When Mommy’s A Mess

October 7th, 2010

Do you ever feel, that as the centrifugal force of the house, that mommy’s mood sets the tone for the the whole family? This Blog post came to me a couple of weeks ago, when my girlfriend said, “Can you Blog about how when we are not good, the rest of our family never feels good? And how we can pull ourselves out of these slumps?”

So really, what happens if mom’s not happy?

Now, if you have a family of 4 plus people, chances are there are constantly multiple things going on at once… different opinions, different ideas and different hormones levels too!  And chances are again, these many factors vary throughout your week. For example, sometimes my household is happy, and we’re grooving to Kool & The Gang and (shhhh) Justin Bieber in the kitchen, and other times mommy’s ranting about unfinished homework, laziness around helping out, too much Wii and television, or disrespectful words.  Sometimes we’re laughing, sometimes we’re tense. But one thing I know for sure… when I’m on edge, EVERYONE IS ON EDGE.

And see, this is where I sit on the fence… am I to fake it, and fake happiness when I’m tired or stressed for the sake of peace and harmony, or should I be my honest self, my true self, show my kids that life isn’t always flowery, and bring everyone down with me? Cuz really, I would LOVE your opinion on this issue. My ass in on the fence. I always wrestle between protecting them, and giving them the truth. My heart says truth, but with a grain of salt, yes?

And lately, I’ve been totally overloaded and feel like I’m losing my mojo. My nanny is gone for 6 weeks. She has been with us for five years and has gone home to pack up her family up, and move them to Montreal. I couldn’t be happier for her. Now please, let’s get over the nanny thing… I ran a business for almost 10 years and needed help at home. We’ve kept her on with us since I sold my business, cuz she’s an extra set of hands, helps me, and is like part of our family. So with her gone, and a temp working scarce hours while I’m working, and with carpool, hockey 5 days a week between 2 kids, laundry, cleaning, blogging, book launch and tons of interviews, writing, proposals, massive pitches,  opportunities to carefully examine, mentoring other entrepreneurs, volunteer work, being on the board of my son’s school, fundraisers, and a hubby who works long hours, I feel over my limit. I’m not kvetching, I’m merely stating that this mommy’s a mess. And when mommy’s a mess, and short tempered with her family, no one is good.

So it’s been a few weeks like this, and nerves are high. I am however, making more of an effort to CALM DOWN. Sometimes I even go into the bathroom and literally BREATH, alone, and then try and come out like Carol Brady. :) But seriously, when the kids are all over me, or misbehaving and I feel like I could lose it, I go into the bathroom. For only 2 minutes. For me, it works, don’t ask me why. I usually come out with my negative aura refreshed. I think when we sign up for mommyhood, we realize, but we don’t TRULY realize how our actions are so DEEPLY effecting the lives of the little people we brought into this world. And it’s a huge responsibility and undertaking to “do it right.” But I think we all owe it to our children, to do it right.

My son has been chewing his sleeve, for one. I know this is my wake up call to chill the fuck out, and calm the hell down. My Wizard of Oz tornado is blowing way too strong around here, and I need to squash the frenetic pace. I want my kids to see the normal, good role model I have been all these years. Not this new mother who can’t seem to handle the stress. Do you ever feel like this?

I think we all have experienced this to one degree or another, at one time in our life.  But I will tell you something I DO KNOW. Emotions are contagious. If you’re feeling irritable or tense, your children WILL pick up on it. Fact. They will react, and chances are, react to a magnified version of it. So, if we’re happy, that mood rubs off. They’re kids, remember. They’re sponges. And if we’re tense, they’ll retain that too. So I decided this morning, I’m gonna try and go back to the old me. I read a quote this morning on Twitter, and I LOVE it. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” Henry D. Thoreau. I decided that someone I love could be sick with cancer, or something way worse, so it’s time to appreciate what I have, get happy, and be a positive role model to my children again. To sum it up: Get a life.

A few things to take note of if you’ve been feeling this way:

  1. Setting examples. Remember, your children will model your behavior. And you’re the example. So, always watch how you act around your children. It will rub off. If you’re always trying to teach your kids how to handle their anger and other emotions, model that behavior. If we act frustrated or angry, they will think it’s okay to do so too. Remember the old saying… ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.
  2. Pressure to be supermom. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a part-time working mom, or full time career mom, society has made us believe that we should always be Miss Susie Sunshine, and therefore put on a facade for the world. I for one, wear my heart on my sleeve, so that has never been my way. But, many of us feel, we should be perfect, our kids should always be well behaved, get good grades, be athletic, smart, the works. When we set ourselves up too high, we leave way too much room to fall down. I think having realistic expectations sets us up for success rather than failure.
  3. Self Care. I have to say, in general, I’m pretty good with this. We are so busy taking care of everyone else, we often neglect our own needs, right? What’s self care to you?  For me, right about now, self care would be for the grandparents to take me kids and let my hubby and I have a date night. It’s been one month with one night out together (from 6-8pm) and no alone time. For me self care today would be skipping the whole nighttime routine, NOT putting my kids to bed, NOT giving them a bath, NOT brushing their teeth, and having someone else do that, and me stroll over to the bookstore, and then dinner and wine with my hubby. Self care could mean the gym, a massage, a manicure, a coffee with a girlfriend, WHATEVER. It can also mean finding a hobby you like, and re-discovering it. Self care is vital to our existence.

So today, I will practice what I  preach. This Blog post has been therapeutic for me, believe it or not. Mamma’s gonna try and get happy again. Set a good tone for the house. Chillax, and be appreciative of all the blessings. I think life will always throw curve balls our way, but it’s up to us how we react. It’s our choice.

xoxEDxox

What do you think? Do you agree with me?

And the ‘On the fence” question: Do we fake it at home for harmony and bottle our feelings, or do we let the animal out of the cage for the purpose of truth, honesty and integrity. I’m on the fence.

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22 Responses to “When Mommy’s A Mess”

  1. […] the large number of women in the workforce today, and parents more exhausted than ever before, moms and dads sometimes find themselves overcompensating for issues they feel guilty about… […]

  2. [...] me most grounded through it all. There are two things, that no matter how stressed I am, or how frazzled I may be, that literally transform my entire aura. One is [...]

  3. [...] the next two months I struggled turning down jobs I knew were great opportunities but knowing my heart wasn’t in it. When I searched my soul I knew I simply wanted to be at home loving my son with everything I had [...]

  4. [...] the large number of women in the workforce today, and parents more exhausted than ever before, moms and dads often find themselves overcompensating for issues they feel guilty about… such [...]

  5. cyndy says:

    i go to the bathroom also, but i take a shower……the shower muzzles my cries and everything else……if its during the day, i take the dog for a walk…….i’m going insane today. what do i do? my husband and father have ganged up on me. ‘Don’t talk like that’ ‘Take the baby’….i just can’t get any help around here. No one appreciates me

  6. You sure do know what youre talking about. Man, this blog is just great! I cant wait to read more of what youve got to say. Im really happy that I came across this when I did because I was really starting to get bored with the whole blogging scene. Youve turned me around, man!

  7. [...] why parents do things like that. It all became clear. They are just too exhausted, unappreciated, overwhelmed and resentful to have to deal with one more [...]

  8. HeatherNo Gravatar says:

    I do agree that mammas do indeed set the tone in the house and this is a great reminder to set a good example for our kids. Often we can look to their actions and see how our behavior or mood is impacting their day. And who knew that once you had kids, the only place for a little privacy would be the bathroom?

  9. [...] I think it’s fair to say, I’m about to lose my mind. And I need some down time. These past few months have been I N S A N [...]

  10. rick says:

    rick…

    excelent post, keep it coming…

  11. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  12. KathrynNo Gravatar says:

    I totally relate with you on this one, but the bathroom is no good for me. My kids park it right outside and continue a level of mayhem no amount of deep breathing can erase. I find that stomping out into the backyard is pretty effective, especially if the weather is miserable. I get a bit of peace and fresh air for two minutes. They get a pretty strong message that Mom is about to lose it so they’d better dial it back a notch. I always turn around to find two bewildered faces peering at me through the kitchen window and things are usually a bit calmer when I go back in.

  13. Not sure if I agree with everything present but for the most part you are dead-on. This is something my husband is curious and I want to have him to read and comment on as well.

  14. CristieNo Gravatar says:

    This post is so right-on. When I’m stressed with the kids, I step outside. Standing in the driveway, I relax. Plus I also send a messag that gets the kids thinking. They usually reconsider what they’re doing and calm down too. When I go back inside I say, “Ok, we’re pushing the reset button.” We try to forgive, forget and start fresh. I’ve learned that I can’t calm the kids if I first don’t calm myself.

  15. Angela LNo Gravatar says:

    I completely relate to everything here. By the way, I go to the bathroom also to take a breather!!!!! It really helps.

  16. vanitaNo Gravatar says:

    oh i totally agree with you. on everything. you’re handling it great though and it’s wonderful of you to offer these tips.

  17. Carla says:

    I think we have to put on “game face” for our kids to keep peace in the household. That’s always been my way.

  18. Sarah RichardsNo Gravatar says:

    I felt like you were describing my life to a T. I don’t know what the answer is myself! But I do know that when I’m stressed the whole family gets stressed and tense and it’s hurtful to all.

  19. Stephanie JNo Gravatar says:

    Wow. You’re so honest. I also wear my heart on my sleeve and am terrible at hiding my emotions. I think you’re amazing and are being too hard on yourself. Go have a date night already!

  20. Joelle ReidNo Gravatar says:

    Great post Erica. I related to almost EVERYTHING you wrote. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back, reassess, regroup and move forward. It sounds like you did that. That’s a good thing.

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