It's been a LONG day. Your child has thrown tantrums over anything and everything. You used the wrong cup for their juice, they didn't like the way you handed them their spoon, they couldn't pull their thumb off...
All those little things have built up into one huge issue and you finally crack. So with nothing else to give, you have a meltdown in the middle of a play date and leave feeling completely and utterly broken.
What did you do to turn your lovely, sweet child into this monster? I mean, it HAS to be your fault, you're the one in charge... aren't you?
This is a true story for me. Last week was a tough one, and I mean tough. I got pushed past that point of sanity that I already stretched to accommodate the tantrums. And I broke.
It's easy to write this now with a touch of humour in my fingertips, but at that time it wasn't funny in the slightest. It's taken a good few days to get back to what we consider normal, and now I feel like I can pass on my experience to any other parents out there going through this - knowing you CAN come out the other side a better parent. At least I think that's the point I'm making!
What I realised through all of this was that I had spent so much time focusing on everyone else, that I had forgotten to look after myself. I was basically running on empty. I knew this tough phase wouldn't last forever, but I also knew that no amount of tears or Prosecco was going to fix it. I needed to take care of me for a change.
So what did I do? First, I got some alone time. Well, the first thing I did was actually call my mother in tears and told her that her granddaughter broke me... which did result in that alone time. She looked after Aria while I looked after myself, and I can't tell you what a difference it made.
I was able to be completely and utterly selfish, which is something I haven't done in such a long time. I got to focus on me, doing what I wanted when I wanted. In all honesty, that didn't amount to anything wild or exciting, but it was wonderful to have the time just to get my head straight and relax without feeling like I needed to be doing something for someone else.
Next, I let go of the power struggle. I realised that I was battling with Aria over things that didn't honestly matter. It was winding both of us up and getting us nowhere. So I let go. Don't get me wrong, I didn't let her away with anything and everything, but I decided to pick my battles and just relax a little with the rules.
With that, I found I had a lot more time and patience with Aria, and could see that her tantrums were mostly frustration and not anger, which meant I was able to help her through whatever struggle it was she was trying to overcome.
I'm now two weeks sane and can tell you that life. is. good. Aria is back to the hilarious, crazy yet adorable little girl that I knew pre-meltdown, and I feel like everything is back to 'normal'.
I'm sure there will be a relapse at some point, but I now know how to handle these situations to prevent a future mummy meltdown.
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