The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

AKA: The Children Who Broke Their Mother’s Sanity

It all happened so fast. One minute I was feeling like the luckiest Mumma in the world and the next I was kicking hard objects whilst making laboring cow-like noises in wild unabandoned frustration. (Okay so maybe there were a couple of hours in between but you get the point.) My emotionally contrasting morning left me asking myself, how can I be feeling so happy, calm and loved-up in my family setting one minute and the next be fantasising about walking up the road and never coming back?

Let me start at the beginning. Hubby left early this Saturday morning for a half day of trail running and obstacle course challenges with a couple of mates, to be followed by a leisurely café brunch. Great – I’m a big fan of male bonding. Think it’s very beneficial to the species.

So there I was at 5.15am in a single bed with my 6 year-old J-boy and my 4 year-old Miss N. It was divine. Squashy, but divine. All warm and cosy with little arms around my neck and legs thrown over mine, sleepy eyes, loving smiles, morning breath kisses and stroking soft skin. I honestly felt like the luckiest Mumma in the world with two angels who were the light and air of my beautiful perfect universe. I dragged out this moment of bliss for as long as I could before a game of shopkeeper lured us from our love cave. This was then followed by some quality time with our chickens; I provided for their basic needs (food and water) whilst the kids gave them their daily dose of chasing, hugs and kisses – I kid you not. There’s a lot of love for our feathered friends.

Cartoon angerThen it was time for breakfast. And here is when madness ensued. The kids wanted toast. I made them as per requested, however I made two fatal mistakes: I cut Miss N’s toast in half and was too heavy-handed with the honey on J-boy’s. And man did they let me know that I had messed up big time! “I wanted one not twooooooooo” “It’s toooooo sweeeeeeeeeet”. I admit it. I lost it. I ranted and raved for a while about how lucky they are that they get to choose what they want to eat for breakfast and that we even have food to eat when others are starving and how ungrateful they are for the food I so lovingly prepare, bla bla bla bla bla. I was MAD!

Like all good Mothers I had the logical thought to quickly take myself away from the environment before I said or did something I regretted. I slammed the door, slapped the side of the house several times, kicked the tank, threw a plastic toy truck that was in my way, then stormed off down the road, not before kicking the wheelie bin on the way past for good measure. I turned back after walking about 20 meters (because I am a responsible parent who would not leave young children unattended in the house) and returned to sit in the driveway and have a good sob.

How is it that our little munchkins can push our buttons like that? How is it even possible to experience two such strong emotions from opposite ends of the spectrum in such a short space of time?

Anger was an emotion I had little experience with before having children. I kinda thought anger was for psychos. For people with ‘issues’. Not regular normal people living regular normal lives.

Nourish SelfSeveral of my girlfriends also talk about feeling angry and how it often rears its ugly head in weird and unusual ways in their family lives – sometimes directed at husbands, sometimes at their kids and sometimes at themselves. I can attest to that.

I don’t know where this emotion comes from or why certain situations in our family lives warrant this emotion to prevail, but I do think it is often because us Mummas are so ‘stretched’. We are so busy multi-tasking every single day; juggling breast-feeding and school runs and loads of washing and dirty dishes and making nutritious meals and organising play dates and taking kids to swim lessons (I could seriously go on and on and on) – that sometimes it is that one annoying comment from your husband or the time your child has complained about that one inane thing one time too many, that tips us over the edge and we SEE RED. Sometimes I feel like an elastic band wound so tight that I could just snap at any given moment. Like my cup is so full that one more drop could cause the whole thing to spill over.

For me anger is a reminder that ‘Mumma needs nourishment’. Mumma needs some time out to do something that feeds me. To take a bath, to read a magazine or book, to bake a cake, to sit down with a cuppa in front of an episode of my favorite show, to take a nap or go for a walk on the beach. All that matters is that for a short while we don’t have anyone else’s needs to worry about except our own. And that my friends is what restores balance to our lives. We need to find a way to do this on a more regular basis in order to minimise the mad times and be the happy, energetic, vibrant, capable Mothers that we want to be.

 Now to explain to my husband the dent in tank…

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Image Source: Dollar Photo Club

8 thoughts on “The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

  1. Now I’ve read this I don’t feel so bad for getting angry from time to time! I think you’re right about being ‘stretched’. The more elasticated I feel, the more likely I am to spring back and hurt someone, usually myself. But why, oh why, is it the silly little things that make us angry, and not the big stuff? THAT is weird. It’s also human. Love this post X Hope you’re tank (and foot) is okay.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Nina. It is weird… maybe because we try to be zen for so long then all it takes is something trivial for us to crack 🙂 ps the foot has recovered but the tank has not… oops x

  2. Reading your story made me cry. That is so me. Every word. Hope that one day I will be off my anti depressants and just be a loving, caring mum/wife. It is so weird that we can burst out like that. I am trying to take deeeeeeeep breaths in and out but it doesn’t work for a long time. It’s like a firework inside your body waiting to make the big boom! But fortunately it’s not always like that. Fortunately it’s happening less and less (not a big fan of fireworks anyhow ;)) Thanks again for sharing your beautiful and ‘make myself stronger’ words.

    1. You are such a sweetheart… we are all human and just doing the best we can and you are already a loving, caring wife/mum. I think as Mums with young children we all have many similar experiences and emotions. Talking about them with one another in a real way makes them more normal and less taboo. You are amazing just the way you are x

  3. Thank you for sharing Holly. I know for me Anger and frustration are the big ones! Being open and sharing what you are going through helps make it universal, realizing that you are not alone and that there are healthy and loving ways to cope with all the “tough stuff”. Self acceptance and self love are key! Much much love to you and your family, can’t wait to read more.

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