Overwhelmed by motherhood? Sad? Irritable? Here’s what I wish someone had told me in those weary, bleary years.
- Speak to yourself tenderly. It’s so easy to feel like a failure in motherhood. Nap schedules never go as planned. My house is a wreck again 20 min after I just cleaned it. My kids misbehave, and then I yell at them. I can’t even do one task with excellence. But thinking about my failures over and over didn’t bring me much joy. Now I know that I can take control of my own thoughts by speaking to myself with kindness: “Take heart and recognize your bravery!” “You’re creating something beautiful, like a cathedral, stone by stone. Don’t give up.”
- Find a personal passion that gives you joy. Honestly, this tiny change completely changed my life. I thought that motherhood meant that I needed to renounce everything I love to be fully “present” to my children. But then I fell into the mom funk. I felt grumpy and depleted. I was more likely to snap at my husband or my children because I was feeling irritable and down. Neglecting myself in the name of “sacrificial love” put me in a place where I was more likely to hurt my relationships with the people I love the most. So now I do things differently. I take some time each day to nurture a personal passion—something I LOVE to do. It doesn’t even have to take a long time. The result? I feel SO joyful and fun! I smile at my husband. I’m more flirty and affectionate. I can laugh and be more playful with my kids. Somehow taking care of my own heart first means that everybody gets to enjoy a better version of me.
- Ask for help when you need it. No one can have it all and do it all. God made us to be deeply dependent creatures. Reach out for help. It’s vulnerable, but necessary for sanity. And if you’re taking on too many things and feeling stressed, consider dropping one of those things by just saying that you can’t do it anymore.
- Nurture friendships with women. Husbands are amazing, but there’s nothing in the world like the gift of good girlfriends: for a laugh, for relief, for empathy in the unique craziness of motherhood. A good female friend can make the difference between feeling constantly irritable and feeling the abundant JOY that God really does desire for us.
- Intimacy with God is your greatest strength. Even if we’re the underdog in the fight to preserve a wholesome family life amidst an increasingly toxic culture with less support than ever before, God’s got this covered. He thrives in the underdog victory! Entrust your heart to him with your needs and desires and watch how his providence is at work in your life. Prayer is the greatest secret to never being alone.
Because the “problem” was never that motherhood isn’t a sacred or worthy calling. It’s that we need each other’s support, because our mission is SO mighty!