So yesterday I had a meltdown.

It was 5:59 p.m. to be exact. I was trying to finish up some work, work that hadn’t gotten done during the day because Wednesdays are half-days for both my kids at school. Then dinner needed to be made. Instead of asking my husband to pitch in and get dinner started, I let him continue to watch TV while I stopped what I was doing and began making dinner.

Halfway through I realized the ingredients that I thought were in the fridge weren’t there and I had to change course. While I’m peeking in the cabinets to find something else to cook, my kids keep coming up to me asking for stuff.

“Can I have some Cheerios?”

“Do we have any yogurt?”

“I’m thirsty.”

“I have to poop – come wipe me.”

I don’t like tripping over little people when I’m trying to cook so I shoo them into the living room. Dinner is looking a mess and it’s even harder to cook since I’m clearing off a tiny section of the counter ’cause dirty dishes (that I also didn’t get to during the day) are spilling out of the sink. I close my eyes and feel the tears welling up.

It’s not even about dinner.

It’s not even about the messy kitchen.

It’s about this overwhelming feeling that life is not supposed to be like this. Not this crazy. Not this hectic. Not this damn busy.

My husband noticed my anger and came into the kitchen. “What’s wrong?”

I hesitate telling him because it seems like every two minutes I’m complaining about how overwhelmed I am, but then I don’t do anything about it. I don’t hire a babysitter, I don’t book a therapy session, I don’t even get out of the house without the kids on a regular basis. And so the cycle continues—I do too much, I explode at my kids and my husband, I take a minute to compose myself and…this is the song that doesn’t end. 

I look at him and it seems like he’s really listening. So I open up. “I’m just overwhelmed. School is really demanding right now, the kids are in a needy phase and I’m trying to build my business from scratch. I’m just mentally exhausted.”

And then my husband does the thing he always does after I spill my guts. He squeezes me tight and tells me it’ll be okay. Normally, this calms me down enough to the point where I don’t feel like I’m going to lose it right this second. But not this time.

I pull away from him. “No, please don’t.”

He hugs me tighter. “No, just…”

“No!” I said, pulling away forcefully. “I don’t just want you to hug me and tell me everything is going to be okay. Because that doesn’t change anything. It never changes anything. I’ll just end up right back here again in two weeks. I need to make changes if I’m ever going to feel better.”

He looks like his feelings are hurt but I can’t even really process that right now. I lean against the fridge. “I’ve been running on E for the past five years. Me getting out the house once every six months isn’t helping my tank get full. One weekend out with my friends isn’t enough to fully restore me. I need to consciously be thinking about ways to take care of me—all the time.”

Just then, his phone rang and he answered it. I could tell he was grateful for the interruption.

I write all this to say that I’m glad so many of you have taken the time to do this self-care challenge with me. Too often, we find ourselves at the bottom of the list, stomped on and feeling like we don’t have the energy to take care of ourselves after we’ve spent all our energy on others. And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of feeling this way. Yes, I love my kids and yes, I love my husband and yes, I love my life. But what about me? What about Tara, the woman? What about her?

I’ve gotten lost in the shuffle, telling myself there will be time to focus on me later. After I graduate. After both kids are in school all day. After my husband gets a different job that’s a bit less demanding. After we build our savings back up. After, after, after. 

If I’m completely honest with myself, I don’t think I can make it to “after.” Not at this rate.

It starts now.




  1. I have been there. I had to decide to change then…at that moment. We place so much on ourselves, and mostly because we choose to add more and more to our already full plates. I am glad that you have come to this realization, and are working to make things better. I hope you have an awesome day!

  2. This was me yesterday, so glad other good mommas have melt downs too. This definitely helped me see I need to take care of ME and “fill my own cup.” I can’t depend on others to do that for me. And yes, I am stuck I stuck in that after, after, after routine (after the dishes are done, after the kids go to school….) and I’m left feeling like a servant to my family rather than doing the job I want to love without JOY. Thanks for helping add a new layer of perspective!

    Calling for a girls night out as soon as we kick this sickness going on in our house to start.

  3. Positive Innergy says:

    yes — it’s not even about dinner — it’s about feeling alone and overwhelmed even when you are surrounded by people who love you so so very much. i too have been there — feeling like i have to have a meltdown in order to get what i need from those around me. but, i’ve learned meltdowns make those around me even more confused about what I need. because they truly don’t know — only i know what makes me happy, laugh, relieve my stressors, feel appreciated and loved or brings me joy.

    so, cheers to all those mammas working to find a balance that does not leave you out of the equation!!!

  4. Tara,

    I am >>here<< with you totally. I had a mini-melt down last week similar to yours. My kids are 10 years old and 4 months old and the pressure I've been feeling has totally caught me off guard. I realized, at that moment – that it was imperative that I do something to release the pressure.

    Know that you aren't alone honey!

  5. I needed this today! Story of my life the past year or so…I love the part, “its the overwhelming feeling that life isn’t supposed to be this crazy!” I relate, on every level…thanks for making me feel normal today

  6. I think something you said above was key – you MUST do something about it. I’m glad you are doing the self-care challenge. We often take on so much and bear the burden but we are no good to ourselves or our children if we allow ourselves to be stressed out.
    My daughter spends the night with my mom around once a week. My husband and I do date nights. We also separately go out with friends and the other stays home. On Sunday mornings, I sleep IN while he makes breakfast. I don’t make apologies for this – it is for my SANITY. And that is important.

  7. This is a tough one to deal with…I feel like I’m here too, and my husband is just sick and tired of me complaining too. He says, “Well, then change it! The problem, of course, is just exactly what “changing” it would mean…for him, for me, and for our family. It’s not always that easy…some of it just seems to be part of being “mom.” :(

  8. I feel this so much, Tara, even without the kids. There’s always that thought: “When this, then that.” When this happens, then life will slow down. Then I’ll make changes. Then I’ll take a breather. The truth is that life doesn’t really slow down, not ever, & it’s incumbent upon us to take the initiative to change things ourselves. Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” & I say be the change you wish to see in yourself!

  9. Wow! I am delighted to stumble across this post. I have the tendency to think I’m the only woman in the world who feels like this. And can never seem to find time for free my mind…I’m a newly mother of one for almost two years and I ask myself everyday, when will I mentally get use to this lifestyle. Thank you for such encouraging thoughts.

    • @MsKevi – “When will I mentally get used to this lifestyle?” Yup, that’s the million dollar question.

  10. Ms. Prince says:

    I was just about to post on fb that I don’t think I can do this anymore. Tired, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed…all words that describe my state of being. I am even toying with the idea of quitting my job and moving back home to live with my mom bc I can’t do this. Two kids(one who needs to see a professional, I think), this job and I’m trying to balance a relationship. I just don’t want to do it anymore!!! Now that I know I’m not alone, I think I can make it. For the past two years I’ve been saying I need a sitter but haven’t tried to find one. I got so busy at work last week I forgot my oldest at after-school tutorials. I said I was going to take a weekend getaway once a quarter but haven’t done anything by myself since July.

    • @Shannette – You already know that I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been there. Was there a few days ago. It is so crucial that we stop, take a good hard look at our lives and what we can do to improve them and then FOLLOW THROUGH on making those changes. That was my biggest problem. I found myself focusing on the kids’ well-being and my husband’s happiness and my work and my schoolwork that I didn’t even realize I was on fire. I was being neglected and it felt horrible. Now I’m taking a deep breath and pushing myself to the front of the line. You can do it. I’m here for you!!!

  11. Tara I’m just seeing this post – and I am thankful for your transparency. I know EXACTLY how you feel! My lil guy is in school full-time, but he’s been having issues adjusting – so my phone keeps ringing, then there’s meetings, etc. I am also a caregiver for an older relative, so I also get the phone calls, the meetings and other errands I have to run every few days or so. Then my job responsibilities just changed in November (that should read INCREASED in November) and I’m finishing up my last two MBA courses. Did I mention that I haven’t been on a real vacation in over 3 years? And how TIRED I am – everyday?

    I’m with you on the self-care challenge. I just said to myself this morning that I can’t keep going at this pace without something happening to me.

  12. O my goodness! Definitely feel you on this one. As a matter of fact….had a day like that today and it seems like every other day. One way I deal with the frustration that can come from being a wife, mother and everything in between is thru exercise. I love to lift weights. It not only makes me feel strong physically but mentally as well which makes for days like the one you had a little easier to handle….but not easy. Nice to know I am not the only one that feels that way. Sometimes I feel bad for feeling that way but I have realized it is human nature.
    thanks for that…..nice to know I am not ybe only one.

  13. I can so relate to this….

  14. I had the worst meltdown/blow up earlier last week. Life is so overwhelming and no matter how hard we prepare for the unexpected it’s never enough. Simple things can be taxing and draining when you a have a list of simple things that is 5 miles long. Then you add on the fact that our children and men think we’re super women and it all becomes a lot to handle. I hope that you will get more time to focus on yourself and channel your frustration. Lord knows I’m looking for a way to channel mine.

  15. Life can definitely get overwhelming at times. It happens to the best of us. But how about asking for specific help. Not just help but delegate! Ask your husband to prepare dinner a couple of times out of the week. Perhaps he can take the kids for an afternoon every other weekend and let you get some “me” time doing whatever it is you need to do to regroup. Just saying no sometimes is the best thing to do.

    We as women often have to feel like we are superwoman in order to feel needed and useful. That is not true! Your life is quite full: being in school, working, and taking care of a family is definitely a full plate. Cut yourself a little slack and back up off perfection. Girl, if you don’t, it will run you all the way nuts!

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