Of breakdowns and mama timeouts.


I daresay yesterday was the culmination day in a long string of really bad days. I woke up in the morning above and beyond what the word cantankerous can even convey. This was a long time in coming, I could see it looming just over the horizon for days, if not weeks, beforehand. I just couldn’t keep my eye on it long enough to keep it from happening or even find a way to mitigate it. It – pardon my geekery here – was like a cloaked Suliban ship. (Yes, I just used a Star Trek reference.)(What? We just watched through Star Trek Enterprise!) I occasionally got weird blips on my radar, but didn’t know what was truly coming until I ran smack into it and proceeded to get gunned down by it.

I think I was probably in tears and being a cranky asshole before 8 or 9 am even arrived. One could easily say that in the three months since we had Calliope, life has just been one rampaging hellbeast. We had Calliope, then the month after having her was – arguably – the hardest month of the entire 10 years with my husband. Our grasp on the husband’s quirks spiraled so far out of control, that we’re still struggling with it. (Though I like to entertain the idea that we’re getting better.) We came down to the signifying event: he has asperger’s. No, he’s not formally diagnosed, and no, he probably never will be. But if you read the diagnostic criteria, he fits it virtually word for word. And that’s honestly enough for me. If the shoe fits, and all that. This sent me on a side quest to better understand him and to find out the best way for us to communicate with each other, and to figure out what he needs to be his best self around us. Its been hard. Oh lord, has it been hard. But dammit, we’re doing it. Even if it takes awhile to get a grasp on, we’re doing it to the best of our abilities.

Then there was a month(ish) in there when things started kinda-sorta pulling back together, and then the job loss and all of that ridiculousness. And thanks to some flat out lies that were put into the reasons why paired with the state having recently passed laws explicitly stating that those kinds of reasons are an automatic denial, he was denied unemployment. (Really.) We initially thought about contesting it, but it would literally require going to court, and hi! Not like we’re swimming in tons of money or anything.

So, a lot of stress. Add in moving, unpacking, settling in, personality readjustments and so on and (dear god) so forth. Then the kids. Oh boy. I do not know what has gotten into them, other than a heaping spoonful of the crazies. (I know, logically, they’re just as wigged out and stressed as we are. I know.) And I’ve been holding on particularly hard, clutching onto even, the sheer lack of thanks from someone that I did a huge favor for. It was so angering, and I just couldn’t wouldn’t let it go. Let it be. There was good out of it, even if I wasn’t acknowledged for it.

In any case, I ended up being put into a mama timeout yesterday evening. Lilly had a late nap and woke up screaming. And would not stop. Just wouldn’t. I’d had it. I’m just thankful that my own mama was smart enough to tell me that I needed a mama timeout and to help me enforce it. I was not a nice person yesterday. I wasn’t really a nice person the day before that. And honestly, I haven’t been feeling very nice for..well…awhile. But today, after finally raging (just a little bit), I feel…a little better. A little bit stabler. A little bit saner. I need to remember that its perfectly okay, and even preferable, for me to completely remove myself from the situation if I need to.

I have to remember to be as gentle with myself as I strive to be with the babies. After all, I’m just a 5 year old (mama). I can’t expect myself to be the Super Amazing Zen Mama all the time just yet. I’ve got a lot of growing and learning left in me. I’m only 5 years old.


4 thoughts on “Of breakdowns and mama timeouts.

  1. hey friend. sounds like y’all are having an extra rough go. i’m glad to hear you say all the right things to yourself, in words. i hope you manage to really feel those things to yourself, at least sometimes.
    hallelujiah for having another adult in the room to send you out. i need such intervention sometimes.
    anyway, you know all about me and mine. just know that i’m reading and thinking of you.

    • Hey CJ, thank you. I was so in need of someone “bigger” than myself to tell me what to do in that moment. I’m just so glad I had such a person in that moment. I wish we all had that!

      I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot, every time you post. I just can never really think of what to say. Cancer scares me, especially after this year. It feels like so many people I know have loved ones getting cancer.

  2. Oh hon… that’s a lot. You know I still say my kids “I’ve never done before, parent a 10 year old boy or 12 year girl, etc” I still feel new at it some days because they keep growing and changing!

    And Mama timeouts are perfectly acceptable and necessary some days. I know I have days I just need to chill…

    • It has definitely been a little overwhelming, to be sure. I like to think that things are starting to even out now. Although we are about to throw a monkey wrench into it all by going on a 2-3 week long trip!

      Mama timeouts have been one of my few saving graces lately. I’ve noticed though that once I got stricter with myself about them, giving myself MORE timeouts, the better I’ve been at keeping even-headed in the first place. Yay for small victories!

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