When toddler meltdowns lead to mom meltdowns, I feel like a hot mess.
Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Today I found anxiety taking the best of me again. Being inside all the time during the winter is hard. When it was summer, we could take River to swim after she got home from daycare. With the cold weather, we are cooped up in the house all day. She is four, so she is still a constant flurry of activity.
This morning, we painted, played with glitter, took a bath, played hide and seek, and had a birthday party for her toy owl. By noon, I was exhausted. And she didn't stop there. We did our nails with the gel nails kit. We ran through the house doing races.
She wanted to watch videos on YouTube, and was watching stuff that was too scary. We turned it off and she had a huge crying meltdown. We decided it was time to download YouTube Kids.
Her dad got home from work and the car was smoking because we blew a cooling hose. Just one thing after another. We fortunately have a tow service from our phone plan so we got a free tow to the shop. Of course we can't get the car fixed until Monday and probably have to get a rental car tomorrow.
Sometimes the day is hard and I struggle. After Gary got done with the tow truck, I went to take a nap. River wouldn't nap. So, she ended up playing with dad while I took a nap. Some days are like that. I am lucky to have a supportive partner who helps out with things while I get some rest. We are a team, and with my anxiety level, I don't know what I would do without that.
Life with kids isn't perfect.
No one's life is perfect, and sometimes our striving for perfection can be a huge trap. I have heard it said that "perfect is the enemy of good" and I think that's true. When we are aiming for perfect all the time, we ignore the good things around us. We discount them because they aren't good enough, but really, it is life's imperfections that make them beautiful. We can appreciate the good more when we contrast with the bad.
The cutest thing today was River painting my nails. They look a mess, but it is so sweet that she wanted to paint them for me. She painted hers too. Three different colors with glitter. If I was worried about perfection I might be upset how my nails look right now. But I love it instead, because it is a child's gift of love.
I can't always maintain my calm, and I was stressed for most of the afternoon. But now River is curled up watching learning videos and I can rest a little.
We melt down just like the kids.
A year ago, I would have gone into a panic meltdown this afternoon. But after a year of intensive coaching, therapy, and working on my limiting beliefs, I was able to wake up from a nap and feel alright. No panic attack. So that's progress.
The last couple of weekends have been hard, cooped up in the house watching the same shows and bouncing from one craft project to the next every five minutes. I need a break, and something that is restful on the weekends sometimes. I am not sure when I will even get that, with the time change even waking up an hour earlier isn't cutting it.
There have been times with both of my kids when I yell or scream or cry. A year ago I had the worst night ever trying to get River to bed. She fought every step of the way. We tried to brush her teeth and just cried and cried. We were there in the bathroom, both of us crying, and neither knowing what to do. We both just wanted to go to bed and it wasn't happening.
I just went and laid down on the couch that night and let her cry it out. Gary went and took over, and finally got her to calm down to brush her teeth and go to bed.
In moments like that, I used to start to spiral out of control. I would think to myself, "I have failed as a mother. I have failed as a person. Nothing I do is worth it. Why do I even do anything? My whole life is pointless. If no one cares what I do I should just stop doing anything." And I would cry.
Learn to be gentle with ourselves.
I did a lot of work in therapy, and with a life coach, about that night that I had the crying meltdown. I worked on thoughts about myself as a person and as a mother. I learned to decatastrophise those thoughts. Now, I can hold my child when she cries, and know it doesn't make me a failure as a person or a parent. I can comfort her and be present with her feelings.
Learning to be gentle with ourselves, to forgive ourselves, is a huge skill to learn. So often, when things get negative with our kids we get too hard on ourselves, which in turns makes us get too hard on our kids. They yell. We yell.
When we are more gentle, forgiving and mindful of what is going on, it becomes easier to detach from the situation and not let ourselves get out of control when they do. Today, for me, it was knowing that Gary would get home and I would get a break. One more step. Just think about one more step, and eventually we get to where we want to be.
Read more, Are you feeling like a hot mess mom? How to ditch the stress and embrace the mess.
Nurturers can burn out, be kind to yourself like you are to your kids.
Upset that you never do enough for your kids? How to kick the mom guilt.
Let me know what you think about toddler meltdowns, momma meltdowns, and how you cope. Also let me know if there are similar topics you would like me to cover in the future.
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