In the trenches – figuratively – means you are in the middle of battle. Fighting man to man. Getting dirty. You’re not just reading books about tactics, you are employing them. Thinking on your feet. Living in survival mode. Waiting for the mania to end.
Goodness gracious if this ain’t my day to day life right now with 4 kids 4 years and under.
Okay fine, I’m fighting for my sanity, not my life. And I’m dirty with peanut butter, dirt, and bodily fluids, but not lifeblood. But I’m definitely in and out of survival mode, and thinking on my feet to the point of hyper-vigilance. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But it’s not easy to be in the trenches…
Maybe you’re in the trenches because there’s been a job loss. A relocation far from family. You’re struggling with primary or secondary infertility. Your child is always sick. They aren’t well. Relationships problems are weighing you down. These are the things of life, and to pretend we’re always grand is to lie and brush our problems under the rug. Which, as we know, doesn’t make anything disappear, but just makes a mountain.
Here are my top tips for surviving in the trenches.
1. Know when you need to get away.
I used to feel guilty I even wanted to get away from my life and kids for a while. Like I was a horrible mother. And then I had a “duh moment” where I remembered that I’m an only child who grew up in the country and am used to silence and lots of time for reading and I haven’t had that in years. And, dadgummit, it’s okay if I take a 48 hour mommy vacay every once in a while. After all, my husband isn’t the babysitter and they love being with him.
2. Learn what recharges your batteries.
You may have had hobbies pre-motherhood that aren’t very feasible right now. Or you may have just forgotten what you even liked to do. But if you’re like me, scrolling through Facebook does not recharge my batteries. You’ve got to know what helps you decompress, recharge, and feel refreshed and then make those things happen regularly. Even if you have to hire a babysitter, a mother’s helper, or put the kids in care for the day.
3. Find time within your busy day to be alone.
Independent play time has been a lifesaver for me. Every morning all of my children play alone in their own rooms for around an hour. They love it! I give them a snack, and a few minutes later I hear them all talking, singing, and vrooming around their rooms. I also put them all down to nap at the same time. That’s right, 4 babies napping for hours at the same time every single day. During these times I work, read a book, or you know, binge watch Gilmore Girls. I try to take advantage of my time alone.
4. Zoom out and be encouraged.
We’ve got to get better at our big picture thinking. Type A moms, in particular, tend to view life as a snapshot. So, if it don’t look great in the Polaroid, all hell has broken loose. Type B moms have the advantage of seeing life like a video. It’s okay if it’s not done now, it’ll get done later. It’s okay if this hasn’t happened, we’ll survive. When we’re in the trenches and wondering how we are ever going to get out and if we’ll ever get a reprieve, zoom out. Realize that most things will pass. New seasons will come. God does have more for you to do than just changing diapers.
And yet, changing diapers is honoring to your child and honoring to God.
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