Mother Meltdowns

Jan 24, 2022

We are baring our souls again in this episode . . . in fact, we may be downright nervous to share this one with you. Why? Because we are talking about tantrums and meltdowns. Not our kids'--ours. And as moms prone to guilt, nothing makes us squirm like revealing the seedy underbelly of our imperfections. But we've decided to be brave and share our stories with you, because we believe in the power of connection and storytelling to make mothers feel less alone, and maybe even find some positive change in their lives. We aren't pretending to have any easy answers: this isn't a "10 Tips to Avoid Losing Your Temper" podcast. But we do hope you'll walk away feeling less alone, and with maybe something to think about to help you take better care of yourself. 

Sometimes We Are Going To #FailLikeAMother

Meltdowns are going to happen. Period. There's really no way around it. Sure, we don't want to aspire to losing our cool or normalize it as a part of daily life. But during the times when we stumble, beating ourselves up isn't the answer. We need to find compassion for ourselves and accept that sometimes, we are not going to be our best selves. In a family especially, it's inevitable that we are going to see the best AND the worst in each other. Give yourself some grace, and remember: talking about it helps. Stace and Steph have found that writing down our meltdown stories, and gulp, sharing them, actually helps us feel better. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, partner, or even therapist!, can help you process your feelings and even help you take steps toward sidestepping or navigating future meltdowns. 

Understanding what pushes our buttons and triggers our feelings of frustration.

We all have our hot buttons. In this episode, Steph shares how morning chaos usually plays a large role in her less than graceful parenting moments. Identifying why and when you are more likely to lose it can help you avoid falling into the same trap over and over again. Yes, sometimes we are bound to lose our tempers, but let's be honest: it feels awful, we hate how we feel after, and we usually regret it. When we are able to pinpoint the situations where we are more likely to blow our top, we can have the awareness to find ways to nurture ourselves out of a temper tantrum.

The lost cause of trying to find reason amidst an unreasonable situation

A parenting textbook famously stated that "arguing with a toddler is like arguing with a drunk person." Don't do it--there is no winning. Our kids are so frequently irrational creatures, and trying to rationalize with them is an exercise in futility. It's so easy to get sucked into the absurd with our kids, and this can be a #1 button-pusher in moms (see above!). Repeating the same pointless hassles about favorite shoes, unavailable breakfast items, or undesirable weather conditions can raise your blood pressure like nothing else. Be prepared for these completely unreasonable discussions! Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are not crazy and you are doing the best you can! 

Accepting the type of mother we are instead of trying to be someone we’re not, and finding fulfillment as a path to avoid meltdowns

Stephanie refers to herself as a "control freak in sheep's clothing," a tightly wound mom masquerading (unsuccessfully) as a chill parent. Sometimes we need to just acknowledge that dark side of ourselves, even when it's uncomfortable to admit. None of us wants to be the "angry dragon mommy," and of course we should work to find strategies to keep our cool (for everyone's sake!), but banishing our tendency to run hot is not the way. We first need to accept who we are as moms, which may mean admitting that we are not the patient, laid-back parent we wished we were. Only when we get clear on who we are at our core and what we need can we take steps towards making things better. 

Stacey realized that not being fulfilled contributed greatly towards her frustration level with her kids. This is such a strong argument for self-care, pursuing our passions, and carving out time for ourselves. When we have more time for ourselves and are truly prioritizing our needs, we are much less likely to be depleted and exhausted. And it's no secret that fatigue and burnout are accelerants for meltdowns. So in case you need one more reason to pursue your own happiness (in case our chorus of "Because I want to!" isn't enough!), remember this: when you are fulfilled, you are way less likely to snap at your kids. Really. 

Mother Plusser Takeaways: 

  1. Accept that meltdowns are going to happen, and give yourself grace and compassion.
  2. Try to identify your triggers and hot buttons
  3. Talk about it! Share your stories and confide in loved ones. 
  4. Stop trying to find reason in totally absurd situations. 
  5. Take care of yourself!! Fulfilled moms are happier moms, and happier moms have fewer meltdowns. 

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