Dear mom in survival mode,
I know you. Some days you like to wear sunglasses so no one can see those red, puffy eyes.
Maybe you were crying on the way to your kid’s soccer game because you just couldn’t take it that morning. You slept in, the kids fought, you were running late. At least in the car you could turn up the music, take a few deep breaths, release those tears so that you could pull yourself together.
Maybe you got so little sleep last night that you’re not even sure whether it’s safe for you to drive. You were up all night with the baby. Or with the sick kid. Or with your worries.
Maybe you’ve got the kid with all of the “issues.” Health issues. Behavior issues. Issues that no one seems to understand. Your family can’t do normal things because your child simply can’t handle it. You’re exhausted from the appointments with the specialists. You wonder about who’s passing judgment.
Maybe you’re the one with all of the “issues.” Physical issues. Mental health issues. You know you need to take care of yourself but there are so many needs that come before your own. You can’t get rest when there are mouths that need sandwiches and scraped knees that need bandaging.
Maybe you’re wondering about your marriage. How you got to be just roommates, or why you keep having the same fight over and over and over.
Maybe you’re worried about your best friend, or your sister. She texts you late at night about the years-long fight she’s having with her husband. Is she crazy? She asks you. She’s scared. Should she leave him? You’re at a loss for helpful advice.
Maybe you’re the one in a years-long fight. With your husband, your mother, your sibling.
Maybe you’re looking around your house, wondering when it’s ever going to be clean, or when that remodel is ever going to be done, or when you’ll finally be unpacked from the move that was many months ago. You don’t have the time or energy to work on it, and yet you push. Push. Push yourself.
Maybe your child is going through a tough phase. They’re making shocking decisions. They know better than that. But they’re becoming their own people, and you have to let them fall. It’s terrifying.
Maybe you’re grieving. You’re numb one minute, sobbing the next. Everyone wants to help and is worried about you, but there’s nothing they can do to return what was lost. You are finding healing, but there are moments when the wound is just raw all over again.
Related: How to Find Healing from Stress
Maybe your workload is suffocating you, whether it’s your job, your side projects, or facilitating your kids’ education and activities. Some days you look at your schedule and you feel like you can conquer the world. Other days, you just want to toss your planner across the room. (Or maybe you can’t even find it or haven’t used it in weeks. Or ever.)
Maybe someone you care about deeply is hurting. That friend who can’t get pregnant, the one who lost a child, the one who’s stumbling through a divorce, the one who is battling cancer. You desperately want to be there for them but you’re not even sure how to begin to help.
Maybe you’re stressed about your cash flow. There are days when you wonder when you’ll ever feel like you have enough. Enough to pay the bills, enough to tuck into savings, enough to throw a good birthday party, enough for that surprise expense you know you should have planned for better.
You relish in those moments when you can just get away. To go out with your girlfriends, your husband, or just be by yourself. You feel guilty from wanting to escape your kids so badly, yet at the same time you know it’s exactly what you need.
You feel guilty. Your life isn’t so bad, you remind yourself. There are many others who are suffering so much more than you. You grasp for joy and gratitude, you pray, you lean into your faith. You do everything right. And yet you have a lot of days when you need to hide those puffy eyes behind your sunglasses.
You’re tired. Really tired.
Let me tell you something, sister.
You are a phenomenal person. Yes, you.
You work so hard. And no one really understands all the crazy little details that go into a single day in your unique situation, and probably never will. Even when you’re relaxing, your mind is always churning, worrying, planning.
And do you know why?
Because you love these people. You adore your kids and your spouse, even when they make you absolutely bonkers. You’re crazy about your friends, your parents, your siblings. You’d go to the moon and back for them, even if you’re infuriated with them.
You do holy work. All. The. Time.
Of course you’re exhausted. Because even though everyone tells you that you need a break, this job of loving never stops.
Yes you need to take care of yourself, so go do that. Go get that manicure, splurge on the latte, bring home that bottle of wine for Tuesday night. But you know as well as I do that you’re going to go right back to it all: pouring yourself out for everyone, day and night, until you literally have nothing left to give.
That’s just the way it is.
Be proud of yourself, friend. You are a warrior, a woman of strength; you are going to get wounded. But you’re going to be okay.
If you have faith, continue to cling to it. And someday, when those babies have babies who have babies, you’ll get to look back and know that it all mattered. Every tear, every sleepless night.
You got this.
Need a break that will fill you up? Let me help you. Click below for a checklist and life-giving strategies.
How are you feeling today, mama? If you’re in survival mode, what’s one thing you could do to be kind to yourself?