We’ve all had those moments when motherhood becomes so overwhelmingly hard that we can literally feel our brains shutting down. I had one such moment a few weeks ago. It wasn’t actually motherhood which initially triggered the shutdown process, but it certainly nudged it along.
I received some pretty shattering news and I sat on my bed, sobbing, failing to keep my emotions at bay. Then, I heard it:
“Mummy, when is food ready?”
“Mummy, Umar won’t let me pick what I want on TV!”
These shouts were closely followed by the beeping of the washing machine demanding to be unloaded and the crash of a Duplo box being tipped upside down echoing down the hallway to my room.
Something switched. I calmly walked to my bedroom door, closed it, changed into my PJs and curled up in bed.
It was 4:30 in the afternoon.
Now, a little disclaimer here: my husband was in the house. He knew I was upset. He heard the kids. He had my back. I did NOT abandon my kids to wallow in self-pity.
But I did wallow. I spent the rest of the day comforting myself. It included chocolate, Netflix, tea, and even a few snuggles with a teddy bear my mum bought for me years ago.
The next morning? I felt MUCH better. Still upset, but my brain was functioning again! The fog of despair and overwhelm had cleared and I felt lighter.
Why is motherhood so hard?
Even though my initial trigger was not motherhood-related, the many many MANY demands of being a mother were pulling and tugging at me. Because this is why motherhood is hard: It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t matter how you’re feeling, what bad news you’ve received, what illness you’ve come down with or how much sleep you’ve had – motherhood is relentless.
If you don’t take the time to pause when you need to, or even completely stop and curl up, then you won’t recover enough to feel the beauty and tranquility that is ALSO a key part of motherhood.
Hard DOES NOT equal bad
I can’t stress this point enough – Just because you’re finding motherhood hard does not mean you’re a bad mother.
Read that again:
JUST BECAUSE MOTHERHOOD IS HARD, IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU’RE A BAD MOTHER.
I made the mistake of believing I was a bad mother whenever I had a hard Motherhood Moment. And that lie tore me to shreds at times. Until I learnt the secret: Every GOOD mother finds motherhood hard!
Read that again:
EVERY GOOD MOTHER FINDS MOTHERHOOD HARD.
It won’t be hard all the time, but I challenge you to find a good mother who NEVER finds it hard.
Waking up to your kids in the night is hard. Making a nutritious meal when you don’t want to get off the sofa is hard. Washing clothes you haven’t worn and cleaning mess you haven’t made is hard. Caring for them when they’re sick is hard. Comforting them when they’re sad is hard. Disciplining them when they cross a line is hard. Dealing with tantrums is hard…
It’s all hard! But if you persevere, it becomes the most rewarding, empowering thing you may ever do in your life.
So, when you feel that overwhelm engulfing you, when you feel your patience evaporating faster than a droplet on the desert floor, STOP. PAUSE. TAKE A BEAT.
If you keep pushing yourself when you’re feeling so low, that resentment and despair will just last longer and you’ll miss out on everything that is amazing about being a mother. If you don’t pause to clear your energy, you won’t be able to see past it. You won’t get the best out of your kids and they won’t get the best out of you.
Since the day of my own shutdown, I’ve found it useful to have a Pause List. This is a list of things I can do when I feel things getting tough. Some things take some time, others are quick pick-me-ups. Because let’s face it – we can’t all retreat to our bedrooms every time!
I’ve created a template for you awesome mamas to write your own Pause List so it’s ready and waiting for you when you need it. Here’s mine!
Download your own Pause List template here. Click the image or click the ‘Download’ button.
Let me know in the comments what’s on your Pause List!
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