Last Updated on by

There was crying. Loud, unabashed sobs.
Things were flung- at the door, on the bed, against the wall. 
Eyes reddened and the blood boiled to the extent that veins stood out on the temples.

It truly was the mother of all meltdowns. Last week, on a Wednesday afternoon, to be very precise, all of the above manifested to create a very scary and unexpected outburst.But it gets worse. (Oh yes! Worse!) 

All of the above was not Gy; it was me.

Mother of all Meltdowns, Diary of a Doting Mom, Shailaja V

What happened:

 As much as it hurts me to admit it, I broke my streak after almost a year of keeping my temper, maintaining my cool and handling tough situations with my daughter. 308 days of good parenting were flushed down the drain that afternoon.

Almost a year. Do you know how that feels? To go almost an entire year without raising your voice and then watch all Hell break loose in a flood of vitriolic fury? Oh and to do it two days before your daughter turns 9? Well, that’s just adding insult to injury.

The really funny part though? I didn’t yell

Nope, I didn’t raise my voice. It didn’t go a notch over the standard serious tone that says ‘Know-that-I-mean-business-young-lady‘. So why do I say that I broke my streak? That’s because I terrified the life out of two people- Gy and myself. There was so much palpable anger in the room that had it taken the form of a fire, it would have engulfed us both.

What caused the outburst is not important, but the anatomy of it will interest you. As I repeatedly asked her something and got only silence and a mutinous look in return, something snapped inside me. 

I could feel the yell welling up within and in an attempt to keep it inside, I balled up my fists and stood before her. After the fourth unsuccessful query, I picked up a doll on the bed and flung it across the room and watched it hit the wall.

Mother of all Meltdowns, Diary of a Doting Mom, Shailaja V

Then I saw the fear in her eyes, as she backed away from me, hands up in front of her face, as if to shield herself. Still, it didn’t hit me. I continued to stride forward menacingly and wagged my forefinger, forcing her to reply.

Shaking and whimpering, she cringed and moved to the corner. Frustrated, I stormed out of the room, slamming the door, the walls reverberating with my rage. This episode had been my worst in a long time- two years to be precise. The last time I had lost it this terribly was when I embarked on my Yelling less challenge.

My rage didn’t die down, not for a whole day. It simmered beneath the surface like a dormant volcano, waiting for the right moment to explode. Once it left the realm of pure fury, it gave way to sadness. So I sat in the living room and sobbed my heart out as Gy walked around on eggshells, watching me out of the corner of her eye. 

Ordinarily, I would have apologised, hugged her and smoothed things over within the hour. That day was different.

How I handled the mother of all meltdowns: My own. #Parenting Click to Tweet

What I did later:

A whole day had to go by before I could clinically look at what had transpired the day before. One part of me was going through the standard emotions of rage, anger, cooling down, guilt, sadness, regret and vowing never to do it again. Another part was arguing that this was bound to happen since repeated instructions to Gy had failed to provoke a positive outcome.
I picked up the phone and called my mom and bawled. A good cry always helps. Trust me on this. Following that, I waited for Gy to get home from school, sat her down, hugged her close and explained that this could not happen again- both for her sake and mine. She nodded, still shaken from the memory of a mother who’d lost her head so completely.

We discussed that this episode was a good reminder of what happens when:

  •  we are not in control of our emotions
  •  we feel helpless 
  • there is lack of clear and level communication
  • there is no empathy for the other person- in this case, both ways.

The Outcome:

I was defeated by the very fact that this occurred, but a part of me is glad that it did. Now, instead of mere guilt over the incident, I am able to look back and learn from it.

Thinking back, there were a lot of things that happened last week that could had led to this- PMS, a sick relative, another in the hospital- but pinning my outburst on any/all of these would only be a temporary solution. Life is always going to get in the way. It’s never going to be a bed of roses, so it’s time we started triumphing in spite of our hurdles, not without them.
Since I haven’t really lost my cool this way for a while, Gy knew it was serious when it happened. It’s unfortunate that there is an element of fear now when it comes to telling me about something but that cannot be helped, except perhaps that with time, it will get better.
Life isn’t always going to be easy. Even a perfectly manicured garden will start looking shabby if it isn’t nurtured and tended to every single day. I have been neglecting myself- be it as a woman or a mom- and this was a wake-up call. If I care for myself just a little bit more, I would be in better control of my emotional health. This would imply a few adjustments in my schedule and I’ve started implementing them right away.

Finally, despite our best efforts, mistakes happen. For all my yelling less tips and suggestions and that yelling less meter on my sidebar here, I am human. There are going to be pitfalls and slip ups along the way. What matters is not how I fall, but how I pick myself up and learn from that incident.
Writing this post was very very hard for me to do. It’s taken me a whole week just to come to terms with the fact, let alone put it down for posterity on my blog. But I have always found that writing about it and being honest-with myself and others- has been therapeutic. In doing this, there is hope that tomorrow will be a better day. And that, as we both know, is a wonderful thing to anticipate.
 Mother of all meltdowns: Have you ever lost your cool with your kids? Has your anger overwhelmed you to the point of no return? I admit it has. But here's what I learnt from it.

*Featured image courtesy: shutterstock


Liked this post? Pin it for later or share it in your networks today.

Want to share your struggle as a parent? Leave me a comment below using the Facebook comment box or the comment form. I promise to reply.


Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Sid @ · July 23, 2015 at 2:37 am

It happens, Shailaja. I reckon it's high time you realise that you're only human. We're all impressed that you went 308 days without yelling. I don't even go 3 days, without doing that.
You're a good person and good mother. But yes, slip ups happen. It's good that you've come to terms with whatever happened. Good luck on the journey ahead.

tulika singh · July 23, 2015 at 2:45 am

Sending the warmest hugs your way Shailaja. You have an amazing clarity of mind in the way you dissected your anger. And you are right, life will continuously offer reasons to lose our cool. That's a lesson we need to learn if we have to pass it on to our kids. Take care of yourself. I'm sure you'll have a life-long streak this time round.

Rachna · July 23, 2015 at 3:00 am

You are human, Shy. You were under stress due to things beyond your control. It is okay to let off steam once in a while. You know I've always wondered how you haven't yelled for as long as you haven't. 😀 I find yelling/venting sometimes keeps me sane. It shows my kids that I am human too with my triggers. They yell at me too. And then we talk about it.

Don't be harsh on yourself. I am glad you had a chat with Gy later. Oh and BTW I have thrown and broken a few of their toys while staying perfectly calm.

Shilpa Gupte · July 23, 2015 at 3:30 am

Oh, Shailaja, I had a strong intuition something like this must have happened. In fact the first para was actually what I had thought about. And believe me, you aren't alone. I too have had quite a few such episodes -in Chikoo's presence- and his reaction taught me that I better express my frustration in a subtle way. But at the end of it all, we are humans. But we do learn from our mistakes and for that I am grateful to Him. Take care sweetheart. Hugs to you! ❤

SHANAYA TALES · July 23, 2015 at 3:56 am

I can imagine what you have been through, as I have gone down this route more than once in the past. The guilt follows and stays. You and your yelling less challenge was what got through to me, and I decided to take control and make a change. It helped. A lot. You are one strong woman to admit to this on a public forum, and inspire us all to take a positive lesson from the inevitable mistakes that we make. Lots of lots of hugs, Shailaja.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:18 am

I've always known I was human. Thing is, I am also a bit of a stickler- for rules, challenges, you name it. So, it strikes at the core of my being when I fail at something. Not the silly things like marks or a contest, but things that matter, which is a better path to inner peace. I doubt I am a good mother. I see many signs where I could be better- less online, more present with her, more involved- but this is me. So although I cannot change some hardwired parts of my being, the other areas, yes I can work on those.

Thanks for the wishes, Sid. They mean a lot.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:20 am

Thank you so much, Tulika. All this clarity would help when I am at the peak of my anger and can cool down a lot faster, actually. Life is always going to surprise me though and that is something I must be aware of. Thanks for being around. Really.

Vidya Sury · July 23, 2015 at 4:21 am

Hugs, Shailaja. Considering what you've been going through, with all the stress, just forgive yourself! You are entitled to vent out. And you know what? Our kids understand best – and totally get it when we freak out. Unconditional love at its best. I am sure your cuddling later only brought you closer. Do pat yourself on the back for recognizing how you felt. Double hugs! ❤

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:23 am

Very true, Rachna. Sometimes I wonder how I am able to refrain from landing a punch too and recalling that I was never hit as a child helps me stop myself. It is also frightening that for someone who was never yelled at, I seem to find it far more difficult to maintain my cool. Not sure if it is the stress of managing things as a nuclear family, the fact that Gy gets to see pretty much only my face all week long or that the hurdles of parenting have multiplied so much more in the last 10 or 15 years.

Being harsh on myself to the extent of examining the situation is something I should do. No more, I suppose. Thank you so much for sharing your story too.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 5:11 am

The only solace I get is when I hear others say, 'You are not alone'. Not in a gloating manner, but more in a empathetic, I know what you mean, way. Thing is you read so much about emotional scarring and permanent damage that you get worried, right? Children and pets are very similar in that they let go of their anger and hurt so much quicker. Adults, sigh, that's another story.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 5:14 am

I am glad that the challenge has helped you, Shantala. As I said, admitting it on a public forum is thanks to the gutsy work of people like the Orange Rhino, who never shied away from saying so. And she has not one, but four kids! Thanks a lot for the support. It means more than you know.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 5:20 am

Coming from you, Vidya, the mom who never yells, that is music to my ears. I beat myself up so terribly over this. My only relief was that I did not hit her in my anger, because I doubt I could have forgiven myself in that case. The cuddling has become a daily habit now and you should see the smile on her face when I fling the door open to welcome her home from school. It's incredible! Thanks for all the love.

Parul · July 23, 2015 at 6:06 am

Shailaja – I feel so proud to know you. It is not easy to accept the way we are and share it with the world. Anger is an emotion like any other and sometimes it take over us. As long as you know this, you are doing things right.

Balaka Basu · July 23, 2015 at 7:18 am

The best part is that you admitted your fault…don't feel guilty as being human (not the NGO) is natural…you have commendable patience and I really look upto you for that…and the fact that you also have the courage to admit on a social platform makes you a better human being and mother in my eyes…hugs

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 7:22 am

Anger is an emotion, isn't it? I forget that in my guilt and worry. As for knowing me, the feeling is mutual, Parul, Thank you so much!

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 7:24 am

The courage to admit on a social platform is something I worked up a couple of years ago, with the Yelling less challenge. Earlier this year, speaking out about my depression without worrying about whether people would judge me was the next step. This time, however, I was very ashamed because the trigger for the outburst was so silly and ridiculous. But, like you say, if this means that the child will understand to let go of any constraints and be herself, then there must be something good in it. Thank you, Balaka 🙂

elly stornebrink · July 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

Shailaja, you have had 308 glorious days of not losing your cool and yelling. THAT takes a tremendous amount of willpower, and yet no one – you too – is perfect. Focus on the positive, that you did not yell and that you had 308 amazing days. You can do that again if you choose. However, things happens, we all slip up from time to time…the most important is that we learn from our mistakes and you did. I admire you for your courage in sharing your story and thank you for doing so. By the way, there is a movie 'Inside Out' on emotions that is supposed to be very good. Though I haven't seen it, I have heard great reviews from both women and men. It just came out so maybe in about six months time or so, you can check it out. In the meantime, forgive yourself. I am sure your daughter will or has. Children are so forgiving. ((Shailaja)) <-- and a hug from me. 🙂 <3

Aditi · July 23, 2015 at 8:08 am

Oh my! Shailaja don't be harsh on yourself! Melt downs happen but it is the route you took after this that speaks volumes about you. Good you had a chat with Gy later; she is a darling and she will understand. Love!

JANU · July 23, 2015 at 10:19 am

Hugs to you. Sometimes the pent up emotions have to burst out. And it did. Don't beat yourself. You are a good mother and a good human being.

Usha Menon · July 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

Shailaja I must say that you are a very brave lady. We all lose temper with our kids, but the way you have handled the whole thing, only you could do it. The future generations will definitely learn from this post .

Rajlakshmi · July 23, 2015 at 11:58 am

A year without anger!! Wow so much control you have on your emotions… you definitely shouldn't let this one stray incident make you guilty or sad. And Anger, like love and sadness, is just another emotion (which can result in both happiness and destruction) and we are bound to feel. I think it's good you let it go … and now everyone knows who's the boss in the house 😛

Jaibala Rao · July 23, 2015 at 2:39 pm

You know what, you have been a role model and inspiratiin to me when it comes to parenting. You still are my role model and inspiration. Meltdowns happen God knows I have had them. But what I admire is the way you have analysed this. GodMa you are awesome because you are you. Lots of love. <3

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Usha madam, coming from you, I feel both blessed and grateful. I look up to your wisdom and gutsy go-getter attitude at your age and am overwhelmed when I think of all you have seen in your life and the way you blog about it. If even one person feels inspired by my story, I would be so happy. Thank you once again!

Roshan Radhakrishnan · July 23, 2015 at 4:26 pm

its good that you are a stickler for rules but that does not mean you are invincible… or more accurately invulnerable. These things happen. You did the best thing under the circumstances. You sat down and resolved it after accepting what went wrong… don't we all know parents who wouldn't even do that?

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Absolutely right Elly. Focusing on the positive is what helped me write this post 🙂 And hey, I watched the movie 'Inside Out', with my daughter too! It was a brilliant movie, I agree and helps to speak so beautifully about emotions and dealing with them. You should watch it as I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy it too! Hugs back at you 🙂

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Aww thanks Aditi! So nice to see you here on the blog after such a long time 🙂 Yes, I suppose this had to happen, as part of my learning on this path called Parenting.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Thank you so much Janaki. I am blessed to be surrounded by friends who care. ❤

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Oh everyone already knew who was the boss in the house. I think the neighbours know it too now, though 😉 This one incident was rather overwhelming, to be honest, but it's now a permanent memory. Ah well, we live and learn 🙂 Thank you Rajlakshmi!

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Hearing that quite probably just made my day, Jaibala 🙂 I doubt I am good enough to be anyone's role model though, since I am incredibly flawed in so many, many ways. I don't think before I speak, I lose my temper and can be sarcastic and hurtful when I am angry. But, I am learning. Thank you so much for all your love and support. It is so humbling.

Inderpreet Kaur · July 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Shailaja, it was just a reminder that you are human. I am a yeller, and I am loud. The solution is that I have told my son to tell me to speak quietly when ever I yell.
It works like a charm, as yelling is a mistake I am making. So sometimes I walk off, calm down and then talk.
308 days is awesome. I don't last 8 hours. 🙂

Hugs and much love to you.

Inderpreet Kaur · July 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm

308 days is great, I don't last 8 hours.
I tell my kid to tell me speak softly when I yell. I am loud so it helps.
I go out of the room and calm down and then speak to him.
Hugs and lots of love.

the little princess · July 24, 2015 at 4:54 am

that is totally human Shailaja…there'd be something wrong with you if hadn't. we need to let the steam out sometimes, its good for our health too…but the way you controlled yourself is commendable.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 24, 2015 at 7:16 am

That's actually a lovely strategy Inderpreet! When you involve the kids in the challenge, it helps immensely. Even the Orange Rhino recommends the same thing. I am mostly okay, but I guess the stress of the last week finally got to me.

Debbie D. · July 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Sounds like you are going through a very stressful period and it's only human that emotions are more raw during those times. Not good to keep things bottled up; that usually leads to explosions. Wishing you and your daughter all the best, Shailaja! Throwing things at the wall isn't so bad. My mother used to take a carpet beater to me. 😉 Everybody loses it once in awhile and you were calm for a long time.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

That's true, Roshan. I still think about the parents who must be so helpless as to yell daily at their kids and I feel their pain. I know some kids can be really difficult and as Gy grows older, I notice that the defiance and other things grow as well. Yes, the best under the circs just about sums it up. Thank you and good to see you here 🙂

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm

That's so supportive of you, Titli. So grateful for you all as well as the clarity of mind to put this down.

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

That sounds rather painful, Debbie! A carpet beater? Wow! And to think my parents never lifted a finger against me. That makes it harder, you know. Knowing that I do the exact opposite of what my parents did- yell/ scream/ throw things. But yes, bottling up isn't good for us. Thanks for the love.

Shilpa Garg · July 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm

I think it was all because of the stress that you going through. It's ok, after we are just humans, but it is commendable that you didnt yell for 308 days!! This one day should not deter/upset you. Sending you a big hug from this side. Take care ♥

Sreesha Divakaran · July 27, 2015 at 6:23 am

Yes, writing about it surely helps. But I think it's amazing that you went 308 days without losing your cool?!!?! How!!!
As for the meltdown – you /were/ going through a lot; no one can blame you. We've all been there. And kids do forgive us. I am sure she was really scared; but kids are so understanding sometimes that it's heartbreaking!

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 27, 2015 at 6:25 am

It doesn't deter me, but it upset me for sure. She is also going through that moody phase where everything I say is taken the wrong way. TIme for me to re-examine my priorities. Thanks so much for the hugs, dear Shilpa!

Shailaja Vishwanath · July 27, 2015 at 6:27 am

Yes that forgiveness is what keeps me going, Sreesha. I doubt I could look myself in the face after that ugly episode if it weren't for her.

Gayu · February 29, 2016 at 5:18 am

Hugs Shailaja. It takes so much courage to write about it. As mother's we have our moments of meltdown. As you rightly said, there's so much going on around us, that at times we tend to lose it…and I myself have done it several times in the past. I'm glad you wrote about this incident. 308 days of not yelling…hats off.
Please pass a hug to Gy…she's such a lovely child 🙂
Love and hugs

Erin Marie · October 31, 2017 at 7:24 am

This was a great read after the day I had with my toddler. There are days where I feel like the worst mom ever and connecting with other people who are honest about their imperfections as a parent is comforting. I’m not alone. Lol. I love how you say her down the next day to do your learning moment after your breather. I’m trying to figure out that learning lesson perfect moments with my daughter because she’s two, so I can’t wait so long.

    Shailaja · November 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Erin, I know exactly what you mean! That’s why I began blogging. TO connect with people and tell them they aren’t alone. We’ve all made mistakes (still do!) and it’s okay to stumble and learn.

3 Positive ways to help your daughter cope with mean girls · November 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm

[…] I’d say, so I didn’t fight it but let myself feel the emotion for a while. You do know I have a fiery temper, don’t […]

How I've managed to go without yelling at my child for 800 days · December 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm

[…] I’ve gone for a week without yelling, managed 30 days, even 300 days! But I’d slip, find myself losing control all over again until I discovered a few key […]

4 Gentle steps to help you become a kind parent · January 10, 2018 at 7:59 am

[…] you recall, my mother of all meltdowns happened around then and it also shook me up to make some resolutions for my own sanity as well as […]

Mindful Parenting: 5 Habits I recommend to be more Intentional · January 22, 2019 at 12:13 pm

[…] banshee. My child would then be terrified of my temper and it still gives me chills when I think of all the yelling I’ve subjected her to, at a much younger […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.