Oh Mother, it’s a Meltdown – by Melissa Swedoski

The thing about a meltdown is that frequently you don’t realize you’re having one until halfway through it, and by then, you’re well and truly invested in it, and you can’t just quit. After all that effort and rage or craziness, well, you just have to finish what you started, otherwise people just won’t take you seriously.


Before I had children, I’d experienced meltdowns. I’d had plenty of them at work. I’d had meltdowns in arguments with my parents. Once, after three days of insomnia, I had a meltdown, although in hindsight, it might have just been a mental breakdown. But whatever. Terminology isn’t important here.

Since having children, however, I’ve suffered a series of what I would term “mini-meltdowns.” You know, when the stress finally beats you down and you just yell. Not at anyone, just a primal, guttural noise that emerges from your belly, and sort of forces everyone to move a foot or two away from you, just in case. Or, sometimes, you sit down on the floor and cry. I’ve been known to sit against the bathtub and bawl. It’s cooler on the floor and with the tub on your back. Keeps you from overheating.

Turns out, there’s this sisterhood of mothers who have had a meltdown, even though they may not want to talk about it. Sometimes it’s too embarrassing, and sometimes you just don’t want to relive the memory. Luckily for those moms, there’s a book out there that puts it all on display for you, and I just happen to share one of my meltdown stories in it.

The Mother of All Meltdowns is a collection of meltdown stories from 31 bloggers, along with some bonus articles on coping with a meltdown, ways to vent, and some celebrity meltdowns, so you know that even famous people can lose their cool.

Yes, the book includes stories that revolve around children being naughty, and also revolve around poop. They are kids, after all. But there’s more. There’s the story of the mom who got locked out of her house by a manically laughing child. And the way the two finally made up is pretty priceless.

There’s the story of the mom-to-be who had a meltdown during labor (and who didn’t have one during labor?), the mom who had to buck up to her doctor and used a meltdown to make her point. The mom of a child on the autism spectrum and the day she realized that her child wasn’t going to play soccer the same way other kids did. Oh, and the mom of a teenage boy who had a meltdown after the second time her son used cellphone video for less than stellar reasons.

There’s stories about lost wedding rings, ketchup and mustard covered kitchen walls, breaking down over money shortages, and trying to find the reason that your kids would be having a bad day at DisneyWorld – the happiest place on earth.

What did I write about, you might be wondering? I told the tale of the forgotten diaper bag. And the ridiculous unopenable bottle of formula. Oh, and someone crashing into my car with a shopping cart, and my ensuing rage that included references to Rocky, NASCAR and the National Guard. I might have been a little out of sorts, as the title of my piece, “Mommy Berserker Always Knows Best,” might indicate.

It’s a great collection of stories for moms, moms-to-be, aunts, grandmothers, caretakers, babysitters, nannies, people thinking about having children, people who deal with childish co-workers and frequently find themselves on the verge of a meltdown, dads, grandfathers, uncles…pretty much anyone who has to deal with children in any capacity will find something relatable in this book.

Robin Gorman Newman, creator of Motherhood Later…Than Sooner, received an advance copy of the book to review and said this about it: “The Mother of All Meltdowns is a smart, honest collection by bloggers who tell it like it is, or as we sometimes wish it was. Parenting, warts and all, is celebrated, questioned, and laid bare. You’ll chuckle or cringe with recognition, and it’s a thoughtful, amusing read for the weary.”

The Mother of All Meltdowns is available in paperback and e-book formats. Visit Amazon to find the paperback and Kindle versions, and visit Barnes & Noble for the paperback and Nook versions. And don’t you think this would make an excellent Christmas gift or stocking stuffer? mmmhmm…thought so.

To see more about the mothers who shared their stories, visit The Mother of All Meltdowns website, and check out the Facebook page for more stories, giveaways and fun!

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  1. 9 Responses to “Oh Mother, it’s a Meltdown – by Melissa Swedoski”

  2. So honored to be included in an anthology written by people who write like . . . well . . . like this.

    Thanks, Melissa, for being so real. Makes being the mom of a teen who “son used cellphone video for less than stellar reasons” a little more bearable to know I’m not alone.

    By Karen @BakingInATornado on Oct 29, 2013

  3. I love al our meltdown stories, because they just prove that we all have our own unique breaking points where meltdowns are concerned. Truly also made me feel less guilty for indeed having them when I do, because at the very least I know I am not alone and in good company! Great review and just so happy to be apart of this with you and the other wonderful writers!! :)

    By Janine Huldie on Oct 29, 2013

  4. I just read your story again the other night…Mommy Berserker always makes me laugh! (and feel better about my own meltdowns!)

    By Ginny Marie on Oct 29, 2013

  5. So glad to know we are all not alone as imperfect moms!

    By Rachel on Oct 29, 2013

  6. I love that I was a part of this with you, Melissa! I loved your story and could totally relate

    By AnnMarie on Oct 29, 2013

  7. Thank you so much for reviewing our book. You did an awesome job! Stop by for a visit at http://www.helicoptermomandjustplanedad.com.

    By C. Lee Reed on Oct 29, 2013

  8. I know as I was writing my story I was worried…because you think no one else ever has these moments where they completely lose it. It was such a relief to read the other stories and know I wasn’t alone!

    By Michelle on Oct 29, 2013

  9. Being in on this has truly helped me isolate my triggers. Now I have a better idea of when a meltdown is coming and I can batten down the hatches, so to speak!

    Thanks for the great review!

    By Rabia @TheLiebers on Oct 30, 2013

  10. I’m obsessed with the first paragraph. It makes complete sense. I’ve never been known to leave something half-done, so you’re completely right. I’m going to use that the next time my husband has a meltdown over my meltdown!

    By Deb @ Urban Moo Cow on Oct 30, 2013