Bringing Joy Back Into Motherhood

A few months ago I found myself in a rut. I felt like I was getting burnt out between toddler tantrums and a teething baby.

Charlie was going through a very normal three-year-old emotional phase, which challenged my patience on a day to day basis. Claire was teething so she was more clingy and whiny than normal.

Combine those two things plus trying to keep up with all of the summer happenings, well it sure got to me.

To top it all off, my husband had a few big projects at work and so he was working longer hours than normal and I found that I had stretched myself too thin. I was just plain tired and I turned into a grumpy, impatient and frustrated mom.

Being a mom is my absolute greatest joy in life but I went from being a happy, joyful mom to the mom that snaps at her kids in the store, gets annoyed over every little thing, and is just all around on edge all the time.

One thing I started noticing right away was that the more I was grumpy and irritated with my children, the more they seemed to mirror this same behavior. I feel like part of Charlie’s emotional tantrums were because of my response to him. I think he was confused as to why I was suddenly so irritable and grumpy all the time, he just didn’t know how to express it.

At the end of every day I would feel miserable and tell myself “tomorrow I promise to be more patient and not yell or lose my temper.”

The days would go by and each day was a challenge, I felt like I just could not get out of this negative, unhappy space. I felt like a  failure.

I knew something had to change right away so I sat down and reflected on what changed in the past few months to make me come to this point.

The answers were obvious:

  1. Too many commitments. I attended every birthday party, bridal shower, play date and invitation to the point where I was worn out. I was filling our time to try and get the most out of summer, but in the end it just left me tired. Sometimes it’s better to just say no and take a day off.
  2. I had a gained a few pounds and things just didn’t fit right. Yes, this sounds shallow but it’s the truth. If I gain a few pounds I’m miserable. I hate it when my clothes feel tight and when things just don’t fit the way I want them to. It effects my mood more than I would like to admit!
  3. I was staying up way too late either watching my favorite shows or being online. Sleep is so important and being tired definitely contributed to my moods.
  4. Not enough alone time. Yes, I had lots of commitments and fun events that I had been attending, but I was never alone. Having time alone without the kids either for a date with my husband or with a girlfriend or even by myself always helps me recharge. I hadn’t done this in a while.
  5. The house was a mess. I can’t function when my house isn’t tidy. I was constantly leaving the house and coming home too tired that I could not keep up with the chores. They were piling up and I was too exhausted to do anything about it.

To remedy the situation, I put together a list of ways that I can bring joy back into motherhood:

  1. Say NO to obligations and events when I know I have too much on my plate already.
  2. Go to bed at a reasonable time.
  3. Get back to healthy eating and working out. I told a really good friend of mine about the frustrations with my weight gain and we decided to start eating healthy and working out together to keep each other accountable. This was about 3 weeks ago and we are both down on the scale and feel awesome! It’s been so great for our moods!
  4. Keep a list of things that need to be done around the house and be wise with my time so that I can actually keep up with the list. For example, if my laundry is piling up, say no to the afternoon play date for one day and catch up on laundry.
  5. Schedule time for myself. Either time alone, a date with my husband or a date with a girlfriend.
  6. Ask for help when needed.
  7. When I start feeling down, remember what I am thankful for either by keeping gratitude journal, or just reflecting on all of my blessings.
  8. Stop trying to do it all and be it all. Know when to let go and move on.
  9. Stop acting like I am the victim. I have a great life and rather than feeling sorry for myself (because I have NO reason to!), be happy with life. Remind myself to enjoy every moment because they go by too fast.
  10. Don’t compare myself to others. We all do this and I have to constantly remind myself not to! You can read my post about this here.

Every day I reminded myself of the ways that I can be joyful. I worked really hard to do the things I listed above and it really helped me so much! It took a few weeks, but I have noticed a huge difference not only in my own day to day moods, but also in Charlies mood as well.

He has been happier and less emotional. I think it’s been a little easier on my husband as well. No one likes living with a moody person!

Motherhood is a gift. It’s not something to be taken lightly and I feel horrible when I get into these ruts. We aren’t perfect and thankfully, we always have the opportunity to get back up and try again.

What are some ways that you keep joy in motherhood?

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