Learning From A Very Bad, No Good Day

In light of being called "Supermom" the other day which, while flattering, is completely inaccurate, I thought I would share what I learned from my very bad, no good day. We all have good days and bad days, where life and indeed homeschool isn't all it's cracked up to be.

This melt-down was epic. The middle of a heat wave, and our AC doesn't currently work very well. The kids and I were burnt out, tired and frustrated for no apparent reason (except the heat) and a lesson was not going well. To be fair, I have a very persistent boy who questions everything around him. He argues with me, and is even defiant at times. I know that his stubborn persistence in getting what he wants will some day be a boon to him. Right now, it just lands him in hot water.

supermom, bad dayI had had enough. I started crying and couldn't stop. I started blubbering about everything from why wouldn't either of them pick up after themselves, to why couldn't we just get a stupid math lesson done, to why am I the only one who does 99% of the work in the house. Total and complete victim mentality meltdown. Then my poor husband came in early from work to find me on the floor in a puddle of tears.

Wow, Supermom just went nuclear.

I've sat thinking about this particular day for a while. Why it happened, and what I can do to prevent another nuclear meltdown - I've come up with a few ideas with possible solutions.

  • I didn't allow time for self-care. 
    When our day revolves around doing for others, whether or not we work outside the home, often we forget that we have needs too.
    I learned that no matter how much we love our family, if we can't take care of ourselves there's no way we can really take care of someone else. In 3 Ways to Take Guilt-Free Mom Time, I talk about a few ways that help me take care of me...so I can be a better, healthier person. I also think quiet time in meditation is important, and it helps us focus on what really matters instead of the stuff that irritates us.
  • I'm not an island, and I can't do everything. 
    You don't say...
    When I started feeling alone was when I needed to speak up... not when I had managed to whip myself into a fully-fledged victim of Eeyore syndrome.
  • I didn't ask for what I needed... before I turned into Chernobyl
    Sure, I may have hinted here or there, and sporadically asked, but I never sat down and said, "I need this or I will blow." Maybe I should have.
    I learned that you tend to get get exactly what you ask for... especially if you ask for nothing. Being direct in what we need help with around the house and in the day-to-day things helps make sure that everyone knows where things stand, and what needs to be done.
  • I didn't vent as things frustrated me, I waited until it boiled over
    This is a classic "Mom" thing to do. We sit in silence, while things around us do nothing but irritate us, then suddenly (according to the world around), we explode.
    I learned that that I can't always be positive, and that keeping all that junk trapped isn't helping anyone. Venting isn't just a thing that happens when you've had too much of a bad thing, it can be very healthy to do regularly when you can keep control of yourself.

These are just a few things - I'm sure there are more ideas to help me keep from turning the house into a nuclear wasteland, but this is a good start. Remembering that we're really not Supermom, but only human helps remind us to ask for help. We often feel like we need to be able to do everything - but the reality of life makes that impossible.

The thing for me to remember is that this was just one day.  This doesn't happen every day, or even every week. It's sporadic, and much like Mt. Vesuvius, takes time to build. I'm not generally ill-tempered and angry, the guilt of losing control far outweigh anything else. I'm very much a "Glass is half-full" sort of person and, perhaps annoyingly, always manage to find something good in a situation. I don't see a lot of good in melting down, and that is one of the hardest parts. Still, going forward I'll be working through my own advice and trying to make something good come of this. It's very much in my nature do do just that.

How do you prevent Chernobyl incidents in your family?

Gail Nelson

Gail is a mom to four kids, two of whom are at home being homeschooled. She teaches violin and viola, and wrote Teach Your Kids Music in 12 Weeks, and blogs sporadically at 48days.net. As Editor in Chief of Learning Tangent, she oversees the daily operations of the magazine.


  1. nourishingmyscholar

    Oh yes. I had a day like this last week too. It’s tough looking back at it. You are right though. I didn’t do the things before hand that would have prevented it. Thank you so much for this very real and authentic post.

    • Don’t I know it – Hind-sight is always 20/20 isn’t it? I think it’s important sometimes to show the not so pretty of homeschooling – and parenting – because we wind up with friends who might otherwise be homeschooling afraid to because they’re not “supermom.”

  2. Even with children pretty much grown and mostly out of the house and on their own, I can still have a day like this occasionally! I definitely can relate and I think your first point about not making time for yourself is probably the biggest culprit – for me anyway. I have more opportunity for that now, but still can tend to put work and other things first. I think as women we have to get over the notion that self-care is selfish. I think just the opposite is true – not taking care of ourselves is selfish.

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