I often ask myself, “How can I feel so lonely when surrounded by 3 little people who need and want me constantly?” I also wonder, “Where is that cool, relaxed and well slept spur of the moment woman I used to know? I miss her.” Then I immediately feel guilty. I love being a mommy. I feel so blessed to have 3 beautiful and incredible daughters that I get to raise with my husband. I also am ridiculously blessed that I am able to stay home with my sweet girls and be a full time at home mother. So why do I resent it in some moments? Why do I feel a bit lost in my own home?
I know I am not alone in these thoughts…right? So what do you do to keep afloat in the deep deep waters of raising children?
I have a list of things, my go to list for keeping my life boat afloat. That got me thinking, if I have some tricks I’m sure others do.
So I asked a couple of women, who I personally consider incredible mothers, what they do to stay afloat and remember themselves while constantly serving others in their rolls as mothers. Here are a couple ideas I hope can help us ask those guilt bringing questions a bit less in our crazy days.
I certainly have experienced feelings of drowning in motherhood. Frustration, anxiety, fear, exhaustion… But I have found a powerful, secret—humility. That is a loaded word, but here’s what it means to me: rather than feeling defeated when I find there is yet something else I do not know or cannot do, humility is the excitement and readiness to learn.
Let’s not pretend I don’t fight with all sorts of pride. But even still, humility has saved my life and magnified my motherhood.
So what exactly does this look like? Learning can come about in many different ways. My current favorites are through books and classes. Just over the past couple years I have read books/taken online courses on nutrition, tidying, how to stop worrying, planning, communication, habits, all sorts of parenting tips… The list goes on and on. And the longer it gets, the longer I plan to make it! I am certainly not above looking through the self-help section—I’ll take all the help I can get!
The joy I’ve found in motherhood is greatly related to the humility it has taught me. It feels pretty good to say, “Hey, I’m terrible at ______! Who can help me master it?” And as things come together more and more smoothly, I feel a satisfaction that only comes through hard work.
I realize more each day that motherhood is an art. Is it difficult? Absolutely. But I only feel lost in the chaos. Learning and growing helps me find myself again.
I love this! This is a trick I have used a few times without realizing. Who among us hasn’t googled “How the heck do I get my child to sleep through the night” in a moment of fear…that you may never sleep soundly again? Well this sweet mother has perfected this technique. I felt challenged to think of something that most quickly makes me feel out of control, stressed and not up to the challenge and figure out how to make that weakness stronger.
Right now I almost always feel the most unhappy with myself as a mother and even my role as a mother when I am trying to get all three sloth like children out the door. I hear myself thinking, “I wish my husband had to do this on a daily basis” or “No one knows how incredibly hard this is” or “I am such a terrible mother”. I know a lot of my frustration around this part in my day is about patience, or the lack of. So I recently have spent a lot of time reading about patience. One thing that really hit me was extreme impatience is the idea that my wants are more important than anyone else’s. That made my heart ache, to think that my children might be feeling that mommy thinks she is more important than anyone else. Obviously sometimes we can’t take our time, but often I am just annoyed that someone is trying to pick out the perfect socks so I am left standing around. After doing some studying I now feel I am armed with some techniques or reminders to help me stay cool and calm during a hard part of my day.
As a mom there are days that seem to fill me up to overflowing. These days make it hard to imagine a day that wouldn’t leave me at the end of it feeling like I am the luckiest woman in the world. However, little sleep, tantrums, and not even a few minutes alone to go the bathroom seem to make those “lucky” feelings turn into frustration. There are three things that will always help to change my day around.
1. Exercise. I never thought I would enjoy working out, but once I was pregnant it helped me to feel I was still in control of my body. From there it has grown into my own special time every day. If I have to do it at home to a youtube video and the kids are both crying for me I tell myself that it is important to teach them that my body is valuable to me and I do 25 minutes without letting them interrupt me too much. When I get to go to the gym and let the daycare watch my cuties I always think how grateful I am for a whole hour where they get to interact with other people and toys while I can work on myself. I tend to eat better, feel more energy, and have more of a sense of independence and control the rest of the day.
2. Do some sort of spiritual/personal growth reading and journaling during nap/quiet time every day. A lot of times this only lasts about ten minutes, but it always helps me to have this meditation time. I say a prayer, write 3 things I love about my husband and 3 things I love about my kids/life, and read the Savior. I always feel more gratitude and grace which can turn any day around.
3. Call a sister, mom, or friend on those days that feel never ending and both my kids are disasters. This ALWAYS changes my mood almost immediately. It is so nice to vent to someone who knows EXACTLY what you are feeling. My husband is my best friend, but I hate to vent to him when he gets home because it makes our whole night not as good and he often does not completely understand. I love to use the women in my life to help lift me up.
Isn’t this the truth. Motherhood has moments, hours, days or even weeks where we know we are the most blessed of all people! We have such tender and hysterical moments we get to witness. Then the next moment we are watching a child pee on our carpet with defiance in their eyes and fear in our hearts.
Out of this list I am only diligent at calling a fellow mother and commiserating or sharing my confusion. These phone calls always, at the very least, makes me feel as if I am in good company. I have one friend I know will never judge me for my weaknesses as a mother. I often call her with the worst of the worst and she listens, commiserates…and then often tops my story of horror! Haha! I’m sure she feels the same. We are all in the same rocky boat mamas!
Personal study time! Do any of you mothers do this? This is an area I feel is so important…and yet I never make time for it in my crazy schedule. I know if I wrote one less blog post or spent 10 minutes less on Instagram I would have more time for this! This is a great technique to find yourself in the midst of the selfless service of motherhood.
I have noticed my energy levels are always much better when I do some sort of exercise in the morning. This always shocks me because I am in the midst of the dreaded 4 month regression, getting no sleep, and I never feel like I have energy to spare. But sure enough, if I drag my lazy butt downstairs and get my heart pumping I feel better through out the day!
MORE TO COME:
I have asked a few other mothers their tips and tricks but I thought we should all let these great ideas sink in for a week or so! Then I’ll share some other insights from fellow mommies! So until next time, call a friend, learn a new skill and take a little time for you.