Every mom has her day. Her really down day. The I’m hiding in the bathroom, pass me the chocolate before someone gets hurt, harder than anyone could ever imagine, what has become of me, mind-numbingly self-sacrificial day.
And for most moms, that day is….well…almost every day!
If you’re that mom that has just always wanted 1,000 kids, loves getting 3 hours of interrupted sleep (every night for years), laughs while poop is flung from your 2-year-old’s hands directly onto your new silk shirt, after finding that he’s disassembled his diaper and thrown feces all over his room and into his mouth, and if you love having all of your expensive crystal wedding gifts destroyed when the baseball crashed into your china hutch after a particularly rigorous game of indoor t-ball…If you’re that mom, you might as well stop reading this right now. And secondly, GO BUY ME SOME CHOCOLATE.
But if you’re like most moms of young kids, you may struggle with the mommy blues now and again. And that’s ok. But, let me tell you, when I have a bad day and let the mommy blues take over, several things happen. First, my worst side comes out. I’m not as kind to my kids (and definitely not as kind to my poor husband). Next, I retreat into self-pity. And when I’m there, nothing good ever happens. And lastly, I miss out on the good things happening around me (like the fact that my twins gave each other a big hug for the first time today….because I was depressed that they threw all of their lunch into the trash before eating it).
So, here is my personal, tried-and-true method for how to shut the door on the mommy blues before she becomes a permanent part of your day. Don’t worry, this isn’t a long list of things you’ll never be able to attain to with your busy schedule. This is 5 simple steps to help you say “ta-ta” to sadness and “woo hoo” to your actual life.
1. GET GORGEOUS. When you pass yourself in the mirror and shudder at the way you look today, it just adds to your feeling depressed and meaningless. But the truth is, YOU’RE GORGEOUS. And showing others how pretty you are helps you feel pretty. And that is actually really important.
Girls, seriously, makeup is your friend. I don’t care if you don’t know much about putting on makeup, even a quick, 5-min daily routine can help you go from boring to soaring. My daily staples are tinted moisturizer and light weight powder (from the Aveda “Inner Light” collection), blush (Bare Minerals), mascara (“They’re Real” by Benefit), and a little lipstick (Clinique’s Chubby Sticks are so easy and fun). If you have more time, throw on some awesome Mac eyeshadow and a fun colored eyeliner from Urban Decay. For fun makeup tips, look up “A Glittery Life” on YouTube.
I’ve also learned 3 or 4 easy ways to do my hair so that I love the way it looks each day. (thanks Sock Bun, dry shampoo, and flat iron curls!). I try not to spend longer than 10 minutes on my hair most days.
Next, I once realized that it only took me 3 minutes longer to put on clothes that I love wearing each day, that flatter my post-four-kids-body and make me feel cute, stylish, and valuable than it did to put on yoga pants and a sweat shirt. I try not to leave the house in anything that I should only wear at the gym.
Believe me, I don’t have much time to get ready with 4 kids 5 and under, but I don’t need much time. I can usually get ready each day in 20-30 min.
2. AESTHETICIZE: Yes, I just made up that word. Because I’m cool like that. Aesthetics in your home are important when you’re there so often as a mom. I make it a point to open up my blinds first thing in the morning. When the sunlight is streaming through the windows, somehow it’s easier to feel happy. :) Light a great smelling candle or put some essential oils into a diffuser and make your house smell amazing. Find one small area of your house to de-clutter each day. Look on Pinterest and find a way to use the junk you already have to decorate your house and make it feel more homey. Do whatever it is that makes you love the way your house feels, smells, looks, and tastes (and yes, I DO mean make cookies).
3. AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA LIKE THE PLAGUE: When you’re having particularly down moments, do not (I repeat DO NOT) spend excessive time looking at your news feeds. There’s nothing worse that seeing your acquaintances enjoying their incredible cruise to the Bahamas while you’re stuck at home with 8 kids and no money and you can’t even go to the grocery store, let alone a fancy-shmancy cruise! These days, it’s incredibly easy to compare your life to hundreds of other people’s lives through the help of social media. And truthfully, you never know what’s actually going on in those people’s lives. The pictures of their perfect cruise could all be a front to hide the pain that they’re actually experiencing! So, why torture yourself? Just avoid social media when you’re down in the dumps.
4. FIND SOMETHING TO SUCCEED IN: It’s ok to feel the need to accomplish something each day or to feel successful in some capacity. And as moms, the feelings of being successful can be few and far between. For example, by the time you’ve finished 12 loads of laundry, 6 more loads have already stacked up in the dirty clothes hampers. Or, when you’re successful at paying extra attention to one child, you’ve inadvertently ignored your other kids! So this is why it’s VITAL to find SOMETHING that you can do to feel successful every day. I like to write that thing down at the beginning of the day and celebrate when I’ve accomplished it. It can be anything from painting your nails to changing the sheets on the bed to encouraging your friends to taking an art classse to starting a home-based business. Do something every day that makes you feel like a raving success. This is not selfish; this is paramount.
5. REACH OUT: Isolation is the biggest threat to us moms. Having kids is isolating. Staying at home is isolating. And when we allow our fears of what someone will think of our messy house or our messy attitudes or our messy lives to cause us to shut out relationships, we might as well be shutting off one of the valves to our heart. Isolation is detrimental to anyone, and especially to moms. When you’re feeling blue, don’t turn to social media. Actually be social. Call someone. Text someone. Beg, borrow, and steal for money to hire a babysitter so that you can go out with some girlfriends, and then be honest about the way you felt today. Chances are, they’ve felt that way too. And in that moment of honesty, you’ll get to experience unconditional love, which is something you will never experience if you aren’t honest with others.
I don’t have to live with mommy blues day after day. It’s just not fair to me or my kids. I don’t want to wait until my kids are out of the house before I am happy again. But no one has the power to make me happy. No one has the power but me.