Man guys, life has been hard lately.
My husband has been gone for training for a few weeks now and this solo parenting gig has been getting to me.
Not only am I solo parenting, I’m planning and packing for two separate moves across the country this year, one that includes driving to Alaska in an RV.
Let’s just say that there’s a lot on my plate right now.
Aside from all that, the piece that makes it really hard, is seeing my son struggle.
My 5 year old, J, is changing. He’s just not himself. He’s pushing boundaries. He’s falling apart over things that he used to handle with such grace a few short weeks ago.
And it all makes me wonder, is it him? Is it me? Honestly, it’s probably just everything.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the problem really is, but we’ve been through this before, and that time it was me. I was in a Mom Funk and was terribly unhappy and unfulfilled. I was the reason why we felt disconnected. I was the reason why he was falling apart.
And now our lives feel oddly too familiar. Familiar, in a way that I’m not okay with.
I’m not okay with the disconnect, the struggle, the frustration.
It feels like it’s all my fault. Hello Mom Guilt.
I know that’s not totally true though. My son misses his Dad, and he knows about the changes that are about to happen to our family.
But, I’m worried about my boy. His behavior isn’t normal, and I know he’s struggling.
And that really breaks my heart.
I feel like I need to help him through , but it’s hard when I’m going through it too.
I miss my husband like crazy. I’m tired and worn out from the 24/7 parenting. I’m stressed and overwhelmed. I’m lonely and sad.
I know it’s just a season, and that it’s just part of life’s journey.
So I’m making a plan to not only get us through this season, but thrive and grow during it.
It’s time to make some changes, for both me and my boys.
Even though I know that he is struggling, the change must begin with me.
When I’m in a better emotional place, I can approach him with more love and understanding. And that’s what he needs right now, a loving Mom who can be there for him.
You see, when I’m in a bad place, I’m more critical, I jump to anger quicker, and I’m not as playful and understanding.
So, it’s time for some self improvement. My family depends on me. You see…
When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy
Whether you’re going through big transitions like me, struggling with grief, dealing with illnesses, or anything else that makes life hard, I bet these tips can help you too.
I will learn to forgive myself
When life gets hard, I don’t always make the best decisions, and I don’t always respond in a loving way to my children.
You know what? That’s okay.
I’m human and I’m not perfect. It’s okay to be frustrated and overwhelmed.
All I can do after a moment of disconnect is forgive myself, work on repairing any harm, and try again.
I will not beat myself up for making mistakes.
I will repair and ask for forgiveness
Every healthy relationship has moments of disconnect and then repair. The trick is to keep it all in balance.
Learning to repair is the most important part of keeping a relationship positive.
Right now, my son and I have built this new mantra between the two of us. It goes something like this.
No matter what you do, remember that I’ll always love you.
Since we’ve both been falling apart, we’ve had to use that a lot lately. I say it to him after he falls apart, and he says it to me after I fall apart.
It’s a nice little saying that brings us together, reminds us what’s really important, and helps us move on from bad moments.
Look for the Joy
It is part of human nature to focus on the negative instead of the positive…did you know that?! It’s crazy, but it’s true.
It take a lot of effort to find the good, so I have to remind myself to flip things around and find the joy in my life.
I have learned over the years that during hard times, I must keep a gratitude journal. I intentionally sit down every day and find the good in my life.
I have two sweet boys that I love so much it hurts.
I have a husband who’s supportive, awesome, and loves me.
I live in a beautiful world with sunshine and and fresh air.
It only takes a few minutes, but those precious minutes can change the course of my day.
I will work on improving my mood
I’ve started training myself to stop during rough moments and find three things that make me happy. It’s a little practice that gets me centered and lifts my mood so that I am more able to tackle my current challenge.
I’ve also printed off my 50 Calm Down Tips and have taped them to the front of my fridge as a reminder to calm down and lighten the mood when I start feeling angry.
Let me tell you, it’s working like a champ!
I will practice self-care
During any short breaks when I don’t have my children around, I will make sure that I will do things that fill my cup. I will read a book, go for a walk, or talk to a friend.
I will also try to make sure that I eat healthy foods, go to bed at a reasonable hour, exercise and drink lots of water.
I must put myself first. I am the only person my kids have right now, and I need to take care of myself so I can take care of them.
Connect with others
I don’t know about you, but when life gets hard, I retreat. I don’t typically ask for help, and I don’t want to seem weak or like I don’t have it all together.
However, I have found that just by connecting and talking with friends can lift my mood and keep me going during hard times.
I will find time every week to talk to a friend.
We will chat about life and I will vent and ask for help if I need it.
This parenting thing is hard.
It’s even harder when we go through tough seasons.
Just remember to take care of yourself, love your kids, find the joy, and connect with others.
Life is always changing, and there’s always another season coming soon.
This is such a great post. I am going through almost the exact same thing right now, and your tips will really help. That “Mom Guilt” thing is serious business! Glad to know I’m not the only one!
Yes, the Mom Guilt is the worst part! You’re totally not alone, it’s good to know we’re in it together.
This parenting gig is hard! I wish you the best through this patch. Self Care. Hmmmmm. I’m working on prioritizing it! Thanks for the reminder!
Thanks Karen! Yes, self-care is super important, but often overlooked by busy Moms like us 🙂
Sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time! Glad you have found strategies that work for getting through the funk! Like you, I’ve found keeping a gratitude journal helps keep everything in perspective.
Thanks Amy! Yes, a gratitude journal is huge for me, thanks for sharing that it works for you too 😉
I just love that I found you, I know where you are coming from and I feel less alone. (It is hard to go from exceptional teacher to Mom in hard places.) I’ll be praying for you during this PCS season.
Hi Annie! I’m so glad that you feel less alone. Being a Mom dealing with hard stuff, isn’t easy. Thanks for the prayers for our PCS. I’ll be posting more about our adventures soon, so stay in touch!
So sorry to hear about your current struggles, Amanda. I can’t imagine solo parenting for that long, and it can certainly take a toll on how we feel and act towards our kids. It sounds though that you’ve started taking a look at yourself and seeing where you can improve. And honestly the fact that you’re even being introspective is truly good enough. Hoping that your little guy adjusts to the changes.
Thanks Nina! We’re doing better since I’ve started doing these things in earnest.
I can relate. I’ve been extremely ill, spending days in the hospital type of ill and our lives have been turned upside down by it.
I have really had to lean on my faith and FIGHT for joy. I document every joyous moment. My almost 5 year old is very emotional, very vocal too. She does not act out like a child, but will tell you exactly what she’s feeling and gets depressed in a way that an adult would.
Sometimes she’s a mirror. A mirror that’s very hard to look in and listen to.
We are better now too and we are working hard to repair our hearts. We pray a lot and give ourselves a bit of grace.