When life happens, how can you restrain from being burnt out and in a mom funk?
Mom Funk (n): A dejected mood felt by mothers. Symptoms of a mom funk include sadness, frustration, anger, stress, overwhelm, and extreme need to be left alone.
Being a mother, in addition to working full-time, being a wife, and a PhD student, although do-able, can sometimes bring about uncertainty, stress, and burnout. No matter how strategic your time-management is, or how tight your calendar reminders are, life sometimes can seem to suck the very existence out of you. I know from experience, as I dealt with “Mom Funk” for the very first time in my life just last month. Three kids in and you’d think I’d be a pro by now right? Yeah right! They say every pregnancy and every kid brings about a different life experience and boy they (whoever "they" are) never lied! This wasn’t anxiety and I was for sure it wasn’t depression, but for about 4-weeks straight I was irritable, unmotivated, and, for a lack of better words, OVER IT!
Feelings of Mom Burnout tend to start off small, a bit of impatience when your kid wants to talk to you about absolutely nothing, frustration over siblings fighting at 7:03 EVERY morning or maybe it’s the stress that builds juggling a list of responsibilities a mile long. Stress. It rolls over you like a fog until you’re enveloped in it, not knowing which way is the right way out. The type of feeling that throws you completely out of your normal routine, the sort of feeling that you have to press in like never before to pray, or the intense feeling of Monday morning because you dread going into the office the next morning. This journey we call life can knock you off your feet and if anybody tells you otherwise they’re not keeping it 100. Nobody has life figured out! We’re flawed human beings for crying out loud! Let’s keep it real! That’s how we’re going to heal.
I am a straight up God lover, you can’t tell me that He isn’t real. God is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! I know that… I believe that… But why aren’t my actions lining up with my beliefs? It's crazy because the enemy will use the Mom Funk and have you second guessing WHO you are and WHOSE you are. He has (3) tactics: To Steal, Kill, and Destroy and I am for certain between him and mama’s funk, they had it out for your girl! Motherhood is hard. It’s so hard and no one tells you how hard it really is. But just as hard as Motherhood can be, we have to fight! Is Mom Funk real? Yes! Is depression and anxiety real? Yes! Do we have control? HECK YES!
I believe that we have more control then we believe that we do. It’s a constant fight of your thoughts mixed with a dash of being patient with ourselves. If you are a wondermom, then this post isn’t for you! This is for my mommy’s who sometimes feel alone even in a room full of people, the mommy’s who feel unappreciated, overworked, and overwhelmed. Falling into a routine that dulls and doesn’t satisfy you is common, and is nothing to be embarrassed to talk about or ask for help about especially when you feel like anything other than who God says that you are. Our hormones are out of wack, the same routine we had down pact with two kids doesn’t work with three or more kids, and life seems like just too much to bare. So, I’m sure you’re saying Ok Angie, you’re meeting me where I am, but sis, how did you overcome the Mom Funk? I’m glad you asked. I started by first acknowledging that something wasn’t right with me. After I came to that conclusion, I asked God to reveal to me what I needed to do to ride this funky wave out. Honestly, I felt like I wasn’t hearing from Him. I felt guilty because I wasn’t spending as much time with Him anymore. But God was right there! Reminding me of the power that was in me spiritually and also through practical life skills.
Create a great daily schedule & Stick to it: Having a routine will help both yourself and your children with managing expectations, sleep, eating schedules, etc. The organization of having a routine lets you know what to expect out of the day, be more attuned to behavior shifts in your children, and when to make time for yourself.
Have patience with yourself: One of the most important things to remember is to give yourself time. All your problems can’t and won’t be fixed overnight. Taking things one step at a time will help you run the marathon rather than the sprint, saving up your energy and going further. You can have big goals, but split it up into achievable goals and do one every day.
Put God First: The topics of family conversation need to include how we live out our faith in practical, day-to-day ways. And decision making needs to reflect a strong consideration of God’s will, calling, and purpose in our lives. I’m not talking about living a “super-spiritual”, “holier than thou” life; but rather, a life that in a very real, down-to-earth way, places high value on honoring God. Challenges to making our relationship with God a priority always crop up. But as our children see how WE handle those conflicts and revere God in the process, they begin to understand the privilege and rewards of putting God first.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)
Ask for Help (Put your spouse to work if you have one): Your family is a team and your spouse can help you up off the field when you feel like you just got blitzed by your own players. Many partners want to help, but we can make them feel like invaders because they're not feeding the kids the way we do or putting them in pajamas the way we would.
Stop feeling like you’re failing: Sometimes, Mommy, we seem to have an inner critic that never sleeps. This inner critic makes moms question just about everything, including our performance as parents. Be bold and tell your inner critic to shut-up! You’re doing a great job.
Just Say No: You can’t do EVERYTHING so don’t even try. Set limits for yourself. Saying no may make you feel guilty, but you have to be realistic with what you can and can’t do. Limit the projects you accept to two or even one at a time. It’s important that you commit to what is feasible to your lifestyle and family dynamic.
Get Help: If you feel like what you’re experiencing is beyond your typical burnout/mom funk phase, PLEASE SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP! It’s okay to pray and see a therapist. Counseling is NOT where your faith goes to die. If you need confirmation in The Word, Proverbs alone is full of references towards seeking wise counsel, advisors, consultation and guidance (see Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, and 19:20-21, just to start). I am of the conviction that Jesus was and is indeed, the very first counselor, and He has called a select few to be helpers in the healing process. Because of this conviction, I resist any undue feelings of guilt, shame, or "I’m being a bad Christian" thoughts, because I believe in counseling services while practicing your faith.
You are doing the best you can and that’s all your children need, but you have to take care of yourself as well. You are important! Your family sustains itself and functions because of all that you do all day long. There’s no such thing as Supermom, just moms that try their best and take it one day and one moment at a time. Just remember, it's okay not to have life all figured out, life is constantly changing, but fight the good fight because you were built for this!