A ‘mom scream’ invites pandemic-stressed parents to let it all out

▶ Watch Video: Two years into the pandemic, many moms resort to screaming

On a bitter cold Sunday morning just outside New York City, a group of women – all moms, many strangers to one another – gathered for their very first group scream.

Jessica Kline, the publisher of Macaroni KID Clifton-Montclair, organized the mom screaming event in her community, an opportunity for parents to come together to vent.

Two years of a pandemic, burdened with the stresses of childcare, school disruptions and new variants, have left many parents drained. A new CBS News poll finds nearly half of parents report feeling exhausted or frustrated.

Kline told correspondent Meg Oliver that over the last two years, she’s often felt overwhelmed and isolated. When the pandemic started, she had three children under the age of six at home. “My house felt narrow; I felt like the walls were caving in on me,” she said. “And I just felt like there was no place to go.

“I had a six-month-old on my hip, I had a four-year-old, and a six-year-old who was in kindergarten, so nobody was in school. And keeping them entertained throughout the day, while changing diapers and nursing, was insane.”

Nearly 40 percent of moms responding to a recent Kuli Kuli survey reported they are experiencing a negative impact on their physical and mental health, and many working moms said it’s difficult to balance their children and jobs. Around half had to leave or downshift their careers during the pandemic.

As the women gathered on this day in Verona Park, in Verona, N.J., pent-up emotions poured out.

One mother said, “I feel really guilty, and I don’t know the right thing to do a lot of the time.”

Another said, “I just work, and my daughter – I have no time for me.”

One woman said, “I am grateful for this opportunity, but even though it’s a very unique opportunity, it doesn’t take away from how lonely it can be.”

“Damn, I feel like I work so hard all the time and I’m not getting anywhere,” another laughed.

Finally, the time had come to let it out.

“Three, two, one … ”


Moms gather in a park in Verona, N.J., to let it all hang out (CBS News).

Oliver joined in for round two:

Oliver joined in for round two of the moms screaming in a New Jersey park: (CBS News).

Oliver asked Kline how it felt after she let out her first scream.

“It was just such a sense of relief, and also to be away from my kids for a little while!” she laughed. “I love them dearly, and, you know, I want them to know that. But it is nice to just be able to go and be in a community of moms.”

Psychologist Lisa Damour, a CBS News contributor, said these screaming events can be a healthy way to express and release emotion.

“It’s safe. It offers relief. And now these very tired and very overwhelmed parents know they’re not alone,” she said.

“February’s always a hard time of year in family life. It’s the armpit of the school year. Under normal conditions, this is a hard time of year. These conditions, plus two years of a pandemic, is extraordinarily difficult.”

Damour said every parent reaches a point of frustration and exhaustion, but there is a lot of shame surrounding that.

She told “CBS Mornings” it’s important to talk about the uglier sides of parenthood, to make parents feel less alone and ashamed.

Kline hopes this is just the beginning of mom gatherings in her community. She said, “I hope that moms walked away with a sense of self-care, even if it’s just for a little bit, and a positive memory that they can bring with them after this entire chaos.”

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