Encouragement for The Exhausted Mom
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“Motherhood is messy. And challenging. And crazy. And sleepless. And giving. And still unbelievably beautiful.” -Rachel Martin
She’s finally asleep. You wash your face quickly, then fall into bed and immediately start to doze off.
Then, from the baby monitor, you hear the sound that practically stops your heart and fills you with dread, no matter how dead asleep you were. Your baby is crying…again. She needs you…again. How can this be happening…again?
You stumble out of bed, drunk with exhaustion, tears stinging your face as you make your way back to baby’s bedroom to comfort her again. You contemplate bringing your pillow and camping out on the floor next to her crib.
It’s going to be one of those nights. No, scratch that, it’s already been one of those nights. And you haven’t even made it to midnight yet.
If this perfectly describes your life right now, oh sister, I feel you. I’ve been there. I’ve been there not too long ago, in fact. There is no tired like mommy-tired. Can I get an “amen”?
Here is one thing I’m not going to tell you. I’m not going to sit here and say, “This too shall pass. This season will end eventually.” Because, while those statements are indeed true, they are of absolutely no comfort to you when you’re in the throws of exhaustion. I remember when people used to say that to me. I wanted to slap somebody or pawn my crying kid off on them so I could have a few moments of solitude. It’s just not helpful advice.
So, you won’t be reading that or anything like it in this post. Instead, here are 3 (more useful) ways to navigate mommy exhaustion and still retain your sanity.
Navigating Mommy Exhaustion
Find one way to be good to you.
Self-care seems to be a buzzword in our culture these days, right? My concern is that everybody’s talking about it, but far less are actually practicing it. I’m currently reading this book on finding time to practice self-care, and the author’s research suggests too many of us women are burning the candle at both ends without doing anything on a daily basis that we actually enjoy. Ouch. That can change today! No matter how tired you are, I want you come up with one thing that lights you up inside. It could be practicing music, knitting sweaters and scarves, scrapbooking, jogging in the neighborhood, baking gluten-free treats, etc. Pick just one thing that makes you feel like you when you do it and aim to engage in that activity three to four times a week. There’s a reason I didn’t say six or seven times. You’re in a season of exhaustion, so we’re aiming for progress over perfection. Trying to achieve perfection would only further frustrate you.
Ask for help.
Here’s another area we as women seem to struggle with: asking for help when we need it. Why is that? Are we afraid that we won’t appear as perfect to the rest of the world as we pretend to be? It’s time to get rid of that mindset now. You’re going to have days when no matter how hard you work, you can’t do it all. In fact, most days are probably going to look like that. Try this instead. If you have a to-do list for the day, read through it and ask yourself if each item on it absolutely has to be completed by you. If your answer for an item is not a resounding “yes!”, write the name of someone else who can complete that item instead. Leave the items on your to-do list that only you can do. Now, the hardest part is actually asking for the help you need from others. Ask nicely, and more than likely, you shall receive. Also, be willing to explain to the person you’re seeking help from that you’re in a season of exhaustion and just need a little extra help with things. Don’t forget ask your spouse or partner to help out. Sometimes sharing the load can make a huge difference in your daily grind.
Throw “The Rules” out the window; listen to your Mom-tuition.
You know, you already have one of the most amazing helpers of all, built right inside you. I call it Mom-tuition, and I believe every Momma out there is equipped with it. Is your child not sleeping well? Why is that? Deep down, what do you feel is causing the problem? Ask yourself questions about your unique situation until you start to uncover real answers. And as far as other people’s advice, you get to decide if you will take it or leave it. You are the parent of your child, and you know what your child needs. Even if you feel like you don’t, dig deep and you will figure it out. There is no rule book on parenting (although sometimes I wish there was). We do the best we can as Mommies and learn from our mistakes and triumphs. As you’re navigating this season of your life, what do you really need? Figure that out and then give it to yourself along with a healthy dose of grace.
One thing you need to know right now is that you, exhausted Mommy, are not alone. The next time you’re up for a 2 am power-feeding, just imagine how many other Mommies are awake too. Then snuggle that baby close and do the best you can in the moment you’re in. That’s enough. You are enough, and you are going to make it!
How do you navigate a tiring season in your life? Please leave a comment below and let me know.
If you liked this post, check out this popular post on setting goals when you’re exhausted!