Someone Throw This Momma a Life Raft
Deep breath. Even if things have gone really crappy over this past week, it’s not too late to take a deep breath and start fresh with a positive attitude. You’ve got this, momma. Last week, I introduced this idea that I had about the three phases of motherhood: Thriving, Surviving and Drowning. Take a look at the intro to this idea here. I thought I would tackle the worst first because I have a tendency to be a pessimist and make this is my way of getting this one out of the way first.
Drowning in Motherhood
To drown\\ to overwhelm as to render inaudible. I can easily say I am in this phase at least a few times a month these days. These are the days when you seriously question why you had children in the first place (don’t pretend like you’ve never done that.) You typically gripe about being a momma to your spouse or friends a little bit more on these days. You typically don’t even have the energy to leave the house or tackle new things. You definitely don’t have the urge to pick up toys or even fight with your child over the fact that he/she didn’t clean up the toys. Your house may be a wreck, but you don’t even notice or care.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV
A Day in the Life
Here is what a day in the life might look like to someone who is drowning in motherhood: Your child doesn’t sleep much at all the night before and then wakes up before your alarm goes off. Your child’s answer to everything is “no” (sometimes before you can ask the question.) Listening and obeying doesn’t really happen these days. Discipline doesn’t work and there just aren’t enough tv shows or toys in the world to make your child happy. You forgot to eat lunch and your child may have eaten chips and cookies. It’s clear there’s no nap happening for anyone and these are the days you are texting your spouse starting at around 3:00 in the afternoon asking when they are getting home from work that day. You’ve yelled more than you typically ever yell at your child, and made them cry a few more times than average. These are the days that you usually hand your child to your spouse when they walk in the door and you go climb in bed. There’s no worry about putting on pajamas to sleep in because you never left them that day.
Mommas Who Work Outside the Home
If you work outside of the home, it might be that you’re late to work most days because your kid threw a fit and refused to put on shoes even though it was twenty degrees outside. You were ever so tempted or maybe even gave in to having a glass of wine while out to lunch with your co-workers because at least you felt like an adult for a second. You might get to work all day or you might have to leave early because your kid got sent home from school early AGAIN for hitting someone or throwing up, etc. You don’t even have the energy to yell at them or discipline them or nurse their ailment. You put your child to bed an hour or two early, just so you could get a little extra time curled up in bed crying yourself to sleep.
Do these sound familiar? Does this sound similar to the stage you might be in right now? *Raises hand*
Magic Formula to Survival
I am about to give you the magic formula for moving from the Drowning phase to the Surviving Phase. Ready? There isn’t one. However, I would suggest that you roll over and try to float a little bit. Take more deep breaths. Take more walks. Put yourself first a little bit, in some form or fashion. Start journaling. Start confiding in people. Start asking for help. Start going to counseling. PRAY! Pray HARD! Start listening to your child more. Start hugging your child instead of hugging or screaming (just don’t squeeze too hard). Maybe, before you know it, you will feel less like drowning and more like you are surviving being a mom. One baby step at a time.
How about this for a baby step? Start with journaling. Journal about your mood, your day, the amount of sleep you got, what you ate, what your kids ate, what activities you did and how your kid(s) responded. Track that for two weeks and see if you can see any trends on the really bad days. Consider rating your days and maybe you can see clearly that way what could be causing you to drown. Let me know how it goes.
Hugs to you Momma! You’ve got this and if you don’t “have this” be sure and ask for help. Don’t be too proud. Moms need community and the best way to achieve that is to be real with someone.