And All It Takes is a Mild Emotional Breakdown…

surrender  Today was not an unusually tough day as far as motherhood goes. We had a busy morning, but both kids were relatively well behaved. Relatively. I was running a bit low on sleep, but I got a little catnap in the afternoon. The witching hours between 3:30 and 5:30 went off rather smoothly. Mainly because I let the girls watch a little TV so I could get caught up on some cleaning. So, you see, there really was no sign a breakdown was coming.

Well, rewind the tape a bit. The garage sale last week took it out of me. It didn’t ever hit me last week because I must have been running on adrenaline, but the toll it took on me and my house was beginning to show. My house is in a massive state of disarray because there are still garage sale remnants and we are moving rooms around. Office moved into the guest room, Hannah is moving into the office to make room for the new baby. So there is clutter abounding as well as stacks of things that I need to find homes for. I think the chaos is starting to drive me mad.

So in an lame attempt to acheive order, I decided today that I wanted the living room and my bedroom to look nice. Everything else would take time. I spent the morning folding and putting away laundry so the bedroom was doing pretty good. But the living room needed some work and so while the girls watched TV, I straightened, found homes for things that didn’t belong, and at least got the floor cleared of all tripping hazards. I was feeling pretty good about my progress so the girls and I started a coin counting project with some garage sale revenue. It went really well and kept us busy until the hubby got home.

Then I turned my attention to dinner. And away from my children. Who were playing delightfully with each other when I left them. Hubby and I caught up on the day in the kitchen and I enjoyed listening to the laughter of the girls. I even recall thinking how much I loved listening to them play and pretend with each other. Then I rounded the corner. They had completely trashed the living room. Trashed. It looked like a hurricane had come through and then some. They had also pulled various pillows from rooms around the house and were constructing some sort of makeshift trampoline with them. Oh and coins were spilled all over the floor as well as some foam beads used to make necklaces.

Well something inside me snapped. The cumulative effect of day after day of cleaning up the same messes only to watch rooms get dirty again 5 minutes later in some sort of Groundhog Day nightmare had managed to push me over the edge. I burst into tears, yelled something about messes and ran up the stairs in a very dramatic fashion and threw myself on the bed sobbing. I blame the pregnancy.

But a marvelous thing began to happen. I could hear the kids confusion and panic over what had happened to their typically sane momma. Well, semi-sane. Kind of sane. Who knows. Anyway, they sprung into action. Hannah came up 3 times to kiss me and tell me she loved me. She can’t stand to see anyone sad. And Lily began a massive clean up project the likes of which I have seldom seen before. Without complaining once, she set about putting everything back where it belongs making about 10 trips up and down the stairs. Typically if I ask her to make 1 she rolls her eyes dramatically goes up the stairs like I just asked her to walk to Alaska.

Am I onto some sort of brilliant parenting strategy? Cause I am not above forcing out some tears here and there to get some stuff done around here. I’m rather shameless that way.


  1. I’m going to let you test those results a few more times…let me know how it works out in the long run. *THEN* I’ll try it. (Though to be honest I’m about ready to start taking away birthdays if they don’t both shut.up. and go to sleep already!!!)
    .-= Colleen – Mommy Always Wins´s last blog ..In their element =-.

  2. pregnancy induced break-downs are allowed. enjoy the benefits!
    .-= melissa stover´s last blog ..Just me =-.

  3. Beth Shepherd says:

    This same principle applies to husbands as well:)

  4. well, I could always see through fake tears when I was little, but nothing makes a kid feel about ant-size like making mommy cry for real. And then you promise to be good and make everything right.
    Until daddy yells at you for making mommy cry – that erases the effect :)
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..menu planning (it’s been awhile!) =-.

  5. Long time reader and first time poster. Just had to giggle a little bit! Your post is very similar to what happens when mom has a meltdown in our house. Tears, actual tears of frustration and weariness, are freaky from us mom-types and I bet they were making tracks when that happened. It’s all good, tho. They’ve got to know/understand that mom is not perfect and she’s gonna have some bad days, too. *hugs* Sounds like you’re doing just fine, mom.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Unemployed and entertained… =-.

  6. Annie says:

    I. love. this. It happens at my house as well. Sort of. My kids don’t usually get into “regrouping” mode, and once I’ve recovered, I wind up cleaning up the mess just to have it over and done with. Too bad I can’t blame mine on pregnancy.. haha

  7. I have a friend who was really wild when she was in her early teens. One evening, upon coming in WAY after curfew, she found her dad sitting in the living room crying. She went to church with him the next morning and never looked back.

    All that to say… As long as it’s used sparingly, I think an occasional emotional breakdown can even be healthy for a family. It teaches the kids that their actions impact others… even their Supermom.

    Looks to me like you’re raising some great kids who really love you! Way to go!
    .-= Brandy T.´s last blog ..Because creativity is stifled by stifling heat… =-.

  8. Oh, no! I had a tearful episode myself yesterday, must be something about this stage in the pregnancy. For me, it was one of our dogs. She just barked one too many times. The baby wasn’t even sleeping, but my nerves just could NOT take it anymore.

    Hope you feel better soon. The white flag made me laugh. :)
    .-= Erin G´s last blog ..Three-Minute Sorbet =-.

  9. ohhh, i totally feel for you! Similar frustration without the tears yesterday over here. I spent 2 hours tidying up our messy house (I’ve been sick for 3 days) while I let the TV babysit my kids, only to have it look exactly the same as before I had started by the time my hubby came home from work. He didn’t even notice (well, couldn’t tell) that I had cleaned……soooo frustrating!

  10. oh dear…sounds like a couple of days i’ve had recently. i say do what you’ve gotta’ do to get through the day. if an occasional breakdown helps, go for it! though i don’t think it’s all that healthy for kids to think their mommy is totally unstable, it’s probably pretty good for them to see our humanity. kwim? hope today is better for you!
    .-= Monica (peapodsquadmom)´s last blog ..Mouthwatering Monday: Caramel-Coated Spiced Snack Mix =-.

  11. The Messy Mom says:

    That is so sweet how they responded. I appreciate your description of the living room, because what is a disaster to some is normal everyday life for others (like me), but when you mentioned the coins and the beads I thought “oh crap” that is bad.
    .-= The Messy Mom´s last blog ..Summer and the other 3 =-.

  12. I once cried on purpose to get a landlord to listen to my pleas (granted, I was asking for heat, but whatever). so, i’m not above emotional breakdowns to get what I want.

    I loved reading this story because I thought the whole time that the GIRLS were going to have a breakdown, not you. Nice touch. :)
    .-= Heather H´s last blog ..Beating Negativity with a Heart of Thanksgiving =-.

  13. haha, I figured the breakdown referred to her b/c I’m about 25 weeks pregnant and it feels like the emotionalness of the first trimester is creeping back (along with morning sickness, anyone else experienced this?). So, I’ve had at least a few breakdowns, and I don’t even have any kids yet.
    Like I was having a bad day the other day, and for dinner I wanted an egg cooked just this one way and AFTER having to clean up an overflowing sink first, I messed up the egg and totally lost it! At least hubby is levelheaded and doesn’t mind an emotional wife.
    .-= Lana´s last blog ..whine…. =-.

  14. The hormones can be pretty nasty, coupled with sleep deprivation and overall stress. I totally agree with Brandy – it’s good for the kids to see that their actions affect the people around them; however, I’m sure it would lose its effect if overused. :)
    .-= Amy Warden´s last blog ..All Natural Facial Care =-.

  15. Jen@BigBinder says:

    I am going to try this the first chance I get. I love that my kids are best buddies – but they definitely get into stuff together and make colossal messes daily. I have just given up, and clean it all up at the end of the day. Sometimes.

  16. I vividly remember my mother (of five) announcing in desperation one Mother’s Day Eve, that she was so sick of us not picking up after ourselves that she wanted to go to a hotel by herself for Mother’s Day. We were horrified, and this part I don’t remember for sure, but I really hope that we pulled our act together for at least a little while! :)
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Star-Spangled Envelopes =-.

  17. Oh…yuck! I’m sorry you had a rotten end to your day. But how sweet that your girls cleaned up the mess and tried to make you feel better.

    I will say that my opinion is that they reacted that way because you’re normally sane. So use this secret method selectively to maintain that effect! ;) My brother and I STILL walk on eggshells around my mother because she so often blew up – and you definitely don’t want that!

    It’s funny – ironic, not ha-ha – that you were enjoying their laughter UNTIL you found out what prompted it! My daughter is not yet 2, so I haven’t really experienced this yet – but from what I read around the blogosphere and remember from babysitting, quiet and content kids often ends up being the opposite of quiet and content for mom! :)
    .-= Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect´s last blog ..How do you avoid drowning in the ocean of social media? =-.

  18. Amy @ Thoughts of THAT Mom says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’ve already done a full-blown trial of this.

    They catch on. Quick. Too quick.

    Then THEY break down because YOU break down and then no one remembers who broke down first, the cats looking at ALL of you like you’re crazy, and the house is still a mess.

    Enjoy it while you can. You can probably ride this out through the pregnancy and maybe for a couple months after.

    Then, they’ll figure you should be normal again and begin steps to have you committed if you continue acting that way.

    (Don’t ask me how I know.)

    .-= Amy @ Thoughts of THAT Mom´s last blog ..I Need My Grandmother! =-.

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