Stop your mom meltdown in its tracks

Sep 26, 2011 at 8:07 a.m. ET

It happens to the best of us. The kids are whining and fighting, work is beckoning and the dog left a nasty surprise in the hallway. Before you know it, you are yelling at the kids and cursing at the dog. How can moms stop their own meltdowns before they get worse?

Mom having a meltdown

You might not want to admit it -- to yourself or anyone else -- but there are times when life beats a mom down and she just wants to completely meltdown. Sometimes she (you, me... could be any of us) does (have a meltdown, that is). It's awful.

Those meltdowns can leave you feeling not just drained, but like a bad mom. You instantly want to take it back, but of course you can't. That's an awful feeling -- one you want to avoid. But how?

Here's what moms and experts say.

You DO need a time out!

Time outs aren't just for the kidlets anymore. Pick a spot in the house (maybe a bedroom or a bathroom) and designate it as mom's timeout spot. Moms really do need them too sometimes, so that they can cool down.

Are moms really doing this? Absolutely. "I put myself in timeout -- I literally say, 'Mom is not being good -- she is having a five minute timeout!' Works amazingly!" says Andrea Travillian of Smart Step, Inc.

Breathe through it

Not interested in a time out? Then try this one instead. Next time you feel the meltdown coming, try this simple trick: Count to 10 while taking deep, deep, deep breaths. It works. By the time you are done, the moment will likely have passed. "Yes, its cliche, but it can help focus your mind and your energy better than just about anything," says Ashley McGuire, co-founder, LifePlay Productions.

Laugh it off

Haha! Laughter is potent medicine. Really, it is. So use it. Really.

One of the most surprising things a mom can do in a stressful situation is laugh ... and if you do, it's almost certain to change the tone. "I try to find the humor in the are hilarious and if you can let go of your grown-up need to make order out of chaos, you and the kids can just sit on the floor and laugh until you feel better," says McGuire.

Get more sleep

When it comes down to it though, isn't not having them better? Definitely. So, the best tactic? Be well, be healthy and be rested. One step toward that is to get enough sleep.

"I know for myself the best way to keep myself from having a meltdown is sleep. It is so important for us moms to get the proper rest because I know for myself, when I'm sleep deprived, everything seems exaggerated," says Josephine Geraci, Founder & President of My Mom Knows Best, Inc.

Take your me-time

Everyone knows that you need time to yourself. But do you really get it? If the answer is no, then something needs to change. Me-time is a great way to revive.

"I found that just taking a few minutes a day on non-mom pursuits gives me the perspective I need to remember that there's life beyond the embarrassment of a tantrum, the exhaustion of a sleepless night, the frustration of not being able to help a child with a learning challenge," says Laura Brady Saade of

How To Put Yourself First talks about why moms putting themselves first is so important!

More tips for moms

How to de-stress your stressed mom life

How to juggle the family schedule

10 Favorite organizers and calendars for moms


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