I'm The Mom Who's Often On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown

by Jen Schwartz
Originally Published: 
being a parent
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I think I had a nervous breakdown today. Some of you will think I’m a baby, that this just comes with the territory of being a parent. But I’m not like you. I’m me. I love my son, but sometimes I don’t want to be a mom, like this is not what I signed up for. That’s my truth. This is my struggle.

Let me explain. My son is clearly getting ready to give up his afternoon nap. I’m so not on board with this. I am not ready. I look forward to those two to three hours in the afternoon. I need them. When I don’t have them, I’m bitchy. Ask my husband, he will happily tell you! Lately, my son has been napping every few days. Of course the days he naps are the days our nanny comes. Little fucker! But we do quiet time. He has to stay in his room whether he sleeps or not. If he doesn’t fall asleep, he usually hangs in his bed and looks at books. Sometimes, he gets out of bed and destroys his room. These are the afternoons I dread. Yesterday was one of those afternoons.

When I got to his room to get him after his not-so-quiet time, he was naked from the waist down—no pants, no pull-up. I knew this going on because I could see him on the monitor. What I did not see on the monitor was what he informed me of the minute I opened his door. “Mommy, I poopied on the floor! I poopied right there and there and there. And I peed right there.” Holy shit! No pun intended. My toddler took his pants and diaper off and shat and peed on the rug. As I entered, he was trying to pick up the poop with wipes to throw it away—exactly what we do if our dog poops in the house. How adorable. He is at least trying to clean up. Should I be proud of his cleaning skills? He was hysterically laughing. I was trying to breathe, trying to remain composed.

He’s never done this before. We are in the middle of potty training. He won’t poop in the potty, but somehow always times his poops for when he is sleeping—as in, they stay in a diaper.

I told him to go sit down on the chair. “Noooooo!” I took it back. Don’t sit down on the chair; his butt was covered in shit. My mistake! I negotiated. He sat on the changing table, and I wiped all the shit away. I got him dressed and placed him outside his room.

I started to clean. I swear that after I picked up one piece of poop, another one would appear. I changed the sheets. I threw everything in the washing machine. I broke out the carpet cleaner. I went through all the motions—like a zombie. My eyes probably looked like I was dead inside. I didn’t lose my cool. I didn’t yell. I didn’t make him feel ashamed. He asked me if I was happy. I told him I was not happy, that I was very sad, that the only place we poop and pee is in the potty or a diaper if he’s wearing one, that he would not be getting a lollipop or cookie because he peed and pooped on the carpet. He seemed to understand and told me he won’t do it again and that then I will be happy.

Now I’m sitting on the couch. Daniel Tiger entertains my little one. We can move on from the incident, but the damage is done, and I’m traumatized. I text a mom friend. I vent, telling her I know I’m a baby. She tells me I’m normal. It’s not like I was cleaning up glitter. It’s pee and shit. That I’m a better person than she is. She would have yelled. Thank goodness for mom friends. The ones who always tell you the truth.

I continue sitting. It feels like hours. My husband should be home soon. My son has taken out every toy in the family room, and it looks like a tornado blew through. All the while I just sit cross-legged on the couch staring into space, totally checked-out. I’m having flashbacks of postpartum depression. Can postpartum depression come back? Even two years after you get better? I should ask my therapist. Maybe I should go back to my therapist.

My husband finally gets home. He handles the mess. He cleans the entire family room—something he knows will make his slightly OCD wife feel better. He has another talk with our son. He kisses me on the head. He takes us out for pizza and wine. By the time we get home, I’m feeling much better. I’m playing with my son, laughing, and the moment has passed.

I realize that this would not be a big deal for some moms—even some moms I know. Again, I’m the mom I am. I won’t apologize for that. When this happened, all I could think about was it becoming my son’s new habit. And I’m thinking, I did not sign up for this! But I did sign up for this. I had a child. I became someone’s mom. This is all part of the package. It’s not going to always be fun and easy. And I’m not always good at hard. And that’s the daily struggle—my struggle. And the struggle is real!

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