What to do when you are on the verge of a mommy meltdown

Motherhood trumps all other endeavors in my life as the most exhilarating, joy-filled, amazing adventure.  Simultaneously, being a mom drains me and draws out everything I have to offer.  As a child I was notorious for refusing to nap.  As an adult I’d pay my entire 401K for a decent rest.  

I’ve been stretched by motherhood more than any other relationship – and I’m not just talking the residual marks around my midline from carrying these two boys in my belly for nine months apiece. 

I never knew how much it could fill me to love someone until I held my first son.  From that moment on, he has held my heart.  When our youngest came into our lives, I learned even more about love, as the way you cherish your children multiplies with every child

My boys make me giggle, brighten my day and surprise me with their unique ways of experiencing the world. 

I throw myself into motherhood with a passion.  On any given day you can find me studying a parenting book, talking with my friends about how to mother our children better or praying over these two boys. 

Like you, motherhood consumes much of my waking life – and sometimes my sleeping hours as well. 

cup in window - rest a while


Beyond being a mom, I home educate, which means I’ve chosen to keep our boys (now only one of them) home with me all day. We’re together.  A lot.  As in all the time. 

I have a part-time job, ministry, friendship and, oh, yes, I’m married.  I mention my husband after all the other commitments, but truly he isn’t the last on my list {though some days he would rightfully feel that way}.  When I’m not tending to my boys, I’m still plenty busy.  

Having an intentionally full life means I don’t always get sufficient time to sit, ponder, reflect, regroup, recalibrate.  If I’m going to gain perspective and be rejuvenated, I have to build it in

It is vital for those of us who spend our lives pouring out into others to fill our tanks on a regular basis. 

Coffee Cup and Glasses - inviting rest

Time away from your family really isn’t optional. 


Let’s be honest.  Time alone doesn’t always happen – unless you count shutting the door to the potty, and even then you may get two or more children clamoring outside your sham of a sanctuary.  On any given day, we finish home educating for the morning and have to zip out to a lesson or errands, and the rest of our day rolls on with no pause in sight.  

Do you remember those experiments where so many rats were piled in one cage that they started devouring one another?  It’s enough to make the average psych student consider switching majors in college!  Well, that is, until you are a mom.  Then you get it.  Those rats were onto something. 

They needed space. 

Rats aren’t the only ones.  You know?  We moms can come to the end of our ropes and we forget all the tools we teach our children.  When one of my sons get feisty I suggest he takes a little breather in his room to calm himself.  What about when my steam starts to rise?   My voice gets a bit more measured and tense.  My patience can wear thin.  Ohhh baby, I need an attitude adjustment.  


I’ve found a few gems and they’ve become my sanity-savers … things to do before I hit the meltdown:

  • Daily: We take “Quiet Room Time” every day we can.  It’s as simple as it sounds.  Everyone to their own corner of the home for 20-30 minutes; no screens; my eyes just might shut … {don’t tell}.  In Mexico they call this a siesta.  In my house, I call it a slice of heaven.  
  • Weekly: When possible we build in a Sabbath day.  It’s not always Sunday.  The point is to have a day with no chores, no obligations and no appointments.  I let go of the “have to” list and slow our pace.  
  • Twice a Year: I get away for a personal retreat by myself.  I pack my bible, paints, some walking shoes, a good book and whatever else suits me.   I take three days in a beach town to refresh and renew.  No agenda.  No deadlines.  Just rest.  

Ocean at sunset - a place to rest


Believe me, I could conjure 100 reasons and excuses why I couldn’t get away.  Money, time, demands, discomfort … you name it.  Yet, every time I take one of these get-aways, I come home rested and I gain what we all need: perspective

Those situations which were perplexing me in my motherhood seem clearer.  I discover a deeper level of patience and am reminded how very much I love my family

As moms, it is so important that we have a life beyond motherhood.  After all, these children of ours are not going to be little forever.  They will go out and get a life of their own.  When that dust settles, we will be well off if we have cultivated interests of our own and the ability to be comfortable when we are alone


Our day-to-day existence includes numerous, unending demands.  We need to break away from all the hub-bub and grind so we can rest.  As my friend’s pastor says, “The formula for parenthood is: sacrifice, rest, repeat.” 

So much of our lives is blessed to be selflessly spent for these precious children.  We need to balance sacrifice with times of refreshment.  When we step away to be filled, our children reap the benefits of a more content, peaceful and patient mother.  What better gift could we give them or ourselves? 

Have you had time to yourself?  How can you work in times of refreshment and renewal? 

What keeps you from pursuing rest and relaxation? … I’d love to hear from you!

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This post was revamped from an original post I wrote in April, 2016 … the practices are as vital now as they were then.

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  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 11:22 AM

    Amen to this excellent post! I love this: sacrifice, rest, repeat. Ain’t that the truth!?!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2016 at 10:30 PM

      Thanks for coming by! I so love how blogging friends cross one another’s paths after seasons of not hearing from one another. I love what you are doing at your blog these days too. Oh, how I need Jesus to parent well. The longer I parent, the more I know I don’t know near enough! Thank God He uses our loaves and fish to make miracles. Blessings to you.

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