Saturday, June 6, 2009

Meltdown Moments

Meltdowns…ask any mom and she will tell you how familiar she is with them. Ask especially any mom of a 2 or 3 year old, and she can probably tell you about a very recent experience. You could even ask any mom of a teenager and she could give you a blow-by-blow description of one that has happened at some point.

However, ask any mom if she has had one lately—yes, a meltdown. I think sometimes as moms we are afraid to talk about those moments when…well, we just would rather pretend they never happened, that they don’t exist. Mom Moments is meant to be a real blog, a place of connection. I truly believe that you can’t connect if you can’t relate and I also believe that you can’t relate if you can’t be real.

So here I get to be real and yes, sometimes that requires being honest about things I would rather not be honest about. But if Mom Moments is going to be real, it is going to address those moments that are less than admirable.

Very recently I had a meltdown moment. It was one of those moments where you say things you should never say, you act in a way that is very unbecoming and well, you are basically just like a 2 year old having a tantrum. There is always an unfortunate target and it happened to be my 12 year old daughter. Although I tried to convince myself and her that she was the cause of my anger, the truth is that she was just an easy target.

After my little explosion—okay, it was a big explosion—I deposited her at her friend’s house (yeah, I’m sure she had a grand old time). I cried the whole way home. It was a combination of still feeling sorry for myself and also feeling like a big schmuck! I was also a little worried that she was going to tell her friend, who would tell her mom, who would probably unsubscribe to Mom Moments—smile. Yet as I finally got over it and got my senses together, I realized it was the perfect opportunity. My insanity, my failure could be used to encourage others.

You see…moms do have those moments! Sometimes I think we are convinced that we are the only moms in the world who…fill in the blank. We are so quick to beat ourselves up, so quick to pile on the guilt and feel like failures. We can be our own worst enemies! I think it takes longer to forgive ourselves than it does to feel God’s forgiveness. We may have a harder time letting go of our failures and imperfections and letting God do His work in us.

I had to really think about the reason I had exploded. I wanted to pin it on my daughter’s selfishness. That was an easy answer. But it wasn’t the answer. I felt like I really needed to dig down deep and discover the root of my anger. I think God was showing me it was a combination of things. You see, meltdowns for moms are usually the result of built up frustrations or resentments. They build and build and build until finally we cannot take another brick on our load and we unleash.

I am so thankful these moments are few and far between for me. But I still hate that they happen. The fact that I could say the things I said, act the way I act and then also drive when I am angry—I throw that in there because I realized later on how dangerous that probably was—shows me how very much I cannot do this on my own. I cannot be a mom without some heavenly help. Yet at the same time, we also need help in the flesh. We need to be able to share with someone our struggles, admit our faults and ask for that prayer support. As soon as I am done writing this blog, I will be emailing my best friend and freely sharing with her how much I messed up. But I will be doing it because I know she will listen, she will understand and she will say a prayer for me. She will not condemn me or judge me. She has been there herself, I’m sure! 

After we have experienced a meltdown moment, we do need to be sure that we ask forgiveness to the unfortunate target. It wasn’t until a few hours later, when I picked her up from her friend’s house that we were able to discuss what had happened. I didn’t make excuses for my behavior, but I did let her know that I had allowed the pressures of life to build up and then released them in the wrong way. The truth is that we need to do whatever we can to keep that pressure from building up. Instead of letting the little things go, we need to deal with them immediately. Catch for us the little foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom (Song of Solomon 2:15).

Think about some of the things that happen in life that build up: lack of sleep, stress, difficulties in relationships, communication breakdown, worries, and the list could go on. We may be dealing with one small thing at a time but over time, they can create a huge burden that we are not meant to carry. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19). Are you giving your burdens to Him on a daily basis? If not, you are carrying a weight that you were never meant to carry.

Of course, part of my discussion with my daughter included asking forgiveness. May we never be too prideful to ask for it! It doesn’t matter who the person is, how old they are, what role they play—we need to be willing to humble ourselves and admit when we have messed up. The harder part, however, may be forgiving ourselves. It is sometimes difficult to let go of something we have said or done. We keep replaying it in our mind. Two things could happen if we do that. One, we could end up becoming angry again by thinking about the original reason we were upset in the first place or two, we become weighed down by guilt. That will create a whole new set of problems. So we need to be able to forgive ourselves and move on.

Life can be rough. Things come at us from all different directions. It sometimes can feel like all we are doing is deflecting arrows. Don’t let the battles of life bring you to a meltdown moment. Remember the battle belongs to Him!

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