This was a request sent in by one of our readers and I knew that it had to be the one we answered for our first Faceless Wednesday. This topic is so near and dear to my heart, as I very clearly remember typing it into Google many nights around that 1am feeding time with both of my girls.
Unfortunately, there is no easy “Do steps 1-3 and you’ll be happy” answer. But there are some things that helped me that I’d like to share here. I hope it helps you as much as it did me.
There is a time for everything
I remember, I wasn’t even married a year yet and I had this one month old baby that just would NOT sleep. My husband and I were fighting because I was beyond exhausted and snapping at him all the time. I was trying to still work 30 hour weeks even though I was getting maybe three hours sleep at night, and I finally broke down to and older lady who seemed to have it all together. This is what she told me:
“There will be a time that you’ll be able to run a successful business (if that’s what you want). A time when you’ll be that volunteer mom at all her kids events that never seems to lose her cool. When you’ll be that supportive and compassionate wife you want to be. But you most likely won’t be all those things at the same time. And that’s ok.”
It’s ok to not have it all together. It’s ok to just focus on one area of life right now, and tell yourself that you’ll work on the rest once you have this one under control.
Let It Go
Whatever it is that you feel like you need to be doing besides keeping that baby alive – let it go. If it’s dishes, tell them you’ll get to the later. If it’s vacuuming, wear shoes and don’t think about it. Nothing is as important as feeding that little one and teaching him/her how to sleep. Everything else can be put on the side lines until that baby is sleeping through the night and you’re feeling better. Stressing yourself out isn’t going to help anyone.
The dirty house, or missed social calls, are not a reflection of who you are – but simply the moment you’re in. This phase in life is about survival, pure and simple. Those dishes aren’t going anywhere, trust me.
Make A List
Sit down and write down all the things that make you happy. My list looked something like this:
- Sit outside in the sunshine
- Read a fiction novel
- Unplug from the phone for a while & let someone else answer the calls
- Take note of the things I can control each day
- Have a daily/weekly goal I’m working on
- Having a clean sink
Once you have your list, pin it up on the wall or the fridge. Somewhere that both you and your husband can see it. Often times, our men want so badly to help us, but don’t know how. So they avoid the situation all together. Having this list gave my husband something to reference when I was having a particularly bad day. It also gave me something to remind myself of the things I could do to make myself a little happier.
It’s Not About Being “Happiest”
This was one of the biggest ones. Another friend of mine who had already had several children came over one day during a melt down. She sat down on the couch, with her arm over my shoulder and said,
“Honey, it’s not about trying to be the perfect mom. Or the happiest. Right now, it’s ok to just be a little happy and to be making progress towards becoming happier. It’s ok to not be perfect right now – just appreciate the progress you are making towards becoming a better mom than you were last week.”
So if you are struggling right now as I was then, let me put my arm around your shoulders and tell you the same thing. You have made it this far. Your baby and you are both still alive, that means you are doing something right. And it does get easier, I promise.
I’d also like to suggest checking out our free Self-Care Challenge. It’s all done through email and the challenges take no more than 10 minutes a day to complete – but they really do make a world of difference! This challenge helped me pull through my postpartum depression with my second child, which is why it will also be free. And if you don’t need it, but know someone who might, please send it their way!