This morning, with my kids tucked safely away playing in their rooms with some Legos, I took some time to sit outside on my deck, coffee cup in hand and an actual, real, physical notebook (gasp!) to do something that I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time:
I wrote out all of the things that annoy the crap out of me as a mom.
Yes, seriously. Because here’s the thing — call me a slow learner, but now that I’m nine years into this parenting gig I am starting to realize that there are pretty consistent patterns to those times when I lose my um, shiitake mushrooms, as a mom. You know what I’m talking about– those instances when you feel like your head is going to explode. When if one more kid whines you might seriously jump in the car and run away.
In those particular moments, I don’t shine as a parent. And seeing as I genuinely would like to be the calm, serene type of mother who does not, for example, yell things like, “The first person to talk to me has to clean the fish tank!” out of frustration, I really would like to figure out how to either avoid these particular meltdowns or learn how to sail through them like the patient, ever-loving mother I am in my head.
Those moments are the moments when I question if I am really cut out for this motherhood thing. And sure, we all have breakdowns and bad days and low moments. But when I started to realize that they were happening over the same things every day, I started to wonder if there was something I could actually do to change them. The first step to figuring out how to resolve my mom meltdowns?
Discovering why they were happening in the first place.
It might sound silly, but how many of us have ever taken the time to figure out what triggers set off us at moms? In my case, it took time to really take a look at what I struggle with in my day-to-day life as an at-home mom– the things that I was consistently feeling stressed about, yelling about, or just grumpy out.
If you don’t feel like you have stressors, just think about it: what are the things that you absolutely dread about your day as a mom? What are the events that cause you to groan inwardly? What tasks do you avoid? What do you most often yell or grow inpatient about? If you truly don’t know, pay attention to your body for a day as a mom — those instances when you’re tense and stressed and exhausted may be your mom triggers.
For me, I discovered that my consistent mom trigger moments boiled down to four main areas:
1) Cooking lunch. I have no explanation for this, but I loathe making lunch every day. I dread it and hate it and accepting it was the first step.
2) Constantly cleaning my floor. Before this little exercise I was–no joke–pulling out my vacuum and full-on vacuuming my floors at least three times a day because my kids are complete slobs and every meal required a full vacuum just so I could walk three feet without stepping on food. So frustrating.