Get off Mom Island
Updated: 6 days ago
Do you ever feel like mom-life is like being in a hamster wheel?
Those little guys run so blazing fast just to arrive at exactly...nowhere.
Please tell me I’m not the only mom who starts thinking about the next meal before the current one is even finished.
So much of life seems to put us right back where we started. The same loads of laundry we washed this week will need to be rewashed next week.
A few years ago, I was on that mom-wheel in a very dark place. My oldest daughter preferred screaming over any activity - including sleeping and eating for the first two years of her life. This resulted in years of severe sleep deprivation for me and anxiety about -almost- everything.
I was a first time mom and didn’t know which way was up.
Coming up for air.
“They” always say to put your own oxygen on first. That always sounded incredibly selfish to me. I thought I’d get a bigger mom-badge if I held my breath while I ran around helping everyone else. Trouble is - that only works if you can hold your breath for infinity because helping others never really stops.
Holding your breath while you run around isn’t a real long-term strategy.
It’s actually exhausting and lonely. I know because I’ve been there. Isn’t it silly how trials tend to isolate us? Maybe it’s trials with your kids - or your marriage - or your in-laws.
Hard things often just make us feel alone.
But guess what friend - we were created to do life - together. Not alone. Not on an island.
Things get funky on mom-island. When we’re alone, all the sudden we’re naming volleyballs and growing beards…
Your kids don’t need you naming inanimate objects and growing gnarly beards. Your kids need you whole, and healthy, and alive. Your kids need you filled, and at peace, and breathing.
But how can we breathe if we’re running at 4,000 miles a minute trying to get all the things done?
At different moments in my mom-life, I’ve crumpled in a pile of confusion and tears telling Jonathan that I can’t get ahead. I feel like I can work non-stop for 12 hour days and I’m still drowning in toys, dishes, and laundry. How is that even possible? It’s like trying to swim upstream and I’m telling you - I make a terrible salmon.
So HOW do we put our oxygen mask on first?
Here are three tips I’ve learned from leaving Mom Island.
Besides knowing Jesus, nothing has changed my life more than purging. There is so much power in saying no to things. Did you know that clutter actually raises cortisol levels (stress) in women? The New York Times sites a study saying that “clutter can negatively impact mental well-being, particularly among women. Clutter can also induce a physiological response, including increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.” (1)
We’re literally raising the future generation of adults, so why would we allow something (clutter) to fill us with stress hormones? Let’s not do that.
I didn’t actually believe any of this until I tried it for myself. Let me tell you: Game CHANGER.
There are lots of decluttering gurus out there but the whole idea is that we shouldn’t keep things that aren't adding to our lives. Whether that means clothes you hate or toys that get dumped out, or furniture that clutters your space. You don’t need it, and it isn’t helping you breathe.
Find a Friend:
There is nothing like being understood. We spend so much energy understanding everyone else; caring for all the scrapes and the owies - prepping food, pouring the milk, getting the snacks, cleaning house, changing the diapers, etc, but does someone understand YOU? Motherhood is a GOOD thing. We’re created to care for our little people. However, if we’re not careful, it can lead us to a dark place of isolation.
My years of sleep deprivation with my first baby made it so I couldn’t even see straight, much less think straight for more than TWO YEARS. I felt so disconnected - and unseen - and foggy - and completely alone.
Mom life can do that to us. We experience hard things and then we find ourselves back on mom-island for another dose of crazy.
You know what is amazing? Finding a friend who gets it. Finding a friend who has been there, and who sees you. Finding a friend who can encourage you and pray for you. Finding a friend who has wrestled with a sleepless toddler and who has come out alive. Someone who can ask you how your day is going differently than anyone else can because she has been there too.
Take a Breath-Break
As some of you know, my husband has been flying lately. (Totally normal sentence to type right there)... It’s a life-long dream that he has saved and planned for ever since he was a kid and now it is actually happening. Last week, he took a picture of our farm from the air and I was so struck at the change in perspective. *Just* over our heads, there was so much beauty and space and life and air and freedom. *Just* over our heads, everything shrunk to the size of a pea.
Check this out:
You can’t see dirty diapers in this picture. You can’t even see thousands of gallons of manure in this picture. You can’t hear screaming kids. As a matter of fact, you can’t even see them!
Why? Perspective. It’s ALL perspective.
No - I’m not starting a mom’s flying club... but you know what we should start? Perspective switching mom-club.
Why not put our oxygen on first?
Why not take a break and drive somewhere beautiful?
Breath some air.
Let your kids run in a field.
Feel the sun on your face.
Go pet a cow or hold a kitty, or drink some fresh milk.
Whatever that looks like for you -
Just let life slow for just a second.
Because perspective. Is. everything.
Maybe *just* over your head is something beautiful you’re missing.
Maybe *just* over your head is something good for you that you can’t see.
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