Sunday, January 13, 2008

the anatomy of a nervous breakdown

Very soon, I will be writing about a lot of fun and informative things. But before I dive in to those things, I wanted to document the nervous breakdown I had last week. The fun posts will be up in a few days. If you want, you can come back and read those. Tonight, I am going to write about the basket case that I was last week, the very first week of the New Year.

This past week has been great. In fact, I cannot remember a better week than the week I have just experienced. But last week, I thought for sure that the men in suits would be taking me out of the house ... although I wasn't sure if I'd be in stripes or a straight jacket.

I say that what I experienced was a nervous breakdown, because it was unlike anything I had experienced before. It wasn't my typical "Holiday Hangover". It was so bad, Charlie had to stay home from work. It was so bad, I wondered how in the world I'd managed to do everything I was doing up until that point and how I would ever function again.

It was more than a bonk ... I totally capsized.

Charlie came home from work on Wednesday night to me sitting in a dark house. Not a single light was on, save the Christmas lights hooked up to a timer, that were still hanging from our eaves. The baby was sitting on my lap chewing on a bill. The kids were in bed asleep. They didn't go down for a nap until almost 3:00 PM, so they were still snoozing when my husband walked in the door at 5:00 PM. When he asked if he should wake them up, I'm pretty sure my exact words were "God NO!"

A trained professional might have been able to see that I was on the brink. Even I sensed that things seemed to be spiraling out of control. But then the holidays came and there were festive decorations, relatives in town, bright lights and cheeriness all around. Charlie was home from work on vacation, we had things happening every day and there were more hands to help than I knew what to do with.

Then, I was all alone. With new toys, new clothes, new books, new gadgets and .... new stuff from Christmas that had yet to find a place to go.

And four small stuffy-nosed and needy children.

The Christmas decorations that brought me such joy a week earlier were suddenly overbearing clutter that I had to get rid of immediately. But I couldn't get rid of them because I didn't have the time to take things down and neatly put them away, the way I wanted. And I was sick.

There were thank you notes to be written. A Flat Stanley project to be wrapped up for my nephew in Massachusetts that was due ... tomorrow. Yet every waking hour was filled with something else that I must be doing. Playing with the children. Bathing the children. Laundry. Menu planning. Breaking up fights. Holding a fussy baby. Unloading the dishwasher. Feeding the dog. Walking the dog. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour and hopefully sleeping more than three hours at a stretch.

Someone told me that I just needed to "Let it GO!" and I snapped. That phrase is flawed on so many levels when you are a parent. What exactly do I "Let Go?"

The laundry? The dishes? Taking out the trash? Paying the bills? Feeding the kids?

Because at some point I need to have clean clothes for our family. Come to think of it, we'll also need clean dishes AND space in our trashcan. And if we want a roof over our head, running water and a garage free of refuse, I'll need to sit down and pay a bill or two along the way. My life is one great juggling act - where I must keep all the glass balls in the air without letting them fall and smash to pieces on the ground.

Wednesday night, after the children were in bed, Charlie and I discussed what we needed to do to improve my situation. Maybe if he stayed home a little longer before going to work in the morning, he could help me get all of the children up and dressed and fed, so that I could get out of the house before noon. Unloading the dishwasher and making the beds are two things that I must do every morning, in addition to everything else. So, with Charlie's assistance, I could get all of these things done and then I'd feel more empowered to take on the day.

We discussed preschool. We discussed getting someone in to help every day. We discussed me calling my doctor and telling him that I was feeling overwhelmed. We discussed me accepting the job in Houston, returning to work and Charlie staying home full-time. Or, both of us returning to work and putting the children in daycare. We talked about moving. We'll need a bigger house, soon anyway.

It felt like we were bursting at the seams. We had moved a large portion of our belongings in to the garage and had to throw away a large portion of those belongings because of a rodent infestation. More than 20 rats and mice have been killed in the past two weeks. Super sonic devices don't work. Our best bet is to get a cat.

We can't take care of a cat.

We can barely take care of our dog.

"Good heavens. What are we going to DO?"

"I don't know, Margo. Pass the wine."

Thursday morning, while I was nursing Henry, Charlie jumped out of bed and unloaded the dishwasher. He got the children up and dressed. He made their beds. All I needed to do was prepare breakfast.

While I was pulling out ingredients, I noticed that Carolyn and Elizabeth were playing with their new wood blocks. They were filling paper shopping bags with blocks they had "bought" and were lugging them around the living room, carefully avoiding Henry who was laying on the floor. As I started to crack eggs, I saw that their shopping game had morphed in to block throwing. Every time I turned my back to throw an egg shell away, I had to whip back around to tell them "Please don't throw the blocks. PLEASE DON'T THROW THE BLOCKS."

After the third egg was cracked, and I watched a block land inches away from Henry, I cracked.

Now before I go any further, I must add that ever since Henry has arrived on the scene, I expect more of the triplets. I know I expect a lot more of them than I should, considering they are only three-years-old. But I expect that if I ask them to do something, they will listen to me. I can't always be out of the house with them, and when we are at home, I need for them to pay attention. I know that they understand, they are just testing my limits. When I am feeding or changing or bathing the baby, I don't have the patience to ask that they stop hanging from the curtains, or reaching up and pulling random things off the counters, more than twice. Triplets alone at this age are a handful. Adding an infant to the mix takes everything up a notch.

I will also add that if anyone tells me "You need help!" I'll climb right through this computer and throw dirty laundry on them. What I need is for Mary Poppins to magically float in and land on our doorstep with her bag full of tricks. But only when I want her, which is sporadic, at best.

It's not that we haven't considered or looked for part-time help. But our efforts thus far, short of forking out a large sum to a nanny service, have yielded zilch.

Neighbors? Churches? Local Colleges?

Zilch. Zilch. Zilch.

My eggs were sitting in a pan on the stove. There were blocks all over the floor and three kids that were running around and screaming like banshees - just like they do every morning. The baby was crying to eat. I could feel my blood pressure spike. Before I could do anything, I needed to put the kids in time out. I needed to move the blocks elsewhere.

I needed to ... I needed to ... I couldn't even think.

Instead of doing anything, I just stood in the kitchen, put my hands on my head and screamed. From the gut of my stomach I screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Taking a breath only to scream some more.

Charlie came running out - dressed and ready for work - and in an alarmed voice asked "Are you alright?! What happened?!"

I couldn't talk. I was in shambles. I put my hand up to silence him and removed myself from the kitchen. For the next 15 minutes, I stood in our 2 x 2 broom closet, squeezed in next to the vacuum cleaner, broom and Swiffer. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I went to stand in the closet. I could hardly breathe. It felt like my chest was being crushed. The sounds of the children, who had resumed their activities were muffled, and in the dark I was thinking about our 31-year old neighbor who hung himself in his garage last October. What had happened to this poor man that he felt so unable to handle his life circumstances? What situation in his life was so terminal that he had to get out, permanently?

Standing in the dark closet, I certainly felt unable to handle my life circumstances. But, the one thing I had going for me is the knowledge that it won't always be like this. Yeah, I'm totally overwhelmed. Although, I could remember with clarity, days that are absolutely glorious. Days when I feel healthy and I am on top of the world and capable of handling anything and everything that comes barreling - or toddling - my way.

While I was sequestered in the broom closet, I prayed. I prayed harder than I've ever prayed before that I would have the strength and patience to be a good mother and wife and person. I prayed for compassion and understanding. I prayed that I would have the ability to see past the disaster that our house currently was, and embrace the day. Once I could feel myself start to relax and the death grip that had my heart start to loosen, I stepped out of the closet.

Instantly, I was bombarded with screaming and the fragile serenity that I had been able to summon was lost and I was back in the stress vice. In a panicked voice, I told my husband that he could not leave me alone with the children because I was afraid what I would do to them.

How's that for honesty?

I was afraid what I would do to my children.

Last week, for the first time, I had a glimpse in to how someone would intentionally hurt their kids. For the first time, I saw how someone could snap. For the first time, I told my husband that he could not go to work because I was truly afraid to be home alone with our three-year-olds.

I was afraid what I would do if I had to break up one more fight. Or hear screaming about something, anything, nothing. I was afraid what I would do if I had to pick up the pieces of something that the children broke. Or stop them from doing any of the things that they do a million times a day and that I usually can handle, but on that particular day, could not.

It felt like I had been furiously treading water and suddenly, I stopped. I sank. I was submerged and I could see everyone functioning on the surface, but I couldn't be a part of it. They were in a different world.

Charlie stayed home all day from work. He took the children to the park in the morning and although he told me that I could leave and go to the beach or a restaurant or a store ... I spent almost four hours trying to clean a bathroom, that under normal circumstances would have only taken me 15 minutes. In between scrubbing the toilet, I would sit and cry. I would write my thoughts in my journal and cry some more. I would wash the mirrors and cry. Then I'd just cry and cry and cry some more.

During the height of my breakdown, I did what any irrational person would do.

I called my boss.

I told him that I wanted to come back to work, if possible, the very next day. After talking with him for 20 minutes and hearing the enthusiasm in his voice that I would be returning soon, I felt ill that I wanted to leave my children. Not all of my children, mind you. Just the ones that were capable of walking and talking and fighting and driving me insane.

I know that they will only be little once. I know that I should be enjoying every minute. I know that I will miss these days, one day. Just not today, and probably not tomorrow, either. I was filled with anguish that I wasn't enjoying every moment. I wasn't enjoying my husband. I wasn't enjoying this incredibly amazing life that I have been blessed with. My well was dry.

All of my life I wanted children. And now that I have them, I want to be with them. I want to be the positive stimulation that they need. I want to be the one that they trust. I want to teach them how to use scissors and a glue stick. I want to teach them their letters. I want to teach them how to be polite and gentle. I want to do all of these things until I'm with them. And then I want to pull my hair out of my head by the roots.

Why can't I be the one to do all of these things with them?

Why does it feel like they are sucking the very life right out of me?

After several hours away, Charlie came home and still, I was distraught. I told my husband that I needed help. I needed for us, just us, to go away for a weekend. We needed to reconnect. We needed to rediscover ourselves, our marriage. While I was sitting on the couch, holding the baby, I told my husband "Please, help me. I cannot do this anymore."

Charlie just looked at me and didn't say anything. When I repeated my plea and he still did not respond, I started yelling "I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE. I NEED HELP!!!"

He told me that he didn't know what to do. He didn't know who to call for help. But if I gave him a few days he could figure something out.
That's when I jumped off the couch and said "Well, that's great. Because if you were to have a heart attack right now and fall to the floor, please understand that I might ask for you to give me a few days to figure something out! Can't you see I'm DYING?!"

Even with my slight flair for melodrama, I seriously felt like I was going to drop.

A few years ago, I was driving a red convertible European sports car, desperate for children and looking for a good reproductive endocrinologist. Now, I'm driving a minivan, full of children, and in need of a psychiatrist. What happened??

I ran in to the bathroom - which was still not completely clean - and while I sat on the rim of the tub with the blood pumping in my ears, I felt horribly embarrassed. I was ashamed that I possessed no self control and exploded like that in front of my husband and children. I was ashamed that I couldn't be a better wife and mother.

Just then, my mom called.

As I was telling my mother how distraught I was, how terrible my day had been and how out of control my life seemed, my mother said - and I honestly kid you not - "Jen, can I call you back in an hour? Oprah just came on."


Postscript: I don't want to be medicated to deal with my every day life. I also don't want to make any drastic changes - like bringing in a nanny and/or putting our kids in preschool. Although, I am evaluating our options.

This past week, I have made some significant changes and as a result,
I am feeling completely stable and capable. I have gone to bed before midnight (except tonight) and have been very firm with getting Henry on a strict sleeping schedule. We have been busy with activities every day, the children are napping again (which I had allowed to stop over Christmas) and I have re-established a routine. I have also drastically reduced my computer time and will continue to do so. The fact is, I was spending too many hours when I could be sleeping looking at things like this. And this.

I have also developed a whole new level of respect for my husband. He proved that we are in this parenthood adventure, together. He vowed that he would take off as much time as necessary and not leave me alone until I was feeling stable. On Friday morning, he spent several hours printing up fliers and posting them at churches and colleges in the area. When I returned from an outing with the children, he had cleaned the house and had mulling spices simmering in a pot.

But best of all, he researched buying my mother a TiVo.


  1. Aww Jen!
    Been there done that. In fact as bad as it sounds I need my meds to keep me sane. An occaional drink or two or three helps also. I always wondered why you dont talk about girlfriends. Dont you have any close ones? Hugs, this to shall pass.

  2. Aww Jen, this too shall pass. As awful as it sounds I need my daily meds to cope. Oh and a margarita or two or three. Hang in there. Also why dont you ever talk about girlfriends? Do you not have any? Hugs.

  3. I rarely leave a comment here, but read your blog every day and even quote bits and pieces to my husband because the stories about your very energetic triplets and your growing up too fast Henry frequently make me laugh out loud.

    And today you touched me again, for being so honest about your despair. I guess the first way to get help is ask for it and that's exactly what you did. I hope you'll get an extra pair of hands around soon and reclaim some time for yourself.

  4. I hope that you are able to get things under control and start feeling like yourself again. I wish there was something more I could say... I have been there myself and actually had my husband take 3 days off of work to stay home with me because I had a breakdown. I won't take medication either and can't afford (nor would I want) a nanny or any other kind of help. Some days I just want my mommy! (She doesn't watch Oprah but she's 650 miles away.) I hope things continue to improve for you & your family!

  5. Jen~

    Just wanted you to know I'm sending you love and strength and understanding. Thank-you for being real and honest. In doing so you inspire me to do the same.

    Karen (PGRAD)

  6. Jen ~

    I am a regular reader of your blog, but an infrequent commenter. I just wanted to thank you for you honesty here and know that there are lots of people out there thinking of you and praying for you.

    A year ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom of a 2 1/2 year old and an 11 month old, my husband decided that he didn't want to be married anymore. He threw the children and me out of the house. He cleared out the bank accounts and shut off the credit card. It's been a long year.

    I know it's not the same as having 3 year old triplets and an infant, but I get your feelings of understanding, deep in your gut, how people come to hurt their own children intentionally. The feeling of not knowing how you are going to make it one more minute with things the way they are. And I also know, a year later, that with faith and grace, it does get better.

    Keep up the prayer, keep up the honesty with those you love and can help. And keep posting -- there's nothing like getting it off your chest.


  7. Aw, *hugs*. I only have one toddler (and one baby) and I know how you feel! So goodness knows how you got this far without losing the plot. It's a hard job, and we're not paid enough to do it ;) Hang in there - from what I can read, you're doing a sterling job of this parenting lark. We can't ditch the laundry, the cooking, the bills... but we can cut ourselves some slack that what we're doing is FINE. Being a Stepford Parent is highly overrated. Bree Vandercamp we ain't! (and look how HER kids turned out.. )

    And... thank you for being so honest in your blog. I forwarded this entry to my husband, saying 'look, someone who feels just as loony as me!' ;) Hah.

    Seriously though, a morning at preschool each week would make the world of difference. I had a dream that I would teach my kids everything until 'proper' school. And then I had my baby. It tips the balance, and figured that a morning or two at preschool is 100x better than me bawling my eyes out and shouting at my toddler to stop tormenting his baby sister. It has slayed me inside, but I know it's the best thing for my son, and my sanity. He has a ball, my daughter gets time away from flying blocks, and I get 2 hours away from a warzone. Everybody wins. :)

  8. moellerks@yahoo.com1/13/08, 8:21 AM

    This is so raw and honest. I hope this works out very quickly. You and Charlie have a great bunch of kids.

    KarenM in NC

  9. THANK YOU!!! You are so real. Please know that there are those of us out there who have felt the same way. It is incredibly liberating to know that everyone else isn't perfect and doesn't have it all together. Again, and very sincerely, thank you!

    Katie in Kentucky

  10. Bless your heart! Thank you for sharing your story, because we all have days we feel like this. I hope you continue to feel better and are able to enjoy your family.

  11. This is so timely. Just yesterday, I was standing in our living room, crying and yelling to Paul that I COULD NOT keep cutting down on EVERYTHING to make time for EVERYTHING ELSE.

    I'm afraid that when people say "they're only little once," I think, "OH THANK GOD." Maybe I'll feel differently about it later on--but only if I have COMPLETELY SELECTIVE MEMORY.

  12. Jen, I know you don't know me and I'm new to your blog, but I want to extend my sympathy to you. And I say sympathy, not empathy. Because even though I have only one baby to deal with, I understand the feelings you've had. In fact, I'm pretty amazed with all that you juggle, especially as you stay home with the kids all day--something I'm sure I couldn't do unmedicated.

    My thoughts and words are jumbled, and I'm not sure how exactly to express what I want to say. Maybe I'll jump right to this: I also didn't want medication, and I already drop the baby off at my mom's while I go to work all day. But I was having trouble. Therapy has been the best thing I've done. I found a therapist who specializes in PPD (through my ob/gyn), and I believe that seeing her once a week has saved my sanity. That and being at work all day, which is necessary for me personally.

    It's an expense, in money and time, but it has been so worth it. I will be having a horrible day, go in to see my therapist, and I'll walk out feeling like I can deal with the world again. I don't just go in and talk about my feelings. She helps me develop ways of reframing situations and coping mechanisms, and she helps me figure out what I can let go and how best to prioritize things when I can't do it all. And she just makes me feel better.

    I know you are in a better place now, and I'm so glad to hear it. I'm also so glad your husband was able to be there for you (I couldn't get through the day without mine being so supportive). I don't know if you even want to hear suggestions, but I do suggest you consider therapy. And I've found that getting more sleep is critical, as you've discovered (it's why I went to bed at 8:15 last Friday night).

    Good luck with everything. This parenting stuff is hard. And thank you for being so honest about what you are going/have gone through. Talking about this will help others, even if it's just to realize we are not alone.

  13. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We can certainly all feel this way at one time or another. A good cry always seems to help. I'm glad your husband is such a great helper, that makes all the difference. Can you even imagine being a single mom? I certainly cannot. I have an almost 3 year old and 4 month old. I do work outside the home as a teacher, but would love to be at home with my little ones, but I know that is SO HARD! For now, I will enjoy my summers with them.

    I enjoy your post and you give me inspiration, b/c I figure if you can do it with 4 children (and you do so well!), I can certainly do it with 2 children!


  14. Hello. I love reading your blog.
    I think you and Charlie getting away from the kids for even just 1 night would do you wonders. I bet you would come back ready to take on the world. Sorry to hear how overwhelmed you are... but remember: this too shall pass. Congrats on going back to work, some adult conversation should be really nice.

  15. Wow, the way you described that I felt like I was there with you. I know you said you didn't want to be on antidepressants, but it sure couldn't hurt for a few months. I could have written this post *sans 2 of teh kids* myself a few months ago. I didn't hide in a broom closet, but hey like I said you have two more kids.

    I really hope you two are able to work things out to make life "normal" for you again. Your husband sounds like a good guy for not running and screaming the other way or asking "What do you want me to do about it! What's your problem!" as a friend of mine's husband asked her. Sending you cyber hugs. I'd come help you in a heartbeat if I didn't live 1000 miles away.


  16. I am so sorry that you have gotten to "that" point. I certainly have felt similar over the course of just about the entirety of 2007...and for a little while I had to be put on meds and now I am feeling much much better. The doctor said it was postpartum depression...I don't know what it was, but you described a good bit of it (on a different level because you have 4 kids and I only have 2...) I hope that you can find help, not necessarily someone or something, but whatever "help" is that day, that moment, that minute that you need it. Prayer is a good thing. I believe that God was protecting my children and my family during those horrible months...because I certainly wasn't myself and felt incapable of doing anything right or stable on several occasions. You are not alone. I know in the midst of those thoughts/emotions you feel alone...very alone...but know you aren't.
    And, Oprah...well, so as to not get myself in trouble on here, I am sorry to the furthest degree, because in my mom's world, its getting her nails done...and NOTHING makes me MORE infuriated or sad at the same moment when she "needs to go" because she just has to get her nails done RIGHT.NOW *I've said too much and I am stopping now...
    God bless you Jen. Thanks for your honesty. I know that isn't easy to share always.

  17. (((((((Jen)))))))

  18. I had postpartum depression after the triplets were born. What you are describing to me is PPD. I was there. I can relate to everything you are writing about. I can relate to the feelings you are describing and not having control over them. I can understand having the sense to know what I was feeling was wrong and yet not being able to control them. I can remember falling on the ground and bawling and begging for my life that Greg not fly to Chicago and leave me alone with the babies. I honestly felt that I could hurt the babies. I was THAT BAD! It was when he got back and I had somehow managed to not drown them in the bathtub that I left them at home and drove myself to a psychiatrist, Jen. I drove myself to a PYSCHIATRIST! Do you know what he told me? He told me to hire help and what took me so long to get there? When I ride and ride and ride you about hiring help, it's because I have been at the bottom of the well. I have been on the edge of the abyss. I have been so bad that I could have hurt my babies.

    You need to start pounding your magnesium/calcium. You need to take fish oil every day. You need to make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamins. All of these things are drained from pregnancy and they are affecting your bodies ability to regulate your hormones which causes PPD. Try those things and see if you can't come out of this.

    And please, Jen, try harder to find a girl to come in the afternoons to relieve you. That was the turning point for me. When I got help, my whole life turned around. It wasn't even so much that she did that much. But the fact I wasn't ALONE made the difference for me. Having someone side by side with me is really why I'm alive today or not in prison. It's not like I needed her forever. I just needed her THEN.

    I am so thankful that my children got the mother they deserved in addition to the extra attention. It's not a sign of weakness to accept help. It's a sign of strength. You have to take care of yourself to be the best mother you can to them. Why do you have to do it alone?

  19. Jen, I just wanted to say that reading your post made me cry because I can totally relate. I don't know if you remember me ( but I have the opposite of you. I trips that just turned 1 and an almost 3 year old. Everything you just said I have felt. Except I am right now thanking God that I don't also have a nursing baby. You have one up on me there. But I'm glad you see how great your husband is. Mine still does not get it. He thinks my life should be great. I finally have the kids that I have been praying for after 8 years, and I get to stay home with them every day. I do try very hard to remind myself of that very thing, but when your knee deep in poopy diapers and everyone, including you, is crying, it's a little difficult. Just wanted to know that your not alone.


    PS ~ I hope you didn't let your mom off the hook for bailing on you.

  20. I'm sending you a big internet hug!

  21. ((((((((((((((((((((Great, big, huge monster hugs to you)))))))))))))))))))))))


  22. sounds like you did all the right things.

    it's completely normal to reach a breaking point and when you do, to have the ability to remove yourself from your children for a moment and ask for help from your husband is what counts.

    i'm also a firm believer in that a good night sleep goes a long way for good mental health. i am guilty of wasting my quiet time at night online or TV because I want to finally veg out when the trips are in bed. But what I really need is sleep. It puts an entirely different perspective on my day.

    our fourth is due anyday now. so thanks for your post. when i reach my breaking point i will remember your post, make a way to get more sleep and the saying 'this too shall pass'

  23. what a powerful post. Tears came to my eyes as I read it. I can relate on so many levels... Thank you for so honestly sharing.

    Mary Kate

  24. Jen - I am sorry you are going through this.

    I don't know you at all, but I throughly enjoy your blog.

    I have twins that are 14 months old. I went back to work full time when my boys were 10 months old and I work at home. I have a full time aupair that does our laundry and light cleaning, parents that live 10 minutes away and frequently watch the twins, a cleaning lady that comes every two weeks, and a very helpful husband and I STILL feel like the house is always a mess. But I have accepted it for now. I have no idea how you do it. Please hang in there and I hope you find the help you need to keep it together.


  25. I am sorry.
    You ARE normal. I am not going to tell you what to do, you will figure it out...but for me, preschool a few mornings a week and a sitter for a couple of hours the days they aren't in preschool restores my sanity. I just need 2 hours a day when I am not in charge.
    The new book I am reading "Love & Logic birth through 6 years old" is making a HUGE difference too!

  26. You are very brave to write this post. What you went through has been experienced by millions of overwhelmed mothers. There are no easy answers.

    I am returning to work in a few weeks after being at home for 8 years. And while 70% of my salary will go to pay for the care of my 4children, I can't fucking wait to work! And as grateful as I am to have been able to give children 8 years of mommy at home, I am even more grateful to escape with my sanity.

    I know you don't want to hire a nanny or look at preschools, but I don't really see a whole lot of other options. What about working part-time and using your $ for preschool? The triplets are 3 and that is the age when most kids start preschool. You are not weak for needing a break. Don't be so hard on yourself.

    Good luck.


  27. Hi, Jen.

    I have started writing this many times and I just don't know what the right thing is, so I will just tell you what is in my heart...I am so very sorry that you are having a hard time right now. I pray for better days ahead.

    Jackie(Momma to twins)

  28. Jen,

    I have absolutely no advice for you. But, I can tell you that I am obsessed with your blog and look forward with anticipation to your posts.

    I haven't been reading your blog for very long, so the other day I was scanning through some of your archives and found a post that you absolutely must go back and read/watch...February 26, 2007. Seriously, go back right now and take a look.

    I don't know what you're going through and won't pretend that I do. But, I sure hope watching that post will brighten your day. It did mine.

    Laura-from Ohio

  29. Thank you for being so honest and brave to post that story. I felt like I was reading my own journal. I have no advice to give b/c honestly all the advice I've been given just makes me a little more on edge. Thankfully your husband, like mine, seems to be a saint. I hope you two can manage a night out together alone.

  30. You know, I will never meet you, but I truly admire you. Truly. Thank you for being so honest. Thank you for not painting everything as rosy and wonderful. I admire how much you adore those children, and want to do whatever is best for them. And that you see that right now, you're not your best and want to fix that.

    I do not think you are less of a mother because you need a break, or medicine, or just some work time. The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required. And you, my dear, were given a lot. However, God doesn't expect you to slog through this miserable or exhausted. I'm proud of you, and will continue to pray for you. Keep your chin up, and know we're all rooting for you!

  31. Jen, I'm delurking to say that as a mother of 4 (14 to 4) I have been in this same situation, especially when my older 3 were young. Please know that you are not alone, and you are helping other mothers realize that they aren't the only ones who are going through this. I do promise that it will get better. I also went back to work part time and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. Yes, I felt guilty doing it, but I needed to find myself again, have some time for me. While that may sound selfish, I was happier, thus my children were happier. I'm so glad that your husband is willing to help and I'm glad this week has gone better! Good luck, hang in there and know that a mom from Minnesota has you in her thoughts and prayers!


  32. Jen,
    As a mother to 2 1/2 year old triplets and a 9-month old, I take great pleasure in reading your blog almost daily. I often wonder how you have the time to put your daily experiences into words so humorously and eloquently. Many posts seem like they came straight from my brain, only much better articulated. I have never felt compelled to comment before but I just wanted to send you a few words of encouragement. You are clearly doing a great job with these kids! The blog is documented proof of that. There are good days (weeks) and bad days (weeks). Some nights I tell my husband how I feel like such a mean mom, I spent more time yelling at the kids than interacting with them positively. Maybe they would be better off away from me? But no, the next day is usually a better one, and even on my worst day as a mother, they are better off with me than with anyone else. Because I'm the mama! I certainly understand the difficulty of juggling it all and you can't just let any of it go because it will pile up very quickly. I think you will see some relief is coming very soon as little Henry begins to eat less frequently and sleeps through the night and take naps more regularly throughout the day. It will give you some time to get organized and feel more in control of the day. You will feel so much better when you can sleep a little more consistently. And as cliche as it sounds, try to take some time for yourself whenever there is an opportunity. And don't feel guilty about it. Even just getting a private shower in the morning before your husband leaves for the day. Hope some of this might serve as some encouragement to you. You are doing a great job and no one could do it better.

  33. I completely admire and appreciate your honesty. Being a SAHM is bleeping (or perhaps I should say 'berrying') hard work!!! Especially when you are running on no sleep. For what it's worth, I don't think you should rule out medication or help. Neither option is permanent and both/either could really help you feel better. Just a thought. And I totally agree with you on the "let it go" advice. OK, so maybe I decide to let it go today, and tomorrow, and possibly even the next day....well, the day I decide to pick it back up (and it's going to need to be picked back up at some point in the foreseeable future), I will have twenty times the amount of work to do!!! In any case, I am so happy you wrote this (though not happy you had to go through it) because I can totally identify and I think every other SAHM can, too, whether they will admit it or not.

  34. I'm praying for you, I wish your Mom could send vibes of support your way when you need them. Jackie

  35. thanks for your honesty, Jen.   It is so real, I know exactly what you mean and feel for you.   Praying that changes are in store soon -- and that you take care of YOU first.   (I'm not even a mom- a nanny for six- and I had my own breakdown last week.)  PS-- you are an amazing mom (I wish my boss was more like you) and my favorite blogger ever. :)

  36. I've never commented here before but today I wanted to let you know that I care and I'm so sorry you feel this way. When my twins came home from the hospital in a fragile state and we went for several months on little sleep and I was pumping all the time I was really struggling. I finally asked my dr about medication and I know it sounds like a cop out but it did make all the difference and the last 6 months with the babies I've been productive, level headed, and able to enjoy motherhood. My body was just so out of wack that I needed medical intervention just like if I had any other illness.

    Praying for you!

    2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.


  37. Jen, I just re-read your whole post and didn't read the last sentence about Charlie putting up flyers. So the fact I hounded you yet again about getting help was sort of pointless, since Charlie is obviously trying. So feel free to tell me to Berry Off!

    I'm really glad you are feeling better. I still want you to pound your vitamins though. (You aren't, are you? Because I wasn't either and it was my peri who told me I would have never gotten so bad if I had kept up on them.) Did you know it's very common for PPD to peak around 6-8 months? You just need a break to ride this thing out so you are back to your old self again.

  38. Jen -
    Your honesty is amazing .... as is your ability to write (btw).
    Thank you for sharing, thank you for not being afraid to share, and thank you for remembering to take one day at a time.


  39. I appreciate you being such an honest person. I think that people can learn a lot from you.

    Here's a hug! Life isn't always easy, is it. I think becomming a mother can prove that time and time again. Thank God that you have such a great husband. I'm glad that you were able to get a little break and take time to find yourself again.

  40. All I can say is, Bless your sweet heart. I love your blog and your complete honesty. I pray things continue to get better.

  41. Yet again I am startled with the similarities in our lives... you know despite the fact that I have two children less than you. I had my own breakdown a few nights ago.
    There's a reason that not sleeping is considered torture. It does something to your basic ability to cope. And the constant noise and physical contact also slowly tears at the threads that connect you to sanity.
    I'm glad that things are looking up, and that your husband is such a rock.
    Hugs from a sister in the trenches!

  42. I'm so sorry you've had a hard time. I definitely understand. Night before last my baby cried about every one and a half and in a sleepy(and far too angry) stupor I suggested ways to deal with it to my's rained recently so the creek is high, we could drown him! I thought. I have certainly been to the point I was afraid I would hurt my precious children that I longed so much for.

    Hang in there, I hope the changes you're making help. I'll pray for you!

  43. Hi Jen:

    I totally get where you are at - been there lately myself. I'll add you to my prayer list.

    Hang in there.


  44. I read your blog obsessively and hardly ever comment, but I feel compelled to try to offer you what support I can, even though you don't know me.

    I am sorry to read you have been struggling but your honesty about the challenges you face in managing your daily life makes me admire you more, not less. With Charlie by your side I am sure you will find a way to improve things so you are not so overworked. I know when I am tired and stressed the little things that I can otherwise laugh off (like stubborn, limit testing toddlers) begin to infuriate me. It doesn't mean I love them less, but sometimes I need to be far, far away from them, and I only have 2!

    I love to read your blog Jenna. I think you do a fantastic job as a mother. I am not going to offer advice as I don't believe I'm qualified and I believe you will get through this as a family. I look forward to reading about it.


  45. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Reading your blog is such an inspiration, we come here and see you handle so much more than most people with such grace and humor. And today you inspire with your bravery. Nobody can do it all, all the time and for you to step forward and ask for help and then share that journey with the rest of us is so amazing. Thank you.

  46. Jen, I want to let you know that I have read your blog for quite a while. I admire your approach to life and your honesty and the way you and your husband partner together to raise your children. You also help me put my life, with only boy/girl 2 1/2 twins, 1 dog, 2 cats and a very small house, in perspective. I know how frazzled I feel sometimes and I have fewer stressors in the form of toddlers than you do. I just want you to know that you are not alone and thank you for your honestly. Please be as kind to yourself as you can -- you are doing an incredibly hard job, that can feel thankless and insane making. The love you have for your children is so apparent in all of your postings but, none-the-less, it is a hard job. I'm glad that Charlie is there to help out and I hope you can figure out what can be of most help to you soon. Btw, in terms of finding AMAZING part-time childcare, I have had best luck with Craiglist. Good luck with whatever path you take -- you are a great mom and we all have hard, hard periods -- you are just being very honest about yours. Bravo.

  47. My heart goes out to you. I know soon you will feel better, but everyone has those days and it takes a brave one to admit it. I hope that the best solution for you is right around the corner!

  48. HI Jen, I'm not you and I'm not a parent but please don't overlook the idea of short-term medication. There are some of us who are on antidepressants for the rest of our lives. It REALLY doesn't take you away from the world. Rather it lets you deal with your problems and get on living.

    You should read this post from dooce. I t may let you look at the idea in a different way.

    Either way remember you're raising 4 kids under 4 with only Charlie for help. You're probably feeling just the tinsyist burn-out. Take care of yourself.

  49. Jen thank you for being so honest. I think a lot of us have the feeling of being overwhelmed but few of us are so honest with our feelings. Your honesty gives me hope. I won't presume to give you advise but just know that you are in my prayers. Remember to take care of yourself therefore you will be taking care of everyone.

  50. Dear Jen

    I am sending you love and support all the way from here.

    I know there is nothing I can say that will help so I am sending you a prayer and positive vibes.

    Thinking of you

    Jen in Jakarta

  51. (((((jen))))

    although i never have had triplets and a newborn, i do understand the overwhelmedness of it all.

    i'm glad you are feeling better after that horror and that you and charlie are making plans to do something to change things. be kind to yourself in the meantime.


  52. I love the raw emotion you put into your blog posts. You are an inspiration. When I have children one day, I hope I'm half the mother you are.

    Even though you have moments of break down, you are honest and at least you do voice your frustrations, even if you had to yell them. At least you can admit, "motherhood is hard! It's hard to do this alone!", instead of letting the emotions fester inside until the breaking point is one of those scary moments in which you do something you truly regret - something much worse than just screaming.

    Reading your blog helps me to better understand motherhood. I am someone who LOVES children, and who wants a whole house-full - I find it empowering and amazing to hear the ups and the downs of motherhood in such a true and honest manner. These are the moments that not everyone discloses to you when you are preparing to have children. But these are the very moments one needs to prepare for and know are "normal" (just so that when these moments happen, we can feel comfort in knowing that other mothers feel the very same way).

    Thank you so much for sharing with us so fully. I really appreciate the glimpse into TRUE mothering that you provide. (Of course, maybe I won't personally have triplets AND an infant to deal with, that might make SOME difference! haha). :-)

    BIG HUGS! You're an amazing parent, you'll figure it out and you'll make it through perfectly A-okay! :-D

  53. Jen- I am delurking to tell you how much I admire your honesty. I found your journal a couple of months ago and have devoured your archives, and check your blog first every day. I have almost 4-year-old twins and I relate to so many of your stories. I have no assvice or comments - only that I admire you so much - your honesty, your humor, your ability to write so well. I am so sorry that you got to such a breaking point, and I hope that you continue to feel better and more in control. I remember during the first difficult newborn months I used to sit on my couch and look out the window, wondering how I could warn everyone (and I mean everyone - in the whole world) not to have kids. That it just wasn't worth it. I just couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. And the guilt of feeling that way - after 4 years of trying and IUI's and IVF, etc. Ugh.

    Anyway - I am sending you my best wishes. You are a special person and your writing has made a difference in my life. Take care,


  54. Sending prayers to you for peace and happiness. You're a great mom and you'll make the right decision for your family. As they always say, a happy mom makes a happy family!

  55. You are nothing like those who have done the unthinkable to their children and you know that I speak of first hand knowledge of those who have! They had a lot more going on in their lives.

    You will be fine and this to shall pass even though you are at a point where you don't know where to turn and feel the walls closing in. I too have felt "demon mommy" come out and felt like I had stepped outside of my own body.

    We are both lucky in the fact that we have loving husbands who would do anything for their families. Keep your eye on God and he will see you through this.

    So what if you need a little time to yourself.........everyone needs a little me time and mental break. Don't fret over that! Just do what feels right for you!

    I also understand the being medicated thing, but you would be surprised at the number of people that do take something, even for a little while to level out their hormones. I've had to be on Zoloft and now Lexapro plus Ambien due to all of the stress, financial struggles, medical issues w/Kyle, etc. that I couldn't handle it nor could I sleep for not being to let go of anything when I went to sleep at night and finally got to a very much sleep diprived state.

    Know that you are very loved and respected for all that you do.......our supermom! You're in our thoughts and prayers.

  56. One of many cuzzins!1/13/08, 7:45 PM

    Jen, Jen, Jen...
    It's about've finally started acting like the rest of us!!!

    When mine were toddlers, I had a little bathroom, maybe 4x4 feet, where I could straddle the toilet and stretch each of my clenched fists out to touch a wall on either side of me. Very methodically I would count to ten. Then, I'd take a deep breath and count to ten again. I continued to do this until I felt rational and stable enough to go out and face the little beasts and take control of them... Them, my beloved offspring.

    Your incident is more normal than you may think. I am no psychiatrist, but any HONEST mother will tell you that they too have had moments when they felt hopeless and volatile. You had the ability to remove yourself from the situation and also the sense to tell your husband that things aren't as wonderful as he may think. Don't be hard on yourself. You are a good mother. You are always there for them. ALWAYS.. and will continue to be...whether you are with them, or at work, or away for the weekend with your husband. You are their one and only nanny, no preschool teacher, no daycare provider can ever take that away from you. You are their mother and they completely adore, love, trust, admire and respect you. Well, maybe respect is going a little too far!

    The point is, you are the best mother you can be. You are doing it everyday... with every breath you take in. You are going to hit bumps in the road...some bigger than others. When you are thrown those curve've gotta duck...or a broom closet or tiny bathroom. You've gotta do whatever you can to protect yourself and those little darlings who are making you nucking futs. Yes! I said that!

    Keep up the you do as a mother. You are super at it. Please do us all a favor and go away with your husband. But, don't come home with a bun in the oven! Wait until next year's meltdown for that.

    As for your mother's phonecall...what did you expect? Those Coleman's just don't do well with that warm & fuzzy advice sort of stuff. But, the TiVo, good attempt Charlie!

    I am praying for you all...cuz, ya need em!


  57. I think it is great that you can write that you have had enough, even if it was a short lived meltdown. While I do not have triplets, I do have three kids and some days are very overwhelming. I personally go to a counselor every other week for what I call my hour to cry and I found that time to be so revitalizing to get back to the business of motherhood. I think all of us as mother's have our weeks or days that just seem to be too much. Take Care from a fan of your blog.

  58. When my kids were small and I desperately needed help with them, I hired homeschooled teenaged girls. They are the absolute BEST at babysitting, housecleaning, etc. Many of them have helped with younger siblings, so they are often very experienced! Sometimes their mother will let them come during the morning or early afternoon, too, because many consider service to others an important part of homeschooling. My favorite sitter of all time was only 12 years old, and I left her with my 2 year old and baby. You could even hire sisters to help you out!

    To get in touch with homeschoolers, you could contact local churches (try Baptist or Bible churches) or the local homeschooling support group.

    I'll bet if you get some help, you will feel like a different person! When mine were little (and I only had 2 close in age), just having someone stay with them for an hour so I could drive around town or walk through the mall did wonders for me!

    Please don't feel like you aren't a successful mom if you get help with your kids, house, etc. I felt like that at times, but when I realized what a difference it made to have a break, help with housework, etc., I realized I was a better mom.

    You're in my prayers,
    Pam Means

  59. your favorite sis1/13/08, 8:42 PM

    Oh dear Jen. I am so sorry that you have been struggling. I am AMAZED at what a wonderful mother and wife you are. I am blessed to have you as a friend. Be good to yourself. Let me know a good weekend for you and I will come eout so you and Charlie can have your weekend together. I love you!

  60. Jen, you need to call your doctor first thing in the morning. It sounds like you have a textbook case of postpartum depression. It WILL get better once you ask for and get some help. Hang in there! And make sure you get in to see your doctor right away.

    Sending you all best wishes.

  61. I am so sorry you had a breakdown. I had several of those and one where my dh stayed home for a couple days. It wasn't because I would hurt anyone or myself but I was just so overwhelmed and feelings of anxiety and he wanted to be there to help. I also had post-partum depression but at the time I didn't know it was called that. I went to my midwife in tears and she just said "sweetie do you want to be on something" and so I just took her prescription and after a few days I stopped it and threw it away. I just needed time and calmness and peace. I prayed, read the Bible (verses that were encouraging and inspirational) had support from family and friends and I made it through. I only have 2 boys, two years apart and I am sahm mom too. They don't go to daycare or preschool. I feel the same as you that I want to be the one to teach them to write and read and use glue, scissors, string and hole punchers (which they know how to use thanks to me :)). Anyway, my point is that it's so normal and OK and I know you know that but wanted you to hear it again. Thanks for being so honest about what happened. I had a bad day today and dh was out with work, meetings with family and more work and so I didn't get a break for 7 days straight.

  62. I'm not sure what the "right" thing to say is, but I did want to say something.

    Hang in there. I'm glad that you have found a few ways that are making your day better and hopefully easier. I'll be sure to say a prayer for you tonight.

    Oh and we ALL have breakdowns. Some big, some small, but don't ever feel like you are alone with those feelings.

  63. Hi Jenn,
    I am a regular reader of your blog and think that you, your husband and all 4 of your children are absolutely amazing. Your posts are usually about the fun and chaotic times you have with your family and I admire the fact that you had the courage to write about something so serious as this. I just wanted to say that you guys are doing a great job! You've taken the first step in admitting that all your days are not picture perfect and that you need to get "help" in some form. I wish you all the best and will definitely keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. You can and will get through this.

  64. I am so sorry to hear that you had a breakdown (actually a bit shocked as you are always so cheerful and down to earth). I am also glad to hear that you are better now. Hang in there! The situation will get better as the children get older.

  65. {{{{{{{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}}}

    That's all. Just Hugs.

  66. Uh, Jen? Guess where I've been for a month? Melting down. :) I have no good tips, no advice, nothing. Except to tell you that you are normal. And that I hear you and feel for you!

    And is it OK that I'm laughing about the TiVo for your mom? With the sense of humor and the husband you have, you are going to be fine!

  67. No words feel right to say Jen, but I'm glad this week has been better and thank God you have Charlie there to support you. And thank God you spoke up and let Charlie know you needed help. Thinking of you...

  68. Hi Jen,
    As a fan of you and your blog I'm going to sing you some praise, because I think you need it. I think you are taking yourself for granted far too much and just wanted to point out a few positive things that have nothing to do with cleaning, cooking or maintaining order in a house full of children.
    You are an intelligent, funny, articulate, creative person and should be so proud of that. Those are natural traits that you are born with and give you much more worth than scrubbing floors will ever do...
    I know you are looking forward to you kids growing up a little, but they have even more to look forward to. Some day they will realize their good fortune in having you as a mom, when they get to see you as a person and not just a provider of service.
    Just make sure they don't tire you out completely before they reach the maturity to fully appreciate your true strength and value.
    I think we often make mistakes today, when women educate themselves just as men do and flourish in a job they choose for themselves. The mistake is thinking we can just throw our professional identity away and become "mothers",interacting only with non-verbal beings and tired-out husbands at the end of the day. True, most of us want to become mothers and be everything for our kids, but a part of us will always suffer and hunger for the "grown-up" world.
    I have 3 boys 9y-5y and 4m. I love them all dearly and they are my life, but we would all go crazy if I were to stay at home longer than my maternety leave allows. The daycare my older ones went to (at two years of age) has provided me with so much "ammo" in dealing with toddlers I wouldn't have missed it for anything. They were my allies and did my boys the world of good.
    Greetings from a fan in Iceland.

  69. Hi again, Iceland calling.
    As if I hadn't already made a far-too-long comment, I want to tell you a story:
    Some 20 years ago, a fishing ship sank off the coast of Iceland. It was the middle of the night, dark, the weather was bad, the sea of course cold and there was only one survivor.
    When he found himself in the cold water, abandoned and alone, he did the only thing possible (besides drowning)- he swam. Amazingly, he reached shore, having covered several kilometers. After swimming around, looking for a safe place to reach the rocky shore (with the least surf) he found himself in a desolate lava field, wet and cold, with no shoes. He then proceeded to walk towards the only light he could see, across the jagged lava on his bare frostbitten feet, until he found a house and knocked on the door for help.
    This man is a living legend,to noones surprise. Having survived this terrible ordeal he was taken into laboratories and studied, in an attempt to find out how his body (and soul) could have survived this amazing feat. How could this have been humanly possible?
    Now, my question to you is:
    Why haven't scientists come knocking on your door to study your amazingly resilient body and soul?
    Why do we take for granted that a woman should keep not only herself, but four other human beings alive,happy and thriving with only her own supplies of energy and nutrition, in an extremely difficult and taxing situation?
    Why don't we ask how THAT is humanly possible?

  70. Been there; Done that! Those darn hormones! Geez...I mean you just had a baby,(only 6 months ago!) your house was surround by San Diego fires, (a little scary to say the least) you've had company, (enjoyable but stressful) and Christmas!!...mmmm... what else should we add to this list? We've all been there even w/out triplets! Treat yourself to a double layer chocolate cake and don't share with anyone!! You are a great mother and your doing a super job. Hang in there kiddo.

    Sending lots of love, hugs, and prayers your way (wishing I could be there to help). Love ya all. Love, Marg.

  71. I'm sorry Jen. I've been there too. From your posts, you are a wonderful wife and mother to all 4 of your babies. I don't know what advice to offer, if any. I have a girl who comes on Wednesdays from 5:30am til 3:30pm. I get to sleep in, lie in bed for a while and then I leave for 8 hours. By Tuesday night, I feel ready to scream and leave them in the house by themselves. By Wednesday afternoon, I feel ready to see my beautiful triplets again.

    I know you don't need to hear everyone's stories, but take what you need from them and spit out the rest.

    Charlie sounds wonderful. I hope that the two of you are able to get away and just be a couple again for a little while.

  72. PS About the double layer chocolate cake.... Make sure Someone else bakes it and serves it to you! Also don't sit anywhere near the kitchen!!!!! (One of the best rules of going out to a restuarant) Trust me this experience is better alone -- just savor each bite! ;-)
    Love, Marg

  73. You are amazing. Really in truly. I have known of you since the 'Resovle' days and I continue to read your blog daily (it's my daily dose of inspiration...I mean if you can do it with triplets and a baby I can certainly do it with twins). And quite honestly I NEEDED this post today. Thank you for being so honest and allowing us all to feel 'normal' even in situations of abnormalcy.

  74. Jen, I called in the reinforcements for you from Rubber Ducky. Your feelings are TOTALLY normal, especially at this time of the year. Funny because I was feeling a lot of the same pressures you were feeling on a smaller scale I am sure since I only have 2. I actually talked to my DR about it and he suggested a homeopathic remedy called Sam-e. You might want to look into it. I have been meaning to follow up w/ you on the VeMMA too. I think you would really see a difference in your energy and overall health. Hope things start looking up for you. Let me know if there is anything I can do. You know I am only a short drive away.

    Got VeMMA?
    ***VeMMA*** is Vitamins, Essential Minerals, *Mangosteen* & Aloe

    anything else is just JUICE.

  75. Wow! I have only looked at your blog once or twice, but what an amazing revelation! Thank you for being brave enough to share it. I think lots of moms have been where you are, but few will admit it!

  76. Thanks for your honesty. I was in tears reading this last blog, becuase, as a mother, I feel the same many times. I don't feel like it's unnatural at all. I am a mother of one 3 yr old boy and a 5 month old and cannot imagine having 2 more 3 yr olds in addition to what I have and all that entails.

    Even though we sometimes feel depressed and "beaten" from our kids, I don't think that makes us bad mothers. We want the best for our children, of course. I admire you for the hard work you put in day in and day out for your kids and husband. You have an awesome husband, willing to stay home with you to help. My husband sometimes does the same, when he knows I need it.

    My prayers are with you. Thanks for your honesty and how you have talked about something that it seems no one wants to talk about but is such a real part of so many of our lives.

  77. Jen, I have been a lurker of yours for over a year now. I have 13 year old twins and I remember what it was like. When they were 3, their Dad was away for 7 1/2 months for work. I empathize with your breakdown because I had one, too. However, my husband wasn't around to help out. I had no one. I, too, wanted to be there for my kids in every respect and teach them everything. I didn't want to leave their care to anyone else...ever. However, I finally caved and popped them into a preschool. It was only 3 hours, 3 times a week, but it saved my sanity.

    You know what else? It did the children a world a good. The teachers at the preschool were wonderful and patient and kind and taught the kids that they must listen to rules or there were consequences. I know I had been trying to teach them the same time, but hearing it from a different adult seemed to help them sink in a bit better. The kids were able to interact with other children and develop friendships and practice their social skills.

    It was awesome and I used those precious 9 hours a week to do housework and read and laundry and gain my sense of self back.

    I wouldn't presume to tell you what to do, but I hope that maybe this will help you in some way. :)

  78. Jen, although I'm a grandma now and can't really 'relate' to what you are going through, I love to read about your adventures.
    I was so sorry to hear about your meltdown and hope that things will turn around and keep looking up for you.
    I also felt for your poor mother. I'm sure she didn't realize how serious your situation was or she wouldn't have put you off.
    Good luck.

  79. Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt blog. I have four children (although all different ages) and I too have had the occasional time when I can see how parents do something that they later very much regret. At those times, all I can think is, "There but for the Grace of God, go I." I have never had 3-year old triplets, but I have had 4 three-year-olds (actually still have one), and I can promise that it really does get better!

  80. Oh hon, I think many of us can relate very well. It sounds as if you and your dh are seriously looking into what will improve things, so kuddos to both of you.

  81. Hugs to you! I am sorry that life seems so hard right now. Three at Three is tough in and of itself let alone adding a baby to the mix! You have tons of support online 75 comments is not bad!!! Hang in there life will get easier. Oh and by the way...TIVO is AWESOME so look into for your mom but also for yourself!
    Thanks for being so "real" and sharing your experiences with all of us.

  82. The commenter who recommended you re-read (or rather re-watch) your post from February 26, 2007 was smart. My boys have been watching this one---and all your other Amazing Trips videos--on YouTube all week. I think they'll want your kids' autographs at the next playdate.

    Chin up, dear friend. A playdate is a-comin'... and a night of decadent desserts with the girls, too! I know I"ll be there with spoon already in hand.


  83. Wow--a Teva for Me--your rotten Mom? That is so funny about me watching Oprah. When you are having a problem, you have to start the conversation by saying HELP---then I will know that you are not calling for small talk and I would be on a plane---you know that---at least I hope you do.
    As for getting finger nails done--I thought that was funny also. See, we have all been where you are now and there is no way out of it. I guess you must go THRU it to know that it will get much better. Besides 3--at one time is a lot of kids. They wore me out when I was out there and I do have some experience.
    From and Opray Fan I have to watch today as it is the perfect and last diet.

  84. Please don't feel badly. I have had this exact same breakdown, and I have only one child. You are a hero. I am a total wuss. :-)

  85. Enough has been said. Still, I couldn't not lurk and not comment...even after 85 .

    Truly, there is nothing like getting it off your chest.I won't offer any advice (I only have twins 18/12 and a 14yr - who I am thankful can help me albeit begrudgingly sometimes.

    My heart goes out to you though you have found a solution.I , too, really needed this post today.
    So thank you for sharing about the last week.In doing so you inspire us all to consider our own situations and do the same (judging by the comments).

    It is "incredibly liberating" to know that everyone else isn't perfect and doesn't have it all together.
    I am in awe that you have talked about something that it seems no one wants to talk about but is such a real part of so many of our lives .To want out of the chaos and to be away from our much longed for children (IVF or not). Depression, breakdowns and meltdowns are nothing to be ashamed of, but the stigma and bias shame us all from asking for help.
    I am sorry about your mother ...your husband is a saint (like mine ...though of course it is always the man who gets to be the hero - because he can step away from the children for hours every day)

  86. HI Jen,
    I keep reading this post because you are so beautifully eloquent and honest. If I lived anywhere near you I'd volunteer to help any way I could. However it appears we live much closer to Charlie's family (Sonoma CO.)


  87. thank you for sharing what we all feel at times...maybe a bloggie makeover WOULD brighten your day!!!

  88. I dont' comment here much but I think I did say in one comment that I have a friend with triplet 2 year old and a 3.5 year old. She was hospitalized once or twice due to high blod pressure that she never had before the triplets. I shared the highlights of your post with her and I know it's nice for her to know she's not alone. She doesn't know anyone else with multiples so I think she apprecaited your post.

  89. Just wanted to chime in and say God bless you. I don't have any answers or easy solutions for you, but for whatever it's worth I'm out here rooting for you.

  90. Jen - you're still my hero!! Even more so now for being so up front and honest about what we are all feeling to some extent!!

    I think that you're an amazing mother! I don't think that you have PPD, but instead 4 children under 4. And A LOT going on ... how could you not?!?!

    And - for the record - I paid that fancy nanny service $1250 to get me someone, she quit after two weeks to become a teacher, they still haven't found a replacement and I'm still on my own!! So don't beat yourself up over not calling them!

    I hope things get better with time!! I'm praying for you :)

    - Carrie

  91. Jen, with this many comments, if you could just put some wild mustangs on here, you'd be as popular as the Pioneer Woman. Charlie could be your stud. Does he own any chaps?

    (Okay, I'm just trying to make you laugh. Hope you are feeling even better today!)

  92. hi jen. once again i read your blog and commented to my husband that we have parallel lives just one year apart. my trips are 4yrs old and i have a 5 yr old.
    year 3 caused me and my husband to endure the exact same things you express so clearly and honestly. i eeked through year 3 with barely an untouched nerve. said and did things i feel guilty for. i too considered medication and preschool. 4months into year 4 and 3 months into 3 day a week preschool i can say that life is leveling out and i am beginning to enjoy my trips in a way unthinkable while in year 3. i think that the attempt at consistent discipline is yielding fruit and preschool gives me room to catch my breath and has given the trips wonderful new experiences that have helped them become a little more independent. i don't wish i'd sent them before now, but i do wish i had allowed my expectations of the state of my home to be lowered because you cannot keep all the balls juggled at home and with them, friends and husband. it is enough if you have nurtured them , respected your husband and taken care of yourself i.e. tried to get enough sleep to do it all over again tomorrow. it also helps to get house cleaning help if possible. letting go of your housekeeping standards for a time is sometimes easier than letting someone else care for your children before you're ready. whether that be a preschool or nanny. one of the positives that emerged from such a difficult year was the opportunity to teach my children that i am a sinner too and to ask their forgiveness when i sinned against them in my speech or actions.
    god will give you grace, not because you are capable of this taskbut because He is capable of it through you. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. god bless you.

  93. I understand where you are coming from. I can't even imagine what it must be like to take care of four children day after day (I only have one - she will be 2 in April). I stayed home with her up until this past September. We were against daycare, but decided since she was 1 1/2, it might actually be ok to do. So, I went back to work part time, my baby went to daycare from 8 - 11:30 a.m., then she came home to be with her daddy (he works 1 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.). Working part time and being a stay at home mom part time was the PERFECT balance for me! I'm going back to work almost full time, but I have requested Wednesdays off, so that will break the week up into two parts, with a nice day off in the middle. I hope you and your family can reach the balance that YOU need! Take care!

  94. Jen, Your post almost moved me to tears. Taking care of a baby is a lot of work and life changing, but taking care of triplets puts it into a whole different category... taking care of three year old triplets and an infant... that is a category beyond my comprehension. I have read your blog for awhile and I am impressed not only with your storytelling abilities, but also with how you handle life. This feeling will pass. Have faith. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there! Kelley

  95. Sorry Jen. {{{hugs}}} For what it's worth i think anyone with four kids three and under would be feeling super stressed! I personally gave up being super mom a long time ago and now try and do good enough..and it's okay. Although I try for moments of super here and there.
    I hope you find something that will work for your family and i am happy that you have Charlie, he sounds awesome. And, lastly, I admire your cheerfulness and your kids look loved and awesome and well taken care of so you are doing a lot right~!

  96. Jen,

    Thanks so much for your honesty. I have had some pretty dark moments myself. Sending hugs and hoping things get better soon.


  97. I've been reading this post over and over...wanting to say something, but I guess feeling that since I don't have children of my own, I'm not allowed to say anything. Anyway, I keep remembering when I worked at a daycare in college with the three year olds, all by myself. And while I only had them for no more than 8 hours a day, I often felt like I was completely out of my mind not knowing what to do. That's just 8 hours...WITH a lunch break;), so I just can't imagine...

    But I did find in my case, it always seemed easier to have another person there...even if they were clueless and no help AT ALL, it made it seem like all was not hopeless just to have someone to experience it with me... My sanity stayed intact having another adult around. Does that make sense? But I certainly know that obtaining said adult is easier said than done!

    And big hugs to you, Jen. You deserve them in abundance.

  98. :(( I hope everything gonna be OK.

  99. Don't really know what to say other than I just want you to know that I am thinking about you and sending you positive thoughts. Hang in there.

    Tracy B

  100. Dear Jen:
    I totally understand you!
    When I had Katie (9 months ago)it was a stressful time for me: I was by myself in a diferent country and not only my freinds were away, but my mom could not come for the delivery because she was scared (I kid you not) of a 3 hour flight!...
    I could not enjoy Katie because I was overwhelmed the whole time, and this made me feel sooo guilty, because we waited for so long to have her here, so this made me even more upset...
    My blood presure skyrocketed and my mom was afraid I was going to have a stroke!...
    My Dr. prescribed Zoloft (after I cried like a child in his office!) and here I am now...What the pill does: it makes me capable of saying (and feeling!) that "it is OK"...
    OK if Katie cries a little before I get to her in order to finish a meal or vacumming, OK to see dishes in the sink and not cry about it, OK to know and accept that my imperfect home is just perfect...No worries...Take a chill pill!...LOL!
    Seriously, there is nothing wrong in taking a medicine to make you better, like I told my husband: if I had a cold I would take somo dayquil, if I had cancer, you would want me to take quimo right?...So for this quimical imbalance in my brain that makes me be anguished all the time, I take a little pill that allows me to enjoy my 4 year old as he plays with pirates on the living room floor, my Katie more interested in chewing on a new toy rather than playing with it and not feeling guilty about spending this minute with you, even if there is some laundry to be done...
    My prayers are with you, I hope you find your "IT'S OK" sulution...
    Karla =)

  101. Wow. I so appreciate you sharing this. I'm glad to hear things are better now.

    I've been through this myself, tried the medication route, tried a lot of things. I still somewhat dread long school breaks...and beat myself up for it because the truth is I LOVE to be with them. It is SO overwhelming at times!

    I admire you so much for knowing when to put your foot down and admit you couldn't do it! That's awesome! Hang in there! :)

  102. Hello, Jen. Could not comment earlier as I was going through a crisis or two of my own.

    You are an amazing and wonderful Mom. I read your blog regularly. Managing 1 3-year-old is difficult; you are doing it x3 and looking after an infant too.

    I am happy that you are doing better, from your more recent posts.

    You are not alone; I have gone through similar moments. I have a very demanding 4-year old and a placid 1- year old who can have her moments of contrariness and a husband who sometimes understands but sometimes doesn't have a clue to what I may be going through.

    I have drawn inspiration from the way you manage your toddlers (so well too!); in fact a few days ago when I was wondering ungratefully why I ever wanted to have kids (God forgive me), I came and looked at your blog. Seeing how you cheerfully looked after your energetic children made me ashamed of how I was thinking, and I resolved to be better!

    I hope you are able to find a helpful pair of hands; and that was a smart choice - reducing the internet time - it makes a difference, for sure.

    Best of luck for the future!

  103. Jen, you continue to amaze me. I don't know how you accomplish even half of what you do, day after day. You and Charlie are in a very difficult stage of life right now.

    I want to recommend a book I've just heard about called "Parent Burnout" by Procaccini and Kiefaber (1987). I imagine you would feel validated in the challenges you face while reading this book. And it might have some tips on coping with the long-term stresses of parenting. I plan to get the book myself from our library.

    I love your blog. I'm praying for small and big changes that will give you and Charlie more time and relaxation.


  104. Oh good lord!! The only thing that surprises me is that you've gone this long WITHOUT having a meltdown! Any FT mom with multiples has been in this position, myself included. Just take a break (I've run screaming into the closet myself too, believe it or not!), take a breath, and go out for drinks with girlfriends to complain about life and put things in perspective: IT'S NOT JUST YOU!!! Why do you think so many people come to this site...because everyone wants to know they are not the only moms who can't deal, who are overwhelmed, whose kids are screaming banshees.

    Ten years go by quickly, and then they won't want anything to do with us. Until then, cherish the happy moments as much as possible, and forgive yourself for the temporary insanities.

  105. What's wrong with taking medication? If you had diabetes or high blood pressure, you'd take medicine, right? Having a mental illness like post-partum depression is a physical imbalance that can be corrected with the right medicine and therapy.

  106. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your blog today. I have never read it before. I was actually googling absolute best trips for kids and found your blog. This one really hit home and made me feel like I'm not alone. I am impressed with your openess because it is very very hard to admit to anyone that you are afraid you will hurt your child for fear of how it will be taken. I think because inside you know you truly would never want to hurt your child. It just gets so very overwhelming sometimes. I was there just the other day. Luck for us every day is a new day. I wish you the best!!