After three hours of holding it, I was finally in the bathroom. With the door open to keep an ear on the girls, I unbuttoned my pants—strike that, who am I kidding? I’m a mom, so I was probably still in my pajamas.
Before I sat down, I heard the rustling of my two-year-old daughter clambering up onto the bed where my three-week-old rested. The baby shrieked as I dashed across the hallway to prevent a disaster.
“Get your feet off baby sister!”
Sometimes those moments of self-care (or even basic survival), tend to punish me with more work. A temporarily unsupervised toddler colors on the walls. Older sister turns younger sister into a horse to ride. My little girl discovers mom’s makeup stash and gives makeovers to all her stuffed animals and the neighbor’s dog.
In most moments, it’s natural for me to rush to my children’s needs and push my own to the side. I’ll shower later, I guess. My lunch can wait till naptime. And that creative project definitely isn’t happening this week.
As mom, my job—my opportunity—is to lay down my life for my children. Though some days I don’t believe it, I did sign up for this.
But in the middle of real life, real mothering, I often forget. I yell at my goofy two-year-old for exercising the highest octaves of her budding vocal range. I moan when my infant whimpers again in the middle of the night wanting to nurse for the umpteenth time.
Okay, I realize I’m making it sound like I’m an inmate in a reverse hostage situation. That’s not actually true. But it is how I feel occasionally, and I suspect other moms feel it, too.
Mothering isn’t a nine to five experience. It’s all-encompassing, never-ending, round-the-clock work—everything from medical care to meal planning until my little people grow up and fly from the nest.
In the grind, in the moments of wiping vomit from the floor or cradling a fretting child at 2am while still half-asleep, I groan. I feel haggard and frazzled. My soul limps along.
When this situation persists, it’s easy to slip into bitterness. I keep serving my family, but I do it begrudgingly. I resent the loud laughter and the squeals. The thunder of little feet around the house makes me sigh.
How do I combat the weariness? How do I keep my soul refreshed so I can laugh with my girls and smile at the healthy happy feet traipsing through my home?
I believe the best way to cut to the core of the weariness is to change my perspective.
When I remember that I’m shaping precious people and growing the next generation, I can hold my babies tight, smell their hair, and cherish the privilege of being their mama.
If I make the simple mental shift from obligation to privilege, my world changes. I’m not a slave to my children’s many needs anymore. I’m not hoping, wishing, and praying for temporary freedom and a break from the 24/7 responsibility.
Instead, I remember my role is sacred. I’m entrusted with amazing gifts in each of my children’s lives and personalities.
That mental move restores my soul because it reminds me of how important even these mundane moments are. It reminds me this privilege won’t last forever. Even the long days will vanish before I blink.
But this privilege can feel overwhelming.
When I have no grace in the tank, there’s nothing to pour out for my family. The well is dry, and mom is cranky because I’m existing on a limited air supply. My dreams, my hygiene, and ultimately my soul are suffocating.
Even though I think I’m prioritizing my kids, when I ignore my time in the Bible, my time to create, my basic health habits, I’m smothering my soul and contributing to a dry often hostile environment in our home. I begin to resent the little people whose many needs feel like a pillow over my face.
Of course, some of the craziness is inevitable. There will be those days when my baby won’t sleep, we eat mac ‘n cheese for breakfast, I never clip on a bra, and I count the hours till my husband comes home to provide backup. Those days are par for the course in my current season of mothering. But they don’t have to be every day.
So how do I make this mental migration from obligation to privilege my normal frame of reference? What are some ways to keep my soul refreshed and pull them back from the brink of weary in my everyday life?
Lately, I’ve made the choice to get dressed first thing in the morning. This would have sounded like a “duh” to the single working me in her early twenties, but to mom, me, the power of getting dressed is a game changer. When I live in my pjs all day, I feel like I’m a prisoner under house arrest.
Another oxygen mask is my meal plan. With one child, I could find time for random midweek grocery trips. But with two, a meal plan and a single Saturday shopping trip serve as my strategy to conquer the entire week.
Getting us out of the house also offers a refresh. It always feels like a day trip will cost me more energy and work than just staying home, but once we survive the crawl out our front door and buckle up, all three of our souls are refreshed by these small adventures: a trip to the library, a park date with friends, or hanging out in the Old Navy dressing room eating diaper bag snacks.
Finally, communicating with my spouse to schedule a time either in the evening or on a weekend that he solo-parents sets me free to go be me. Carving out this free time allows me to craft, write, and do the things that spark parts of my identity outside of motherhood.
All these simple strategies are helping me breathe deeper and find the grace my soul needs to serve my family and remember the privilege of my role.
Right now, my battles are simple but profound: keeping tiny children alive and thriving without losing pieces of myself.
I know someday when my hands wrinkle and my home stays tidy, I’ll miss this hectic season. I won’t remember the frustrations and the chaos so much as the precious baby toes and sunshiny smiles of my little girl.
But until then, I’ll remember my privilege when I sit in line at the grocery store and soak up baby smiles, when I tickle my toddler’s back and hear her breathing grow deeper in sleep, and even when everyone is crying and I really need to pee. This privilege inspires me to practice grace for my soul so I can give grace to my daughters, my husband and our home.
Featured image by Hill Smiley Photography
Alex Davies is a San Diego mom of two girls and a DIY addict who loves creating budget-friendly style and decor. She is passionate about inspiring other moms to remember the things that brought them joy BC (before children) and reclaim those pieces of their identity. You can find her top creative hacks and discover what type of creative you are in a Free Quiz at www.AlexDaviesLiving.com. Plus, you can follow her on Instagram where she shares motherhood moments to laugh and cry at, farmhouse style and more.
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