Monday, April 25, 2011

Pick that Up! Embracing your Inner-Crazy (and a give-away)

When I wrote "Get Real" I was speculating on all the ways that chasing perfection prevents me from seeing the beauty in my life. And it's true for most of us, all that chasing and 2nd guessing totally robs us of our freedom...the joy of the now, the power of being present in our own lives.

Thanksgiving in the future
In response to that entry, my friend posted an hilarious imagining of a Future Thanksgiving in which her adult daughter jests and laughs about her mom's riotous imperfections. 

This lead me to both a recollection and an insight. Lucky you, I am about to share both!

There is a famous story in my family. When my Grandma was a young mom and very frustrated she would throw an object on the ground and then scream, "PICK THAT UP!". Okay, that is super crazy. And awesome and funny and touching. My Grandma is the stuff of legend in our family. Dearly loved and sorely missed--and we all laugh at that story. Not only does everyone mom and her siblings give NO hints that they were ever traumatized by these strange episodes.

 >>>this is where my height, need for corrective eye wear, and  whimsical touch of crazy come from!

So now here is the insight, as long as we are trying our best, and I dare say we are, OUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH! It is highly and hugely unlikely that our choices are the sort that are doing true damage. (No one out there is free basing, right?) 

These kiddos are troopers and I dare say they are strong enough to not only overcome, but learn from and laugh at, our mistakes and foibles. I certainly learn from AND laugh at my mom.

So now do some crazy imagining of your own; which of your moments do you anticipate might make it into your family's hall of fame?  Best story of crazy melt-down or temper tantrum (yours, not your kid's) wins this month's contest. "this is not how I thought it be--REMODELING MOTHERHOOD TO GET THE LIVES WANT TODAY" by Kristin Maschka. Now lay down some insanity!


  1. Who is that woman with the baby in her lap? The sepia-tone picture on the left? It's amazing how much your mother looks like her, even though your mother is a blonde.

    Ok...mother meltdown stories...I don't remember the detail of the meltdown. I only remember the aftermath. I lost it over something and went into my bedroom and slammed the door, leaving my two elementary school-aged daughters to fend for themselves without the benefit of my direct supervision. A note is then shoved under my locked door, with the following beautiful poem from my second grader--"Violets are blue; roses are red. I love you mother; go sleep in your bed." Maybe I WAS sleep deprived. Maybe THAT is why I lost it. Then, again, what does a second grader know about lack of sleep?

  2. Okay, that is THE sweetest story ever! Isn't it awesome how our babes actually give us good advice sometimes? I think as long as we don't constantly ask them for their advice while in a drunken stupor (because that would just be inappropriate) then that is just another of the joys and benefits of living with little ones.

    So we discovered that photo and we are not exactly sure but someone from my maternal grandpa's side. And the baby she is holding was the inspiration for my the name of my youngest. Big fan of using family trees to name my kids. Sure those people may have been a-holes, but since you never knew them you can romanticize it!

    Thank you so much for commenting. I am actually awesome at piecing together clues and figuring out who people are when they are "anonymous" so if in the event you win my contest, I am pretty sure I know where to send the prize!

    Much love!

  3. Which story should I pick? I've got about twenty from the past week alone...
    Last Friday I took Eli to Oak Park to meet up with my mother for some shopping. Eli is stubborn, curious and incredibly slow-moving. I'm pretty sure he's half sloth. Anyway, I was extremely stressed by the end of the day and that's when he decided to go limp in the middle of Nordstrom. I had had it. I let go of his arm and he slumped to the floor. He wouldn't get up and I just couldn't handle it anymore, so I said, "Good - I didn't want to have lunch with you anyway!" And marched off. Yes, I left my toddler lying in the middle of Nordstrom, staring up at the ceiling.
    It worked, though. He eventually got up and followed me. Thankfully he's too young to remember my juvenile outburst.

  4. Okay, that is awesome. I love it when they go limp noodle and force your hand, force it into crazy antics...come on, like we would EVER act this way unprovoked! I often find myself wondering at what age my children will remember my antics. I think I am off the hook for anything before age 3, but that leaves lots of years (including the teenage ones) for living with a veritable elephant. Thanks Megan, hope you guys at least got your Keens!

  5. I feel like I have a meltdown every day - twice a day. My morning meltdown starts with a nice, calm time to wake my two boys... "wake up sweet cheeks, time to get ready for school/babysitters." As they continue to lay in bed, my statements become a little less sweet..."let's get up now, we don't want to be late" to "c'mon, let's get out of bed, let's go, go, go!" And the hustling begins and lasts for the next 30 minutes as I try to get them both clothed, fed and ready to get in the car.

    In the evening, it starts with a huge greeting as I come in the door: "moooooommmm, mmmoommmm is here!!!" (that is pretty cool) But by the end of the evening, after trying to convince them to come in from playing outside, eating what I cook for them for supper, trying to get them showered and ready for bed... it is a nightmare.

    It is the calm after the storm of getting them to their destination, whether it is school, babysitters, or bed that I sit there and think that I could have done better, but luckily - there is always tomorrow. Between me doing the impatient-dance and running around trying to find shoes that match - I hope they realize that I love them so much even though I can meltdown with the best of them!

  6. Jen,
    Okay, yours wasn't so much funny as really touching. And I often find myself sending up a little prayer that big love negates at some of the deleterious impact of a (daily) meltdown(s).

    Youtube the impatient dance, that bad boy would go viral for sure! If I remember right, you are a really good dancer.

  7. So many meltdowns its hard to pick just one... so I'll pick two reoccurring ones (not to say the first doesn't usually come followed by the second!):

    "I'm done. 'Kid,' I'm just done."

    and the other is actually one of my best, umm shall I/dare I say -weapons... "Mommy is going to have to have a timeout if you don't..." and I take that much needed timeout in my room with the door locked. Usually the mere threat of this will straighten any kid up ASAP! But most importantly it keeps me from having most of those not so proud meltdown moments.

  8. Anonymous,
    These are actually brilliant intervention tools and coping mechanisms. If you don't actually melt down, I'm afraid you can't participate. I kid, I kid--even though I suspect you far more put together than I, I am still SO glad you responded. Consider your "mommy time-out" stolen by me. While I have made peace with the fact that I will occasionally melt down, that sure doesn't mean I going to turn down the opportunity to melt down less. Thanks!

  9. Oh my, I wish I could remember some of my better ones. Unfortunately, I, too, tend to forget the actual event. I think it might be a coping mechanism because who wants to remember that??? Also, I tend to melt down much less now that my "little" one is a bit older, but I had some doozies during the terrible twos and even worse threes.

    Our morning routine is also ridiculously stressful, mostly because both my daughter and I like to sleep until the very last minute. The difference is, when I get up, I then HURRY! It's like my daughter is INCAPABLE of hurrying. She will meander around the house like we have all the time in the world. It's infuriating. So, I too, yell hurry, hurry, hurry...then lecture her as we drive to school (which is also my work):

    ME: You know, mommy can't be late for work, I'll get in big trouble. You don't want that do you? We have to hurry in the mornings. If you aren't going to get up when I tell you to, then you have to hurry. I know, I like to sleep in too, but then we have to hurry. You will be on time to school, but it's not just about you being on time, I have to be on time too. *pause to catch my breath* Ok, it's my fault too. I need to get up earlier and start waking you up earlier. It's not your fault. We need to work together. It's ok, we just have to work together. Both of us can do better. I'm sorry I yelled. Do you forgive me? I'm sorry, we will do better...Now I want you to do your best today, and have a good day. I know we started off badly but we can change it right now. So, put a smile on, and do your best. I love you.

    Now, the drive from our house to the school is about 4 minutes. I would say this "rant" takes approximately 3 1/2 minutes. Do you notice the lack of "her" in the conversation? She just sits in the back seat, looking out the window, giving me the occasional courtesy nod...she knows I will eventually cycle back to reason. That first 45 seconds are truly awful though.

    Ok, now for a story that is legendary in our family. I will warn you, it is HIGHLY inappropriate, but we laugh, and laugh, and laugh about it...thank goodness almost none of you know me.

    My sister was difficult...she is highly emotional, and was not pleasant during her teen years. The one thing that was absolutely forbidden was to be disrespectful to my parents. Well, one day, my sister was being disrespectful, and my mom had told her she better straighten up. They continued to bicker back and forth. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember my sister walking by the couch my mom was sitting on, when my mom stood up and kicked her in the butt as she walked by (yes, I know, this is inappropriate). My dad looked at me, and said (in front of my mother) "guess mom is in an ass-kicking mood tonight!"

    Ok, so that is something that could be potentially traumatic, but for whatever reason, it isn't! Probably because my dad diffused it with humor...still, we didn't even really get spankings (even back in the day when it was ok to do so). And my mom is about the most non-violent person in the world. For whatever reason, mom being in an "ass-kicking" mood is still one of the funniest stories we share as a family...

    I'm off to think of my last funny meltdown, I'm sure if I ask my husband or daughter they can rattle them off like there's no tomorrow.

  10. That story about your family totes warmed my heart. Maybe because I know all them, or maybe because there are many times in my teen years I could have benefited from an ass-kicking. But my favorite part is that your dad just made a joke and you continue to joke about it. Imagine if one of the parents had just slipped into lecture mode, talked it to death, and interspersed lots of sorrys, I love yous, and let's both try to do better (which, btw, is STRAIGHT out of my script).

    As for your story, I also laughed because we have such similar scenes at my house. TFPA (titillating future post alert)-why is it SO hard to change a pattern? Especially when the outcome is SO predictable and we are blessed with so many opportunities to just try something different? Thanks.

    And if you get to feeling better bad about your morning melt down you can always comfort yourself with the fact that you graduated at the top of your class, several times! Hey, maybe you could just take a morning routine class.

  11. Yes, I have been reflecting on our conversation yesterday, and it did seem a little like I was fishing for your validation that my parents were oh so correct about my intellect. Really, I'm not that least not on the surface. A little below the surface I must be that little girl that wants her name on the top of the math facts graph!

    The story is a lot funnier if you know my family. If you don't, I'm sure it's downright alarming.

    You know what I hate about melt downs? Is that my meltdowns come when my husband is feeling the most calm and rational, and he likes to add his two cents to the equation. I can assure you that I don't need or want his two cents! When a morning meltdown happens, he suggests that I perhaps get up a little earlier. Do I really need him to suggest that? Now, if he had something useful like...a new gadget that could dress us and get us out the door without waking, THAT would be useful. Suggesting setting the alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier seems a little condescending.

  12. Shellody,
    I was just more making a joke at the expense of certain medical professional we both know and love. But while I am it, you ARE very exceptional!

    Seriously, I feel you on the husband thing. It is like we are always doing some good cop/bad cop routine or crazy/sane cop routine. The one not freaking out comes off like a really calm a-hole. And even though, in the moment it makes me crazier, I am sort of glad that the universe supplies a balance and (so far) we have never had a simultaneous melt-down. If that happens, I am sure you will know as it will surely rip a hole in the fabric of the universe.

    math fact graphs rule!!!

  13. I'm with Jen, my meltdowns come in multiples. There's breakfast, lunchtime, naptime and generally bedtime.

    I'm tired just thinking about writing down all the meltdowns that have happened of recent, lol!

  14. ASM,
    See that's predictable, and don't people say it is good to have kids on a routine? Good for you! BTW everyone, I just "discovered" Anti-Supermom's blog and it rocks. Click on her profile to check it out.

  15. So I've been thinking about this while reading through everyone else's stories and am struggling to come up with an interesting or funny story of my own in relation to motherhood. I have no doubt that they've occurred. Maybe the sleep-deprivation of mommyhood comes with the blissful power to erase embarrassing memories. Probably the craziest I feel as a mom is in the moments when I just need to get away in a room by myself and cry. My son--a master of manipulation--has a way of etching such pain into me at times. He doesn't mean much by it of course, he's just pulling out all the stops in an attempt to get his way. There have been times (I'm not proud of) when I've allowed myself to join the manipulation party and fight back. It's when I let my emotions rule the roost that I begin to feel a bit nutty, but more and more am learning to catch myself and recenter before the wave totally crashes.

    The really good news is that I can look back to see how much progress I've made over time in not totally giving in to my crazy. In my early married life, I remember a pretty heated fight that occurred over a ham sandwich I'd made (with love) that was rejected for one reason or another by my hubby. The moment I dramatically ripped the sandwich from him mid-bite and emphatically threw it in the trash ("If you're not going to enjoy it, you're not going to eat it!"), I caught myself almost as if out-of-body watching some other crazy person in action. Out-of-body Me was like... "oh no you di-int." But oh yes I did. CraAAAzy. But after-the-moment funny in a Julia Louis-Dreyfus sort of way. Hubby and I both laugh about it now and anytime since we've begun to argue about something silly, we call it a "ham sandwich argument."

    So far, no huge ham sandwich meltdowns with the kids come to mind and I believe the difference is that I'm walking with God now. The more I remain in tune with His Spirit and put others' needs before my own and try to see things from their perspective, the less I cling to "my rights" and insist on wallowing in my feelings... the easier it becomes. And I don't boast in this on my own merit... it's what the Lord has done in me.

    Funny, the less crazy I feel to me, the more crazy I probably seem to a lot of other people. But I'm okay with that. :)

    Much love, anj

  16. Hey Anj-I LOVE your ham sandwich story. And I too have always referred to my crazy moments as "out of body experiences". It's like the regular me is just watching, but watching in a helpless and aghast way. And, funny enough, I too used to be MUCH crazier. My husband and I actually joke about the fact that he asked "crazy Lesa" to marry him. That said, I still have my moments, but the very act of extending grace and compassion to myself eases the shame and anxiety around that.

    Kudos to you on your transformation and your journey. I think the best people ALWAYS seem a little crazy to the world.

  17. 2nd attempt (so Sister1, if there is another comment that is very similar to this one, please delete THIS one)

    I've been thinking a lot about this post the last couple of days, and I've come to several conclusions. Because it's late, I'm going to use the lazy list format.

    1) This post has kept me from melting down a couple of times this week. When I felt close, I realized it just wasn't worth it. All that energy just to melt down and then apologize later? Life is too short.

    1.5) (an addition) I, too, checked out anti-supermom's blog and discovered I'm very pro-antisupermom.

    2) My dad is a genius. Of course I've known that for a while. I need to address life, including my own craziness, with much more humor. Especially since my kiddo is really funny.

    3) I need to cut my kiddo a break when she melts down. If we melt down as adults, kids are bound to as well.

    4) I'm going to start taking time outs--whether it's my idea or someone else's.

    5) Let us not forget my (in)famous Halloween Party Melt down of late 2010. I can't remember what post I originally divulged that info, but it's pretty classic. And embarrassing.

    6) The kiddo reminded me of a classic melt down. When she was about 6, I lectured her for 10 minutes about slurping her spaghetti. Finally, when I took a breath in my lecturing, she finally was able to interject that she had lost her 2 bottom teeth--slurping was the only option :)

  18. I heart lists. I LOVE your #3, my kids can really melt down with the best of them.

    Just today my kid was having a GIANT meltdown at this safety fair I was volunteering at. As a newer mom I would have felt a ton of pressure, gotten really upset and felt that it was a reflection on me. But like you, since getting more in control of my meltdowns and more forgiving of myself in general, I have SO much more compassion for the girls. Geesh, my kid had gotten about 4 hours of sleep and has been fighting an ear infection for over a week and was in the midst of stimulation over-load. I am pretty sure I would have done more than just cried at yelled at someone trying to fit me for a bike helmet in that siutation.

    Compassion, humor, saving your energy. I LOVE this. This feeds my soul (I slurp up the comments like a toothless wonder) and infuses my parenting with new ideas. I am so in love with giving myself a timeout. I feel so much love and gratitude to my readers and commenters. FEEL THE LOVE READERS AND COMMENTERS.

  19. Tons of com coms! That meant comments. Well, I have yet to do something REALLY crazy that is on legend level, but I am confident that will come and probably pretty quickly. I'm with some of the other girls who do lots of little crazy stuff all throughout the day! Saying things like "I'm glad he pulled your hair, you shouldn't have done it to him first!" or crying when we had to leave a restaurant while waiting on friends to arrive because my big kid's behavior was embarrassing and relentless. These are the golden moments!

    TDog :)

  20. TDog,

    I had to laugh at your "I'm glad he pulled your hair", I sometimes say things like that. And sometimes I break out ill-advised and misunderstood sarcasm, such as, "Thank you, thank you so much it is perfect and helpful that you made my your sister cry when we are already running late." This confuses my very literal Big Kid. And it probably isn't very helpful, but kids are so great at giving us lots of opportunity to practice. Golden moments indeed!

  21. Well, I too think that the post is a brilliant one, and meaningful to ALL parents. I think I need to read and re-read and come up with some sort of mantra from all of these thoughts that can be my "go to" when the craziness gets out of control (my daughter's or my own!). As for my biggest meltdown moment, I am almost too ashamed to actually share it (but this is anonymous for a reason, right?). About 2 years ago I was having one of THOSE days with my then 2.5yr old, I was stressed for many reasons, almost all of them having nothing to do with her, but almost all of that stress being exacerbated by this little person with limited verbal skills, VERY limited listening skills, and zero ability to empathize. It was the worst day I have had as a parent, I yelled at her repeatedly that day, for little things that would never have made me that angry on any other day. Surprised by my outbursts, each time she would cry and each time I would feel...wait for it...satisfaction at seeing her upset. I still feel like a total MONSTER even remembering it. So, she has forgiven (and probably even forgotten) this terrible day, however, I am still working on both.

  22. Anonymous,

    I had a major feeling of recognition reading your story. 99.9% of the time, I am just over-reacting at the speed of light, instantaneously regretting my response. BUT, .01% I do think I am looking for some kind of "release" which results in a feeling of "oh, are you upset now too? GOOD!". I agree not appropriate or productive. But imagine how damaging it could be without the self awareness and willingness to work on it. We work, we recognize, we get better, and of course count on their forgiveness and move forward--also recognizing our imperfections and limitations. Thanks for the great comment!

  23. You know, that feeling of release is one of the reasons I don't believe in spanking. Oh sure, there's all the touchy, feely stuff about hands are for hugging and not for hurting, and how do we expect our children not to hurt others when you are hurting them. All of that is fine, but probably the number one reason I don't spank is because if I can't control my mouth, how can I control my hand. When I've been mad enough to consider spanking (and I have been), I wasn't thinking about what I was TEACHING her, I was just thinking about how mad I was. That's not helping anyone.

    I'm keeping this anonymous so no one knows I'm not all touchy-feely.

  24. YES!!! This is EXACTLY what I was always trying to communicate when I did parenting classes, but I wasn't a parent yet (dig the irony) and also I sometimes I have trouble being succinct. I am sure there is some saintly person out there that would never spank in the heat of the moment, but frankly for most of us, that door is just better left closed. The risks far out way any conceivable benefits. Now let's all get out our hands and hug each other. JK-I think hands are for eating Dorritos.


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