To the Struggling Mother of Young Children

oh the look of pure exhaustion we all know so well. Look how cute Taylor was though! I mean she still is but extra cute when she was that little!

I promise I’m NOT going to say “enjoy it while it lasts because it goes so fast”.  Whether that is truthful or not is not even relevant, it’s not helpful to hear while you are holding a screaming baby in the grocery store with a toddler half naked on the floor throwing a tantrum.  Also not helpful when you are exhausted from being awake for what feels like 3 days straight with a newborn, you are covered in spit up, can’t remember when your last shower was and are skipping back and forth between not being able to get enough of your kids to wanting to run away. 

I will say there are some tips that have helped me during the struggles of motherhood and continue to help me to this day.  So, here are 4 things to remember each day:

  1. It’s ok to not love every second of motherhood.  Just because you aren’t loving every moment of motherhood doesn’t mean you love your kids any less.  Don’t forget that you are human and every single human has bad days, including mothers.  Allow yourself to have “off” days, days where you just want to take a break. Give yourself credit for what you are continuing to do even though you may not want to and let yourself off the hook for the stuff that is not mandatory that day. Let yourself cry, let yourself be annoyed, allow yourself to feel whatever your are feeling.  The sooner you do, the sooner you can work through it.  Put your kids to bed a little early if needed, give them a hug goodnight, then take a break and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day.
  2. It gets easier.  It may feel like it’s FOREVER away but eventually you will sleep again.  Your kids will scream less, you will want to cry less as well.  Your house will stay clean for longer than 10 minutes, you will be able to have long deep, hilarious and heartwarming conversations with your kids.  You will be in awe watching them grow before your very eyes and transforming into these amazing preteens, teens and young adults.  I don’t say this so that you will no longer find the difficulties of young kids less frustrating and exhausting, I say this so that you can remind yourself during those moments where you are overwhelmed that it WILL get better and it’s going to be SO worth the struggle.  Day dreaming of the joys ahead is always helpful for me and has gotten me through some dark days.  Each stage your kids go through has pros and cons and the pros usually outweigh the cons but in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons more and more the older they get.  They thank you more, they confide in you, they make good choices that fill you with pride and if you’re lucky, you still get lots of hugs and “I love you, mom”s. You may be a parent first, but you also gain a friend.
  3. Find time for yourself EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  It doesn’t have to be much.  10 minutes hiding in the bathroom eating a treat of your choice, the bedroom door locked while you paint your toenails and shave your legs, taking time for reading or watching your guilty pleasure show while the kids nap, some meditation after putting kids to bed…whatever you choose as long as it’s something for YOU.  If waking up with a clean house helps your day start off right then get that done really quick after putting kids to bed and then SHUT DOWN all “mom duty” stuff and pamper yourself before bed.  If your are feeling like you’re about to snap, consider pushing off the cleaning for tomorrow morning and take the night off for yourself. Then the next day you can feel rejuvenated and take the day by the horns and do the cleaning.
  4. Motherhood is so hard but the good news is you’re not alone.  You are apart of an amazing tribe of women who are strong enough to take on the task of raising tiny humans!  Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with other moms about how things are going.  Other moms may look like they have it all together but you may be surprised to find out they are having the same struggles as you are.  Hearing that you are not alone in your struggles can be extremely therapeutic and healthy and oh man does it feel good to feel validated!  To go along with this, don’t be afraid to widen your mom group.  Often times we want to hang out with people who parent just like us, which totally makes sense.  With that being said, if we open our minds to seeing a different point of view we can learn a lot.  Sometimes we learn a new approach to an aspect of parenting that may actually work better than what we’ve been doing, other times, we just get confirmation that we like our way better.  Either way though we learn and we grow and we can support each other, even if we don’t see eye to eye.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you feel a little more hopeful and a little less alone.  Just remind yourself everyday, YOU CAN DO THIS.  Say it to yourself as many times as you need to, “I. CAN. DO THIS!”  

Going through the pictures of the good times always helps as well.
The look of complete adoration while equally exhausted and overwhelmed. Can anyone relate? This was right before Tay was hospitalized so my levels of exhaustion doubled shortly after this picture. Parents sure endure A LOT of emotions!

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