We’ve all been there. You wake up to those sweet, eyes peering at you over the side of your bed. The sun is barely awake, but that little rosebud mouth is whispering sweetly in your ear, “Mommy, I peed . . . but it’s okay. I cleaned it up with your sweater!” Drool is still attaching you to your pillow as you send your tiny human alarm clock off to find breakfast. Pulling the covers over your head, you catch a glimpse of the video monitor. Not only is your youngest awake, she has discovered how to remove all of her clothes and is now climbing her crib in the buff. You should get up. You should seize the day . . . but you just. can’t. even. All you can think is, “I can’t mom today. Please don’t make me mom.”
Where is your sick day? Where are your mental health days? Where is that contract you’re sure you signed at the hospital that entitles you to a minimum of two weeks vacation on a beach—alone—with endless wine and ice cream?
Whether or not we are willing to admit it, there are days when being mom just doesn’t sound like fun. What do we do? How do we not only survive, but also thrive on these days?
Here are some tips to help us press on.
- Give yourself grace. Don’t let mommy guilt creep in. The job you are doing is not only physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting, it is also 24/7. Whether you stay home or work outside of the home, you are putting in long, hard hours as mom. It is natural, even acceptable to need some time for you.
- Find some joy. Little things become big things through the lens of gratitude. Find something to be thankful for (can you say coffee?) and build on that throughout your day. You will be surprised by the joy you find!
- Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Did someone say coffee?
- Do something that builds sanity. What does your brain need in order to handle the chaos facing you? Is it a workout without children sitting on your chest during crunches? Need to stare at Facebook until your brain wakes up enough to function? Maybe you just need a nap. Depending on their ages, you have some options. Tell yourself that it is okay to not constantly and personally entertain your children. You can send them outside or to their rooms to play—by themselves (*gasp*). Or you can do what I do with my littles—lay down on the couch with a favorite show on and have them sit in the “nest” (that triangle between your legs and the back of the couch). You will know if they move or get up, while still getting to close those heavy, makeup-less eyelids.
- Get out of the house. Leave Laundry Mountain and Dish Cesspool for a little impromptu adventure. Need some guidance? Check out one of the fabulous FWMB guides!
- Call a friend, family member, or favorite babysitter. IT IS OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP. I repeat, asking for help does not make you a failure; it makes you a powerhouse. We are created to live and function inside of community. Let another mama pick up your slack today. I guarantee you will have a chance to return the favor. Friends don’t let friends end up on the news.
- Find that coffee you misplaced earlier. (Check the pantry or the bathroom; it’s always one of the two.) Give it a little warm-up. Better yet, make a new pot. BEST yet . . . load those rugrats up and rock those sweatpants all the way to the coffee shop. Let somebody else make the coffee today.
- Get the kids to pitch in on your chores. Have the older kids get breakfast for the littles. Tiny arms can carry laundry bit by bit to the couch (or the laundry bed). Sorting silverware is both fun and educational! They are never too young to help out—after all, it’s for their own good.
- If all else fails, and you barely manage to crawl your way through the day, put those precious spawn of yours to bed and remember this: Lemon Oreos pair nicely with cheap Aldi wine. And, nobody will judge you for not sharing.
Breathe deep and mommy on.