Mama’s Melt Down

by flowers on March 30, 2010 · 27 comments

To whom it may concern,

I apologize if you heard me melt down last night. You probably heard me yell very loudly at my entire family before I pulled on my sneakers with no socks, grabbed a not warm enough coat and slammed the door as I ran into the rain.

(Dramatic, I know.)

You may have thought I was crazy leaving my warm, cozy home and family and besides, what kind of mother would leave her over-tired two year old crying at the door as she ran out?

My kind of mother. The kind who can’t always do it–who can’t keep up with kids who seem to need more than I have to give, a pregnancy that surprised us, health insurance that doesn’t cover my midwife’s fees, midwifery that is illegal as of a week of my due date, a new business, and no family around to help with the kids during these stressful times.

I’m stressed, we’re stressed and of course the kids are acting more needy which is the opposite of what I need from them right now.

Last night I felt so claustrophobic I just had to run away. In the cold rain that was so appropriate and on a lonely street in the darkness I felt hopeless and stuck. I tried to think where I could go to get away, but besides having a lack of options I realized how long could I really go? My kids would be really frightened if I didn’t come back for bedtime and Stone has to go to work in the morning. Who was I kidding? The best option I could come up with is going for tearful root beer float (which I am thoroughly obsessed with this pregnancy), but I didn’t have any money with me. (sob.)

So I went home.

Before I opened the door I sat on our top step and listened to my family. They were building train tracks and talking. It didn’t seem so bad and I went back in. I walked right back into the fridge that needs to be restocked, the business that needs me to enter last month’s expenses, the home budget that needs to be planned for the next month, the five year old who needs some serious one-on- one to help cope with the intensity that feels like our family and a two year old who recently weaned and is not so happy about it.

I pretended it was Earth Hour and shut off every light in the house and went to bed knowing everyone would follow. They did and snuggled in warmly and quietly everything felt a little better.

I feel a little better today. I can feel the stress and then I feel badly about being stressed when pregnant. I know if I just slow down a little I can catch my breath. I know I have that–my breath. I know I have tools such as yoga and writing that helps me get through times like these. I know I have friends I can lean on.

So, if you heard me lose it last night I apologize and please don’t think I’m a horrible mother. I’m not–I promise. I’m just finding my way one moment at a time and I’m doing my best to process this without being hurtful or mean to those around me. I’m doing my best.

Your local and global neighbor,


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Toni March 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Sometimes we just need to calm down and be alone, and if that involves walking in the rain, so be it. I love this post because it makes me feel okay about my “melt downs”. Even though I am not in your exact situation, I have felt incredibility overwhelmed and “ran away” from my family for a moment alone, just to get myself together enough to come back and feel a little better!


miranda March 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Sounds like you need a little group therapy with your unschooling buddies. Thursday, Lower Treman, 1pm. Be there! ;-)


exhale. return to center. March 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm

sending so much love to you my friend.

oh have i been there. yelling. crying. running away. in the rain.

there is an amazing song — i know my baby’s cry by diane zeigter. it is totally my mama wants to run away song. you can hear a 30 sec. sample on and /or check out the lyrics here (

you are SO not alone.

love + light…

.-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..settling back in =-.


Devon March 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I love you.
.-= Devon´s last blog ..Love Socks for Kids! (I think) =-.


Flo March 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I’ve never commented here before, but here’s a hug from a momma to another.
I get what you’re saying. I really do… and admire you for writing it.
.-= Flo´s last blog ..mess is life =-.


Zanna March 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Hugs, honey, lots and lots of hugs. You are a wonderful mama, and meltdowns happen… it’s only natural.
Been having a hard time myself for the past couple days… though I’ve yet to run out into the rain. :-)
This, too, shall pass.
.-= Zanna´s last blog ..Happy Ostara! =-.


PureMothers March 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Oh, do I know. Read a post of mine a few weeks back! I’ll tell you, my husband and I have decided to start trying for kid #2 next month. And boy do months fly by lately. I am nervous that I will be so tired and by burnt out from raising a sensitive and spirited 2.5 year old, that I will get stressed while pregnant! I will have to check back in with you on how you are coping. I am so sorry to hear about the midwifery law in your state. What are you going to do? We’ve all been where you are. Pat your self on the back for knowing to leave and take your anger and frustration with you and not take it out on your family. Good for you. Center yourself. Exhale. Return.
Big Hug!
.-= PureMothers´s last blog ..The Story of Bottled Water =-.


Rana March 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm

You run in the rain girl. If I was in the neighborhood I would have treated you to your root beer float. We all need to melt down once in a while. I have run away to my sisters and left my husband with the twins an the dog many times. We just need a chance to regroup and get our thoughts together.
.-= Rana´s last blog ..Growing up! =-.


Kate March 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I’ve run out in the rain too ~ absolutely!
And I constantly put protective bubbles around my belly to protect ds2 from the stress I was feeling while pregnant! I do believe they are protected!
And this little girl of yours (oops, there I go again, calling her a girl!) is so sure of herself and so self-possessed, I wouldn’t worry a LICK about her! ;)

Everyone has melt-downs ( I have to believe that, and if some people don’t then I don’t trust them!), not everyone is brave enough to admit it!

These are the posts that count! Thank you! I love you!
.-= Kate´s last blog ..My Everyday Magic 3/30/10 =-.


Leah March 30, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Omg Hillary, did you read my long-winded tri-dub post yesterday? That was totally me you just described. Except the hubs wasn’t home, so I melted down in the house with the kids. Big hugs to you sister, it happens to all of us, and is totally natural b/c we’re human beings. And I’m realizing, as I process my own meltdown from the day before yesterday, that it’s okay for my kids to see it happen, because then they don’t have to feel like big emotions are bad. Love and support to you honey.


Capital Mom March 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I have been there. I have done that. Sometimes we just need some space to breathe.


Maegan March 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I think what you did is better than thinking overwhelming thoughts and being irritated, angry & stressed for days, weeks, months on end. Let it out & move on! We are only human and our children need to learn this from us, too, right?
Thank you for telling us about it so some of us don’t feel so bad about not being all perfect all the time :D


renee @ FIMBY March 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Oh hon… I’m eating a piece of dark choc. right now in your honor. When one of us struggles we all need to band together right? The situations you listed in the beginning of your post have all been familiar to me through the years, except the illegal homebirth part. I know how you feel and you are not a bad mother even if you did lose it with your family. Been there, done that and gone to bed early also.


Kelly March 30, 2010 at 9:48 pm

must be something in the air- that was me Saturday. So appreciate the honesty- nice to know I’m not alone- in rootbeer floats (mine was a girl) and in needing to escape- if even for a moment. I’d much rather my kids see the real me trying to figure things out than a pretend me who looks flawless and they’ll never be able to live up to b/c I don’t really exist. Balance.
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Learning to Live on Less While Having More =-.


Melodie March 30, 2010 at 10:48 pm

So that was the noise that kept me up last night! I thought it was just all the stress in my own head! ;) Oh Hillary, I’ve been there and feel for you! Hugs! Except what’s this about midwifery becoming illegal in your state? What!?! Ugh! :(
.-= Melodie´s last blog ..March Love Links =-.


flowers April 1, 2010 at 10:28 am

I’m going to very geekily exclaim that you are all the very *best* and I can’t tell you how much it meant to see how many smart, savvy mamas I am surrounded by. Thanks so much for walking through this one with me. It was a tremendous relief to not feel alone in it and to have an outlet.

I’m feeling much better. The sun is shining, radio is playing raggae, I had dark chocolate before breakfast and I’m feeling on top of the world. In some ways this week, meltdown included, has felt very therapeutic.

breathe deep my friends! everything’s going to be alright ;D


Stacy (Mama-Om) April 5, 2010 at 11:14 am

I know the meltdown is passed… but I just read this post this morning, and wanted to tell you: I see you, I am looking at with you tears-in-my-eyes compassion and hope, I am sending you a calm infusion of energy from me to you, holding space for you to be whoever you are right now or right then or later, because we are the same.

May all beings feel the support they need. May all beings return to warmth. May all beings share love.


flowers April 6, 2010 at 9:50 am

Thanks so much. There was something about receiving this message a week later that felt really healing. Much appreciated mama :)


Laura @ Getting There April 16, 2010 at 7:59 am

Oh boy, can I sure relate! I’ve run out of the house like that a few times, myself. You’re not alone. :)
.-= Laura @ Getting There´s last blog ..Just enjoying a warm spring day. =-.


Kirsten April 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

Soooo been there…hugs…this to will pass :)
.-= Kirsten´s last blog ..And God Said: "You’re Not the Boss of Me" =-.


Nina April 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

oh it must be something in the air. my two year old started crying i screamed so loudly last night. and boy that made me feel worse. then I just said I’m sorry and I need a break (I don’t have family or a partner to be able to leave) and walked away to a chair nearby but not as close as he wanted. he hasn’t been napping well this week and I found I even if I nap at the same time its nice to just have some down time. its hard taking care of a kid and all the worries of life – no job, losing our house, soon to run out of unemployment and try to stay upbeat and not stressed. I want to try to start doing yoga with him. one thing that’s really helped me is to remind myself, ok he’s tired, he will listen less and repeat things often (extra irritating) so try not to overreact…anyway I’m sorry things are hard. I hope things turn around for you.


flowers April 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for sharing Nina. I send you lots of support as you figure out this next phase. Changes are always unsettling for everyone–especially the littles. We’ve been launching the family business and I can see how our stress over needing to get things rolling really affected them (and me).


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