Hey there, Mama. Are you tired? Did you spend your day kind of wondering how to get your Littles under control? Do you yo-yo back and forth between feeling like Supermom and a total failure? Do you stare at those little faces looking up at you and wonder how someone so beautiful, so innocent, so small could cause you to feel more overwhelmed and underprepared than you did the morning of taking the SATs?
Seriously. I get you. I am you.
I am an overwhelmed mom.
I forget doctor’s appointments, I walk into rooms and stand there, completely forgetting why I am there, and I take long showers just to find ten minutes of peace. I lose my cool over the whining, and I cry over spilled milk. And you know what I have come to realize…
I am overwhelmed but don’t have to be.
I don’t have to be. I don’t have to feel this way.
How do I know this?
Well, it’s a little something…a BIG something called perspective. It really does change everything.
Lately, I have felt so frazzled and just all over the place, mentally, emotionally… My mothering of these precious people has suffered greatly, because of exhaustion and impatience. Every two seconds (and I am NOT exaggerating) it’s “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” Their “Mommy-Do” List is longer than my “Honey-Do” List! Really. And it’s annoying sometimes, you know?
I found myself snapping at one of my kids not too long ago. I can’t remember what it was over. I know that they were doing something that I just found irritating. Like being too silly at an inopportune time or something like that. Totally not a big deal, but I caught myself making it a big deal. That’s when this thought occurred to me…
“Kristi, remember when it was just Ava? Would this behavior have annoyed you?”
And you guessed it, that answer was a blaring “No.”
It didn’t even take a lot of pondering. It was not that big of a deal. Even the biggest of deals wouldn’t have ruffled my feathers when it was just one child. So, it hit me…
They aren’t the problem. They are just being silly, funny, goofy, lively KIDS. You, my dear, are the one looking at it differently…negatively.
Yes, multiplying your children will definitely shorten your nerves and attention span, BUT, the root of the issue is worth recognizing and addressing. At least it has been for me. Just like I mentioned in a previous post regarding birth order and parenting, I believe that taking a minute to imagine the scenario you’re facing under different circumstances can possibly change everything, and change it for the better. Sometimes, as parents, our perspectives stink just as badly as that pile of poopy diapers in the corner. (Mine are actually piling up in the girls’ bathroom, but that’s beside the point…)
It really does work. Making a conscious effort to remove the behavior from the rest of the context of your day and your life and see it for what it really is can be such a reality check.
I know that reactions/responses are sometimes at the mercy of our schedules and other children, but when we have the chance to slow down and approach something a little differently during the day, I say, let’s try it!
Your firstborn asks if she can help you bake cookies. Of course! How sweet! Some mommy-daughter bonding time.
Your second of four asks the same question. Maybe next time, honey. Mommy has so much to do right now.
Maybe I am in a hurry, and my response is innocent, but I still could see myself having involved Ava at that age in some way or another, and I most-likely would have initiated the involvement in the first place.
That may be a poor example, but I hope that I am conveying my heart correctly here. Honestly speaking…children are time-consuming, and since our days just slip by so quickly, it may be so easy to brush them off and avoid certain activities altogether. Throw in sleepless nights, tending to infants, potty-training toddlers, cleaning up after pre-schoolers, and it’s really no wonder that we snap at the 25th “Mommy!!!” when it used to take 150 times to even remotely drive us buggy.
Truth be told, our subsequent children are growing up with a drastically different dynamic present than their oldest sibling experienced, and it’s our responsibility, as their mamas and papas, not to rob them of the joys of being little, simply because the plate is full and what’s left of the brain is overflowing.
At this point in my journey, as a mother to four, there are simply more of them and less of me. Oh, how it shows. Often. But my new mission in 2015 is to make each little person in my care feel like the ONLY person in my world while I am interacting with them, even if it’s just for that two whole seconds when they’re asking me for their fourth breakfast of the morning or the (what seems like forever) 25 minutes it takes for me to watch as they show me how they can put a 18-piece puzzle together.
I am more and more convinced every day that mothering is the most involved “job” on earth, and yes, it can be so overwhelming, but…my new motto serves to remind me…it doesn’t have to be.
So, when you feel overwhelmed today, take these steps:
1 – Stop. Stop what you are doing and thinking.
2 – Reflect upon happier/easier times of focusing on one person. Ask yourself, “Would this behavior/situation have made me frazzled then?”
3 – If the answer is “no”, redirect your own thoughts and responses so that you leave the little one feeling loved and yourself feeling like Mom of the Year. (Or at least Mom of the Moment. 😉 ) *If the answer is “yes”, then by all means proceed in acting like a ninny.
4 – Give that little stinker a big squeeze, because you probably need it more than they do!
You’re not alone in this thing, mama. I’m just one gray hair away…
And…if you just scrubbed poo off of your toddler’s bedroom carpet, like I just did, then you are really not alone. We may be tired. We may be cranky at times, but we’ve got this! It’s in the bag. Like the poo… xo
Need a few more laughs?
Check out these posts next. I think they’ll make you feel better!
One of my most popular posts and another perspective changer:
Bedtime Lessons the Change Everything