I can safely say that I avoided a dreaded Mommy Meltdown this morning. Hopefully, you are familiar with this term, and I am not alone and vulnerable in sharing how it feels when life gets so overwhelming and frustrating that I just lose all patience and any sense of calm and get….well, not a lot of fun to be around. I’ll spare you the details and just hope you understand how trying to exist in an exhausted/stressed/overworked state takes only a pouty-faced look from your 7-year-old send you into a full-blown “I cannot do this for one more second” kind of state.
This morning I won the battle with myself. I avoided screaming at the children. I didn’t even have to call and vent to my husband or best friend. I just dealt with it and moved on. I was so proud of this feat that I decided to do an entire post on what I consider the tremendous act of self-sacrifice that it takes to stifle a Mommy Meltdown.
After getting both girls to their destinations (school and therapy), I took a walk and began thinking about all of the things that led up to my anxious and fragile state this morning. There were certainly plenty of things, just as there always are. Your list may look similar, but in the last 24 hours, I’ve dealt with: a surprise insurance bill for supposedly paid therapy, seasonal allergies and crankiness from both children, my husband traveling AGAIN, slicing my right thumb on a mandolin and the annoying bandage that comes with the tender wound, not to mention dogs, meals, laundry, homework, and activities.
What I reminded myself on my walk isn’t necessarily “Paleo”, but just a life lesson that I’ve learned about managing my stress level and my personal health over the last few years. Dealing with all of the above junk isn’t really fun. It’s a pain in the butt….but it doesn’t have to make me feel miserable. I determine what makes me feel miserable and what makes me feel like I’m doing the best for my family. Simply, I am in control of my thoughts, and this is an especially powerful message that I say to myself when I’m having to deal with lots of the pain-in-the-ass stuff.
This is exactly what I practiced this morning when the pouty-faced look was just about to send me over the edge. I went upstairs (where my children were NOT) and realized that all of the negativity from yesterday’s events had flowed over into my mood this morning. When I had that ONE more thing to DEAL with, I felt like I was losing control of everything. It took tremendous self-control and self-discipline to walk away from a situation that was clearly getting under my skin, but I did it and it worked. I got control of my thoughts. I also made my bed and took a few deep breaths. When I felt better, I went back downstairs and dealt with what else needed to be done before getting out the door.
When I had a moment to myself, I took my walk, listened to Paleo Solution #125 on my ipod, and felt a little lighter knowing I only had to deal with the meltdowns of others, instead of my own, for the remainder of my day.
illustration: courtesy of Google images
In times like this, I channel Dori from the Nemo movie and sing out loud…”Just keep swim-ming, swim-ming, swim-ming.” It makes me smile, which is often just enough of a distraction to help me collect my thoughts and breathe. Good job keeping it all in check!! 🙂
I remember that trick from my teaching days…when the kids were driving me crazy, I’d sing or make myself laugh! I need to bring that trick back 🙂
Love reading this, even though it took me three tries and I had to come back to it several times to finish…so applicable to me today!! After riding on a noisy school bus to and from the Dallas Aquarium for the kindergarten class field trip I came home to handle a hungry, grumpy 6 year old, the baby is coming down with a cold and ripped off his own dirty diaper (I will spare the gross details of where things went!!), the baby learned how to climb–EVERYTHING, the older boys proceeded to get in a water fight out back and were soaking wet, someone broke the garage door sensor and everywhere I looked were piles of laundry. I am still sane and still enjoying this day! It’s the little accomplishments like maintaining sanity right?!! Your blog is awesome Joy. I so appreciate your words and your sharing 🙂
Jennie! That is a crazy and exhausting day! Good for you for enjoying yourself and keeping your cool. Thank you for reading and supporting the blog. I really appreciate it 🙂
I love this! This is exactly the “direction” my own blog has taken lately – not something I really planned, but the message seems to be presenting itself to me over and over – our minds are powerful and we are in charge of them! What an amazing, inspirational example you gave us. Funnily enough I ALSO wrote recently about a meltdown that I had that I was not able to curb (I called that post “Total Tantrum”) so YES I am totally familiar with the mommy meltdown. I’m still working on training my wild horse inner mind.
Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. I will definitely check out your blog. I love to hear about how other moms “try” to keep it all in check. 🙂
Love this: “I only had to deal with the meltdowns of others, instead of my own, for the remainder of my day.”
I find that the guilt of losing my cool just compounds a rough situation so this is a great thought to keep in mind, and you put it so eloquently. Really enjoying your blog!
Hi Julie, thank you for your comment! I hate the guilt after the meltdown…I could do an entire post just on that 🙂 good luck keeping your cool. –Joy
Thanks for your honesty. This is part of why I’m trying to eat paleo – I felt like eating poorly was bringing on too many meltdowns from the kids and from me, especially around that 3:00 sugar slump. It was not pretty and something had to change. And I do feel like we’re making progress.
Hi Karyn, Paleo has done the same for me. Being aware of how my mind and body work together is so helpful to control mood swings and meltdowns. Good luck on your Paleo journey & thanks for your comment!