Do you find yourself raising your voice in frustration as your kids ignore you? Do you repeat yourself regularly, hoping that your child will eventually succumb to your request or needs? As you start to get frustrated, annoyed and lose control of yourself, you begin to lose your grip, and the feelings of defeat seep its way into your mind and penetrate your heart. Then you start to have an outburst of sadness, anger, and feelings of total despair. Often these feelings lead to negative emotions and behaviours that can typically trigger a "Mommy meltdown."
What is Mommy Meltdown?
"Mommy meltdown "is used to explain when a parent has an outburst or breaking point. For a couple of months, it's been a rollercoaster ride, especially since my youngest is going through the Terrible Two-stage. One minute I think I got it all figured out, and finally, my kids are beginning to listen and follow instructions; the next minute, they throw a huge curveball ignoring me and choosing to do what they feel is right; as my son would say "Mommy I hear you, I just wanted to do what I want to do" leaving me feeling defeated.
Mommy Meltdown Triggers
Mommy meltdown is a unique way of saying a tantrum. YES! We can have a tantrum and go through overwhelmed feel as if we have lost total control. Last week I wrote a blog about the" 6 Simple Methods to Coping With Terrible Twos" (https://www.joyofparenting.net/post/6-simple-methods-to-coping-with-terrible-twos). This week I am writing a blog on parent tantrums, aka "Mommy Meltdown." Many factors can trigger a parent's tantrum or even an outburst of frustration. Most complaints I hear from other parents are, "He just won't listen" and "I have told him/her more than once to stop." It can be daunting when our kids choose to be defiant or want to be blatantly disrespectful. As parents, we want to have control over our kid's life. We want to be the dictator, the director and the BIG BOSS in their life. When that role is being tested or compromised, we begin to feel like we've lost all control. Maybe if we adjust our mind frame and take a different approach when parenting, we can develop strategies and solutions to handling our kids calmly and respectfully on both ends.
What Can Cause a Mommy Meltdown?
I have read that everyday life problems can contribute to having a meltdown. The common cause for a breakdown may stem from underlying relationship problems, unresolved negative experiences from the past, health issues and sleep deprivation. We've all, at some point, felt frustrated that our kids are choosing to follow the beat of their own drum and not adhering to our plans and instructions. However, is a meltdown the best solution when dealing with confrontational, rebellious or disobedient kids? As a parent of two young boys, I struggle with getting them to follow my instructions that benefit them positively. I don't particularly appreciate raising my voice or feeling like I've lost all control when disciplining them. When I react out of frustration, I begin to feel disappointed in myself and completely burnt out. Nonetheless, I have been working on improving my overall well-being to parent my boys to be beneficial for both of them effectively, and that is why I've developed "8 Ways to Avoid a Mommy Meltdown".
Here are "8 Ways to Avoid a Mommy Meltdown". These methods can be beneficial when parenting children of all ages. You may even apply it to your everyday life. The steps focus on parents learning how to regulate their zones and staying in a positive state of mind while limiting or eliminating the meltdown state.
8 Ways to Avoid Mommy Meltdown
Recognize the cause. It could be stemming from exhaustion from work, lack of support, Mental breakdown due to childhood trauma that has been unresolved or sleep deprivation. Many of my frustration or meltdown is due to lack of sleep, which leaves me feeling mentally and emotionally drained. Recognizing the cause right away can help in finding the right solution.
Know your trigger, and walk away. Once you have established the cause of your meltdown, you can correct yourself before it escalates. If you know you're about to have an adverse reaction towards an undesired attitude or behaviour, the best thing to do is walk away and address it when you have calmed down. Addressing problems during a state of frustration only fuels anger and leaves everyone feeling overwhelmed. Trust me; it saves you the headache and your kids from becoming confrontational and disrespectful—a win-win situation.
Play some motivational music, read other parents' experiences or listen to encouraging podcasts from other parents. Whenever I feel I'm about to get upset, I tell "Google" to play my favourite playlist, and I have a moment of serenity singing, dancing and just enjoying some good music. Reading other experiences also helps me formulate ideas that facilitate developing coping methods.
Go for a walk. I get my kids dressed, and we go for a walk or drive. Walking and hearing the beautiful birds, admiring nature with some excellent breeze blowing, makes me feel peaceful and relaxed. Plus, the change of scenery tends to work with adjusting my mood. I even play outdoor games with my kids (e.g. I spy) during our walk to create fun while enjoying nature and working on positively shifting my emotion.
Take a break. This step is crucial for recharging, mainly if your meltdowns are triggered due to exhaustion. No dishes, no cleaning and no cooking; take some time to sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing, or you can even engage in something calming and refreshing (e.g. read a book, draw, knit or write). I have my days where I take a few minutes to sit on my couch, relax and reflect. Although I wish it would last longer, having that 10-20 minutes of nothingness feel refreshing and GREAT!
Create a schedule or routine for your kids and stick to it. Creating a Schedule or Routine is easier said than done. The big mistake I made was not creating a nighttime schedule for my kids. A routine or schedule creates structure and promotes healthy habits. It reduces the struggles faced during bedtime and helps parents who feel exhausted by the end of the day.
Accept assistance and support from others. I struggled with this stage for many years, and here I am, wishing I had more help with my kids. Although I enjoy spending quality time with my kids, I wish I had someone closer to assist with babysitting while running errands. This step will save parents from feeling burnt out Emotionally, physically and mentally.
Give yourself a pep talk. I remind myself that everything will be okay. Coaching myself into having a successful day and just meditating on God and asking him for guidance has helped me throughout the day. It is imperative to take care of yourself; our kids thrive when we are in good health and of a sound mind.
Parenting might come with challenges, but we shall and will overcome. Phases don't last forever; they shall fade away, but what remains constant is the memories we imprint in our kid's minds and hearts that'll last a lifetime.
* Remember you are doing a fantastic job.. Keep strong and continue to be that super parent in your kid's life