8/2/09

Motherhood: A few ways to cope.

One of the greatest things I learned as a young mother was that many of my failures were caused by moi. Yes, I worked myself up all by myself. You see, I made To-DO lists that were unrealistic. I set goals that really... were not as important as keeping myself sane or calm enough to deal with my kids. Closets didn't need to be cleared out in 1 day... No one MADE me handmake Christmas cards and send them to 100 people, and the dusting police really don't show up with white gloves to swipe your mantle! (Gasp! Hand on chest- Really?)
I realize there are a lot of moms out there who sit with your 1, 2, or 3 kids and think, "There is no way I could have another one." Or, you may think, "How do I DO it?"
Here are a few simple ideas from a mom who knows... who has hit the wall dizzy and learned there must be another way.
  1. Ask for help. Don't expect hubby or anyone else to guess when you're at the end of your rope. I had a grand wave of depression after my 5th daughter and knew that for my sanity and her safety my husband needed to know where I was emotionally and mentally. He (and God) helped me work through those tough moments.
  2. Learn to Let Go: For you clean type A control mommies (no offense... because I LOVE you all and want your focus and drive!) this one is hard... really hard! There is only so much you can control at the couch in a feeding session. Barking orders at your toddlers from across the room makes you nuts and your kids distant. If food gets on the carpet or a simple house rule is broken... it won't wreck the kid for life. Baby #4 is when I began to realize that some rules are worth having and others are just too hard for me to enforce. Sometimes these rules run our lives and impede the family relationships we could be building in the early childhood years. Sometimes unruly kids need a hug and a few minutes of quality time... however undeserving. Forcing myself to take time with the household tyrant often is the best moment of the day and resets both of our moods.
  3. Exercise: Stress triggers plenty of chemicals that wreak havoc in your body. These Fight or Flight reactions are normal and purposeful... back in the cave man days you'd fight a bear to keep those kiddos safe. Now days when stress builds up the only bear is US! Personally speaking, if I don't run it off (Flight) then I take my broom stick out of the closet and fly around the house cackling and spreading my anger to others (Fight). Exercise helps burn off those stress juices.
  4. Be forgiving: Don't judge yourself too harshly. You're not a terrible mom. You're a tired one... and a busy mom. If company comes and you don't get those floors cleaned... it's okay! If the laundry sits piled on your floor for a week... well, maybe you were doing things that were eternally more important than laundry (I could make an eternally long list of those important things.) God only requires you to do your best... he makes up the rest after that:)
  5. Be of Good Cheer: Faith, Hope, Optimism, and Prayer are essential tools. I used to think I knew all about parenting, until I became one. Now with 6, I am convinced that I have no clue what I'm doing and that I need to guided on this journey by God. He knows ME, HE knows my KIDS, and HE can direct me in my hour of need better than any book or saged scholar.
  6. Head for the local Barnes and Noble: I can no longer count the spontaneous 9pm trips I've taken to Barnes and Noble with a friend. We get dessert (chocolate in all forms) and talk out the crazies of the day; sometimes we just sit in silence and read, other times we crack open a decor book and dream and share ideas... and on some occasions I go alone (because I'm not so fun to be with when I'm grumpy). These "little vacations" are ways to let the stress go, to talk yourself sane with a friend, and to reset so you can return home and be the best mommy in the morning.

I love what I do and I'm so glad to share it with such a wide audience all over the world. Every day you women amaze me. What a grand design God has in you! Thank you for your sweet emails and comments! I {heart} you all!

16 comments:

Kathy said...

Thank you. I needed those reminders :)

Renata said...

Thanks - I had one of those "bear" days - I needed to read this!

mrsgarageflower said...

Thank you for being real. It's one of the reasons I love your blog.

The Hopkins Home said...

Wonderful post! I truly believe in the exercise thing too and I loved the witch with a broomstick analogy! :) I believe that prayer is our best tool as well. Thanks for these reminders.

Chinamama4 said...

I'm new to your blog, and this post was just great! Love your perspective!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

What a fantastic post!! I have had way too many witch days lately. Good reminders today. :)

Beverly said...

Thanks--I'm sending this to my daughter--very pregnant with baby #3.

Amara said...

I loved this post -- Although from the title I expected it to be a long list of good chocolate varieties! I need to let go more, and trust Heavenly Father to make up for what I can't --literally can't do.

dawn said...

Great post! I have two kids and they are older, so I am not in the midst of it all like some of you are...but honestly, I find my expectations of them and myself just go up. Thanks for this.

lkjatl said...

What a great reminder! And "I" NEEDED it today. One starts volleyball tryouts today that run all week (she starts school next week), and the other is having a tonsilectomy tomorrow...so mom "should have" had her ducks in a row before now, but it just didn't happen, BUT it's OKAY! (I wouldn't have said that years ago). A dear friend lost a child awhile back, and one Mother's Day she gave a sermom at church...I vividly remember her saying, "the dirty dishes could wait, the dust could gather, and I'm glad I let it because unbeknownst to me at the time that would be the very short time I would have with my son"...pretty powerful. Hug your kids, the dust can wait!

Myrnie said...

You hit the nail on the head :) I was thinking this morning about a "women's conference" broadcast in September (LDS Relief Society broadcast)and how I wished it was September already so I could go and hear and be uplifted. Thanks for the lift, I needed it!

Sarah said...

Thank you for those reminders.

For me, I often find myself driven to exasperation with my !!2!! kids and wonder how in the world I would handle a 3rd! I really do want a 3rd!

Your post gives me hope that I can handle it.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

I so hear you on the putting pressure on ourself- i used to do the homemade Christmas card, etc. thing until I learned that what was importan was spending time with my family. Great article! =)

Ali said...

OK, I am SO up for a Barnes & Noble 9pm girls nite. Sometimes I do the same thing just to get out of the house, and my only other friend who would do this with me has moved to CO! Add my to your list of girlfriends to call at 8:50pm for a spontaneous outing. It would be fun to catch up!

Ali T.

Krys said...

Thank you for your honesty. It's always so nice to know you're not alone and that others share the difficult days and can relate (and live through them ;) These days bring us closer to Him and help us grow in so many ways.

Jenna said...

What an AMAZING post!!! I wish that I could have internalized these messages 15-1/2 years ago. I have gotten more laid-back but still have my definite witchy-moments. Love the broom analogy especially.

 
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