SIMPLE WAYS TO LOVE MOTHERHOOD EVEN BETWEEN NAPTIMES!
Sometimes my kids are just plain overwhelming. The fighting, the whining, the constant requests for snacks can drive me nuts. Sometimes I find myself asking: “Is it time for bed yet?” Need some simple solutions to love motherhood in between sleeps? Try these when your kids are overwhelming you!
Look at that precious angel. Asleep in bed. Soft pudgy lips, perfect skin, adorable wrinkly fingers. My heart literally aches with love for him. His sweet snuggles, his gooey kisses, and his declarations of love for me make being a mommy the best job in the world.
My body has the ache of exhaustion. My hair has the faint smell of dry shampoo. And, my clothes are riddled with drool and banana smudges. Despite all that, all I can think of is how perfect he is, and how lucky I am.
Then…he wakes up.
In the morning, when that precious angel wakes up, when I am not looking, an evil look-alike monster, body-snatches my perfect baby, and replaces him. Replaces him with a grumpy, irrational, slimy, and biting creature.
A creature whose tantrums nearly knock my front teeth loose. Or, a monster whose tiny legs somehow jet propel him toward oncoming traffic or my steaming hot cup of coffee.
The innocent, tiny child whose little body I scooped from his bed to rock one last time before calling it a night, has been mysteriously snatched.
Within moments of waking I know it is going to be a bad one. He already bit the dog, pulled the sheets from my bed, and screamed at me to provide him an instantaneous cup of milk.
I FIND MYSELF ASKING WHETHER IT IS TIME FOR BED YET?
How can the child I so dearly love send me into such fits of rage? Why do I long to hold and love and comfort you as you sleep but then pray for bedtime during the day?
I dreamed of these days. I dreamed of sticky fingers, and giggles over silly books. We prayed for the gift of being a mommy. But, sometimes I dream of naptime.
All those screaming fits, demands for attention, and complaints –mine not his—are just the adult version of my toddlers’ irrational rage.
Sometimes I find myself only stopping to consider the thoughts, needs, and gift of my child when he isn’t interfering with my own expectations. When he doesn’t slide through the mop water as I clean up the milk he threw across the kitchen!
Don’t get me wrong; I love being a mommy. And, honestly, I know you do too. However, some days, we have to simply say “heaven help us.” And sometimes “heaven” looks like a friendly cup of coffee, a mom’s group, or other solutions.
Ways to love motherhood between nap and bedtime
1. FIND A MOM GROUP
Every other Thursday for more than 5 years I looked forward to sitting and having a cup of coffee and a pastry with some of my best mom friends. The most non-judgmental group I have ever known, but also the most relatable.
We laughed over terrible mom fails. We reminisced about baby snuggles. But, mostly we supported each other. No need for a façade, these women knew the truth: motherhood is hard and beautiful.
Before I met this group, I was certain that I not only could, but should, do this mom-thing alone. I was the mom now, and therefore, I was solely responsible for every developmental milestone, bad day, or happy moment. However, once I met my mom group, I knew that we were all struggling along and needed each other.
Thus, I recommend that every mom have a mom group of some sort. Meet at the playground, meet at your church, or meet over the internet (like in this blog). Discuss the things that hurt your heart. Share your struggles, fears, and failures. And, definitely celebrate your major mom wins!
Frankly, the loss of my mom group over the pandemic was a major reason for starting this blog. I missed having a venue where I could share my struggles, and I knew that there were other new moms who never got the chance to realize that their struggles were not isolated. Find encouragement here, but on those days that you just can’t seem to make it to bedtime fast enough –find a mom group!
2. HAVE A “MOM DATE”
Unlike a mom group, a mom date is like a play date but is more for the moms than the kids. My favorite mom date is to meet my best friend(s) and their kids at our nearest Chick-Fil-A. For the first 15-20 minutes, it’s chaos as we feed anywhere from 9-15 small children their chicken nuggets or chicken minis.
However, once the nuggets are gone and the ketchup is wiped from their little chins, the mom date begins.
Chick-Fil-A is one of those unicorn rare places that really gets moms. We absolutely adore our children and want the best for them.
But, moms also really love to sit and drink coffee behind a giant glass window while their children play in a safe and clean play area! From moms everywhere: Thank You, Chick-Fil-A!
Some other mom date ideas are:
- Grab iced coffees and let the kids play at the park.
- Find a local kid café where your kids can play, color, and climb while you and your mom friends enjoy your lunch.
- Basement meet up: if you or one of your friends has a basement play zone, send the kids to the basement while the moms chill on the couch.
- Plan a trip away from the kids! Get together and plan a momcation. My friends and I work hard to spend at least 1 night a year together away from our kiddos! We have been to concerts, beaches, and more as we grow together as mothers and find restoration to resume our journey!
3. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
If your kids are driving you nuts, the house is a wreck, no one can stop arguing, and dinner just won’t make itself, you are going to feel out of control. Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, your kids, and your home, change your perspective.
Reflect instead on the fact that your kids are happy, healthy, and home. Recognize that you can’t do it all, and give yourself a break by simplifying the routines.
Further, don’t forget that these days with small children are short. These moments might not be the times for clean –organized—sleep – fashion. Instead, take the time to cuddle, tell stories, or dress up as a princess! These are the moments that show that our parenting priorities are really in the right place!
4. GET SOME HELP
Lastly, and certainly not least of all, if you are really feeling like a frazzled mommy who feels like the world might be crumbling down on you, get help. Get professional help.
If, on the other hand, you can identify your stress points such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, or finances. Simply take that responsibility off of your shoulders.
There is no realistic way that you can live the Pinterest-Perfect life all the time. Hire a cleaner once a month. Order takeout at least once a week. Take these budget meal planning suggestions, or even hire out the laundry. (Check this laundry service out; it’s awesome!!!)
Moms can’t do it all. Little secret: those moms who look like they have it all together…they don’t! Something’s gotta give somewhere. It might be sleep. Or, they might have a pack of family watching the kids several nights a week.
It’s ok to feel tired and exhausted and overwhelmed and dirty and a little out of control sometimes. But get some help: family, friends, professionals. This is too short and magical of a time in your life to fixate on the pile of trash or laundry rather than the memory-making happening.
IS IT TIME FOR BED YET?
After the long, hard day, you sink into the couch wondering how in the world you are going to do it all again tomorrow. But, before you turn in for the night, you visit each of those little bedsides and see those little faces, those perfect pink lips, and those long eyelashes cascading down their chubby cheeks.
Somehow, like a goldfish, you forget all about the tired, stressful, crazy day you had chasing little fast-as-lightning toddlers. You think that nothing in the world could be so perfect. You might even think that you can’t wait until they wake up again so you can tell them how much you love them.
However, in the in between times –in the times when you feel like you might need a little break/escape/encouragement. Don’t wish for bedtime and instead find others who will come alongside you, support you, and help you enjoy/appreciate the little moments between naptimes!
You’re doing a great job, mama! See you at Chick-Fil-A or the park! I’d love to grab you an iced coffee!