7 Tips for When Motherhood Is Relentless
Being a mom is hugely rewarding, right? But oh ¦ motherhood is relentless too!
Whining, up-all-night feedings, lingering illnesses, ongoing discipline issues, endless homework, and all that time in the car — everyday mothering can really drain and deplete us.
And it just ¦ keeps ¦ going. We moms don't get weekend breaks from our more-than-forty-hours-a-week job! How can we deal with the hectic, perpetual pace of raising kids and running a home? Here's how I handle motherhood's relentless pace…
Tip #1: Have a Stopping Point.
True, we can't ever completely take off our mothering hat (unless we magically get transported to a desert island for six weeks or something) but it's important to build in breaks and boundaries.
Establish regular times (and yes, you have to schedule it) where you are not feeding, wiping, carrying, or otherwise taking care of a little person's needs. Yes, I know this is hard to do. Yes, it takes a little creativity and some out of the box thinking.
But here's what's a stake if you don't do it: your anger level, your sanity and maybe even your self-worth.
What can a stopping point look like?
- Making the most of nap times (or encouraging a quiet afternoon play time if your kids are too old to nap.
- Establishing a morning routine where you can spend a few quiet moments to yourself (exercising, reading, praying ”whatever fills you up).
- Taking a 15 minute walk a few times a week (yes even up and down your street if need be).
- A regularly scheduled phone call with a friend (go into the other room and shut the door).
- Regular date nights with your husband or significant other (when you don't talk about the kids!).
- Longer weekend breaks a few times a year, either by yourself (grab an inexpensive local hotel room) or with your husband or a friend.
Tip #2: Keep a 5-Year or 10-Year Perspective.
On the most hectic parenting days where I am worn out and completely frustrated, I play a little math game. You can play it too (I promise it's not painful). Ready?
I simply add 5 or 10 years to my children's ages and think about what life will be like then.
I don't dream about the future in a fantasy sort of way. Those days will have their own unique set of trials and burdens, right? But, instead, I use these thoughts to remind me that my kids won't always be stuck in this same behavioral phase:
- I won't always have kids in diapers.
- My son won't always want me to read him a story and sing him songs at night.
- My older kids won't always be available to run a quick errand with me.
RELATED VIDEO: “Change. Can. Be. Slow.” (subscribe here)
These truths ground me and give me endurance on those days when I am sure that things will never ever change.
Tip #3: Switch It Up!
What do you love doing with your kids? When motherhood seems relentless, it's alright to drop everything and just do something fun with your kids. Play outside, read a good book, bake cookies or even go biking in the park.
True, these things won't take away the daily frustrations or ongoing challenges of motherhood. But they remind us that being a mom is a good thing, that we are making a difference in our kids ™ lives, and that sometimes enjoying each other is the best lesson we can teach our kids!
Tip #4: Celebrate Daily Victories.
Do you have days when you aren't sure if you accomplished anything? I definitely do! That's when I pull out a piece of paper and take inventory of the day.
I write down everything we did. Then I go back and mark those things that would not have happened without me there:
- My four-year-old wouldn't have learned his shapes and colors.
- My son wouldn't have any clean laundry for soccer practice tomorrow.
- My family wouldn't have had a home-cooked dinner together.
- My tween would still feel anxious about that friendship dilemma he's dealing with.
These are important! These are things that change the lives of the ones we love the most. Yes, mom, we are making a difference, and these daily victories remind us that motherhood's challenges are worth it.
Tip #5: Check Your Yeses.
True power comes from what we say yes to, not what we say no to. When we say yes to something we commit our time and resources ”we commit ourselves!
Have you overused your yes and allowed the repercussions of that to wreak havoc on your free time and family schedule, leaving you drained and not able to handle the already relentless pace of motherhood? This phenomena seems to sneak up on me. A lot.
I ™m learning that by choosing to gracefully excuse myself from a few of my unnecessary yeses, I can recapture that passion I need to be the vibrant, nurturing mom I ™m called to be.
Tip #6: Accept the Reality of What Is and of What Isn't.
There is so much freedom and peace that comes when we can just accept reality for what it is:
- That toddler? Yep, he's going to need you to cut his food for him today. Again.
- Your teen? Yes, she will need you to drive her to theatre rehearsal. Three times this week.
- Your eight year old? Yes, she does have reoccurring medical issues which cause you to spend way more time than you ™d like at the doctor.
What are you things you need to just accept right now about this season of mothering?
You don't have to like these things, and some of them probably aren't ideal.
But if we complain about them (outwardly or inwardly), the biggest person we hurt is ourselves.
Again, this takes practice, and forming new attitudes. It's hard work, mamas ¦ but the fruit of this will pay in dividends–to you and to your kids. I guarantee it.
And the Best Way to Handle Motherhood's Relentless Pace?
Tip #7: Stop Expecting Perfection.
This was an epiphany for me last year.
I found myself mired in the quicksand of destination sickness thinking (you know ”where you think that life will finally be happier when you reach that one parenting stage or this one great thing happens?).
Destination sickness is kind of like chasing that mirage in the desert: We're chasing a fantasy that doesn't exist.
Here are two facts that we must face:
- There will always, always, always be something to challenge us on our mothering journey; and
- Motherhood's relentless pace will wax and wane, but it will always be there.
Ladies, we must stop holding our breath and waiting for that day or that moment to come in order to fully embrace and enjoy our mothering journey. Yes, motherhood's pace is lightening fast and overwhelming at times, but we can make it and we will! Let's do our best to reframe motherhood's challenges and to enjoy motherhood's richest blessings in each and every season (especially the extra relentless ones)!