The Ballad of the Overwhelmed Mom

Yeah, girl. I know you feel me. I literally hear you pouring another cup of coffee, curling up on the couch in our standard uniform of leggings and any which shirt as you circle round to empathize. A chorus of “I feel your pain, my sister” builds just louder than the usual “NO” and “I DON’T WANT IT’ yelled from the peanut gallery inevitably in the background. (Oh, Nanny, where art thou?)

I speak for us all when I say, I’M TIRED. Yes, I sleep. It’s not that. Being a mom, taking care of home, working in my business, and serving my clients is A LOT for even the most super of women.

Add to that a super adorable chew happy dog, a way more intense than expected recent surgery, two sick kids and a looming hurricane, JESUS FORGET THE WHEEL, TURN SOME WATER INTO WINE!

This isn’t a woe is me type article. On the contrary. I chose to be a single mom. I chose to forego the 9-5. I chose the dog. I chose to live on the coast. Heck, I even chose the surgery. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard as hell. And it definitely doesn’t mean I can’t bitch and moan about it acknowledge that struggle and give myself grace.

He’s never this still. You know he’s really sick.

Acknowledge the Struggle

So many of us bury our struggle and just keep pushing and pushing and pushing. What happens when we can’t push anymore? Well, we push some more, right? Wrong. We keel over dead. If not actually, something within us dies, resigning ourselves to the subconscious thought that this is as good as it gets. Living for us is dead. We just exist. Exhausted and overwhelmed. Who wants to live like that?

Even better question: who IS living like that? Ouch.

What if instead, we acknowledged all the super hard badassery we accomplished? Do you know what you look like on paper? I don’t mean letters behind your name. I mean, kudos and all, but have you ever woken up on a Saturday to a toddler covered in poop, followed the trail to find the motherload on your brand new WHITE rug and then managed to clean all above white as snow? Yeah. That’s real winning.

Try this for me: The next time you’re feeling super frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, that you’re not enough, don’t have enough and can’t do enough, make a list of everything you’ve accomplished in the past week. I dare say, you’ll get tired of writing it all, so how about in just the past 24 hours? I mean, you may really just need to start with since you opened your eyes this morning, but you get the idea. Put yourself on paper.

Look at the miracles you’ve worked. Kept two babies alive? Girl, you are doing it! Folded how many loads of laundry? We’re not worthy. Survived the grocery store? My hat’s off to you. Brokered a multinational deal benefiting your family for generations to come? OK, now you’re just bragging.

But seriously (my God, I almost spelled that like cereal. *pours more coffee*) celebrate your accomplishments. Even better than celebrating them alone, find yourself a tribe to celebrate with. If you’re wondering who will celebrate with you, I will. Join us over at Soul Circle and brag away.

Celebrating your accomplishments through your struggle will not make it any easier. It will, however, propel you out of overwhelm and into empowerment. You’re creating an environment of getting shit done. You’re kicking victimization in the ass and embracing your superpowers. You need more of that.

Give Yourself Grace

I lamented to a group of moms at how my children seem to completely ignore me until I totally lose my shit. The best advice was a simple, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Perfectionism is the root of so much anxiety. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself as an older mom with Irish twin toddlers plus my 20 year old man child, to be their end all. I know I’ve taken them out of a bad situation and I don’t want to do any further harm, so I love on them as much as I can.

In those pained moments, it’s easy for me to focus on the discomfort triggered by having to raise my voice to feel heard. I have to remind myself that my kids are the absolute loves of my life, I would never do anything to harm them, and that discipline IS love: holding them accountable for unacceptable behavior will help mold them into kind, empathetic, decent adults.

Most importantly, I have to remind myself, I’m not perfect. I will make mistakes. But the solid, consistent foundation of love will prayerfully speak louder than the mistakes. Showing our children love in actions and words, not just to them, but also to ourselves, is crucially important in creating a safe, healthy environment for us all.

Will I lose it again? Well, this morning, one of my children dropped a tripod (you read that correctly) into my coffee mug, shattering it and sending coffee and shards of ceramic everywhere, so I daresay yes. But WHEN I lose it, I will take a deep breath, remind myself that I’m doing my best, that they are safe, healthy and loved, try to understand the root of their behavior and address it accordingly and give myself that same grace, love and understanding.

Could we all love on ourselves like that a little more?