|Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm|
Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.
In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — confesses to having a “Mom Meltdown” and needing a little peace and quiet.
Everyone needs to be needed, but what do you do when it all becomes too much? Elisabeth wants you to tell her about the moments that make you ready to snap.
I’m having what is commonly known as a Mom Meltdown today! Arghhhhhh! You know what I’m talking about, PEOPLE.com readers.
It’s only 7 p.m. and I’m picking out my pajamas in my head and aching to be horizontal right about now! I just need a little peace and quiet. It’s human! It happens all the time to us moms.
I mean seriously, if one more person (or dog!) in my household follows me into the bathroom needing something that they can get themselves, I might just have to run for cover. See exhibit A above.
This is me pretending to be asleep at say, 7:30 while everyone is calling out to me for something that they need, want or desire. Like say a random toy that belongs to a friend or Ron asking me if I want to make cookies for everyone.
I mean, these are ordinarily the things I loooooove doing. I love solving their problems or making them a sweet treat. Just meeting their needs is so fulfilling — until it’s not. Until the Mom Monster shows up, making me want to run away and hide and pull my hair out from fatigue or exasperation.
There are moments that just throw you over the edge, right? Okay, so I just had one.
I kid you not, I just left the bathroom where I had gone for a small sliver of peace only to find, as I looked up, the dog and then Easton and then Ron calling to me from some distant corner of the house.
I’ll admit it, because I know you relate! I wanted to hide. I wanted to sleep. I just wanted a break in that moment! How about a little privacy?! Is anything that you need in this moment so important that you all have to follow me into the bathroom? Really?! I know I’m the matriarch, the nurturer but … come on?
Does any of this sound familiar? I mean please moms, tell me about those moments that make you snap! I need a good, good laugh right about now. I need to laugh at how tired I am at being on call 24/7.
I remember when I was about 8 years old, I walked in on my mother, who was in the bathroom. She was sitting on the pot and when I carelessly came in asking her to do something for me, she just looked up at me with such exasperation and said, “Lis, I love you but the time has come. I am going to lock the door in the future while I’m in the bathroom. I’m here for you, don’t worry. But I have to have some PRIVACY. Okay? Now, please leave the bathroom and don’t ever come in again while I’m going number two. Okay? Okay. Enough said.”
Her strained tone made absolutely no sense to me at the time, of course. Little did I know that my time was coming. Where not even going to the bathroom would be mine and mine alone. How familiar it all is now. Oh, how I need a moment of peace, ladies.
Tonight I am going to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. at the latest. I absolutely cannot, will not, refuse to be all things to all people past that hour. It’s kind of like the bathroom scenario. I mean, seriously moms, don’t you feel like you have to be sleeping or taking a shower to get a moment to yourself?! And even then, they still come a knockin’, right?
The last thing in the world that you want to be is a sourpuss or making your loved ones feel like you resent taking care of them because that is sooooo simply not true. But there does come a time when you just need to hide under the sheets and get an early sojourn in. Or let’s just say, to be real honest, there comes a time when you just want to say, “Do it yourselves! Leave me alone! Where is my Mommy?”
Like I said, I’m having a Mom Meltdown! I’m claiming my moment of freedom between the sheets tonight. As sexy as that sounds, I’m doing it all by myself! I’m just going to go to bed where no one can get me, ask of me, demand of me or cry, yell, pull or pinch or pout at me. I’m pooped. I need to recharge my batteries.
The other day I was with a mom friend who was literally about to pull her hair out. Running her business, being a wife, a mother, a dog owner and a friend. She said to me, “I’m out of here. I’m just going away for the weekend. Somewhere. Anywhere. That’s it, tootles! You all can manage for a few days without me… because Mom is out of here! Mom is checking out!”
I thought, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what I need.’ Just two days of rest. Somewhere. Anywhere. Between the sheets with my books and magazines. A good long swim in a pool or ocean where I don’t have my eyes watching out for the safety of others. Perhaps a meal or two that I don’t gobble down like a homeless animal because I’ve got bathtime and bedtime before me.
Not to mention I’d like to clean the kitchen, do the dishes and straighten up the house that a whirlwind has passed through before another day is upon us. Oh, and then the work? When does one do that? Yes, when do we moms get any work done at home?
Or how about reading a book? Do any of you read a book before you fall asleep? Maybe a page or two? Not like the old days when you could read a good 50 pages in one sitting. Nope, once you lie down in your bed and feel all warm and cozy … game over.
Let me be clear. I’m not complaining for the sake of complaining. I’m complaining with a pure purpose to support all you super moms who are darn tired! Who need a little sleep, TLC and gasp! Should I say it? Time alone, perhaps?
Maybe a quiet hour in the evening after you’ve been chasing toddlers, feeding babies, taking care of your partners, feeding the domesticated pets and other family members, maybe pushing paper at some job, blogging perhaps about motherhood, washing the clothes, cleaning the house and on and on…
We do it all, right? Not that we don’t get a little help from the heathens. But mostly it is in our hands, correct? And do we get a big congratulations every day after we’ve run our mini-marathon? Not really. Maybe a hug from a sweet little one telling us, “I love you Mom.” And most of the time that is all we need to feel like it’s worth it.
All the tiring days that lead into nights where you’d like to do a little something for yourself, but can’t seem to muster up the energy. Oddly, your night’s sleep is your big reward for living a full day and for giving beyond your expectations. That’s cool. We chose this life — mommy life.
I bring all this up, not because I need you to tell me I’m a good mom, a good partner or even a good dog owner/person. I bring this up so that we can recognize how human it is to feel spent, like you’ve given all you can and to be at your wit’s end. It is so natural.
And so I say, moms, take some time for yourselves! Please do it! I have to do it before my head explodes and starts spinning uncontrollably like something out of The Exorcist. You have to do it. I have to do it. Even people without kids have to take some time to be quiet, heal and rest where no one requires anything from you and you don’t have to feel the pressure of meeting people’s needs.
I know it sounds impossible to a mother who has so much on her plate. Even for me as I skulk away to write this blog, which is a cry for rest on all of our behalf, I feel a little guilty to not be at everyone’s beck and call.
Now that I’ve taken a few minutes to breathe here with you, share with you about our humanity, and point out my brazen mom friend who is just taking off for a few days on her own to recharge, I feel a whole heck of a lot better about the idea of leaving the dirty kitchen, the laundry, the dog, the job, the responsibilities until tomorrow … after I’ve taken a long stretch of sleep to recharge the batteries a little.
Maybe and only after that … after we’ve claimed a little time to ourselves will the Mom Meltdown Monster melt away. So that we can feel whole again and like the deep wells of selflessness that we mothers are.
But just remember that the Meltdown Mom will return. Oh, yes she’ll be back; that tired female creature who manages to do everything with a smile, endless amounts of patience and the ease of foregoing her simplest needs like peeing in private, for instance. We who wear last decade’s fashions while we make sure the little ones have new sneakers for school.
Yes, we are the mothers who make sure it’s all done and we feel pretty good about ourselves that everyone’s needs are being met. It’s our job!
But just a word of advice here in our mom club that we’ve built here together. Don’t forget to take a little time for yourselves along the way. Even if it’s as simple as going to bed at dusk with the babes. I feel better already just thinking about it! Tonight is my night!
I love you ladies, tell me that you’re taking care of yourselves too! That after you are all things to all people, that you give a little bit back to yourself. Without you they’d be lost, that’s for sure. But they can all manage for a night while you indulge in a little alone time.
Until next time…
– Elisabeth Röhm