Posted: Apr 21, 2012 9:13 AM
 
More often than not, my floor looks like a toy-strewn minefield. I've become adept at bobbing and weaving, tiptoeing around army men, cars and itty-bitty doll shoes. I consider it field training -- I can spot a threat from across the room, formulate a plan of attack and make it through unscathed in mere moments. But it was inevitable. It was bound to happen. And the other day, it finally did.

After a particularly long and grueling day, and a particularly long and grueling week, I stumbled through the door exhausted, whiny and just plain over it. And it was only Tuesday. The fridge was in sight, dinner was just minutes away, just a few more feet now... OWWWWWWW!

I yelp, I limp, I angrily search for the perpetrator of this ruthless attack on my poor foot. A junky little toy from the nearest fast food restaurant mocks me from the ground. It was played with, what, for a whopping 10 minutes and then carelessly discarded into the nearest toy bin where it hibernated for weeks until one of the rugrats decided they would pull it out.... likely just to chuck it out of the way in search of better toy box booty.

Operation: Toy takedown

Then, the infamous battle cry escaped my lips: "That's it! I'm done with this!" The children scatter, the husband is now surprisingly intent on working on something in the closet, and I'm in massive mommy meltdown mode. Several other G-rated curses later, and like a crazed lunatic, I scanned the room for a solution.

Lightbulb!^With a trash bag in hand, I call out sweetly to the husband, "Oh babe, will you please get the kids in the bath?" I opened the four sizable toy bins that conceal our clutter... creating a massive pile of mass-produced junk in the middle of the family room rug.

A mere 15 minutes later, I have a blissfully bulging bag of toys the kids will likely never miss, and everything else is in its place (if only for tonight). Trash bag in hand, I admonish the wee ones... those toys that if mommy steps on, more often than I see them playing with, it's gone. It will be donated, no matter how much they love it. I reinforce how fortunate they are to have so many toys and the importance of taking care of them.

The moral of the meltdown

Did I handle my injury in the most mature, mom-like way possible? Absolutely not. In fact, I deserved a time-out. I felt mighty guilty after the incident, knowing I hadn't modeled the best behavior for my kids. I did realize, however, that something needed to give if a simple stumble could send me over the edge.

Spill it, moms! How do you handle a meltdown?

I know I'm not alone in having mommy meltdowns, so I checked in with some of allParenting's top columnists to see what sets them off, how they handle a meltdown and basically begged them to make me feel like less of a mom failure!

Nichole Beaudry

nichole-beaudry

Stephanie Precourt

Stephanie-Precourt

Q: WHAT WAS YOUR LATEST MOM MELTDOWN?

My last mommy meltdown was over the craziness that is the witching hour. Between the running around, screaming and complaining (theirs, not mine), I thought my head was going to explode. See Nichole's Facebook post about her rant>>

Q: HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT?

I didn't hide in the closet, but rather, I grabbed our shoes, laced everyone up and took the kids out for a family walk. They burned off some energy and the fresh air worked miracles for my end-of-day exhaustion.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR MELTDOWN WARNING SIGN?

My first warning sign is when I look at the clock and do the math for how long it will be until I can have a glass of wine. The next sign is the desire to hide in the closet. With my glass of wine, preferably.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR SANITY SAVER?

I've learned to ask myself what I'll remember in 10 years. Will it be their complaining about having to eat three bites of chicken (the horror!) or the way their feet didn't yet touch the floor when they sat at the dining room table. I think I'll remember the way their chubby feet swung beneath their chair. At least I hope so, anyway.

Read Nichole's articles>>

Q: WHAT WAS YOUR LATEST MOM MELTDOWN?

The kids were fighting (literally -- Gray hit Carter and so I found Carter on top of Gray, fighting back) and I was overtired, dealing with a bad cold.

Q: HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT?

I sent them to their beds (they share a room) and told them to stay there until I could calm down to talk to them.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR MELTDOWN WARNING SIGN?

I'll usually feel really "off" and frustrated with every single thing. Or if I have been too preoccupied with other things and not giving the kids enough attention I can sense they will be "off" too. If I can straighten up even one room and just gather my thoughts and perspective, or maybe sit down with them on the couch and read a book, I usually can stay ahead of the meltdown. And then I feel like an awesome mom.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR SANITY SAVER?

On a daily basis, I must have some "quiet" time -- that might mean I lock my bedroom door for 30 minutes while I read or watch a show and fold laundry. Alone time to collect my thoughts!

Read Stephanie's articles>>

Melissa Arca

Melissa Arca

Q: WHAT WAS YOUR LATEST MOM MELTDOWN?

My 7-year-old son kept getting out of bed every night. At least five times until my husband, or I, finally just gave in and fell asleep with him in bed. This was going on forever (it seemed) and we never had alone time or time to decompress. It was really weighing on us.

Q: HOW DID YOU DEAL WITH IT?

We moved his little sister (age 4) into his room with him. She was thrilled, my son, not so much. But you know what? It's been about a month now and I feel like my husband and I finally got our nights back! My son just needed the company and didn't want to be alone. Plus, whether they think so or not, they're bonding and building memories!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR MELTDOWN WARNING SIGN?

My signs are usually exhaustion, too little sleep and too much on my plate. I notice that I start snapping back and my patience is very thin. Lack of sleep usually seems to be the culprit. If I can get a good night of sleep under my belt, I find I'm usually a lot more patient... with the kids, my husband and myself.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR SANITY SAVER?

Coffee, exercise and getting outside with the kids.

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