Quick. Read this before your children distract you. Mom Break Confessions. You know it’s only a matter of time before someone asks you for a snack or to count how long they can stand on one leg… even though you’ve done this ten times today already.
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If you are slightly tearing up right now, you are probably holding your breath in this moment like it’s the only “mom break” you will get all day. It’s not a secret. You’re overwhelmed. Life is consuming, and you feel like it’s swallowing you whole.
Maybe you’re walking through a major life change, and you’re finding it tough to do daily things like dinner and packing school lunches. Or maybe it’s these very “normal” things that feel overwhelming because tasks like buckling the kids in the car have become full blown events instead of easy mindless jobs. How do they forget the process of getting in and out of the car every single day? This is mom life Groundhog Day, for sure.
I am starting to lose count of the number of moms who have confessed that their solo trip to the grocery store was their sweet respite for the week. I get it. There is much rejoicing internally when a mother can have two consecutive thoughts together even if it’s about meal prepping for the family. Doing normal things in peace is like the drug all moms are after.
My struggle is – why are moms desperate to escape their lives to roam around the grocery aisles? Sidenote: If you witness a mom roaming around any store, please give her a hug and a kind word of encouragement. She probably needs it more than you know.
This is what I call the hamster wheel. The endless cycle of pushing through the day to live for an hour long “mom break”. Don’t get me wrong. Mom breaks are a necessity. A must. Without them we will implode, and well, that would be messy and there wouldn’t be any moms left to clean it up… The world would be left in utter chaos. So give a mom a break.
But back to the hamster wheel. Do you find yourself day after day reacting to your life instead of creating it? Yes, there is a level of reacting that comes with the job title of motherhood. It’s not like we manifest the blow out diapers to happen the very second we buckle our babies into the carseat; therefore resulting in canceled plans, a bath, and washing a car seat cover that’s near impossible to reinstall back onto the seat without digging up the manual that has been shoved to the back of some random drawer. That scenario is unplanned. We have all been there. Motherhood teaches us to adapt, pivot, and be flexible. These are life skills good enough for your resume, sister.
Skills aside, I’m talking about mindset. Moms can pivot over unexpected messes and tantrums all day long, but that does not mean our wellbeing is at peace. We can close our eyes and do metaphorical backbends through the daily chaos and still have our focus locked on our lack, unhappiness, guilt, shame, or insecurities – none of which serve us well.
Here are four key mindsets that I have used to help lift myself out of the hamster wheel and to start taking back my wellbeing. Starting with this, I learned to love my life instead of living to survive it…or at least until my next mom break.
- ACKNOWLEDGE: Stop feeling guilty for being overwhelmed with the little things: You’ve heard the saying “death by a thousand cuts”. Similarly, you’re experiencing overwhelm by a thousand little things. Realize that your fatigue, inability to lose that extra ten pounds, or your chronic tension headaches are likely due to a lot of normal life things that are starting to add up. Moms are managing schedules, coordinating carpools, planning weekday meals, researching “internet safety for kids”, making homemade baby food, finding a good daycare, and the list goes on. Moms don’t stop. We have a bajillion things to do. We hover the line of fight or flight mode all day long trying to keep everything together, not to mention trying to ward off the constant underlying stress of COVID. It’s ok to acknowledge that you’re overwhelmed. This is the first step to figuring out how to make a positive change in your life.
- REFOCUS: What you give attention to grows: Start noticing what you notice throughout the day. Do you instinctually zero in on the lack, the bad, the negativity? What would you rather see and how would you rather feel about the things you notice. Start flipping your script. Choose to find the good, and feed your mind on those things.
- INNER FOCUS: Notice who is telling your story: Do you have a mean inner critic? We are all our own worst, closest friend. How can you manifest the life that you want if you keep letting your inner voice tear you apart and dominate your perception of yourself? Be kind. Treat yourself like a best friend. Avoid comparison – it will take away from you and give nothing back to you.
- OUTWARD FOCUS: Offer unconditional kindness to others: As a mom we are constantly living on the back burner as we prioritize our family. But something beautiful and restorative happens when we show up for a friend or loved one and offer kindness without anything attached to it. That may be a warm meal, an honest compliment, or free babysitting so she can catch a break. Showing others love without any expectations in return will give back to you tenfold. And we all know that moms could use an extra ten shots of energy. When you help others, you’re actually helping yourself.
Perspective is powerful, and it is the greatest thing you can control when your world seems out of control. From there you can create more peace, joy, and grace.
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer