Being a mom ain’t easy. It’s not for the fainthearted and even the most “with it” mom has one of Those Days. 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. Your friend is angry and shutting you out, and the house seems to be in a decline. You know…
Life gets hard.
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. 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.
So here are 5 things you must do on 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.
Stop and give thanks specifically
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.
Get everyone separated for calm
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.
Purposefully envision the future
I am future focused. On my Strengths Finder 3 of my 5 top strengths were future-focused. 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. I won’t always 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.
If you have a friend who is encouraging, sympathetic, and a good listener… give them a call. Or a message. Or a text. Or even an email if you need to pour out. 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.
Treat yourself well
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.
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.
If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or drained… you aren’t alone.
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