I have been talking to some of my friends recently about the dynamic of bringing another little one home and into your lives. There is so much JOY when you introduce a new family member and start to all grow and figure out the new life together. There are so many endearing, inspiring moments. So many “are we really this lucky?” moments and then there’s another side of this that feels like a blur and that I’m pretty sure I mostly blocked out of my mind because I almost had forgotten about it until bringing it up with another mom recently.
How absolutely exhausting and lonely it can be. How you feel like you are “on” all day with pulling crayons out of mouths while changing a crazy diaper and breaking up fights while being interrupted just wanting to pee alone really quickly for the first time in hours. Having my breakfast literally taken off my plate and eaten by my kids when I hardly got one bite to myself and probably won’t get another bite of food until dinner. Reheating coffee so many times and never getting to even take it out of the microwave to drink it. Sweating, I remember sweating a LOT last year. Stress sweat and running around the house chasing sweat and getting embarrassed by meltdowns and not having enough hands to help myself with all the kids in public sweat last year.
Postpartum hormones are tough enough to deal with, but sometimes adding a second and third baby to the mix includes a season of REALLY TOUGH STUFF. Mine lasted from February to October last year and I had the hardest time of my life trying to keep up physically and was often passing out at my laptop, desk, anywhere the second I sat down. Those eight months kicked my butt. Thanks to anyone who hugged me, worked with me and was my listening ear during that time! Also, Mike was still commuting and I do attribute a LOT of my struggle to being home 13 hours solid alone five days a week with them. That definitely made it harder.
Moms who are with their kids for several hours a day on their own and have a lot of little ones to take care of are a type of tired that doesn’t even have a justifying name. It’s a combination of emotional tiredness, on-another-level physical tiredness, mental-having-to-remember-all-the-things tiredness and just plain depleted.
I felt like I couldn’t go hang with people because it was just too hard. I knew it would be more stress than it was worth. The gym was the best thing for me because getting that run in and taking care of myself saved me! But it was a tired like I have absolutely never ever ever known. And talking to someone recently… I realized that I was out of that stage (it’s still crazy up in this house! don’t get me wrong! did you see Ellie’s Instastory saying “I DONT LIKE PEOPLE”?! HAHA! this house is wild!) but somewhere along the way, last year around the holidays in November, things got easier. Life changed. The season got easier.
The tough season dissipated and a new season came about.
What changed? Autumn’s mobility and self-sufficiency.
When Autumn was finally able to crawl and walk and feed herself, things got easier. I kept saying to myself the other day…when was the switch? When did I leave that tough season and enter days with more ease? It was her being able to do some more things for herself. And her asking me to pick her up less.
I have never been happier than I am this year. That’s because Autumn is easier and Mike works closer to home, but I am so thankful for life right now because I saw what it was like during the struggle and now hard days just don’t seem as hard. I learned from that time and have been a better wife, mother and business owner this year and I am so grateful for that.
That season is coming friends. It’s coming. You may be stuck in the thick of it now but your season WILL CHANGE. I went through eight months of sweating, yelling too much and crying a lot. Eating whenever I could, praying to go to the bathroom alone. Praying a lot about a lot of things. Mostly trying to figure out how not to lose it all the time and just take deeper breaths and not freak out because I did that a lot.
If you are in this right now, it can get really bad. You can end up in a funk you don’t want to be in and start really losing your temper and your heart can hurt deeply from it. Here are some things you can pass along to someone you love and trust when you’ve been feeling this way and you’re in a really stressful season of life with little ones:
* Tell your people (spouse, family, friends) you need to talk to them and make a phone call or write a letter about exactly how you are feeling. If you feel hopeless, don’t hesitate to tell them that and don’t worry about sounding dramatic because honesty is key here. Explain to them it’s not just tired. It’s emotional exhaustion and that you NEED more help with the household chores and other things.
* If you’re like I used to be, you don’t take any time to yourself but years ago I began SMALL with a “mom hour”. If you have never had any time for yourself, one hour a week dedicated to you doing nothing but whatever you want to do will feel HUGE. For me, when we had cable it was Keeping Up With The Kardashians (don’t judge! I LOVE that show haha!) in my room alone on Sunday nights. I went from nothing to one hour on Sundays and it was my time! We have grown off of this since, but schedule in time for yourself and show up for it like you would a job or appointment. Take it seriously. Make others take it seriously. AKA, you don’t need to hear the baby crying the entire time in the other room. That will NOT count as mom time!
* Take the THINKING OUT of your day to day! When I was going through this funk last year, that’s when we really hunkered down on refining our life flow lists. Life flow lists are lists that mention day-to-day tasks that need to get down from medicines to picking out pajamas to all the things that are too little for me to constantly have in the forefront of my mind. We also have these for weekly tasks, monthly tasks and yearly tasks. We are launching a download for this soon to help others construct the same thing to simplify their life and improve communication between them and their spouse for a happier life and beautiful, simplified structure among all the usual chaos!
* Pray. Pray so much because you have to realize that screaming, stressing and crying won’t fix anything. When I have severe anxiety about something, I have to remember that the act of being anxious can not fix the situation so it’s absolutely wasted energy. Ask God to clear your mental space and put motivation to move forward, calm down and try again there for you!
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