When Anxiety Strikes Your Fruit Bowl

I’m typically an easy going person. I try not to raise my voice above speaking level. I volunteer occasionally.  I’m tolerant and understanding. I am, for the most part, level-headed and kind. But every person has her breaking point and, well, mine was the stupid fruit bowl.

It wasn’t an extraordinary day, by any stretch of the imagination. My one-year-old was teething, AKA not sleeping and mostly just screaming bloody murder. I skipped my shower when she skipped her nap. Then I opted for extra caffeine as I consoled her, which, in hindsight, was probably not the best idea.

When my five-year-old came home from school, we struggled to complete her homework. She would scribble and erase, scribble and erase until her letters were just how she wanted, making my blood bang furiously on my eardrums. All the while, I had a red-faced baby cradling my my left hip, as I tried to simultaneously throw a meal together. I could feel the lump in my throat getting bigger with each breath. Tears were brimming my eyelids and my hands starting to tingle. My anxiety was in full blown attack mode and I was on the defensive.

With homework finally finished, I served up my half-assed dinner at the kitchen bar, so we could eat. I opened a craft beer, savoring its bitterness as it touched the back of my throat. It was cold and delicious. Silently, I prayed for my heart rate to slow down, so I could enjoy quality time with my kids. I didn’t want the day to get any worse.

Almost immediately, my oldest started playing with something in front of her, a pencil, a stray gem from our jewelry making supplies, I don’t remember. Whatever it was, I took it away.

My prayers weren’t answered.

“Eat your dinner,” I said. I could hear the lack of patience seething out of my voice.  I checked out, done adulting for the day.  She didn’t listen. Instead, she picked up her fork and started tapping it on the fruit bowl.

Ding!  Ding, ding! Ding, ding, ding, ding!

She was willing to do whatever it took to get attention: good or bad, it’s all the same to kids.  I should’ve realized what she was doing, but my head was too clouded from exhaustion and anxiety.

“Enough,” I said through gritted teeth as the baby hurled a half-eaten nugget across the room.  “Please eat your dinner.  And no throwing your food,” My youngest swept her arm across her highchair tray, sending peas flying everywhere.  My five-year-old giggled and I snapped my head back in her direction.  “Your dinner,” I pointed my fork at her plate of food.  I took a deep breath, in through my nose and out my mouth.  I needed a moment, just one single moment, to-.


My peripheral vision went blurry and my hands started sweating.  Suddenly the only thing that my mind could comprehend was the fruit bowl and how much it always got in the way. I hated how gray it was. I hated how the bananas always bruised from touching the rough edges.  I couldn’t stand how it sounded as the fork gently tapped against it.  My teeth were grinding back and forth as I thought about how the events of the day had led me there, to the fruit bowl.

I needed that stupid bowl GONE.

Without any more thought, I picked it up and threw it on the cork floor.  Just like that. I thought maybe it would bounce.  

It did not.

The sound of the clay bowl crashing against the floor and separating into hundreds of tiny shards was enough to make all three of us jump.

I thought to myself, what have I done?

I swallowed hard, noticing the symptoms of my anxiety begin to dissipate. I blinked and my vision cleared, my shaking hands were no longer sweating, and the fog started to lift. I turned back to my children, both staring at me with wide-eyed bemusement.

They were frightened by me.

“I’m so sorry, you guys. Mom made a really big mistake.” I lightly kissed the tops of both of their heads, smelling their lavender shampoo.  Calm yourself.  

“Mommy will clean it up,” I assured them.

I grabbed the broom and dustpan, took a deep breath, swallowed my pride, and reminded myself that I’m not perfect. I’m only human and sometimes humans break stuff.

Photo courtesy of Sergey Zolkin


Categories nonfiction, UncategorizedTags , , , , , , , ,

19 thoughts on “When Anxiety Strikes Your Fruit Bowl

  1. Oh! I could feel the tension building up as I read word by word. Yes, Mums are humans and they too lose it at times. Lovely post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Parul! I try to stay present and calm, but that day was tougher than usual. Now I have a fruit basket. Harder to break 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, the way you built tension to the shattering of the bowl was very effective.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I hear ya! Been there so many times with 3! I love how you’ve built tension in this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Hema! Parenting is no joke.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It must be so hard for you to set time aside for writing with two kids! I can’t seem to do anything on some days with one! I really loved the honesty in this post!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s not easy. Most of the time I sacrifice sleep to get it done. Thanks for commenting, Hema!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I felt your anxiety in every single word. Some of my days have ended or started over after a big BOOM!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sometimes it takes a throw-it-on-the-floor moment to get something out of our lives! Nice crescendo up to the crash and gentle come-down as you clean it up.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I was right there with you the whole way! I’ve been known to throw stuff when I get irritated so you did well just dropping it. Haha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whenever I throw stuff, I blame it on being Irish. =)


  6. Been there, done that. Losing it with your kids just means you’re human. It’s never a proud moment though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I cringe just thinking about it. Thanks for commenting!


  7. This essay is brimming with anxiety! Funny how we can transfer so much anger, frustration and annoyance to inanimate objects. The very presence of that fruit bowl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So much yes! I took everything out on that bowl. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been there myself, but in years to come you will all have a chuckle about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. We’ve all been there, they do get easier I swear. Every parent gets these moments however crappy they might be. 🙂 hope you’re feeling better now x


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