Monday, November 19, 2012

The Signs of a Mama Meltdown

Maybe it's the holidays.  Maybe it's the hormones.  Or maybe it's these adorable, but time/energy/life sucking children with which I am in charge.  Whatever it is, this mama needed a time out this weekend.  I needed a moment to breathe and to remember that I am an almost sane adult; a moment to recharge.

The time out was brief.  I drove out of my driveway like an angry bad ass ready to break the rules or just break something.  The only rule I broke was my own, I drove through the Starbucks drive thru without any kids.  (I hate when other people do that when I have a van full of kids.)  So, instead of feeling all young and awesome I felt guilty and sucky.

My time out was off to a not so great start.  

But after the Venti latte, a little NPR and grocery shopping with no distractions I felt like myself again. There's nothing that makes me fee more in control like picking out my $5 bottle of FlipFlop merlot at Kroger without worrying that Wade will break all the glass bottles in the aisle or Lucy asking me why I "need more wine" loudly. 

After the time out, I felt Like I could handle dinner time and bedtime without falling apart or screaming.

Looking back over the weekend, there were signs that I would need a time out.  There were signs that my nerves were starting to fry and my confidence was crumbling.

The First Sign of Trouble-The Pilgrim
I took JT for a quick hair cut on Friday after school.  I ran into a strip mall hair salon.  It felt strange, like I was cheating on my hairdresser, my friend, my Gloria.  It just felt all kinds of wrong.

I explained that I wanted just a trim for JT.  No clippers and not a lot taken off at all.  The young woman seemed to be listening.  As I nervously waited, I had a bad feeling.

She motioned for me to come back and take a look.  She explained that she cut his neck and he was bleeding.  JT looked terrified and he also looked, um, terrible.  His hair was uneven, misshapen and short in the front, long in the back.  Not really a mullet look, something else.

I couldn't hide my upsetness.  "I don't like what you've done," I said with a mildly crazy tone of voice.  "How can you fix it?"

"Listen, you said you wanted it long, that's what you asked for," she said nonchalantly but with attitude.  

After a few more minutes and few more words, we left and the manager told us we didn't have to pay.
"Well, thank you," I told her.  "I'm normally a much nicer, calmer person, but my boy's hair looks horrible," I added like an idiot.

I expressed my thoughts to Tim via text and he thought the whole thing was hilarious.
Yeah, I was furiou.  That's really bad.

But seriously, JT looked like a Pilgrim.  Check it:
****No worries, I took him to my hairdresser the next morning and she fixed him up.  No more pilgrim.***

Another Sign of Trouble-The Lady With The Cake
My son Peyton had a few friends over to celebrate his 11th birthday.  The week before, I googled "tween parties" and tried to come up with a plan for the party.  I had a few ideas and then Tim told me I was being ridiculous and to relax.  That always makes me calm right down.  Whatever.

Well, he was right.  I just kind of stood around waiting to be needed.  The boys played football and hung out.  They ate pizza and played video games.  While I was very happy that Peyton was happy and that the boys were having fun, it just felt strange.  I'm used to planning, organizing, clowning around and being large and in charge at my kids' parties.  But now I'm the lady with the cake. Waaaaa.
I'm really belting out "Happy Birthday."  It was my moment, no one was going to take it away from me.
Another sign-I Love You, I Hate You
My daughter, Lucy, ran in a 5K this weekend with her running group Girls On The Run.  She has been training twice a week after school for  a couple months.  It is a wonderful program that not only teaches girls about running, but also about self-esteem, body confidence and friendship.  

Lucy was excited about the race.  She asked me to run with her.  I was happy, but nervous.  Our last 5K experience hadn't been everything I imagined.  "Of course I'll do it with you, yay!!!," I screamed when she asked me, not giving away my anxiousness.
At the starting line full of hope and promise. 

During the race she grabbed my hand and we ran together.  But then, she started to cramp and cry a little. She threw my hand out of hers. I told her we could slow down and walk a little and she got mad.  I suggested deep breathing like her coach had taught her and she got mad.  I started talking about the beautiful day and she got mad. 

"Do you want me to stop talking?," I asked.  
"No! Moooooom!," she said with annoyance.  And then she sniffed at me like a disgruntled horse.
"I'll just run ahead and you can be on your own and go at your own pace," I said trying not to lose my cool.
"Mom, noooo, I want to be together," she pleaded and grabbed my hand again.

It was like being on a date with a really confusing guy...I want to hold your hand, I don't want to hold your hand, I love you, I hate you, wait I looooovvvvvvve you.

In the end, she finished the race and it was a really confusing great experience. She was skipping back to the car full of happiness and love.  

I was following her.  I was happy, but tired.  Worn out from the emotional race we had just run.  

It's not one thing that put me over the edge.  It's all the battles, all the tiny sacrifices of motherhood that wear me out. It's knowing what's best and not being heard (I know it was just a hair cut, but still it was a big deal!). It's letting go, but not being able to help feeling left behind. It's showing up and pouring out the love and support and being rejected/accepted/rejected/etc.

It's important to know the signs of a melt down and take those time outs.  Hitting the reset button.  Recharging.  Breathing deeply.  Regaining control.  Toughening up and heading back into battle the land of motherhood.


  1. yay! i love all of this, especially the melting down and the "need MORE wine" parts. oh and the happy stuff too. you know. :)

    1. Thank you, you know I love it when I see you pop up in the comments. Thanks for reading, relating and supporting.

  2. Beautiful post - loved the pilgrim reference, the more wine, and like being on a date with a confusing guy!

    1. Thanks for reading, commenting and laughing along.

  3. I had a meltdown this weekend, too, but I never got a chance to recharge. I'm sil waiting for my timeout.I love this post. Kids were so complicated, and so is being the mom.

    1. I hope you got your time out or get one soon. I'm sad to say my mini one didn't sustain me too long, but that's how it goes right? Motherhood is complicated, i'ts all kinds of good and bad and such a roller coaster. It helps to have mom friends to talk to and relate with. Thank you!!