I can appreciate the sentiment behind it, but some days the last thing I want to hear is “I don’t know how you do it!”
Let me tell you something.
Neither do I.
But I don’t have a choice. And I’m used to that, and while it’s tough sometimes (or a lot of the time), that’s okay. But sometimes, man. Sometimes too many days of doing every single thing all alone just gets to be too much.
Today was one of those days. Actually, scratch that. This week has been one of those weeks. The handle broke off of my fridge (at least it happened while I was opening the door). The toilet overflowed all over the floor(there went all our clean towels). The bathroom lightbulb burned out (and it is stupid high, with a really weird light cover that is hard to get off). I dropped a glass cake pan (that of course shattered all over the floor). My car needs an oil change (for some reason, that is something I absolutely hate having to deal with). My kid came home from camp with a suitcase full of dirty laundry & then promptly left again (I’ll unpack when I get home in a couple days, mom!) On top of all of those things (most of which happened on the same day), all the normal hustle and bustle of mom life didn’t stop. It never stops! Which is what usually ends up leading to something I call a mommy meltdown.
Mommy meltdowns are no fun. For me, everything just came to a head & I could not deal. I literally locked myself into my bedroom & laid down on my bed & cried for awhile. I don’t even know how long. But long enough to get it all out, and try to manage to pull it all back together again because in the back of my mind, I can do this. I know I can do this. It is hard, and it’s overwhelming, and it sucks sometimes. But it’s what we do.
Once I managed to wipe my tears off, I sat and really thought about things. What’s happening in my life right now that is making me feel so out of control, or so helpless? What of those things can I control? What do I need to just let go of? What can I improve on? How can I make things easier for myself?
I’m a list person, and seeing things in writing and having a plan for myself really helps me out. So I sat up, and decided I was done feeling this way. I was not going to allow myself to be brought down by all the things. It’s not easy, for sure. Ive also spend a lot of time being brought down by all the things, feeling suffocated, drowning, and like I’m in the bottom of a hole I just cannot crawl out of. And that feeling is much worse.
I wanted to share some tips that helped me today, and some things I plan on implementing in the future to hopefully prevent (or at the very least, lessen the severity) of the dreaded mommy meltdown.
1. Have a trusted friend to talk to. I am not a people person, and do not surround myself with others. I keep my circle small and am very thankful to have a couple close friends who I can just lay it all on the line to, and they are there for me. They listen, they are understanding, and they very gently help me get my head back on straight. I realize not everyone has this luxury, and for that I want to say my messenger/email is always open. For those that do, take advantage of that. Even if sometimes you don’t like what they have to say. If they are someone who truly cares about you, they want to help you out of the funk you’re in, not wallow along next to you.
2. Take a breather. Take a minute to collect yourself. Make sure the kids are safe for a few minutes, and lock yourself in your bedroom, the bathroom…heck even a closet if you need to. Cry, scream into a pillow, punch a pillow, rip up some paper, or just sit and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Remind yourself that it’s okay to lose it, scream, cry, be mad, frustrated whatever…& then you need to pick yourself back up.
3. Write it out. Even if you aren’t a list/planning person. When you’re in the thick of a meltdown, it can be SO hard to see the other side and know that things will be okay. Dry your tears, wash your face, and sit down with a pen and a piece of paper (my personal favorite). Even just the notepad on your phone. I want to share a favorite journaling move I have in a new entry soon (I was going to add it at the end of here, but I think it’s important enough to deserve it’s own spot!), but for now, just quickly write down the things you need in your life. No matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. Write what you need in your life to feel like you’re killing it.
4. Set some goals. Once I had calmed down a bit and thought about things, I realized a lot of my problem is that I was giving so much to my kids, while leaving nothing for myself. Something pretty common for all moms, but something that can become desperately overwhelming for single moms. I have been feeling lately like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, for one thing. I realized that as we’ve gotten settled into a lazy summer routine, everyone’s bedtimes have been super off. Going to bed much later, sleeping in even later. While that can be fun for awhile, & plenty of people can still manage to be productive that way…I am not one of them. The first thing on my list was getting back onto a better sleep schedule, and getting up earlier in the morning. Another goal I have is getting back into my “housework” schedule. Things have been slipping in every area, and it is time to take them back! Be as detailed as you can with your goals, while keeping them realistic. I like to write my goal, & then also write the steps I will take to make it happen – big or small.
5. Take a deep breath and put a smile on your face. You cried and let it out. You made a plan. You are ready for a new day. You are stronger than the garbage mood trying to take you down. Tomorrow is a brand new day! Wake up (early!) and greet it with a smile. Or, sleep in a bit & then greet it with a smile, because baby steps. Don’t ever forget that no matter how hard times are, or how awful you feel, or especially when you feel like you are the worst other in the history of mothers in the entire universe…a) no you’re not & 2) you are the mom your kiddos are supposed to have. Those are the babies that are meant to be yours. You will get through this day, and you will be stronger for it. And the next rough one that pops up, will be a little bit easier to manage.
Just a note: This advice is strictly for mommy meltdowns/random bad days/when you’re in a mood. This is in no way intended for depressive/anxious days or funks of that nature. In no way do I mean that it’s easy to put a smile on your face to fix your day in those situations. 💛