4 coping mechanisms to prevent a mama meltdown.
We’ve all had those days as a mom, when you’re teetering on the edge of sanity. Your kid won’t get dressed, you’ve just run out of milk, the baby is crying and you know you’re going to be late for that very important meeting/yoga class/girlfriend meetup/whatever you had planned for YOU today...and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You’re. Going. To. Lose. Your. Shit.
Trying to take care of yourself in the midst of motherhood is hard work! Nobody knows that more than Randi Zinn, author of Going Beyond Mom: How to Activate your Mind, Body & Business After Baby. Her book is filled with advice, guidance and inspiration for any mom who’s looking to redefine herself after baby...or maybe just define herself for the first time. Which is no small feat when you’ve got a million balls to juggle and you’re on the verge of, um, losing your shit on a daily basis.
Below, Randi talks about how to prevent what she calls an “emotional tsunami” and how to get yourself back on track of taking care of YOU in the midst of taking care of everything else.
What's a "Beyond Mom" and why do you feel it's so important to you as a mother?
A Beyond Mom is a mom who is cultivating SELF in the midst of being a Mom. In other words, the woman who wants to have a voice, a purpose, and a passion is not forgotten! This is incredibly important because you will be, ultimately, a much happier individual when all parts of you are part of your daily life and not put aside in a little box on the shelf. Motherhood can be so much more dynamic when you are present with who you really are...and your kids benefit from a very present, aware mama too.
Tell us a little about the concept of an emotional tsunami. How is it especially relevant during motherhood?
Emotions are high in early motherhood. Life looks different from how it did before baby came along: you’re functioning with way less sleep, little free time, and way more hormones. It’s very easy to lose your shit. We also come to depend on our support system and our schedule for the simplest of things- if that is shaken, we can experience an “emotional tsunami” or the feeling like our emotions are taking us over. But does it have to be that way? If we’re practicing tools of mindfulness (which is essentially the ability to be aware in the moment that you’re losing it), you can choose another path. The end result can be more peaceful and probably more productive.
Give us an example of an emotional tsunami you experienced recently.
I found that I lost my shit a lot more with my first child over moments like when my husband was traveling over a holiday weekend and leaving me solo, or when I felt like my husband wasn’t “doing it right,” and he fought for his rightful place to take care of our kid and make mistakes (he was right!). But recently, I’ve lost my shit more with my older child when HE is having an emotional tsunami and I’m too pooped (and occupied with my younger child and my work) to deal with him.
There’s been some screaming, some crying, and some rapid heartbeats. It’s not a side of me that I like. I’m learning though, over time, to use my own tips and take a pause, go in the other room, take some deep breaths, remind myself that this too shall pass. These tiny practices allow me to step in with so much more clarity and compassion (for my kid and for myself) and somehow the emotions don’t take more over. And like anything else, with practice, it gets easier.
Why is it so important to learn how to cope with en emotional tsunami once you become a mom?
Motherhood is intense. Add on any other commitments like starting a business or running a project and it can feel like more than any woman can take. And yet, we are a more whole individual when we have that which is ours alone. So how do we do it? We take baby steps to stay grounded and clear, even in the face of losing it.
Here’s what I do:
1. When I feel the emotions rising, I take a pause. So if that means putting my son in his room in “time out” or putting myself in my closet to breathe for a few moments, I do that.
2. I take a few deep breaths and literally imagine my mind clearing (visualizations help).
3. I speak from my belly. Let me explain. When i’m upset, I notice i speak from my throat (which feels more constricted and emotional). When I speak from my belly it seems to be more grounded and truthful….and i make more progress.
4. If I need more time, I take it. Especially when it comes to conversations with my partner. If I feel like a conversation isn’t complete but my emotions aren’t in a grounded place, I wait until I feel more grounded to continue. It sounds so obvious, but most of us don’t take that time and that’s when the emotional tsunami wave pounds.
Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash.