Happy Mom, Happy Life – Part 3: Surviving Motherhood

You are three weeks into 2019. How you doing momma? You hanging in there? Have you already yelled at your children more than you planned on in the entire year of 2019? That “being more patient” resolution has flown out the window already, huh?

It’s okay. Give yourself a break. We’ve all been there. I want to continue my thoughts on the phases of motherhood. In my previous posts, I mentioned that there are three phases of motherhood that I want to propose. By proposing these, I am not claiming them as my own ideas – I may have heard them somewhere, I’m honestly not sure – it just sits on repeat in my head most days so I wanted to get them out here.

If you haven’t read the two posts prior to this one, I suggest checking those out first. I explored the idea of the three phases: Drowning, Surviving and Thriving in my first post Happy Mom. Happy Life.

Last week, I explored the Drowning Phase in my post Someone Throw Her a Life Raft.” 

Let’s “dive in” to the next phase.

Surviving Motherhood

To survive\\ to remain or continue in existence or use. That definition is right on. This is where I spend most of my time. You are there, you are present, you are getting things done but BARELY. You are keeping your head above water while holding the life raft in one hand and your kid in the other. You don’t feel super-confident that you are being a great mom, but at least your child is alive and ate three meals today. Your house is generally a wreck and your kids maybe haven’t had a bath in a couple of days (not to mention you might smell and have two days of dry shampoo in your own hair), but again – you are all alive and “continue to exist.”

What a Day of Surviving Might Look Like

Stay-At-Home Mommas

Your child wakes up crying before your alarm even goes off. You bring the child in bed with you and give him the iPad to watch so you can doze for a few more minutes. Once you get him in his high chair you go to try and get your face washed and spray your hair with dry shampoo before he is done with their breakfast and screaming to get down. You are only five minutes late to your appointments for the day and there is food all over your car from when your son decided he didn’t like his snack. The iPad battery is running low from how long your child has been in front of it today and nap time may or may not happen today because your child has so much energy you are seriously considering investing in a child-size hamster wheel for the backyard (these exist here) for him to run off some energy in. You order dinner in or make some sandwiches for the family and go to bed soon after your child does.

Mommas Who Work Outside the House

If you work outside of the house, maybe your day looks like begging your spouse or significant other to leave late for work so you at least have time to shower while your child runs around in circles in the living room screaming for more cereal. You may make it to work/school on time a few days during the week, but even that surprises the teachers and your boss. You count down the hours until your lunch break so you can run a few errands or have lunch with your co-workers and carry on an adult conversation but end up talking about your son the entire meal. You pick up your son with a smile on your face, but are screaming by the time dinner gets delivered (because let’s be real, Postmates is helping moms SURVIVE). You have time to take a bath after your child goes to bed, but fall asleep halfway through and spill your wine in the tub. But, hey, tomorrow is a new day and maybe it will go a little better.

I would like to propose that 90% of moms spend most of their time in this phase. Life changes so fast, children go through so many new phases all the time that you can feel like you are Thriving for a second and then back to Surviving or even Drowning.

Tips to Thrive in Motherhood

It helps when everything goes right in a day – which is very rare. It helps to be rested and planning ahead, but there’s not many moms who have time for either one of those things. It helps to have a “village,” but even they can’t help it when your kid changes what phase of life they are going through and all of a sudden decides the only way to communicate with you is to run around the house naked, spit on you and scream at the top of their lungs.

My suggestion for thriving in Motherhood is to leave your cell phone in another room over the next couple of weeks. When your child is awake, keep the phone away from them and you. No playing games, checking social media, responding to work email – just focus on your child. Focus on what they are saying, doing and what they would like for you to do with them. See if that helps you thrive as a mom. Be sure and let me know how it goes!

Keep your head up, Momma. If you have advice for moms to move beyond just Surviving to Thriving – please share below!

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