Being a mom ain’t easy and it’s not for the fainthearted. Even the most “with it” moms have hard days. You know, the days when she feels like nothing is going right. Here are 5 things you need to do on hard days:
We all Go Through Seasons.
Seasons where we feel on top of the world, our lives are working well. Our routines are allowing us full but not crazy busy lives. The kids are behaving and content.
The bank isn’t calling and our jeans are even fitting a tad looser.
Life is good.
Then, inevitably, things take a turn.
Two kids get pink eye and the other a double ear infection. Your yearly premiums come due in the same month and your car has an irreparable flat tire.
A friend is angry and shutting you out, and the house seems to be in a decline.
Life gets hard.
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This happens to all of us. In the Bible, Jesus tells us trouble will come. There’s no avoiding it. What matters is how we handle it and move forward.
I used to believe that if I did thing right and was good that life would always be easy and pleasant.
Well, That Blew Up In My Face.
I see now that was immaturity talking, clearly, but it took quite a few trials before I was able to realize that hard things happen to everyone.
What matters is what I do when the trials come.
5 Things to Do on the Hard Days
I don’t always do all 5 of these, but in hard and trying seasons, this is what keeps me plugging through the day/week/month.
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#1. Stop and Give Specific Thanks
There is true mind altering and life changing power in Gratitude. I feel a bit queasy even typing it because it’s so stereo-typically cliche.
But the fact is, it works.
When I stop and am thankful for the good things in front of me, my heart becomes more positive and content.
Instead of focusing on my problems (which don’t go away just because I’m thankful)… I am focusing on the good. It gives me strength to get through and it changes my attitude somewhat.
Being thankful does not negate or erase your current problems, but it helps make them smaller by comparison.
#2. Give Yourself a Calm Space
If the kids Are Particularly Rowdy, sick, or disrespectful then my biggest tip is to keep them separated for a time. That’s right…
“You gotta keep ’em sep-a-rated.”
If one starts to lose it and shows no sign of recovery, I will put that child in their room to calm down and play alone without interruption. Not as a punishment, but as a tool to help them Learn to Control Their Emotions. Flip-outs love an audience. If the other kids can continue to do what they were, I can give attention to the child who needs it most without Risking Contagious Meltdowns.
All my children are Small and Close in Age so this is a real phenomenon. When one is crabby and within an hour they’re all crabby.
This does not help hard days or times when I’m already stressed. Keeping them separated and giving them their own projects or toys helps create some calm.
#3. Purposefully Envision the Future
I am future focused.
On my Strengths Finder 3 of my 5 top strengths were future-focused. Trust me, it’s both a strength and weakness.
It’s why I have a hard time sitting down and Focusing on the Present. However, in times like this it’s why I can get out of a funk quickly. I will tell myself, “I won’t always be pregnant. Not always going to need to buckle 4 kids in a van. I will have 4 hours uninterrupted alone to work in a few years.“
When I’m being honest and real with myself, this works. If I’m talking pie in the sky, it doesn’t. The goal is to help put your hard time into perspective. And, if you can’t see an end in sight, that’s a clear sign you need outside help.
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If you have a friend who is encouraging, sympathetic, and a good listener… give them a call.
Or a message.
Or a text.
Maybe even an email if you need to pour out. No man or “mom” is an island.
The point is, remaining isolated when you’re in a hard season is not a good idea. You’ll become more discouraged, lonely, and sad.
Friendships are often what keep us going during hard times and relying on those friends who love you and want what’s best for you cannot be understated.
#5. Be Kind to Yourself
Sometimes we high-strung, high-standard mamas are so hard on ourselves.
We think we need to do it all now and look good doing it. We don’t take no for an answer from others and consider anything less than “Done and Excellent” subpar in our books.
It’s hard being A Type A Mom.
On the other hand, mothers who are less high strung frequently feel guilty since they don’t seem to “measure up” to others.
During hard times, this has gotta stop. You have got to learn to take care of yourself.
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
So, when those hard days hit…
Beg help so you can rest.
Read a book. (Books to Help a Stressed Mama Decompress)
Read your Bible.
Get away. (48-Hour Mommy Vacay?)
Whatever it takes.
Rachel, your posts are so inspirational! You truly have a gift!
Rachel Norman says
Sherrie that is such an encouraging thing to say. I really really appreciate it!
Hello Rachel, I’m a new reader here (and I’m loving reading back through your older posts). Hi from South Australia!
This is a great list and reminder of the things we can do to help ourselves, so that we can parent better on those hard days.
Rachel Norman says
Hi Jadie :) We lived in Sydney for a while :)
I just had a melt down last night. I sat in the car with my husband, and just cried, and told him how I feel that I’m not enough, I never have been, and I never will be. I know that I am divinely equipped, but I still lack. I homeschool 5 children ages 4-15, and I also take care of my 5 year old nephew, and 1 year old niece. I feel blessed in so many ways, but I have no support system that I feel really works. I don’t have any supportive family. I don’t even have a good relationship with my mother, father, grandparents (I come from a really dysfunctional family), mother in law…..or even friends. My only friends are a couple elderly ladies (I’m 33) from a church I used to go to ( I don’t really know anyone at my current church). These ladies are wonderful, but not where I’m at in life, and so they are very limited in our friendship ( with health problems and such). I’m part of a homeschool group in my town, but, I never click with anyone. I know the Lord wanted me to read your post this morning. I was just worrying about the new program I had my 4 year old doing (because I also worry about too much screen time, and honestly the quality of the program), and you suggested it-ABC Mouse. lol. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so I thought it was so funny, the way you quoted Offspring, LOL. That made me smile. I’ll definitely try to “envision the future”, and remember your other tips. I wish I lived around some ladies like yourself. Have a wonderful Tuesday, lady. :) And, please, pray for me. ;)
Rachel Norman says
Leah, I am thinking of you and I pray that God will really encourage you deep down to know that YOU are enough. I am currently feeling some similar feelings and reading a few books (Healing The Shame That Binds You for one) that talk about how we can, early on, begin to feel that “we personally” don’t have what it takes. It becomes an exhausting struggle to do adult life thinking we are not good enough. Praise God we can move beyond that. I am trying and I pray that you can too!
Thanks for this! I have a 2 year old who is in a stage that makes him whiny and demanding and just plain hard to get along with sometimes, but I love him dearly. I broke down at his peds office the other day because he’d been sick and grouchy for almost 2 weeks. We did NOT sleep at all!
The doc told me he knew I was a good mom based on the way Mason was behaving. I laughed and said he’d been screaming like a banshee since we walked in and clinging to me like duct tape. The doc said, “Yes, but you didn’t lose your temper or get sharp with him. You just rocked him through it.”
That made me feel a bit better but that ‘awful mom’s has been sneaking in a LOT lately!
I needed this post. Thank you so much!
Rachel Norman says
what a good doctor you have, man! It is hard this phase. I have another post, search ‘a mother far from hard hard phases’ it may help too
Thank you! Your insightful advice is a help to me. Even though I have children ages 21,12 and 5, I get advice from you that I can implement. May older Moms out there never stop learning and be flexible to how we think we should parent. Keep focused on how God is leading
Rachel Norman says
What a kind thing for you to say, Mary, THANK you!
i just want to say what a support this post and your site on a whole has been in my life Rachel. I get the same feelings and recently have been quite hard on myself. However, with the help of God and a few friends I’ve been able to refocus by slowing down and taking steps towards caring for myself so that I can share myself with my 3 boys. I had to tell myself today, no you don’t have to be super mom juggling everything at once, it’s ok for the kids to wait. I felt horrible if they called on me and they had to wait in situations that aren’t urgent so that I can finish another. I’m glad I’m not alone and I hope sharing helps someone else over the bumps in life.
Rachel Norman says
You are not alone at all and we have all been there! IT’s great to give ourselves grace, isn’t it?