On the topic of meltdowns, let’s talk about mommy meltdowns. I’m talking about the hit your husband, sit on the floor and cry, feel like a failure, want to run away meltdown. I want to start off by reiterating that I love my life and I love my family and I love my children. With that said, I really feel like they need to have some sort of clinical diagnosis of mom depression or mom anxiety or I’m not even really sure what you would call it. This whole thing called motherhood is such a roller coaster and when you’re a mom you almost always become a different kind of wife. Today just happened to be one of those days that I was emotionally charged and I felt attacked at every avenue. I am working summer school about 2 1/2 hours a day. As I wrote in my previous blog, daycare happens to be closed this week and I am really struggling finding a balance between both kids. I often find myself wanting to be a stay at home mom, but also hide in the bathroom from my kids and my husband, and then I want to go to target for three hours straight. The chaos of motherhood is no joke- from night terrors, to temper tantrum’s, to diagnosing your own kids with everything, to fighting with your husband, feeling defeated, to peeing without a little person tugging at your leg, trying to keep the house clean, to finding time for you, etc. you get the point. The list goes on and on and on and on.
I was almost hesitant to write this blog because I know it will automatically post to my Facebook so people probably read it and maybe even hold more judgment or hopefully realize that they are not alone. Juliana, as you know has been having some pretty intense meltdowns to the point where I’m actually worrying. Being a special education teacher sometimes sucks because I tend to diagnose my own kids. I probably worry way more than I should but anyone that knows me knows me knows that I’m normally a spaz when it comes to things I care about. Lately, Juliana has been fighting for attention especially mine. She will randomly hit Hudson to try to get attention from me and being a “behavior specialist” I feel like I should know what I’m doing but when it comes to my own kids I will be the first to admit that I have no idea. I literally feel like I have lost all control of her. And when my husband says that she doesn’t act like that for him or that I should know what I’m doing, that hurts me to my core. Tonight was just that.
He was downstairs working on his barn paperwork when I yelled for him because Jules was in another meltdown- almost mimicking a night terror. She was inconsolable, almost hit her head, and trying to hurt Hudson. I was in her room trying to keep everyone safe at the same time trying to compose my sanity. Being hit and being screamed at is a huge trigger for me, even if it comes from a tiny little beast. Yes, I have lost my shit many times, but today I just felt like I failed as a mom.While she was screaming and inconsolable I felt sooo helpless. I’m her mom, I thought. I should be able to calm her down. Trigger- She wants to play with me, but Hudson is all up in her shit.
So naturally she loves to get one on one attention so when she is with Nana and Papa or Mimi and Papi she gets that. When daddy is home she gets that. But when it’s mommy versus two kids she doesn’t get that. Again, this takes me back to when I was about to have Hudson and I was holding her so tight in her room the night before I delivered him. I knew it would never be the same. And then you add in the fact that she is a strong willed child and hot tempered as well as very active and overstimulated. She is my feisty little queen and I wish she understood how much I loved her and wished that I could just protect her all the time. I wish I could reason with her. I want to spend time with just her and I constantly feel myself trying to balance between two kids who both need me and love me.
Here we are in her room and she is wired and fired up- talking like a baby, posturing Hudson, acting out, testing every single limit. She hits him and stares at me for a reaction. This makes my blood boil because at this point it’s not just a love tap, but a forceful hey look what I’m doing tap. Hudson could care less because he adores her and wants to be everywhere she is. He is all over her new big girl bed and that just escalated her. I keep on redirecting and trying to change the subject but she keeps upping the ante. It’s not working. I put her in a timeout because she is really hurting him and he is crying. Meanwhile Howie is still downstairs and I was so scared to ask for help because I know his mind is so cluttered with everything with the barn and everything else on his plate. And when that happens, like most men, they can’t balance it and it usually results in a daddy meltdown. You can’t bounce back from those. In that moment I actually felt like I lost all control. I was watching Hudson crying because he got hurt and she was crying out for my attention. She is now having a full out meltdown because she’s in a time out. She is not the type of kid to stand in the corner and obey a time out. She lunges and tries to get out, laughs, tests boundaries even more. God do I love this fierce little soul. But when push comes to shove I really feel like a bird without wings. When we were talking to her doctor a little while ago, she mentioned potentially doing timeouts while restraining her because she laughs and leaves the time out. It’s reinforcing because it’s now a game. This happens at daycare too. My full time job is working with defiant and traumatic kiddos. I’m spent. I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement and I really like time ins, but again she’s not that type of kid. Just like when she was a baby she was not a cry it out and check on her every 5-10 minutes kiddo. She was a cry it out and let her be until she was asleep type of kid. I am blocking Hudson and trying to restrain her from lunging at him, gagging herself, screaming and now recently hurting herself. I just don’t get it. It’s no longer a night terror, but a day terror. Howie hears everything and comes upstairs just to scream at me so.freaking.loud. He yelled that I needed to gain control, stop crying and smack her. I get it. We all say things when we are in flight mode. We were both in flight mode and we both felt helpless. But dude, you can’t scream to smack her?! Why wouldn’t you just pick up a kid and remove them/ be my anchor? Then he proceeded to tell me that she doesn’t act like this for him and that since I’m a behavior specialist I should know what I am doing. Q the waterworks. Sensitivity is my superpower. Or is it? Sometimes I think it’s a weakness and in that moment I felt like it was. I felt like a bad mom and a bad wife. Then I started to feel resentful, guilty, tired, mad, anxious….and I let what he said hurt me way more than I should have. He was in a bad mood and he caught me in a very vulnerable and exhausted state. He left and I took the kids for a ride. After my ugly mom cry, I composed myself and called the doctor because I’m concerned about the night terrors and now the tantrums seem like they’re getting out of control. Am I just tired? Is this normal behavior? Shouldn’t I know how to calm down my own child? Why would Howie say those things to me? Especially in that moment? Even if you saw your friend on the floor crying because they clearly are upset- wouldn’t the last thing you’d want to do was attack them?
The doctor reassured me that these might be nightmares at night and it is triggering an emotional meltdown and she is so overtired that she can’t calm down. I already know that she is overstimulated and very overtired because she’s not taking naps. She can’t sooth herself during the day and refuses naps. She takes naps for Daycare but I could drive around for three hours and she will be singing daddy finger at the top of her lungs for those three hours. The kid loves life. While I was on the phone with the doctor ironically, she was screaming and crying begging to get out of the car. I ignored her and for the first time since she was about 14 months old , she cried herself to sleep. Both my kids fell asleep at 4 PM in the car. #momwin. Or was it because now they won’t sleep tonight?! When I got home I parked in the driveway and went inside with both kids sleeping in the car. I confronted Howie about why he would say to smack the kids and why he would scream at me in front of them. It was a scream match. “You should know what you’re doing. She doesn’t act like this with me. Get control of yourself. You’re the one with the behavior background. If she’s hitting our son you need to take control and tell her no.” What the hell? I do all those things. I’m a damn good mom. I try to bake with her everyday, do puzzles, go to the library, go to target and Costco because those are her favorite stores, take baths with her, have dance parties, jump on the trampoline, go for walks and go on bunny hunts, etc. I try so hard and then Howie comes in and is the hero. When he’s home it’s almost always both of us but when I’m home it’s almost always just me. I get it. She is 3 and thinks the world revolves around her so when Baby Hudson comes along and tries to play with her toys or is latched onto mommy’s boob, of course she’s going to get mad. She was mine first.
The kids are asleep in the car and we are screaming at each other at the top of our lungs. He’s talking over me telling me what I should be doing and the kind of mom I should be like and I just snapped right there. It was like every feeling I ever felt- good and bad- vomited out of my hand. I freaking swung at him. I actually hit my freaking husband. He started yelling the f bomb and threatened to call the police and I was crying- begging for his attention, begging for him to be on my team. Trying so hard to explain that I’m trying to be on the same team as him and not against him. Stop talking down to me and telling me what I should be like. Be on my damn team. Stop making me feel like a nuissance. I felt like Jules. The reality of what I did was hitting me and I felt so terrible. What in God’s name came over me. I swear he almost hit me back. We never get in fights that bad. We fight, but a scene from cops?? No, we don’t go that far ever.
I guess it’s safe to say the no sleep thing has hit us hard and there is no excuse for my behavior. I was so hesitant in even writing this because I’m not exactly sure who reads this. We talked it out before the kids woke up and I apologized explaining my feelings and how much he hurt me, vice versa.
Toddler behavior is no joke and I feel like I constantly ride the line of this has to be normal vs. I should be concerned…being a mama is hard. It makes me second guess everything and it can make me a shitty person sometimes because I am so exhausted that I feel like I have nothing left to give. But my heart is in the right place. I have my moments. I get depressed and feel isolated. I feel like I lost one of my best friends in this journey and ironically, we should be leaning on each other, but we aren’t. I lost her and I feel alone. It’s not her fault- we are swallowed in the everyday chaos of motherhood, our careers, our own stuff. My husband is so preoccupied with his dreams and I’m just stagnant. I’m teaching Zumba, training for a half marathon and working summer school, but I’m also enjoying my summer because I’m actually focusing on me. I feel horrible for feeling this horrible this week- all because daycare is closed. Get it together mama. I just wish I could enjoy it more with the kids and make them both happy.
Update- the doctor recommended a small dose of melatonin for Juliana. I wrote this blog on speech to text on my way to teach Zumba and then finished it at 1030 at night where Howie is asleep in her room and she is still wired singing Brother John. Oh the joys. I will miss this.
Dear mama of a strong willed, no sleeping, testing every single limit, not calm, highly stimulated, overly smart, super active toddler girl… you. Got. This. You don’t need anyone else to tell you that you are an amazing mama. Find a friend to lean on and build each other up. Be on the same team as your husband. Try not to clock him if he pisses you off. Breathe. You are not alone.