the monster of all mommy meltdowns
I was in the process of losing my mind. Really.
It had been nearly two weeks of having a sick toddler – not the kind of sick that causes him to lay low, sleep a lot, and need lots of cuddles. But the kind of sick that puts him completely out of sorts – tantrum upon tantrum, meltdowns for no other reason but somebody looking in the wrong direction, and constant fussing and whining.
His tolerance for anything unpleasurable or not his idea was at ground zero.
I felt so bad for my little boy – so obviously unable to cope with what he was feeling and so incredibly frustrated at his inability to explain to the person who “should” know and understand him most.
But in amongst the compassion and sadness I felt for my son, I also found myself at the end of my own rope.
As Levi sat in our kitchen at our island bench screaming (don’t ask me why – I haven’t a clue), I sat on a chair near the dining room table a few feet away sobbing my guts out. I’m not sure who was crying harder or louder, or who was having a more severe meltdown. Pretty sure it was me on both accounts.
My husband was tied up in meetings at work and my mom was on the other side of the world. I sat there alone in my desperation seriously not knowing how to move forward.
I couldn’t have called a friend if I tried; I was that distraught.
I couldn’t think straight; I couldn’t talk properly; I had completely lost the plot.
In my whopping 18 months of motherhood, this was one of my top two mommy-meltdowns moments. (The other was sometime during those hazy newborn days.)
Just then my neighbor (who’s also a very close friend) came up and knocked on my door. She must have heard the cacophany of wailing from her place while she was home on her lunch break. I was crying too hard to say ‘come in’, so she just let herself in.
Who knows what was running through her mind when she saw me. Most likely she was wondering if I needed to be institutionalized or—at minimum—sedated. (At least that was what I was wondering.)
I was a wreck and all of the built-up stress and desperation was pouring out through my avalanch of tears and gasps for air.
She scooped up Levi, tried to make some sense out of my mumbled words, and then just decided it was best to whisk Levi away leaving me there to cry it all out and get some space so I could figure out how to breathe again.
The rest of the day was a blur. I finally got in the shower, staying there a very, very long time letting the tears get washed down the drain. I read a little. I stared into space a lot. I cried some more. I felt alone. I felt inadequate. I felt like a failure. I felt like giving up.
Most of all I just felt tired. So amazingly pregnant, emotional, and tired.
As much as I really do love being a mom, I do have my moments when I think I would give just about anything to trade places with my husband and sign off my mom duties at 8am and back in again at 5:30pm.
I’ve had some really challenging assignments during my 18 years in the workforce before becoming a mom (wow, that makes me sound really old!). But nothing—and I mean nothing—even comes close to matching the stressors and challenges I’ve encountered since becoming a [mostly] stay-at-home/work-from-home mom.
But you know what? Yesterday afternoon things started to look a little different. And then today they looked even more different.
My funny, happy, silly, smart, energetic little boy was returning.
Yes, he still had a few tantrums today (he’s a toddler after all) but they were manageable and spaced out (as opposed to stacked on top of each other and overlapping). And yes, he still had some coughing fits and a few pretty ugly snot invasions.
But the cheeky twinkle in his eye was back. His personality was back. Even his 18-month-old sense of logic was back (as hilarious as the sound of that is!).
And with his transformation came a little revolution for myself.
Suddenly motherhood looked a bit more manageable again. Suddenly, the thought of adding a newborn to the mix didn’t make me break into a cold sweat and shake in my boots. Suddenly, I felt my confidence returning.
I can do this.
I’m a great mom. I parent my son well. I love him as much as I know how. I care for him in the best way I possibly can.
I can do this. There’s Grace sufficient for the task at hand.
So today, even though I’m bascially two weeks (or more) behind on work and life in general I managed to squeak out some important emails, make my bathroom livable again, and more importantly…… let the rest go so that I could seize the day and enjoy being a mom despite the challenges.
Because as much as I adore my son and wouldn’t give up my place in life for anything, there have been many moments over the last two weeks where I have not enjoyed being mom…. I’ve just struggled being mom.
So I knew I had some enjoying to do.
In honor of our newly rediscovered health/mental health, Levi and I had a mommy-son date this afternoon. It was just a short one to the aquarium and the park, but it was exactly what we both needed. Levi needed space to run and jump and explore. And I needed space to breathe fresh air and practice being in the now.
I wasn’t lamenting over the disaster that was my week. I wasn’t fretting over the responsiblities and obligations that had piled up and still waited my attention. I was just enjoying seeing my son well and healthy and run around like crazy with a smile on his face again.
And it was good. That’s the kind of crazy that fits us best.
Dear friends, I was resuced by a friend and by the return of good health before I completely lost my mind… but not before I was well underway. What do you do when mommy-meltdowns hit?
P.S. I wrote this post several days ago… but I forgot to actually publish it. Life’s been nuts. Better, but still nuts. So just a quick update: Levi’s health continues to improve and it’s now just that stubborn cough that continues to hang on. My mental health continues to improve as well. 🙂
WINNER of the Peekabooby Fashion nursing cover giveaway is:
Comment #10 | samantha | “the first time you did this giveaway i picked the betty (which i still love) but now i’m starting to really love the samurai cover-up…baby#2 is due in november and this cover-up would be great to have since i’d be more open to breastfeeding in public with it on. thanks for doing the giveaways!” Samantha, please contact me within 48 hours to claim your prize.
Note: I’ve also chosen a back-up winner in case Samantha doesn’t contact me. The back-up winner is comment #17: Nessa. (Both chosen by random.org.)