a Friend
Just hearing the voices of my close friends, Sarah and Elizabeth, makes me feel better. Girlfriends empathize with and understand you in a way no one else can.
Wrap your kiddos in your arms. Cover them with kisses. Tell them you are sorry and tell them why. You apologize because it is the right thing to do, because they deserve one, and because you would want them to do the same. Make the aftermath of your meltdown a teachable moment on how they should handle their own strong feelings.
6. Apologize Again
To your partner. Bribe him with his favorite root-beer.
7. Make a Plan
Think and problem-solve about how you can prevent another meltdown. Next time you are feeling over-whelmed, what will you do? What can you do for yourself that may help prevent you from entering meltdown mode?
8. Be Grateful
Be grateful for the family that forgives and loves you unconditionally. Be grateful for the job you really want and need to survive. Heck, be grateful for the brewery that makes your husband’s favorite root-beer! An attitude of gratitude is contagious and will spread to those around you. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to record your blessings.
9. Move On
Cut yourself a little slack! Feelings come and go and it’s actually good for your kids to see you positively handle the roller coaster of emotions that is motherhood. Move on with life and let go of grudges—you don’t have to be perfect all the time!
10. If Necessary, Seek Additional Support
You need additional support if you wish to harm yourself or others. You deserve more help if you feel hopeless and sad more often than not, and just cry and cry and cry. You need to seek support if you self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, or another unhealthy behavior. Be brave enough to ask for help. You don’t have to do this parenting thing all on your own! Build a community of support and love around you!
Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.
~ L.M. Montgomery