Have you ever been in a mom funk?
It’s one of those times when it just seems like everything is hard. Your head is fuzzy and full and just a little bit on the fritz. Your heart is extra tender and you find yourself fighting back tears multiple times a day with no explanation of what triggered them exactly.
Days drag and you’re simply going through the motions. Everything takes so much effort, even the things you usually enjoy. It all just feels like such a chore.
Normal routines can fall away. Suddenly you’re forgetting to go to your regular exercise classes or making excuses to skip that morning run. Caffeine and sweets become your fuel, picking you up just long enough to set you up for a crash.
You’re overwhelmed, frustrated and ANGRY for what feels like almost no reason at all.
Those that depend on you seem to sense that all is not right, and respond with even more neediness than usual. Patience is short and often too harsh words fall before you even mean for them to, before they are even deserved. Sweet faces stare back, hurt and unsure. Their questioning glances feeling like little knives stabbing into an already open wound.
All you crave is time to be alone, to quiet the anxious voices in your mind and soothe your soul. Bedtime arrives like the exhale of a breath you’ve been holding for far too long.
Now, I know much of what I’m describing is similar to depression and it is something to be mindful of in these phases should they go on too long.
But sometimes seasons of not quite being ourselves are simply that, a season.
They are not uncommon in motherhood. There is not always one identifiable cause, they just settle over us like a fog in the night and we wake to a world that feels strange and overwhelming.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that doesn’t give mothers much grace and we tend to give ourselves even less. Those too harsh words that we find spewing out towards those we love the most, also turn inward with ferocity.
We pile on criticism, guilt, and cruelty when we what we need most is kindness, understanding and gentleness. We push forward with increasing speed insisting we keep up rather than slowing down and allowing the world to pass us by for just a little while.
There will be time to catch up. There really will.
The demands we face as mothers today are heavy. It is not surprising that sometimes we need to lift the weighty burden of it all from our shoulders and sit down to rest.
We are raising our children in a world where the threats that used to lurk in the corners of our eyes and the backs of our minds have thrust themselves more and more boldly into plain view.
We hold devices in our hand that provide us with a constant stream of worry and anger. But at the same time show us pictures of airbrushed perfection and carefully curated moments that only represent a fraction of any person’s reality.
It’s all too loud, too frightening, too unsympathetic, too unattainable – It’s all too much. Our only answer in the face of this unrelenting assault is surrender.
Not the kind of surrender that means giving up. Not at all.
Instead, view it as the kind of surrender that allows you to retreat long enough to heal, build back your strength and rediscover what is truly important so you can return to your life stronger than before.
But what does that surrender look like?
There is not one size fits all answer. Rest and rejuvenation can mean very different things for different people.
Maybe you love to read, but you haven’t picked up a book in ages. Ask friends to recommend their favorite book from the last year or check on some our books we love suggestions. Make sure it’s nothing too weighty or intense, this is not the time to tackle reading all those classics you didn’t get to in college.
You might be someone who recharges their mojo with more active pursuits like running or hiking or doing yoga. Don’t feel like you suddenly have to train for a marathon or sign-up for gym membership. Why not see if a friend could meet you one day a week for a 30 minute walk/run or try an app like the 7 minute workout.
This fall, when I was going through my own personal mom funk, I watched hours of Hallmark Channel movies and TV series as a form of therapy. Hey, whatever works!
These are just a few examples of activities that might help you get your groove back. For you, the secret might be baking or knitting or volunteering at the local animal shelter to pet puppies and kittens.
It’s really just about reconnecting with yourself, even for a just a few minutes a day.
How do you find those minutes?
Sometimes carving out the time feels like the bigger hurdle than actually doing the thing that will help breathe a little life back into your soul. But those moments are there in our day for us to recapture, it’s just a matter of identifying them. And that’s really part of the hurdle. Too often we think we need a big block of time to go to an exercise class or read a whole chapter of a book or take a long nap. But as evidenced by the 7 minute workout referenced above, sometimes all we need is 7 minutes.
Oh, and you know what, according to science, the most beneficial nap is one that doesn’t exceed 30 minutes. A 10-20 minute power nap is considered ideal.
Okay, so where should you look for these small nuggets of time in your day?
Try these ideas to recover lost minutes in your day:
- Get up a little earlier each day (for a few tips check out our post on How To Make-Over Your Morning Routine) Or “go to bed” early (which really means just go to your room where no one will bother you because the think you are sleeping) and use that time to read, do a few yoga poses, meditate, knit, read your bible, pray, sing or whatever makes your heart happy.
- Look for ways to squeeze in your “me-time” when waiting in the school carline or at appointments. Install apps on your phone for reading, listening to audio books or podcasts, or meditating to help you make the most of this time or even just create a great playlist and make sure you always have a pair of headphones with you.
- Delegate more chores to your children and help them gain valuable life skills while you gain a little more free time.
- Evaluate if you can hire something out. Could you afford a house cleaner even just once a month or what about using a meal subscription service?
- It’s estimated that the average adult spends 30 hours (yes hours! ) a month on their cell phone. Track how much time you’re really spending on your phone and social media with a one of these tracking apps. You’ll probably be shocked and maybe discover you have far more free-time than you realized.
When minutes aren’t enough.
Sometimes we will need to take some more drastic steps to get back on track. Be honest with yourself and if you have a spouse in the picture or a support network of friends and family, don’t keep your struggles a secret from them. Enlist there help in your efforts for find time to tend to your needs.
For some moms, they won’t ask for help because they are embarrassed or don’t want to impose. For others, they think the people around them will notice how they are feeling and so they wait for them to offer to help.
Unfortunately, both these approaches set you up for failure. The longer a mom funk goes on, the more destructive it can be. You could end up with full blown depression or suffer many of the other health problems that are common to prolonged stress.
If you’re worried about being a good mom, then take care of yourself so you can take care of your family. As my teenage son has become fond of saying, “If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy.”
Need a few ideas to get your started on reclaiming your mom mojo?
10 TOTALLY FREE and Fairly Easy Self-Care Ideas
- Go to bed an hour early one night, or every night.
- Take a Bubble Bath. Oh and don’t forget to lock the door.
- Sit down long enough to enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa or a glass of wine. Maybe even flip through one of those magazines that you subscribe to, but never
- Watch shows that make you feel good. Yes, one of those cheesy Hallmark movies is totally acceptable, it doesn’t matter if it’s not Christmas.
- Give yourself a mani-pedi or invite a girlfriend over and treat each other.
- Find your Zen – there are several free apps available for your Smartphone that offer guided stress relieving mediation in as little as seven minutes. HeadSpace Meditation is a great one and I guarantee you’ll dig his amazing accent.
- Call and have a real catch-up chat with one of your best girlfriends. Yes call – no email, text or twitter.
- Take your pooch for a walk, or just yourself if you don’t have a pet. Put on your earphones and listen to some of your favorite tunes along the way.
- Take a nap (remember power naps are best, 30 minutes or less)
- Spend some alone time with your hubby (read into that however you like).
And just remember…..
“Rest and self-care are so important.
When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
– Eleanor Brown
From Angry Mom To Peaceful Home
One of the biggest indicators of a mom funk is a short fuse. You’ll go from perfectly fine to screaming, raging monster in a matter of moments. It can scare your kids and honestly it can scare you too. You don’t know why you are so angry or how to control it and you worry that you’re hurting your relationship with your children.
You think you must be the worst mom in the world. You feel alone and ashamed.
But you aren’t a bad mom and the yelling is a problem that many moms face. In fact, even a mom who is a trained mental health therapist found herself totally losing her S#&! with her two boys at one stage in her motherhood. Amanda at MessyMotherhood knows how you feel and she’s developed an online course to help you regain your peace.
She has experienced the overwhelming anger of motherhood, but she pulled herself out of the funk and built a system that has helped over a thousand Moms get control of their anger.
So, if you’re ready to surrender and come back stronger than before and be the kind of mom you know you are in your heart than it’s time to sign-up.
Click here to register : Mama’s Anger Managment Course
Amanda only runs this series a couple times a year, so be sure to enroll today before it’s gone.