I lost my shit the other day.
The kitchen looked like a tornado had blown through it. There were socks and shoes and sweatshirts dropped in whatever place they were shed. There were dirty plates on the couch and a half dozen cups on the coffee table. One dog was barking incessantly and the other had just peed on the floor. One kid was whining for who knows what, and the other one was generally being assholey to the whiner.
I. Was. Done.
“THAT’S IT,” I yelled. “To rooms. No phone. No Xbox. No Switch. Nothing.”
Which, of course, prompted more whining and more assholery.
“Why are you so mad?!” they cried.
That’s when I really lost it.
Because this is why we moms lose our shit. Because the 15 previous times we ask them nicely to pick up their socks or put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher (heck, we’d be happy with the sink) go ignored. Because all the times we calmly remind them not to scream like a maniac at the Xbox and tell them, no, you can’t call your brother a MoFo, no one listens. Because our normal voice is white noise and chore charts are really just needs-to-nag-them-to-check-the-chore-chart charts. Because no one seems to notice what we say or what we need until we’re red-faced, screaming like a banshee with tears in our eyes.
And then they ask, but can’t we have a second chance?
Sweeties, you’ve been given a gazillion chances and mama is sick and tired of saying the same damn thing over and over and over again.
THIS is why moms lose our shit.
Because we’re tired, so fucking tired and no one seems to notice.
We’re tired of reminders to not act like slobs and to pick up their damn clothes, to put the toilet seat down, and to put your damn phone away.
We’re tired of staying up late worrying about all the shit no one else seems to worry about — that weird, off-handed comment from our kids’ teacher, whether we should be worried about our tween’s swearing habit, whether we can afford a family vacation.
We aren’t just sleep tired either; we’re deep in our bones tired. We’re tired of holding the emotional weight of the entire family, of dealing with our tweens wild mood swings and raging hormones while dealing with our own wild hormones too.
Before I became a mom, I had no idea I would feel such rage sometimes, or that I would lose my shit so frequently. I’m generally a pretty laid-back person. Or at least I try to be. But despite my best intentions, it’s like a switch is flipped from calm, rational mom to raving madwoman within a matter of seconds.
Sometimes it’s the general messiness of life with kids that gets to me. There is clutter everywhere. Things are always messy and dirty. There are fingerprints on literally every wall in our house. I’ve cleaned more bodily fluids (both humans and canine) out of the carpet and couches than should be expected in a lifetime. (TRUST ME.)
Other times, it might be anxiety that triggers the rage. There’s stress about money and work. There are regrets and second guessing. There are fears that things are worse than they really are, and assumptions about everyday “calamities” like why a friend hasn’t texted back. And there’s the low-grade, constant, underlying terror about actual disasters like mass shootings and car accidents and systemic racism.
Sometimes we lose our shit because, well, we’re imperfect and flawed humans who make mistakes and lose our shit sometimes.
Most of the time, though, I think it’s triggered by the general chaos and unpredictability that goes with motherhood. Of having too much on my plate, always. Of things feeling out of control. It’s all just too much sometimes, you know? The mental load of motherhood is constantly understated, because it’s impact is truly profound, but nearly impossible to articulate (unless you’re living it).
But here’s the thing: we are holding it all, so how would we not lose it sometimes?
And it’s not just the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of our families that we are holding either; it’s the whole damn world. We are angry and frustrated and so freaking sad that the world isn’t what we wanted for our kids. Our lives are full of purpose, but short on fun. We worry that we might have lost a bit of ourselves sometimes, and then we lose our shit and it’s confirmed. Which starts the spiral of self-flagellation and second-guessing and regret.
So yeah. This — this (waves hands at literally everything) — is why we lose our shit. We should probably cut ourselves some serious slack, because there isn’t anyone in our situation who wouldn’t lose it occasionally.
There is a constant and unrelenting pressure on parents — and mothers in particular — of us to be everything to everyone. Everyone has a judgment, and it feels like we just can’t win, no matter what. It wears on a person. It’s exhausting in every single way.
So friends, when you are feeling yourself losing it, go easy on yourselves. You are justified. You aren’t “crazy.” You are carrying a heavy load and sometimes you’ll drop your basket.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, cry on the bathroom floor if you want to, apologize if you need to, and then carry on with your badass self.