Overwhelmed. Depleted. Sleep-deprived. Sigh.
Aren’t your children supposed to be blessings? Aren’t you supposed to love being a mom?
Then why is it, that, if you have to sacrifice your needs for the needs of others one more time…YOU. MIGHT. JUST. SNAP?
After two weeks of commuting to the NICU, while also attending your preschooler’s first school program, wondering why your husband keeps stepping over the dirty towels in your own bathroom instead of tossing them in the hamper…the next time you step on crumbs in the kitchen, have to change your four-year old’s shirt because it’s too itchy, push laundry off the couch just to sit down, cover for a coworker who slips out early while you give 100% at work AND at home, all to receive yet another eye roll from your tween…
MAMA. MIGHT. HAVE. A. MELTDOWN.
Have you been there? That dark place? Yeah, me too. And, guess what? I came out OK. My kids came out OK. And, you can too.
Here are a few things to help you get through the tough times:
Schedule Your Stress
Sound crazy? Give it a try. Set aside ten minutes, twice per day, to think about everything you’re stressed about. During that scheduled time, (i.e. 10:10 am) you are allowed to analyze every thing that is causing mental or emotional strain, and why. Cry it out, punch your pillows, cuss a little, yell, pray. When your ten minutes are over, you’re done.
The next time you find yourself beginning to feel stress creep up, you can quickly dismiss it until your next scheduled “stress time.”
Knowing that you have a time on your calendar for this particular activity will make your current stress less likely to take over. I even saw this practice modeled while watching Fuller House, of all things. DJ Tanner admits in one episode that, “Every Friday, I schedule five minutes to cry alone in my room.” When Stephanie asks her why, DJ replies, “Sometimes I just get overwhelmed.”
I mean, if it works for DJ Tanner…
Find Your Fight Song
If you feel like screaming, why not channel that emotion into a good, amped-up song you can blast at a reasonable (or not so reasonable) volume, strap your kids into the car (with headphones and car seats, if needed), throw on your favorite sunglasses and rock around town singing your heart out? If you need some extra mojo later at home, find that same song and play it again. Get into it, girl. Get out that angst. You and Pink. Or Eminem. Or T-Swift, Flogging Molly, Drake… whoever gives YOU that fight song.
If you’re having the opposite issue, and need music to help you calm down, guess what? There is a song that was especially designed for that. It’s called “Weightless” and is proven to help slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower your stress hormone levels. If that is what you’re looking for, you can find Weightless and other stress-reducing songs here. Or maybe, like me, it’s Bethel Music that does it for you. Find your own calming playlist. And if you need some music from both categories in the same day, listen: I get it. Do both.
Ask For Help
Do you feel like you’re the only one about to go crazy? You’re not. I PROMISE.
Confiding in the right friend (or 2) will likely end with an, “oh, me too, girl,” or “did I ever tell you about that one time I...,” that will help you realize we are all in this together. And, that we don’t have it together. I bet you will find that your mom, sister, or friend is willing to come over to fold laundry, bring you coffee, or watch your baby while you sleep for an hour.
Motherhood is a sisterhood. Find the friends who will come alongside you when you’re feeling “Cray To the Z” and will encourage you that it gets better. Also, it’s pretty cool when you get to be the one encouraging someone else down the road. And yes, there is a “down the road”. How’s that for light at the end of the tunnel?
I would be remiss if I did not include that my personal journey also included reaching out to a professional counselor, and it made a significant difference. If you think it might make a difference for you, too, then make the call. This post is in no way expected to play the part of a mental health professional, but to encourage you that you are not alone.
Mama, this too will pass, but make sure you are taking care of yourself through the storm. xo xo