Kids are Like Ice Cream

Ice Cream Sundae

photo credit: 9918311@N02

Sometimes being a stay at home mom is like eating ice cream that has a little frost bite on it. You really love the ice cream so you keep eating it, but those little pieces find their way onto your spoon every now and again. It doesn’t make you stop eating it, since you love it so, but it does put a sour taste in your mouth once in a while.

And if you don’t like ice cream (*gasp!*), let me explain.

As stay at home moms, we love our children. We would do anything for them. But there are days, weeks, even months, that can really beat us down. The kids aren’t sleeping well, they’re sick, you’re sick, they test you to see what you’ll let them get away with. Everyday. Leaving us drained of energy, our minds in a mental fog.

Like with any full-time job, there are days were you wish you could just quit. Not indefinitely of course, just for that one day. I definitely had my share of those while working a 9-5. A demanding boss, ungrateful customers, coworkers that were out to make your life miserable, and ledger books that weren’t balancing. And we would go through super busy periods that left me drained at the end of the night.

Not so different from being at home actually.

Who can be more demanding than a toddler, or more ungrateful than a child who doesn’t like what you’ve made for dinner. Some days, it does seem like it’s our children’s goal to drive us crazy! And then there are always the books (or budget) that don’t seem to want to balance. Especially now in this “tougher economic time”. Some days are so busy you seem to have no more energy left to give to your husband. Or yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly and passionately believe that God has called me to stay at home with my family. Taking care of my husband, my children, and my home. It’s important for me to support my husband by making sure he has what he needs to get through his day. Teaching and training my children is high on my priority list as well. Not only teaching basic household chores and actual academics, but also teaching them about the Lord we serve. It seems a large undertaking some days but, when all is said and done, I hope to look back on my life and consider this my greatest work.

So what happens when your stuck in a funk? Just going through the motions? You know the feeling. Things get done, dinner gets on the table, the children are clothed, but you’ve lost your passion. You’ve lost your ability to truly enjoy being at home. And while you know the reason you do what you do, you just feel like something is missing, something just isn’t right.

  • First and foremost, you need to know that this happens to all women. In every stage of life. I haven’t met a mom yet who hasn’t gone through a rough period. Even the best of moms can have times where they lose their focus! And it’s okay. We have not been called to be perfect.
  • Spend time with God every day. Just you and you alone. Preferably before your little ones wake up. And why before? There really is no better way to start the day than refreshed and renewed.
  • Get up before everyone else. I never understood why my mom always got up early when she didn’t have to. We were homeschooled and had no bus to catch, and rarely did we have to be somewhere at sunrise. But every morning, there she was, sipping her cocoa and enjoying the news. I completely understand it now. While I would much rather stay up late and get to sleep in, I get up with my husband at 6:00 every morning to see him off to work. Then I normally have about an hour or so to myself. (sometimes I’m lucky and get two!) This time is pivotal in me keeping my sanity. I’m able to do my devotions, drink a nice hot cup of cocoa or tea, and do something I enjoy. Just try waking up an hour before everyone else for a few weeks. Take a shower while the house is still quiet, spend time reading a book or doing something you love. When your kids wake up and the house is all a bustle, you’ll be ready for it.
  • You also need to treat your job like a job, because that is really what homemaking is. Set a schedule for yourself, organize your own life. I tend to focus on my toddlers schedule so much so that I forget about the little things that I need to do. Take a moment to plan out your week. Plan your meals so you never have that “what’s for dinner?” feeling at 4:00. If you really love organizing, plan out different laundry or cleaning days. Sometimes it may feel like over planning, and maybe it is, but a job outside the home has all sorts of schedules and deadlines, why shouldn’t your house? Get your little ones on a basic (not rigid) schedule, it’ll make their lives easier as well!
  • Make sure you are nourishing your body. In order to keep up with all of the physical, mental, and emotional toll of keeping a home, you need to be in tip-top condition. Your body will run ragged by the end of the day if all you’re doing is snacking on whatever is in the cupboards just to keep hunger at bay. This is especially important for pregnant and nursing moms! Your bodies are providing that same fuel to your babies, and they get the nutrients first, while you just get the leftovers. You need to be eating good wholesome foods, as nutrient dense as possible. Keep your diet low in sugar and low in refined flours. Both of these not only affect your blood sugar levels (which affect your energy levels) but they deplete your body of nutrients. It’s to hard to live your life when your body is tired and malnourished. There is even a strong connection between your diet and your mental state, as the chemicals in our brains are directly related to what we consume.
  • When daily life begins to really drag you down, try to get some alone time out of the house every once in a while. This is something that has taken me awhile to learn to ask for. But even grocery shopping without toddlers seems heavenly some days! Once in a while I’ll go out at night to do my shopping when my husband gets home, and sometimes a friend of mine (bless her heart!) will watch them while I go. Just being able to run errands by myself can be a huge re-energizer! You don’t even have to spend any money. Get together with a friend, go to the library, or just get out of the house for a nice long walk.
  • Ask for help. If you need that time away, or need some extra help around the house, ask. Call a friend, call family. Just ask. Swallow that pride and realize that you are not super woman. It doesn’t matter how many kids you have or how much homemaking you do, everyone needs a helping hand. So why is it that we have such a hard time asking for help? Is it that we think our friends and family won’t help us out? Do we really have such little faith in them? I know I would jump at the chance to help another mom doing what needs to be done to give her a break. I also know that I don’t ask for help either. So what’s stopping us? Pride, and only pride. We feel we should be able to do everything under the sun, and look great and be happy while we’re doing it. A sense of guilt creeps in that you aren’t enjoying your family like you should be.
  • And most of all pray, pray, pray! Nothing can be done without our Lord. Period.
So how do you keep your life sane in the midst of tantrums and children? How do you stay refreshed?

 

This revised post was originally published at Naturally Knocked Up on Jan. 27, 2009



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This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.

Comments

  1. Donielle, I just love this analogy! I am a HUGE fan of ice cream…and a little freezer burn would never stop me from eating it LOL. That is just a perfect description of life with our children.

    After my last pregnancy, I just really felt awful. I was 35 when I got pregnant with my son, and as the pregnancy progressed and after he was born, I just felt worse and worse. For 3 years I just tried to suck it up and deal with it until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired all the time, grouchy, couldn’t think straight, and suspected I had ADD since I couldn’t complete a task to save my life.

    I had suspected I had low thyroid for years, but the tests always showed “normal”. I came across a book at the library earlier this year called The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program That Will Help You by Arem Ridha that really helped me understand the thyroid and learned that it’s possible to test “normal” and still have symptoms of low thyroid. Fortunately, my doctor was willing to consider treatment…after getting my high blood sugar under control which was also a contributing factor to how I was feeling…and now I am feeling so much better. I can think clearly, focus better, have more energy (although we’re still trying to find the right dose of medication, but a definite improvement for sure!) and my moods are much more stable. I feel like a new person!

    As women, we are unfortunately more susceptible to hormonal fluctuations and problems. It is so important to take care of our bodies, especially when we have young children! It’s also the hardest then, for sure. Listen to what your body is telling you…or what God is telling you about your body and health, and if your doctor won’t listen to you, consider finding another doctor. I am wishing I had known about subclinical hypothyroidism years ago, when I began to suspect a problem with my thyroid (which is also in my family). I could have prevented almost 20 years of feeling “off”, beating myself up because I just couldn’t “get it together” and thinking that I’m a terrible wife and mother, not to mention not being able to accomplish what I wanted to. I have many years of bad habits to overcome, but feeling better will at least finally make that possible!

    Thanks for this great post, such good advice!!