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My epic mom fail came so unexpectedly and could have been avoided. When I found out I was pregnant, I envisioned sunny days full of blissful baby smiles and long walks around the neighborhood. I imagined nursing my precious little love to sleep as I joyfully gazed into his beautiful eyes.
But when Samuel came home, reality hit. And I was oh so unprepared.
(If you want to skip straight to the goods and learn 3 ways to remain calm in the midst of chaos, click here!)
My Most Epic Mom Fail Ever
One April day when my baby was just 4 months old, I lost my cool. It was a beautiful, sunny day. But inside my house a storm was brewing. My husband was at work and I was alone with Samuel. It’s probably important to note that our sweet little Sammy struggled with GERD (a severe case of acid reflux which caused him to spit up entire feedings and was causing him to not be able to gain weight appropriately). Because of this, he also struggled with pain and sleep issues. He cried frequently and intensely. And on this particular day I just couldn’t take it anymore.
He had been screaming for hours off and on. Nothing I did seemed to calm him. I had no one around who could help me, and I was at the end of my rope. I snapped. I literally got in my baby’s face and screamed at him to shut up. Immediately I regretted this action as I saw the confusion, horror, and fear in his eyes as his cries changed from angry to terrified.
I backed away as a realized what I had done. This is not how I pictured motherhood. This is not the kind of mom I wanted to be. I took a few deep breaths, strapped Samuel into his car seat and we went for a drive as I sobbed. I didn’t have a destination in mind, I just needed to not be at home. I needed fresh air. I needed to get away. And driving calmed Samuel, too.
After about 30 minutes of driving, I finally had gained enough composure to talk, so I called my husband. I told him what happened and that I needed help. I had been struggling with depression and anger for years but had always been too afraid to seek the help I needed. But this day changed that. I was going to get help no matter what. My pride didn’t matter anymore. I was Mom to this precious little life, and I was not going to let my struggles hurt him.
Of course, not every mom struggles with depression. But we all have those moments, don’t we? Days when the kids are just too loud, the chores are too overwhelming, your job is too demanding, and life is just too hard. It can cause even the most level-headed parents to fly off the handle from time to time.
Through my parenting journey, I have learned three ways to remain calm in the midst of chaos. These methods can help any momma who has ever had a bad day, ever felt out of control, or just wanted to throw in the towel and go back to bed.
3 Ways to Avoid My Mom Fail
Meditation may mean different things to different people, but we all have basically the same purpose in mind. We want to allow ourselves a time to sit and reflect quietly without distractions or interruptions.
I personally enjoy listening to guided meditations on YouTube or through apps on my phone. Guided meditations help you train your mind to focus on your breathing which teaches your body to remain calm in tough situations. Meditation has helped to reshape my thinking which changes the way my body reacts to outside triggers. Now, instead of reacting in anger to situations out of my control, I can choose to be in control of my words and actions and respond reasonably.
Another way I like to relax that’s similar to meditation is called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). If you’ve ever gotten that pleasant tingly feeling in your scalp when someone plays with your hair or has an especially soothing voice or when you hear certain sounds, you are experiencing ASMR. Not everyone experiences this, but for those of us who do, it can be incredibly relaxing and calming. You can find tons of videos on YouTube ranging from audio and visual trigger videos to roleplays and even some that include food. To those who’ve never seen or heard of ASMR before, the videos can be quite strange. But don’t write it off right away. Even if you don’t get the tingles, ASMR can be incredibly relaxing with the right triggers.
Here are a few of my favorite ASMR channels:
One way I’ve found helpful to get through tough situations with my kiddos is just to understand their perspective. When I can take a moment to relate to what they are feeling and experiencing, it helps me be more empathetic with them even in their most difficult times.
I do a lot of research on current practices, recommendations, and opinions about parenting. And there is lots of information available. There are also lots of opinions about the right or the wrong way to do things. My perspective is that as long as you are meeting your child’s basic needs and are loving them well, you’re doing a great job! As much as I love learning more about parenting, I do have to be careful not to let the opinions of others derail me from the journey God has me on.
But even with all the different advice and opinions and information out there, the simple act of learning has helped me to feel more in control of my life which in turn allows me to stay calmer in situations that used to upset me. I have become more empathetic to those with differing viewpoints as well. I’m much more capable of having an intelligent discussion with a person even if we don’t agree.
Educating myself on important topics has also led me to positive parenting which has completely changed the way I understand and respond to my children’s behavior. Where I used to get angry and yell, I now am able to respond much more calmly and show love and empathy to my boys in their moments of difficulty. And I’ve seen a huge positive change in their behavior as well!
Anyone will tell you that self-care is one of the most basic essentials in a person’s life. If you want to truly be able to care for others, you must first take care of yourself. This, of course, is true in motherhood as well.
But what does true self-care really look like? Well, the specifics may be different from person to person. But there are a couple of forms of self-care that are the same across the board.
First and foremost, you need to take care of your basic human needs. This includes eating a balanced diet, taking care of your personal hygiene, and getting adequate sleep. Believe me, I know this is hard for us mommas, especially in those early years when our littles need so much from us. But it is essential to a healthy family balance for you to be at your best so you can help your kiddos be their best. Of course, there will be times when things slip through the cracks. But don’t let that become the norm.
The second form of self-care is taking care of your desires. This includes things like finding and enjoying a hobby, taking time for yourself, and having some downtime. Everyone has something they enjoy. Find your thing and figure out a way to include it in your life more often. If you have an opportunity, get out of the house alone. Go window shopping or sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Whatever it is, you have to have something, no matter how small, that is just yours.
Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but there will always be days momma! When you have those moments of anger and overwhelm, take a deep breath. Implementing meditation into your life, educating yourself about things that are important to you, and creating a solid self-care routine can make those moments all the easier to handle.
If you are a mom who struggles with depression and you find it difficult to manage your emotions, you can’t get yourself out of bed in the morning, and you just don’t have the willpower to face another day of draining tasks, you’re not alone! Talk to your doctor for more information and to get the help you may need.
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and all opinions are purely for informational and entertainment purposes only. Always seek the advice of your doctor before making any changes to your health care routine.