This post contains affiliate links. For more information read my disclaimer.
Yesterday I had a rough day. There was no real reason for my foul mood, but I just couldn’t shake it. I was stressed, sad and overwhelmed with all the tasks in front of me. My daily motto is to live one day at a time and focus on the good, but yesterday my mind was just not cooperating.
Some days I fret about the future. I struggle to keep up with housework, appointments and it often feels like the weight of the world is just slowly piling up on my shoulders. I usually try not stress about the future, but at times it’s hard. I wonder how I will handle the heavy load of motherhood and my children’s medical needs.
I realized last night as I laid in bed feeling guilty, sad and irritated that tomorrow would eventually come. I wouldn’t always feel this way. My husband leaned over to me and said something wise, “It’s okay to have a bad day.” He was right. I’m allowed a bad day every so often. Life is hard and some days we just feel it all at once. The weight on my shoulders would probably feel a little lighter tomorrow, and my heart would go back to feeling grateful and strong. Sure enough when I woke up this morning, I felt so much better. God showed me that I’m allowed to have bad days, as long as I get back up and remember who holds my future. God’s in control, not me.
Here are my 7 tips for the overwhelmed mom, from a fellow mom that definitely gets overwhelmed too. If you’re a perfect mom who never falls apart, no need to keep reading, but if you’re a mom who makes mistakes, cries over spilled milk, trips over toys and spills coffee on herself – you my dear friends are my soul sisters.
1. It’s okay to have a bad day
Like I said, we all have bad days. Whether you have medically fragile children like me, or just have a lot of stress on your plate, we ALL have bad days. Motherhood is hard, even when everything is going well. It’s hard to keep up with everything on our to-do lists. It’s hard to breathe sometimes when you realize just how much rests on your shoulders. But, take it from me, a bad day is just that – ONE DAY. Tomorrow will come, things will feel better, and you will wake up and try again. So remember it’s okay to have a bad day, just don’t live there.
2. Focus on what’s important
At the end of my life I can tell you for certain that I will NEVER say I wish I’d cleaned more or I wish I’d spent more time away from my kids. Nope. The only thing I will think about is the moments I spent with my family. The cuddles, the laughs, the moments full of love and the wonderful memories. As difficult as motherhood is, it’s also such a beautiful privilege we need to be grateful for. It’s a profound honor denied to many, so remember to cherish it, even when it’s hard.
3. Don’t compare yourself to other moms
One of my favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” What a true and powerful statement! Comparison is literally a recipe for discontentment. As mothers, it’s so important not to compare ourselves to other moms, it sets us up to feel like failures.
We live in a world where no one likes to admit their faults. Facebook and Instagram show you a carefully constructed glimpse into someone’s identity, but remember it’s the identity they want you to see. It’s not real. I promise you, even that beautiful, well dressed, oh-so patient mama you see on Facebook has her faults. Do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself to someone’s made up version of themselves. You are doing a wonderful job mama.
4. Make self care a priority
I’m really bad at this, hence the previously described meltdown above. I have a bad habit of waiting way too long to take care of myself until I’m crying in the corner like a toddler who needs a nap. Take it from me, just a simple bubble bath or a coffee run by yourself can do wonders for your mood. I’m the biggest introvert, but even I need some friend time every so often. When I take time to meet a friend for lunch, go to a Bible study or have some quality time with my mom I feel like a new me. Make self care a priority, because it is.
5. Don’t be glued to your to-do list
This is something all moms struggle with. We think if we don’t put a pretty little check mark next to each task on our calendars that we’re somehow failing at life. Listen to me ladies, we’re not defined by what we do! We are defined by our worth, which is strictly found in God’s eyes, NOT our accomplishments. I don’t think God cares if your home is immaculate, especially if you skipped cleaning to cuddle your baby or play a game with your kids. Enjoy motherhood, don’t rush through it checking all the pretty boxes. Motherhood is messy and that’s part of the beauty, so embrace it.
6. Slow down and give yourself grace
When I’m overwhelmed the best thing I can do, is give myself grace. As moms we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves for the slightest mistakes. I know I am. This is such an unnecessary habit. What good does it do to focus on your mistakes? What if, instead you focused on the good moments of the day. What if, instead of remembering the moment you yelled over the broken picture frame, you remembered how you held your son and apologized for getting upset? You made a mistake… so what? You also taught your child how to handle a mistake with humility and grace. Focus on that.
7. Don’t let the stress take away your joy
We just got home from our second Make a Wish trip. We had a lot of emotional moments, but mostly our days were filled with joy. We went to theme parks, movies, restaurants, arcades and toy stores. It was so much fun. I couldn’t help but watch people stare at us walking through the theme park with our bright white Make a Wish shirts. Most were very kind, some were a bit rude. As we walked by I could hear people say “Awww.” Some would even stop us and tell us to have a great time. I wondered what they must be thinking as they saw us. Did they pity us? Did they wonder how we could look so happy when our life must be so hard?
I’m proud to admit that most people walking by would have probably seen us laughing or smiling. They’d probably see our children smiling from ear to ear (as long as they were well fed haha) as we catered to their every whim on our trip of a lifetime.
One moment stands out in my mind when I remember the reactions we got from others. We were walking down our hotel hallway back to our room, exhausted from a full day of rides. We had all three kids in a double stroller and a wheelchair (since our boys can’t walk long distances.) We’d often race down the hallway to entertain the kids on the long trek back to the room. They’d laugh as we bumped into things and ran as fast as one can with a giant double stroller. (We literally take up an entire elevator with just our family of five.) A little boy walked by us with his mom. “I hope you feel better,” he said to my nine year old as we walked by. Wow, did I have to hold back tears. What a kind little boy to say something like that, but what I’d like people to know is that we’re a happy family. Disorder or not, we live a very happy life. We may have bad days, but we always carry on with a smile.
When you’re overwhelmed dear mothers, remember that it will pass. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life. Never let the stress deplete your joy.