Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Losing My Mind (and 5 ways I prevent it)

Motherhood isn't easy.

I'm convinced there is no stage where you feel like you can "breathe easy". You go from a fumbling new mother that is unsure of what to do, to a frazzled mother of a toddler, to a mother struggling to find the right balance between letting your child be independent and still being there for them.

Encouraging of me to say, right? Haha!

But seriously, the insanity of worry, chaos, love and uncertainty never stops.

So how can a Mom stay sane?

I'm up to my neck in infancy and toddlerhood. I've got an 8-month-old, 2-year-old, 4-year-old and a husband deployed. I struggle with wanting my house clean, wanting to shower alone and wishing someone else would cook dinner. Just once or twice a month would be fabulous at this point (for all those things!)

So what do I do to keep me afloat? People have asked me that for the past few months. I never really have an answer, as I feel like I'm just doing what needs to be done…but I've been thinking about what I do to stay on "top" of things, and not feel like I'm always drowning.

Here are a few habits/things I've noticed I do to help me feel better:

1. Online Shopping 
    From Amazon items (toiletries, home good items, seasonal stuff for the kids, etc) to groceries -- online shopping is my J-A-M. I use Harris Teeter online shopping, but a lot of grocery stores offer this service. Check into your local stores and see if it is an option! The closest Harris Teeter is not the closest grocery store to me, but the extra time in the car is worth it to avoid the chaos of a grocery store with three young kids!

2. Planned Cleaning 
   I've made peace with the fact my home will never be totally clean. Someday, I'll hire a cleaner. But for now its a do-it-myself situation. Daily, I do 1 load of laundry and assure my kitchen is clean before I go to bed to maintain general sanitation. If nothing else, a clean kitchen for breakfast and a manageable laundry pile makes me feel like I am doing something productive.  Outside of that, my priorities are trash kept up with and toys kept in one room. We have a toy room, but for those of you that don't (we didn't always) I used a basket/tote to help me declutter/pick up quickly. It literally takes me 5 minutes and makes a huge difference in how I feel about my home!

3. Crock Pot Cooking/Double Batching It 
   My oldest two go to school two mornings a week. On these days, I make a meal in the crock pot while they are gone. It is nice to prep a meal without little people begging me for snacks the whole time! When I don't make a crock pot meal, I make a double batch of my meal for leftovers later in the week or to freeze for later in the month! It has cut my cooking time in half, and on the days I'm under the weather or just feeling low on energy, it is nice to have a decent stock in the freezer!

4. Read. 
   I know. This sounds crazy. Who the heck has time to read a grown up book? I'll be honest. It isn't ever for long stretches of time -- possibly 10 minutes before my head hits the pillow for the night. But I read something fun, something disconnected from anything family or business related. It makes me feel human.

5. Moms Groups. 
   Another thing that makes me feel human is a mothers group called MOPs. Most areas have a MOPs group (MOPs = Mothers of Preschoolers) This group has been such a huge blessing in my life! This group is nation-wide, so you can search for it online. The group is made up of mothers from young kids (seriously, don't wait until your child is in preschool to join…you need it much before then!), mothers of elementary school kids, and mothers of older children. Usually there are some mentor moms, too -- mothers with grown up kids to prove to you that you can survive. These women know what it feels like to be "drowning". They know what it feels like to feel like the diapers and the dinners and the carpools and the nagging will never, ever, stop. But they prove that they will, and they come alongside you and help and perspective when needed.

At the end of the day, motherhood is not easy and it isn't meant to be done alone. It can feel lonely at times, but I promise you that you aren't the only person feeling the way you do. You aren't the only one needing a break, unsure of what to do, and just wishing you could sleep until noon.

No one can take the responsibility of motherhood from you, but they can share the load. Do what you can to lighten your stress by figuring out what stresses you (shopping was one of mine!), and finding people who will assure you that you aren't crazy! (I'm almost positive you're not!)

If you don't have someone like that in your life, let me be that person for you! Find me on Facebook or shoot me an email! I'm always around, and I totally get it.