“This is what a mommy mental breakdown looks like”
Any parent will tell you — when our kids are melting down and losing their shit, more often than not we feel like losing our shit right along with them. And sometimes we do just that.
One mom recorded herself having her own breakdown alongside her toddler son who was throwing a tantrum of epic proportions (as only a toddler can). And it very well might be the most real thing you’ll see today.
In a video posted to her Facebook page, Sarah Van Sickle is sitting in her car crying while her toddler throws an epic tantrum in his car seat. “This is what a mommy mental breakdown looks like.”
“I’m so sick of people just showing the perfect side of parenthood on social media, and today was one of the worst days I’ve had as a mom,” she writes. “I’m tired. Mentally and emotionally drained. Feeling like a failure of a mom. Feeling beyond clueless as to why my child has the world’s worst tantrums for no reason. Feeling guilty for yelling at him and even more guilty for wanting to crawl into a hole and stay there.”
Hoo boy. We have all been there, yes indeed. I can recall multiple days where I’ve sobbed right along with my own daughter and had to walk away and take deep breaths. It’s impossible to keep it together and remain calm and patient and “perfect” when your child is upset beyond reason and you’re not in control.
Frustrated because she felt like her version of parenthood didn’t look anything like the version everyone else posts on social media, Van Sickle decided she had had enough. “In the middle of one of the worst breakdowns I’ve ever had, I got my camera out and decided to help show everyone the side of parenting that isn’t broadcasted,” she tells Scary Mommy. “I was determined to show what the reality of parenthood can be like, even if it meant risking my social image and showing me in my mess. I just wanted other moms and dads who go through The emotional ups and downs to know that they are not alone.”
She brings up a valid and discouraging point about parenting in the age of social media. Of course, we want to share the happy moments and the posed moments and the moments that capture the love we feel. But when our only glimpse into the lives of many people is through the rose-colored lenses of our controlled social media posts, it can make us all feel like we fall short in comparison — even if we’re guilty of doing the same thing.
The fact that Van Sickle’s video went viral proves being raw resonates. Deeply. Perhaps there’s something to learn here beyond feeling less alone. There’s nothing stopping any of us from changing up our own algorithms to reflect the reality of our lives in addition to the sunshine and rainbow stuff.
“We are not perfect,” she writes. “Neither are our kids. We are human. We break down. We cry. We get frustrated. We lose our tempers. We need help. And at the end of the day, we are doing the best we know how.”