The holidays were lovely for our family. However, 11 days straight with 3 boys 7 and under, no school, no sustained plans to leave the square 5 miles around our house, holiday excitement at epic levels and not enough outside time was....dicey. Hence..."the momtrum", that unfortunate tantrum only moms can have.
Below I'll break down the warning signs, and how you can avoid this very unfortunate event.
The Warning Signs
- You find yourself sweeping an inexplicably massive level of dirt and grime from the kitchen floor for the 5th time...at 10AM.
- You haven't gone to the bathroom alone for 10 days.
- Your "sweat session" has gone from an effective 30 minutes to 10 minutes of working out and 20 minutes of seething with rage at the kids for being so out of control.
- Everything is your husband's fault. Everything.
- 12PM is a very reasonable time for a large glass of wine.
- If you hear "MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY" one more time you may actually book that one way ticket to Bali to live off the sea and be a yoga instructor.
- Your dreams of quiet puzzles by the fire, jocular games of Battleship and 5 hour cuddle sessions in front of endless movies have been shattered, and you find yourself watching yet another episode of "Rabbids" for the 40th time in 3 days.
- Your eating has gone from mindful to......give me the chocolate and the chips....ALL OF IT.
- The plans you had to "journal" and "brainstorm your 2017 goals" have been redirected to brainstorming how to shower for the first time in 3 days.
- Your decision to start potty training the youngest on day 9 suddenly seems like a very, very bad idea.
- Your Fitbit reads 13,000 steps by 5PM. You haven't left the house all day.
- You can't stop fantasizing about becoming a yoga instructor in Bali.
- It's 9PM, your dreams of Netflix binges have been shattered and all you can do is lie on the couch, in the fetal position, cradling a vodka soda. Actually, just a vodka at this point.
The Unfortunate Event
- Your voice suddenly gets 3 octaves higher.
- You hear a strange shrieking noise coming from your body.
- Your humans are looking back at you with sheer terror in their eyes.
- Your humans start running from you.
- Suddenly collecting all the Christmas toys while shrieking "MINE NOW" seems like a great idea.
- The urge to throw yourself on the floor while crying uncontrollably is almost too strong to resist.
- This is your life now and it will never, ever end.
How to Prevent the Momtrum
Clearly momtrums aren't fun. However, I'm actually glad it happened to me! I learned several valuable lessons, and now have a much better idea of how to head this off in the future.
- For the love of god woman, get OUTSIDE! Yup, I admit it. I'm horrible about going outside in the winter! I am always cold and the days of pervasive darkness just really inspire me to stay inside. However, I always feel better when I get out and take a walk, a run, or just play with my boys. No matter how cold it is, I need to do a better job of remembering what makes me (and my family) feel good. Fresh air!
- Ask for help. Instead of seething silently, start communicating. If your spouse or partner isn't helping enough try to talk about it. If you feel you need extra help GET it. For me, I always fall back into a martyr type pattern where I silently start shouldering everything myself and get more and more frustrated until...momtrum. Communication early on can prevent this!
- Watch those expectations. I'll admit. I went into this holiday break with some expectations. Really they were just a story I created and told myself, but they got me off track. Reality NEVER matches up to the stories we create in our heads. Keep your expectations reasonable and the chances of being disappointed will diminish.
- Get a date night, weekend away or a few hours planned with your partner. It's so key to remember who you were before those little ones. Yes, I'm mom...but I'm also a wife and my husband is truly my best friend. It's NOT all his fault, and nothing helps me remember that again more than just some time alone with him.
- Let it gooooo, Let it gooooo... Frozen may be another movie I saw WAY too much of over the break. What I mean here is that even if you normally have control, there are times when you just have to realize that you don't. The kitchen is going to get dirty, laundry will pile up, workouts will not get done and it's okay.
- This too shall pass. No matter how all consuming a chaotic period may feel, it WILL pass. This is life, there will always be ups and downs. Busy times, and times to relax. The trick is to take a deep breath, and enjoy the MOMENT.
Motherhood...the hardest thing I have ever done by far, and yet the most rewarding. The paradox will never fail to astound me.