Let’s get one thing straight: I love being a mom. It is one of the most rewarding things I do. My children bring me joy and happiness. They make me laugh out loud with their silly songs and attempts at being grown up. But, man, it is HARD.
All day long, I am watching my own behavior to make sure it’s in line with what I teach my kids is good. I have to discipline my kids when they hit or try to bite or wrestle too rough, all while reminding them that I love them and it’s the behavior I don’t like. If I want a little treat before dinner time, I have to discreetly sneak it into some closet or corner while the kids are distracted. (Although, they always seem to notice the moment I disappear and go running through the house yelling, “Mom!” and find me with my half eaten chocolate in my mouth and a lie on my lips: “I’m not doing anything.”) I’m taking deep breaths and counting to 5 as I clean up another spilled drink or sweep up enough crumbs from under the table to feed a small army. I feel like a broken record when I have to remind my kids multiple times a day to clean up their toys, put on their shoes, get dressed, come to the table, please eat your food, stop touching your brother’s foot…
Being a mom is super tiring. When my husband comes home from a long day at work, he is able to mentally shut down that part of his brain and focus on his role of father or husband. I, on the other hand, am still in mom-mode: working on dinner, straightening up the house, etc. Women have a lot harder time disconnecting from one role and shifting into another one. I honestly feel like I am going almost non-stop from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I do my best to get to bed early but that time when the kids are asleep is magical. Am I right, moms? It’s a chance for me to try and regroup and regain some sense of self and think about what “I” want for a few minutes: “Chocolate ice cream or salted caramel?”
But let’s be real here: moms need mental health days too. And the fact is, we rarely get them. Sure, we might catch snippets, or what I’m calling mental health moments, but the majority of our time and energy is devoted to our family. In order to be able to take care of our family, we also have to take care of ourselves. But how can we do that when it seems we have so little time to ourselves? Check out these suggestions and see if one might work for you:
- Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning and set the tone for your day by reading scriptures, writing in your journal, meditating or just taking a nice, hot shower without interruptions
- Listen to your favorite songs
- Run out and get yourself a drink or small treat after the kids go to bed
- Paint your nails
- Read a book
- Go on a walk or drive
- Forget the dishes and go to bed early
- Watch a re-run of your favorite show
- Do something creative
If you didn’t find something you identified with, hopefully this list got you thinking of some small ways you can regain your sanity throughout the day.
What do you do for your mental health moments?