Guest post by Amy Thetford
It’s 2pm. I’m locked in the bathroom near tears, hiding from the tiny terrors who are literally driving me up the wall and making my hair turn gray (and I’m only 30 y’all!).
I was up half the night because my six-year-old was having nightmares and my three-year-old was up with a cough. I woke up to said three-year-old having an accident in my bed. Hello wet sheets! Not the most pleasant way to start the day (on 4 hours of sleep no less!).
Kids are fighting over what color cup they want to drink from for breakfast. My five-year-old decides that TODAY he hates waffles, and decides to throw an epic (and I DO mean epic!) tantrum to make sure he proves his point.
There goes my phone reminding me that (oops!), I forgot the kids had dentist appointments this morning! Unshowered, and already ten minutes late, I’m shooing everyone out the door…and…crap!
Where are the three-year-old’s shoes? Oh well! Ain’t nobody got time for that! He’ll have to ride in the stroller because, well, he can’t exactly walk in barefoot, now can he?
Then, have you taken four kids to the dentist SOLO? Umm…if you haven’t, let me just say, I’d rather do just about ANYTHING else…..anything, I tell ya!
I decide that after the morning we’ve had that we deserve Chick-Fil-A for lunch. AmIright, y’all?!? But, again. Four kids. Solo. Chick-Fil-A during the lunch rush. What was I thinking?
Annnnnnddddddd now we are home. That brings us to my current whereabouts….hiding in the bathroom, trying to pull myself together enough to make it through til bedtime, praying for enough grace to get through this difficult day.
Have you been there mamas? Do you sometimes live in that space?
That’s ok. You are NORMAL!
Let me say it again for those in the back…YOU ARE NORMAL!
Bad days happen. Meltdowns happen. Here’s why….and more importantly….why they are ok!
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
When you are a mom, whether it’s to one or many, you work inside the home or outside the home, you are married or single…it doesn’t matter. You are wearing many hats. You are spinning many plates. You are a “jane of all trades,” if you will.
We moms think we need to be everywhere and do everything for everyone, ALL. THE. TIME. Do we not?
Let me tell ya, that’s a way to burn out quick!
When we have to be all the places and do all the things, we often aren’t stopping to rest or rejuvenate. That’s a recipe for disaster!
What happens to a phone that’s been unplugged all day when you’ve been scrolling, and texting, and calling, and and and and and……..?
Huh? That phone’s gonna run outta juice. Is it not?
So then what do we do?
We plug it in. We recharge the battery.
Why do we think we are any different? Why do we think we can just keep going and going and going. You may be a superhero (EVERY mom is a superhero, don’t ya think?!?), but you are NOT the Energizer Bunny.
When your cup is empty, you are too. When your cup overfloweth, you do too! Let’s stop trying to pour from an empty cup, shall we!
Your mental and physical health go hand in hand.
Something that is clear as day yet we oftentimes fail to see, is that our mental and physical health are intertwined. They are often one and the same.
When one is suffering, likely the other one is too.
That’s why symptoms of anxiety often manifest in ways such as stomach pain, chest tightness, and feeling jittery.
Depression can often make us sleep too much (or not enough), lose our appetite, or cry at the drop of a hat.
It can go the other way too. Often when we are dealing with a chronic illness, anxiety and depression are likely companions. When we are lacking in sleep, it can make it hard to focus and we often feel moody and irritable.
It’s important to make sure our mental AND physical health are being cared for on a regular basis.
Be sure to schedule your yearly exams, keep those chompers cleaned and cared for, and consider speaking with a counselor when going through a major life change or when dealing with things that are difficult to process on your own.
Quite honestly, I wish mental health wasn’t such a taboo subject.
We need to get comfortable talking about it. Speaking with a counselor should NEVER be cause for shame or embarrassment.
Mamas, it’s ok to take care of your health- all of it.
When we start seeing ourselves as a WHOLE person- mind, body, and soul- then we can truly make sure we are well in all aspects, leading to a healthier and happier you.
It’s ok to express your feelings and “have a tantrum,” if you will.
Millennials get a bad rap sometimes, but if there’s one thing we’ve done right, it’s made sharing our feelings “main stream” and A-ok.
It used to be that people had to stuff their feelings down and were told to “fake it til you make it.” Not anymore.
It’s ok to feel things. It’s ok to communicate those feelings. It’s OKAY!
It’s ok if you lose your cool.
It’s even ok if you throw a temper tantrum every once in awhile.
We need to learn to have a little grace and quit holding ourselves to a higher standard than we hold everyone else.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying it’s ok to say hurtful things, destroy property, or damage relationships. We are adults, and that’s never ok. I wouldn’t tolerate those things from my kids, and I most certainly wouldn’t say those things are acceptable from adults, EVER.
But, it is ok to let our feelings out in a healthy way instead of keeping them bottled inside.
Do you need to yell and scream? Go hide in your closet and DO IT!
Do you need to just work off that anger? Lace up those jogging shoes and go for a run!
What if you just need to SAY something, get it off your chest? Do that!
And if you feel like you might say something in the heat of the moment that you can’t take back, then just try writing it down. Process your feelings on paper first.
Whatever you do, do not bury your feelings. Just don’t. That’s not what we want to teach our kids, amiright!?
So why do we think it’s ok for us?
This is how you model humanity AND self-care for your kids.
Like I mentioned above, we have little eyes that SEE every move we make.
Those little eyes are going to grow up doing what they see us do.
WE are their barometer for what is ok.
So, what is it exactly we are teaching them?
Are we teaching them that they need to be martyrs? That they need to give and give and give until they are just so depleted that they have nothing left?
And what’s more?
Let’s be ok with less than perfect. Let’s show our kids it’s ok to be human, to be flawed.
Apologize when you mess up. Be an example of someone who is genuine…real…authentic. Cry. Get angry sometimes. Be a hot mess.
And then pick yourself back up again.
Show them how to put yourself back together when you are broken. Show them how to fess up when they make a mistake. Show them how to make it right.
Let’s give ourselves, our kids, and everyone else a hefty dose of grace. Take the time you need to rejuvenate. And then… Give big. Live big. Love big.
-originally shared at Real Talk with Amy