Anatomy of a coronavirus mom meltdown

HI! Some housekeeping notes first: 

  • I have a big girl URL! I am so excited. After many years, benditlikebecker.com finally freed up. Finding your favorite CAPS LOCKS RUN-ON SENTENCE RANTS has never been easier. Learn it love it baby. 
  • One major thing that has changed since the last time I substantively blogged back in the Pliocene Epoch… we have a third little frog! More on this another time. But FYI until then. Frogson and Frogette are now 7 and 4, respectively (!), and the littlest tadpole is 1.
  • This whole site and its pages needs updated, and I’ll get to that another time too. 

Once upon a time, freaking coronavirus wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives and I ended up with everyone home during the day with me. So did you I’m sure. The following humorous anecdote is for entertainment purposes only and not intended to make light of this situation. It is terrifying, and honestly I’ve stopped even complaining about being stuck with three kids and all the other petty inconveniences, I will just be happy if we and our families make it out of this in one piece.

But, that said, I am offering up a great tale of my worst mom meltdown of the week, in the hopes it will make you feel a little better about yours. I have benefited from reading these types of tales and feeling comforted knowing I am not alone and perhaps not even The #1 Worst and Most Terrible Mother in All of Humanity Past and Present, so now it’s my turn to pay it forward and contribute to the anthology.

Week 1 of “Becker Coronavirus Camp” (as I’ve dubbed it) went pretty smoothly. We had an ugly, yell-y first day where Frogson was just a 7-year-old terror and everyone was miserable and at each other’s throats, but things smoothed out. By the end of the week I was feeling pretty smug, getting everyone out for lots of outside time, homeschooling and teaching them fractions and homonyms and Spanish like a freaking SUPERSTAR ACHIEVER GODDESS MOM, staying patient and *~ChOoSiNg LoVe~* and generally feeling like I had created the perfect Poppinsian oasis that would withstand this challenging time with effortless grace.

Well, I am about to illustrate for you how those walls were sent crumpling down by a rice cake.

evil rice cake

We began week two with another day that was shaping up poorly. Perhaps it is just a Monday thing for us. Despite the fact that 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. is designated as “walk, outside play” on our posted Coronavirus Camp schedule, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. that day was instead spent with Frozen 2 (but with subtitles so a language arts lesson?) and Price is Right (math lesson?). I tried to not feel guilty because it allowed me to finish up work for the morning and get a shower, but man, screen time always comes back to punish you in the end, because for my Frogs at least, it seems to turn them into edgy little monsters. Oh, it was also POURING and we were stuck inside so that contributed to the problem too.

So, now it’s mid-morning and they’re detoxing from too much screen time and things ain’t pretty. Frogson and Frogette’s attempts at playing together involved a constant combination of running, yelling, wrestling, climbing furniture, jumping off furniture… it was like, I don’t know, Double Dare without the helmets meets Wipeout without the helmets meets a WWE exhibition match and OH MY FREAKING GAH you guys it’s enough to want to put your face into the Nutribullet.  Unfortunately this is how they spend 94% of their time together even during normal conditions. The only thing keeping me sane is that usually there’s this fantastic little thing called, oh what was it now, FREAKING MOTHERFREAKING SCHOOL that gives me a break. When you take the crazy 7-year-old out of the picture, the 4-year-old girl transforms into a cherubic little calm angel who will host tea parties and braid her Barbies’ hair for hours on end.

So, the chaotic playing repeatedly resulted in one of them running over to me in tears after either accidentally injuring themselves or being injured at the hands of a sibling. I was keeping it together and gritting my teeth and trying to negotiate these things in the proper, emotionally intelligent, Woke Mom manner:

Frogson, Frogette? What happened when you tried to play Santa’s Reindeer?* Was it fun, or did you get hurt and cry and feel sad?
(We got hurt and cried and felt sad.)
So, do you think that was a good way to play?
Do you think there’s a better way you could find to play?
(Yes Mommy.)

*Game they invented wherein one person ties a scarf around the other person and drags them around the house whilst making whinnying noises until the scarf ends up around someone’s neck and I scream at everyone. 

Despite what I felt was an EXTREMELY LOGICAL CASE I MADE, the two of them would depart this conversation and *LITERALLY* (not Bachelor over-used literally but LITERALLY) be back to screaming and wrestling and playing in violent ways within 20 seconds. This pattern repeated itself several times. By this point I am longingly eyeing the Nutribullet and also alcohol.

At 11:30 a.m., the three of them had what was basically a lunch-sized snack. Probably an hour later they are then demanding lunch. Fine. They actually failed to eat the macaroni I made them for lunch the previous day, so I resurrect it from the fridge and parade that back out for them. They each take three-tenths of a bite and hop down from the table, leaving three plates for me to clean up. At this point I’m too tired to even fight them on this, we are still working on mastering rudimentary concepts like DON’T BREAK YOUR BONES JUMPING OFF THE OTTOMAN AND MAKE ME HAVE TO TAKE YOU TO A CORONA-INFESTED URGENT CARE, so I don’t even bother asking for an advanced, rocket science maneuver like cleaning up after oneself.

Then a little bit later they are squawking for graham crackers and Ritz Bits and other snackfare nonsense. This time I stand my ground and say NO, NO SNACK FOODS, if you are hungry you may finish your lunch that I have now twice saved for you. They whine, and also whine, and whine some more, and proceed to whine, and whining ensues, but y’all I am DYING ON THIS MACARONI HILL and I keep saying NO, eat the macaroni or wait til dinner you ungrateful dogs.

I leave the room to do something and return to find they have retrieved the snack bin themselves and are guzzling down a lovely spread of rice cakes and several varieties of pretzels, all dumped all over the table and floor. So obviously now there are several hurricanes brewing within my mom psyche: coronavirus frustration, rain, the crazy screaming and running all day, the maddening cycle of feeling like I am doing nothing but preparing food and washing dishes all day while they inexplicably go back and forth between rejecting food and whining for food, the maddening cycle of feeling like I am staying patient and doing exactly what the STUPID expert guidance says to do and my kids’ behavior is improving 0.00000000%. And now, the lil’ demons have defied me and created an ILLICIT RICE CAKE FEAST when I expressly forbid it.

So now the patience is GONE you guys and I march over to the table, I’m sweeping pretzels into my palm and angrily throwing them back in the bag, and I’m aggressively picking up all the rice cakes and loading them into the crooks of my arms while shuffling them away and muttering something about not getting no freaking respect around here from nobody and it’s as I’m struggling to cradle 17 crumbling rice cakes in my elbows that I know I have hit rock bottom and irrevocably descended into Psycho Unhinged Mom Mode.

I loudly declare, “I SAID NO SNACKS!!!! EAT YOUR LUNCH!!!!” and when I’ve cleared the contraband I march their lunch plates right back to all three of them. At this point, all three of them SCREAM as if I have taken from them their most prized worldly possessions and replaced them with plates of fetid sewer sludge. I cannot take the screaming and I fold like a Dollar General lawn chair. I stomp back to the table and, with the universal maternal declaration of defeat, yell “FINE!!!!!!!!!” and I slam a rice cake down on the table. I expect it to slam down on the table like any other object but instead the thing proceeds to theatrically erupt into airborne smithereens because rice cake. So shame. Much graceful. WOW.

Later I am still mad and they are asking for TV or some nonsense, and I tell them no one is watching anything until they pick up all the pieces of pretzel and rice cake that went all over the ground when they poured all the snacks out for themselves. Frogson is snarking back at me, YOU smashed the rice cake MOM, so I think YOU should pick up those pieces, basically with this face:


And that is when I know the day is done and I will just need to — as always — try again tomorrow.

The kids in our neighborhood have been writing motivational messages all over the sidewalks with chalk. Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day read one, which I tried to remind myself of when I put Frogson to bed that night. I thought about earlier in the day where I had him teach us a school lesson himself, and Frogette and I sat on the floor while he used the chalkboard easel to teach us about bugs. Insecks have 6 legs and 3 bodee parts, he wrote. I told him to teach us about bugs because the night before, he was holed away in his “fort” voluntarily (!) reading a bug book by the glow of the Christmas lights we strung inside it. I asked him as I put him to bed if he remembered the number for how much I love him, and of course he did, which was infinity. I said yes, infinity, because even if you drew a 1 in our driveway and filled it with zeros from here to school, it would still be too small of a number. Big smile from him. Even if you drew a 1 and filled it with zeros all the way up to the moon and all the way back, it would STILL be too small of a number! Bigger smile. 

When I’m wrestling with the nonstop mom guilt, all that I can hope is that these moments and the love that we cement in their little hearts will be enough to counterbalance the exploding rice cakes and other ugly moments. We will find out someday, I guess. Until then, I will be trying, as always, to look for whatever available good I can scrounge up, and trying to do it better tomorrow.

Good to be back on the blog, guys. Thanks for reading. WASH YOUR HANDS.



4 thoughts on “Anatomy of a coronavirus mom meltdown

  1. Lol thanks for this Sarah!! I too find bedtime brings the reflection/guilt and extra hugs to hopefully overcompensate for mom behaving as human who may be impatient at times😳😩 lol they will remember the hugs and love to infinity for sure!

  2. Omg I thought I was the only mom yelling and blowing up rice cakes after frozen and lunch sized snacks. For a minute I thought I blacked out and wrote this drunk on Ativan and NyQuil.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I’m not a mother (yet) but several of my friends have had kids in the last two years and I can only imagine one of them writing this. You paint such a thorough picture of what led to that moment but then also the quiet love that peeks through in little moments of the day, too. Good luck with the rest of this indefinite situation. We’re rooting for you!

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