Superwoman, it’s OK to take off your cape

Some moments, weeks, and months just feel hard. Moms I’ve been talking to are dealing with a range of challenges such as:

  • Flu and Norovirus for ourselves and/or our kids
  • Endless power struggles
  • Delayed speech development in kids
  • Recovering from labor
  • Adjusting to life with two
  • Health issues with children
  • Sleepless nights
  • Starting back at work after maternity leave
  • Managing morning sickness while caring for a toddler

I hear you. I hear you fighting back tears in your moments of weakness. I hear you when you’re angry and taking it out on your kids, trying to keep it all together. You are not alone. I’m going to say it again. You are not alone. Just as we want our children to be able to identify their own feelings, a good place to start is with ourselves. Admitting we are struggling can be a productive first step.

Sometimes our challenges are temporary; temporary of course is a relative term. Other challenges last longer. When Grace was about four weeks old, Keener got Norovirus. As much as we washed our hands, my husband went down next followed by myself a few hours after that. I vividly remember nursing Grace and tossing her into the Rock N Play (prior to the recall!) to go throw up.

I called my sister, in tears. “Am I ever going to feel normal again? Whatever normal is? Will I ever see my friends again?” I was in a bad place. Lonely, exhausted, sick, and caring for a sick kid. During that time it was really hard to maintain perspective that my current state wouldn’t last forever. She said to me, “It’s just a phase. You won’t feel this run down forever, I promise.” And she was right.

But how do we know when something is just a phase or when there is something else going on? Do we just need more patience and will time help ease the discomfort? Or is this something more — something that we can’t just “power through?” The following can help you feel better if it really is just a phase, and can help you identify when it might be something more:

  • Ask for help. Yes superwoman, everyone needs help sometimes. If friends and family aren’t offering, reach out and ask them. While it can feel like a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of strength. And what better way to teach your children this life skill than modeling asking for help in an appropriate way.
  • Seek out experts. Worried about speech? Consult with a speech therapist or other early childhood expert. Kids aren’t sleeping? Ask a sleep consultant for recommendations (one of my best friends from childhood is a nurse and certified sleep consultant and posts incredible ideas on Instagram @winkandbundle if you are needing more resources. She also just launched her website! https://winkandbundle.com/). Don’t let yourself go down the Google rabbit hole but instead seek out the advice from trained experts in that particular field.
  • Talk about your feelings. Call a friend, a family member, a spouse, a religious leader, or a therapist. There are even online therapists such as TalkSpace which can be done from your home during naps (Disclaimer – I have never used Talk Space and am not endorsing or recommending it specifically. But it is great to know that there are resources available where you don’t have to hire a babysitter to watch your kids.)
  • Talk to your doctor and/or your child’s doctor. Sometimes we think an issue may be greater than it really is. I go in and out of feeling guilty about what my kids eat. If there is an issue with your child that is really concerning you, talk to their pediatrician. Likewise, if something doesn’t feel right for you, talk to your own doctor.
  • If it is just a phase, remind yourself it is just a phase. Try to give yourself the perspective you need to see that this current situation won’t last forever. Acknowledge that right now feels hard, but that it will get better.
  • Pray/Meditate. Try to find a moment by yourself to pray, meditate, or just do some deep breathing. If you don’t know where to start, the beginning of the Serenity Prayer resonates with me.

Prayer for Serenity

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • Find a mom’s group to join. Having a community of moms going through similar issues is encouraging and reminds you that you are not alone in your struggles.
  • Get outside. Even in the cold of winter, there is something incredibly refreshing about spending time outside. Nature has a way of giving us perspective and clarity that is hard to find within the walls of our home.

Paying attention to your own emotions and needs is arguably one of the best things you can do for yourself, and your family. Take a deep breath and remind yourself you are enough. And get the help you need, superwoman, so that you can continue to fly.

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