Motherhood can be overwhelming. All consuming. Debilitating. One moment your life is your own, your body is your own, your time is your own. Then the next thing you know, you have a baby and are thrown into a childhood vortex where every decision revolves around how it will affect your little one. You are no longer a priority. Your body is no longer a priority. Your time is no longer a priority. Here’s a little bit about fighting the Mom Funk.
Obviously not everything about motherhood is a downer, but those baby years are dang hard, and I know I’m not the only mom to fall into a serious funk. Somewhere in the midst of diaper explosions, homemade baby food, and screen-time guilt I lost part of what made my life mine.
For me, the fog started to lift naturally when my kids were leaving the baby stage. They didn’t need me as much and I found myself with new opportunities and the new ability to actually take advantage of those opportunities.
For you that funky fog might not be lifting as naturally. Maybe you are struggling to break through it right now. If you are, here are some ideas that may help speed things along and get you back to feeling like you again, but better. Because—let’s get real—motherhood changes us.
1. Invest in Yourself
This can be so difficult to accomplish when you are swimming in diapers, burp cloths, and binkies, but I challenge you to just pick one simple thing that makes you feel like a real person again, and do whatever it takes to make it a regular part of your life. It may be splurging on expensive skin care products that make you feel beautiful, subscribing to a health food delivery service, getting regular massages, or (this is what I did) hiring a personal trainer. How many times are we willing to spend cash on items that bring little to no value to our lives, but when it comes to our own well-being we hesitate? Invest in yourself!
2. Try Something New
The thought of this sends chills down my spine! I love my comfort zone, and I stay firmly within it whenever possible. But I truly believe that nothing will break you out of a funk faster than stretching your boundaries and experimenting with something new. For me that meant submitting some of my writing to this Mom Blog on a whim, when all my professional experience is related to accounting. For you it might be finding a new job, joining a book club, starting a podcast, training for a 10k, taking guitar lessons, or simply working up the courage to finally ask that new mom-friend for her number. Motherhood doesn’t have to be our only passion. There is plenty of room for more!
3. Take Care of Your Health
This is embarrassing to admit, but I went to the dentist earlier this year for the first time in FOUR years. Yikes! Luckily my teeth and gums were in good shape, but just removing those doubts about my oral health did wonders for my mental burden. The same goes for regular physical exams, vision checks, etc. I was scared about what the medical professionals would tell me, but I knew that avoiding it wasn’t benefiting me or my family. I challenge you to put your fears aside and deal with your health head-on.
4. Declutter Your Home and Your Life
Every once in a while, I’ll take the time to clean out an overstuffed junk drawer or a cabinet of craft supplies. In the days following such an endeavor, I get such a rush of joy whenever I open that drawer or cabinet and remember that it’s no longer a disaster (the things that give me a rush of joy certainly have changed over the years). I can only imagine how much less stressed I would feel if I could implement these kind of changes throughout my home and get rid of the clutter. It’s definitely a work in progress in our household, but the baby steps undoubtedly make me feel more at peace.
But decluttering isn’t just about getting rid of junk in your home. It applies to your whole life. Have a toxic friendship? End it. Running yourself ragged with a stuffed schedule? Learn to say no. Ridiculous amount of junk email and ads filling up your inbox? Unsubscribe like mad. Easier said than done, I know. This post from The Simplicity Habit is a great resource for getting started decluttering all the messy areas of your life!
5. Take a Kid-free Trip
During those very early years of motherhood I found myself emotionally and physically tied to my breastfed babies and couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere without them. Mixed with my separation anxiety was the fear that whoever was watching my kids would resent me for it. I didn’t want to burden anyone, even my own husband. In fact, before this year, the only kid-free overnight experience I had was at the hospital while giving birth to my second child. It wasn’t dreamy, relaxing, or romantic, I can tell you that much.
Since I’ve weaned my youngest, I’ve taken a few long-distance trips sans kiddos, but I’ve also made it a priority to slot in some solo time during the week. As much as I love being around my kids and even traveling with them, I know that getting away from it all can be so rejuvenating and makes me appreciate my kids even more when I come home!
My kids are my life! I love that. I resent that. Being a mom is wonderful. Being a mom is the worst sometimes. Taking care of yourself is refreshing. Taking care of yourself is terrifying. Fighting the mom funk takes real effort! I encourage you to try something small at first and see where that takes you. If nothing else, know that you are not alone, you can get through this, and you are still in there!