Mama, are you feeling discouraged? You are NOT alone. Here are 3 strategies that can help you overcome mommy defeat!
I don’t think there’s been a day in my life – since becoming a mom – when I’ve felt like I was caught up with everything I’ve had to do. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite.
Scratch that. Every summer I force myself (willingly, of course) to go on vacation with my family just to get away from our home and everyday lives. And during my week of vacation, I subsequently force myself to take a break.
My expectation is to relax and enjoy my family completely, and it is absolutely and completely glorious. (Even if and when my husband and I still need to address parenting struggles.)
Because of my ability to completely unplug and detach for one week of the year, I naturally look forward to our vacation just about every single day – all.year.long. It is amazing to me how much stress and fatigue is added in the routine responsibilities of caring for a family and home.
(In some ways, I also dread vacation just a teensy bit because I know all of the work that needs finished before we leave. And I know the huge letdown I’ll experience once we get home and everything returns to our everyday reality of busyness and overwhelm. But I digress.)
It’s more than a little frustrating to realize that everyday life as a mom is so jam-packed. Now that I’m ten years into motherhood – and ten years into thinking I’ll never figure everything out and ten years into continually scrambling – I’m confident that all of the chaos and growing pains and overwhelm is just part of mothering. At least part of everyday mothering in today’s culture.
When mothering is hard
The thing is, we as moms could freak out about our overwhelm every day. But where would that get us?
We also could choose to pull our big girl pants (or skirts) up and face the reality that parenting is hard.
It’s hard, hard, hard work to help shape another person. Especially when that other person is your son or daughter and you have a vested interest in them and their future.
And for whatever reason, God has placed our sons and daughters with their unique personalities into our families – where we, as moms, have our own unique personalities.
Sometimes those personalities blend so well, and other times? Well, they clash. Every single day. Over almost every single thing, so that you’re so busy focusing on the negativity of your differences that you neglect to see the beauty in them.
Is it hard to live with – and try to mold – your children when they seem to be nothing like you? Of course! But maybe the point in parenting is that it’s not all about us shaping our sons and daughters. Maybe they’re needed to shape us, too.
What if we’re actually becoming better women because of the challenges we face as moms? As we empty ourselves in the sacrificial life as moms, we’re actually filling our lives for the long term. Even (and especially) when it doesn’t feel like that.
We may not want to hear that the stretching and growing that comes with parenting is for our own good. And it’s easy to forget that we’re doing a very good thing. But it means so much to raise our sons and daughters. And it’s actually a gift to have homes that need our care and keep us busy.
Whether we recognize it or not, all of the responsibilities we have as moms are blessings in disguise, here for just a short season of our lives.
Why cookie-cutter solutions stink
A rosy-colored end game won’t take away the difficulty, though. It’s hard to try to manage a home and deal with growing clutter and daily chores while also investing in your kids. If you throw in working or dealing with difficult behaviors or attitudes and issues that spring up with kids, it can feel like your life is perpetually in a state of chaos.
So what the answer? Or solution?
I really think it depends on the mom. And the kids. And all of the family dynamics and personalities. There’s no single clear-cut answer for everyone. And no cookie-cutter solution will neatly solve all your parenting problems.
Plus, even if you find something that works really well right now, your life circumstances will change as your season of life changes – so you’ll always need to look for new solutions that can work in the moment.
But there are a few approaches to try to find some kind of peace or improvement. In fact, I can think of three helpful strategies for moms to overcome the feeling of defeat.
3 Helpful Strategies to Overcome Mommy Defeat
1. Try to find some sort of system or routine that will work for you in your current season of life.
As much as an ideal world may seem like it wouldn’t include cleaning or cooking (anyone else want to move to the fictional world of Downton Abbey?), caring for our homes is most likely an inevitable part of your reality.
We could complain about what we need to do to care for our homes and families. Or, we could try to make the best of it – and just do it.
If you know a certain aspect of homemaking is awful right now, it’s time to change your approach.
Dinnertime causing you stress? Figure out some sort of a meal plan that will work.
Is your home always a cluttered wreck? You need to invest in your sanity and carve out some sort of time to declutter and purge so that your home is manageable. I fully believe – and I’m seeing it in my own home – that it’s better to get rid of things you don’t love or don’t need so that your life is a little easier and more peaceful.
Personally, I haven’t been a fan of strict routines or homemaking systems. But over the past five years I’ve tried and tried again until I’ve found approaches that work well for me and my family. Our lives – and our home – are better for it.
Trust me – it’s worth trying different strategies until you find one that works well for you.
2. Confide in someone you trust.
You’re not alone. (Repeat this if you need to … because you are not alone!) Other moms feel the same way as you do. Other moms have faced similar struggles and have plenty of victories and defeats.
Find someone trustworthy to confide in and share your issues. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing it is to tell someone else – and to hear how other moms are also facing huge challenges.
And if you feel like you have no one to talk to (and even if you do), take your concerns and complaints to the Lord. Pray for change!
3. Find some time – any time – to spend on yourself.
I know far too well that it’s tempting to try to do all.the.things until there’s no more time left in your day. But if you keep doing that day after day, you’ll only find yourself exhausted and burnt out.
Find something you love to do – and do it. It might be as simple as sneaking in a nap or reading a chapter of a book or even walking through a grocery store, kid-free. (Don’t judge. Of course the grocery store is not an ideal getaway, but sometimes you just need some alone time!)
Of course, you’ll have to return to reality at some point. And that’s OK! You still are needed to do all the loving and caring and disciplining and maintaining a home and family. But at least you can do it knowing that you feel a little refreshed. And that refreshment can give you a huge boost.
Mamas, one of my favorite bloggers, Rachel Norman, is offering the free webinar, How Busy Moms Make Time for Themselves (4 Strategies for Ditching the Guilt and Making It Happen), at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9. You can register for it by clicking here!
As you work to find systems or routines that will make your home and life run smoothly, share with someone else what you’re currently facing, and find some sort of time to spend on yourself, you’ll start to overcome mommy defeat.
While all of your parenting challenges won’t magically disappear, you’ll feel more refreshed to face what comes your way with the motherly amazingness you already have.
Moms, what are some of things that best help you overcome mommy defeat?
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