This mom gig is *hard*.
It’s so cliche, that when people say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done, you don’t really take it seriously. It doesn’t really register.
And to be honest, I don’t think I’m very good at this mom job.
It’s why I read parenting books, and surround myself with people that I think are better parents than I am. I need the inspiration.
You know those days when you wake up feeling great, with great expectations for the day? Lessons will get done, then you’ll head out to do something with the kids. Maybe get a latte on the way as a special mom-treat.
Then before breakfast is over, you have a parenting headache.
You know the one: ache at the nape of your neck, and in your eye sockets.
You feel the brain fog of making decisions about how to convince your child to wash their hands after they scratched their crotch while eating breakfast. It ends in them screaming and running to their room. Fun times.
Or the toddler that needs to go potty every 20 minutes, but not really. She doesn’t ever actually pee or poop, but she has to sit on the potty, and if you don’t supervise, half the roll of toilet paper will be in the toilet when she’s done.
And you know it’s not “one of those days,” it’s every day. Every. single. day.
So yeah, if I’m being honest, I’m not the most patient parent. I hide from my kids for portions of the day to keep my sanity.
There’s moms out there that are way better at this parenting gig than I am, and I bet some of you feel that way, too.
But here’s what keeps me going: I know I’m trying. I’ve committed to this homeschooling bit because I really believe it will, in sha Allah, be a benefit for our family, and I love the lifestyle of it all. I love seeing my kids have that light bulb moment. I love seeing when they connect a lesson we did while we are out randomly. Frankly, I love teaching my kids.
I don’t really like to play pretend with them. I don’t get on the floor and wrestle with them very often. I connect best when we are learning or playing board games or knitting, sewing, or that type of thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I will play with them, it just wears on me rather than fills me up.
Teaching an eager student (which I know is not always the case) fills me up.
And frankly, I’d rather push through easy readers and reminding my child for the umpteenth time to “Look at the letters. You have to look at the word to read it.” than to push them to get ready for the bus on time.
And so this isn’t 100% a rant, I’d like to offer up what I do to try to combat feeling like I’m going insane:
Of course I need to prefix this with you knowing this is not medical advice. If you suffer from a medical condition, get advice from a medical professional. I am not one.
Acupuncture: This honestly may just be a case of driving there alone, sitting in a quiet room, and then driving home alone. After going a few times, and also having alone time in other forms, I do believe the acupuncture is of great benefit. Whatever it is, it has been great to refresh me when I’m feeling that internal brain buzz of too much, too often, every day.
Magnesium: I’ve tried a few supplements and herbs to help with how worn down I feel, and magnesium I believe has been one of the heavy hitters in effectiveness. As with most supplements used for regulating mood, it was hard to pin down if it was really working, but when I didn’t take it for two weeks, I felt like I was back in that chaos tornado of life with littles, and I wasn’t able to stay on top of emotional coaching with the kids versus barking commands. I now have this on auto-ship through Shaklee (I’m actually a consultant there, so if you need anything, contact me!), and it’s the only supplement I’ve ever set up on auto-ship. That’s how convinced I am that it’s necessary for me in this season of life.
B Complex Vitamin: I feel like Magnesium helps with anxiety (I hate that word. It’s so over used, but you know the feeling of, “If they spill one more cup of water, I’m going to ban water from this house forever.”), and the B Complex vitamin helps with depression. (Again, overused, but the, “I’m ruining my kids and should just set up a therapist savings account instead of a college savings account.” feeling.) B Complex vitamins made the difference of me laying in bed all day when I was pregnant with my youngest, or actually getting up and interacting with the world.
All of this is anecdotal. It’s simply my experience, with my physical make up and how my body reacts to these supplements and to the acupuncture. BUT, the only reason why I ever tried magnesium or acupuncture was because a friend of mine said how beneficial it was for her, so there is some value in women sharing what works for them.
Also, can I end with a note on putting on a happy face?
I do teach my kids that chores done joyfully are more enjoyable than chores done with a grumpy demeanor. Also, I encourage Aamina to come to the table for lessons with a joyful face so it can be a pleasant experience for both of us.
But to the friends around you? To the people you see all the time? Let them in. Let them know your struggles and share your story.
Because most of us are feeling really freaking alone as we’re struggling because everyone shares their successes and hides their struggles.
Obviously, keep a balance. Don’t be the one who complains all the time, but please, for the sake of building up fellow moms, don’t hide all your struggles.
There are a lot of us that don’t have close family to talk to. Friends are all we have, and when friends are only showing the best – holy cow is that lonely.
Maasha Allah!!! I love love love this! This is so me. Thank you for sharing. BaarkAllah feekum!
Shannen Espelien says
Jazak Allah khair. I’m glad you found it helpful. Posts like this I always second guess whether to publish!
Maasha Allah. I would second guess if I was to publish this but I can so relate. Things don’t always go as planned and I give in to some screams, I negotiate, yell and shout more than I’d like. So many times I’m like “Ya Rab come to my aid, ya Rab let this child sleep early…”. The struggle, alhamdulillah ala kulli haal ?
I can so understand every word here! If you get some time to listen to a podcast (without children because there is swearing!!) a great one that always makes me feel more normal as a mother is, “One Bad Mother”…..its hilraious and always reminds me that I am doing just fine and every other mother is going through the same thing.
YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!
Shannen Espelien says
Jazak Allah khair! I will have to check out that podcast. When I’m really stressed, I tend to open up Facebook, even though I think it makes me even more stressed to see cute pictures, then a political post, then a funny meme, then children dying in Syria. It’s an emotional roller coaster, and I need a different getaway! 🙂
Beautiful and one of your best posts ever. I love the realness and your honesty. I could not have said this better myself. So true. ?
Shannen Espelien says
You are too kind, mashaAllah.