How to successfully cope with mommy meltdowns
Do you ever feel like you have two personalities? One who loves and adores your children with all your heart...and the other who occasionally wants to lock them in the closet? It’s okay. You are not alone. Mommy meltdowns are natural and they don’t make you Momzilla.
According to Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, author of The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood: Coping with Stress, Depression, and Burnout (New Harbinger 2001), "Motherhood is often portrayed as a time of cooing, cuddling, and powerful feelings of love. But motherhood can also bring with it feelings of rage, powerlessness, and frustration."
The important thing to remember is that your feelings are normal. Raising children is an amazing and beautiful experience. Watching these small people you gave birth to grow, change and explore the world is a daily miracle.
Mommy meltdowns are normal
At the same time, children's natural desire to explore and learn compels them to do things that can make parents feel like they are walking on the brink of insanity sometimes. Chocolate milk in the fish tank? Grapes in the heating vents? Forty-five stuffed animals taking a bath in the backyard sandbox? If you've ever made it through a morning like this without losing your patience at least once, you deserve a mommy medal. That's for sure.
On the other hand, if you've found yourself screaming into a pillow, don't beat yourself up. Mommy meltdowns are completely normal, but there are things you can do to talk yourself off that ledge and bring yourself back to a state of calm.
Remember that you are not alone
Instead of losing your marbles when you find your toddler has relocated your breakfast sandwiches into the washing machine, call a mom friend. She might just have her own toddler drama to share, and trust me, you will feel so much better knowing you are not the only one eating out of the washer this morning.
Laugh it off
Children are only young once. The insanity that comes with life with young children is short-lived (though it may not seem like it at the time). Before you know it, your children won't be clinging to your ankles when you try to go to the bathroom. In fact, they won't even want to admit they know you. And then it will be you clinging to their ankles as you beg them to tell you what is going on in their angsty tween world.
Own your life for what it is
If you have realistic expectations for the wacky life that comes with small children, you will not find yourself as devastated when you find your little girl has used your department store cosmetics to give the dog a makeover. You might even find it inside yourself to grab your camera, upload those pics to Facebook and give all your friends a good laugh.
Don't be hard on yourself
As much as you try to find your inner Zen in moments like these, know that it is okay to be frustrated, stressed, and angry sometimes. Remember that the challenges of motherhood help us grow just as much as the brighter moments. Being a family is learning to get through the good times and the bad. And in case you were wondering, feeling like you want to lock your children in the closet is acceptable, just so long as you don't really do it.