We’re all human. We all have bad days including our kids. Drake has periods of time (weeks to months) where he becomes especially stubborn and emotional, and these times have a negative impact on us all. I’m sure Devin will have them too as he gets older.
During these times, I struggle to be patient, calm, and happy in my life as a mother, and these times are when Drake needs me to be patient and calm. It isn’t that I don’t love being a mom because I do, but some days, weeks, months wear you down to the bone. The endless screaming and crying and mess making and no sleep and what the hell happened to my body? It isn’t the kids fault or my fault. The culprit is mom burnout pure and simple.
A nice hot bath and some good old-fashioned rest go a long way towards helping keep me out of this mood. They are necessary to my emotional upkeep, but when I hit the burn outs hard, it takes more than rest to bring me back to myself.
How I Get Through It:
Talk to your spouse. Make sure they know you are struggling. Your spouse is your partner after all and needs to know what is happening to do their part.
Accept help. Whether it is your spouse, your mom, or your best friend. If they are offering help, accept that help. In fact, be proactive and ask someone for help. Most people would be happy to babysit or listen to your woes. If you need to talk, pick a friend that will be kind and that isn’t a know-it-all.
Fake it until you make it. I’m all about authenticity, but sometimes we need to get through the day however we can. I fake it through the day, and work on the burn out when I have alone time later.
Take time for yourself. Only you know the thing that helps you destress. For me, it is writing and reading. I will write pages and pages about what I’m going through, seeking clarity, focus, and catharsis. Then I will read books that relate to a specific challenge or books that help take my mind off things.
Positive self talk. This is not the last time I will mention positive self talk! People say things to themselves that they’d never say to another person. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself I’m a horrible mother. When I put myself down like this, I stop my thinking and flip it. Instead of “You’re a horrible mother,” I say “You’re a mother who is doing her best, who is striving to be the mom her children need.” It seems like a small thing, but believe me, it is not.
Weather the storm or this too shall pass. This is true of all troubling or difficult moments, but it might be more true of life with toddlers. When I am in the midst of the hellfire of one of Drake’s tantrums, I remind myself that it won’t last forever. I remind myself that Drake will not always have such struggles, and we find solutions to his challenges. I re
Walk in the sunshine. A bit of sunshine does us all some good and lifts my mood. Sometimes even just opening all the windows and curtains helps if I can’t get the boys outside.
Drink coffee. This is a little tongue in cheek, but I do find coffee helps give me perk and relaxes my mood. Maybe it is just me!
Don’t try to do it all. This is big. We are culturally conditioned to believe that if we aren’t perfect, then we are failures as mothers and fathers. Living up to that standard would crush anyone’s spirit. We all do the best we can to care for our children and help them learn and grow. But we can’t always do it perfectly. It is okay to take a break, to let things go if it means saving your sanity and renewing yourself.
Play with your kids. Tickle them, chase them, color with them, read to them. Try finding the beauty and the fun in these moments. Parenting isn’t glamorous, but you take the good with the bad. The good moments will offset the miserable ones.