They may begin for different reasons, but they all pretty much follow the same pattern; flinging of oneself to the floor, kicking of feet and banging of fists, thrashing about of the head, inarticulate screaming, sobbing, and need for help to reach a mutually satisfying solution to the trigger problem.
It’s embarrassing really, this lack of control. This anger so intense it annihilates all ability to function. Yes I’m talking about temper tantrums, fits, meltdowns. No matter what the trigger, the end result can be terrifying for both the child and the parent. Yes, it is both awesome and frightening to behold, and what’s a child or husband to do when confronted with the ”Mommy Meltdown”?
It’s not as though a child can just walk away and leave Mommy screaming in the middle of Target. Well, they could, but it would probably just exacerbate the MM. It’s not as though a husband can just ignore his wife during her tantrum, because the screaming is probably directed at him. So what to do?
Having recently had a “Mommy Meltdown” (mine was mostly directed at DH), the only advice I have for husbands and children is to look contrite, agree with whatever Mommy says, and BY ALL THAT IS HOLY do not contradict her or tell her to calm down (this will likely set off another wave of screaming and possibly things being thrown).
What sets off the MM? Mine was being denied (AGAIN) any “time off” from the job I do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I think every person in the world (no matter how much they love their job) occasionally needs a day off to recharge their “battery”. I haven’t had any “time off” since before The Boy was born (he’s 3 ½ ). Being repeatedly promised my “time off” and then having it ripped away at the last minute through inconsiderate behavior by DH was the final nail in the coffin of my sanity.
I threw a fit at DH. I didn’t yell, but I did use a very firm, not sweet voice to express my displeasure and unhappiness with the “no time off for Mommy” policy that seems to have developed. He offered to completely skip some necessary yard work so I could have “an hour or so” off, if I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my time! He doesn’t get it, I want time to go do whatever strikes my fancy, no itinerary. To have some time without a phone call every 20 minutes asking where something is, and when I’m coming home. I also don’t want to come home to a bigger mess than I left behind just because he cannot manage to wash a dish while the kids are around! (His mother would come help with the kids, but he ”just can’t seem to get around to asking her”.) So, no real resolution was reached and the MM simmered.
The next day the MM boiled up at the girls as they bickered, were hateful, were defiant, and yelled. I explained to them that I had had it and they’d better shape up or Mommy would leave them with a babysitter (DH hates to hire them because then we have to pay them, he’s cheap) and they could be raised by Daddy. They didn’t care. Didn’t change their behavior one little bit. Way to show some love to Mommy.
The MM is still simmering, ready to erupt again (a Spring Break during which it has rained non-stop is not helping), so DH had better get on the ball, and call someone to help him with the kids so I can have some “time off”. Because soon, the MM will no longer simmer, it will boil over and that is something NO ONE wants to see (especially not the cashiers at Target).