Discovering Your Self-Care Love Language

Stuck on what kind of self-care routine fulfills your emotional needs? Today we’re talking about discovering your self-care love language.

discovering your self care love language

Self-care is not about being selfish. It’s about being kind and gentle with yourself. It’s about recharging your soul, mind, and physical health so you can be there for others and keep up with responsibilities. Self-care refills your well! So today we’re going to talk about discovering your self-care love language.

What Is a Love Language

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the book, “The Five Love Languages.” In this Christian-themed book, Chapman explains that people have five ways that they give and receive love. These are ways that we feel loved and appreciated. All people experience all five. However, there is normally one or two that really resonate with you. More specifically, you may feel unloved or that your emotional needs are not being met if you don’t receive love in your primary love language. When people have different love languages, there is often a disconnect. Knowing the love languages of your spouse, children and other close people help to make them feel loved and encouraged.

Chapman also suggests that we tend to give love in the way we want to receive it. For example, one of my primary love languages is words of affirmation. I want my husband to tell me he loves me, tell me I’m pretty and verbally thank me when I do something. Receiving this makes me feel secure, respected and cared for. My husband needs no such praise. He is unmoved when I tell him how handsome he is. His value and love are not wrapped up in words they way mine are.

Let’s take a moment and learn about the five love languages.

The Five Love Languages Explained

  • TOUCH – Touch is the sensory experience of love. Hugging, kissing handholding, massage, and otherwise being physically affectionate
  • QUALITY TIME – Spending uninterrupted, undistracted quality time together, having fun / creating memories
  • ACTS OF SERVICE – (e.g. showing love rather than telling) Serving and otherwise showing practical physical gestures of service. For example, doing the dishes after dinner, gassing up your spouse’s car for them, preparing their morning coffee, or taking care of responsibilities)
  • WORDS OF AFFIRMATION – Verbal affirmation, praise, and verbal appreciation, compliments, encouragement.
  • GIFTS – this is not always about being spoiled or even materialism, but rather the gift tells them they were thought of and the more personal the gift, the more meaningful to the recipient. Additionally, the gift should not be an attempt to cover up past failures.

In all languages, the recipient also doesn’t want to have to ask for what they need, otherwise, it proves less meaningful. Ask yourself, what makes you feel loved and special? What do you need most out of relationships?

discovering your self care love language

Discovering Your Self Care Love Language

So today, we’re going to talk about applying these principles to yourself. This is how you can meet some of your emotional needs on your own and treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Here is what self-care might look like in your love language.

Touch (Sensory / Physical)

  • Get a massage
  • Create a skincare routine
  • Take a long hot bath
  • PJs all day!
  • Cuddle with a pet
  • Exercise
  • Stretch
  • Cut out sugar and junk food
  • Enjoy candles or aromatherapy
  • Take a walk outside in the sun
  • Listen to Music
  • Play an instrument
  • Dance
  • Sunbathe

Quality Time (Present / Mindful)

  • Take a nap (with or without an alarm clock)
  • Schedule a lunch date with a friend
  • Mediate
  • Pray
  • Detox from social media
  • Do an act of kindness for someone
  • Sleep in
  • Journal
  • Do something crafty
  • Go to bed early
  • Setting boundaries
  • Spend time learning something new
  • Wake early

Service (Do)

  • Make a budget to give yourself more financial freedom
  • Declutter
  • Delegate errands
  • Book a therapy appointment
  • Garden
  • Change your scenery and redecorate / rearrange furniture
  • Create a routine for things you find stressful

Words of Affirmation (Mental)

  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • List out your positive qualities
  • List your favorite physical qualities (challenge yourself)
  • Write a gratitude list
  • Read
  • Listen to a positive podcast
  • Avoid toxic people and people who make you feel bad about yourself
  • Write a goal list
  • Keep a compliment list, refer to it when you’re blue
  • Read some inspirational quotes
  • Forgive someone

Gifts (Immerse)

  • Invest in your dreams
  • Treat yourself to something special
  • Dine al fresco
  • Give yourself a facial
  • Take a vacation
  • Get a mani/pedi
  • Treat yourself to dinner out
  • Take a staycation
  • Enjoy a spa day (Pamper yourself)
  • Buy some fresh flowers
  • Buy a new outfit
  • Go wine tasting
  • Enjoy a cocktail at a swanky bar
  • Treat yourself to dessert
  • Hire someone to clean your house

If you want to be loved, it starts with you. Others notice how we treat ourselves. Self-respect, giving ourselves permission to rest, and developing a positive image of ourselves are all forms of self-care. Make yourself a priority so you can be there for others.

What If You Devoted This Year To Loving Yourself More?

What if you put aside excuses and self-loathing? What if you stopped giving yourself leftovers? What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?

what if you devoted this year to loving yourself more
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

The Big Question

I have a question for you. As we depart from 2019 and make our way into the new year that lies ahead, I want to ask you something.

What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?

Mary Lentz

Now let me be clear. I don’t mean that in a self-centered way. I’m not suggesting that we inflate our ego or shirk our responsibilities. I’m talking about our attitude. How we treat ourselves. How we talk to ourselves. Whether or not we accept who we are, flaws and all.

I’m going to be completely vulnerable with you. I am mean to myself. It’s true. I say things to myself, I’d never say to anyone else. Here are just some of the ways I’m unkind to myself.

  • I used to never leave the house without makeup. I have barely worn it in the last three years because I’m fat and don’t think I’m worthy of wearing makeup.
  • I feel unattractive and therefore don’t groom or dress myself the way I once did
  • I feel old and tired
  • I make excuses about losing weight
  • I tell myself I’m failing as a mother
  • I base my self-worth on accomplishments and what others think of me
  • I tell myself no one wants to be my friend and seclude myself at home so I can’t be rejected.
  • I can’t receive a compliment without putting myself down in some way
  • I can’t forgive myself for a mistake I made last year
  • I tell myself that my dreams surrounding this blog are a silly fantasy
  • I hold myself to rigorous, impossible standards (perfectionism)
  • I tell myself I’m not enough (e.g. good enough, talented enough, pretty enough, young enough, etc.)
  • I tell myself the house needs to look perfect so I feel valuable as a stay-at-home mom

Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe you don’t say these exact things, but something tells me you can be harsh with yourself. What unkind things do you say and do to yourself? Take a piece of paper and write them down. I’ll wait.

Now, ask yourself – “What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?” What might that look like? Let’s talk about it.

Be Compassionate With Yourself

Has a friend ever come to you looking for reassurance after they’ve completely failed? Of course! At some point, a friend of ours said, “I need to talk,” then sobbed to us about how they totally blew it. He or she needed a pep talk and a helping hand to get their butt out of the trenches. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about supporting my friends when they are down and out. And yet, I struggle to do that with myself. Something tells me you can be that way too. We all can! But what if, over this next year, you made a commitment to yourself to be your own best friend? That is, to treat yourself as lovingly as you would your most loved companion.

Negative Self Talk

Let’s start talking to ourselves the way we would a good friend. Encourage yourself, but most of all we need to make a habit of comforting ourselves.

For example, when it comes to body image, accepting your flaws isn’t giving up on improving yourself. Instead, it’s being approving of yourself even if you aren’t exactly where you want to be. You aren’t denying your body has flaws. This isn’t about denial or even justification. It’s about learning to love the journey your on, with all its ups and downs. Big picture. It’s about learning that our body changes, ages, gets sick and goes through trauma. No matter how good you think someone else looks, they too have insecurities and flaws. It’s about remembering that no body is perfect, no matter what the fashion magazines say. Friends, love yourself. Embrace the curves, the mom pouch, the less than toned arms. Love yourself, no matter what shape you are. And if you are choosing to eat right and exercise, do it because you love your body, not because you hate it.

Let me ask you, and think about this deeply. “What would happen if you made changes because you love yourself, not because you hate that about yourself? What would happen if you become your own personal cheerleader?

Quit Perfectionism

Quitting perfectionism isn’t about giving up. Nor is it about not trying to be better. Rather, it’s about realizing you are on an ever-changing journey. One that never really ends until we leave this earth. It’s about knowing we will always be flawed to some degree and that we are still worthy of love even while we are imperfect.

You may not think of yourself as a perfectionist. But I’m willing to bet that in some area of your life, you impose rigorous, nearly impossible standards for yourself. Maybe it’s around your body image, at your job, or surrounding a relationship, but we all have some area in our life where we can’t stand to fail.

What if you readjusted your standards? What gave yourself more time and space to grow? How much happier would you be if you learned not to be so harsh with yourself? What would that look like?

what if you devoted this year to loving yourself more

Failure is the Best Teacher

I’m a failure. I failed at my first marriage. I failed as an actress. I failed at publishing my first magazine. Last year, I failed as a friend. I have failed at a lot of things in my life. Failure hurts. Falling on your face in front of everyone – hurts! But rising up afterward is one of the best feelings in the world. If you fall down, don’t stay down. Failure helps shape us and mold us. It helps to teach us. It forges us and makes us stronger.

Embrace your failure. It has made you who you are today. You are stronger, wiser, more competent because of your failures. Failure isn’t final, but then neither is success. Fear of failure makes dreams impossible. It snuffs hope out. Push past that fear. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Thomas Edison

Don’t Be a Fascimile

You know, when I first started this blog, I had lots of seasoned bloggers tell me that what I was doing was wrong. They told me that as a mom blog, I shouldn’t have Happy Planner posts and a mod podge of recipes, crafts, and homeschooling. They told me to pick one of those topics and stick to it. They also told me I was too serious. I needed to be funnier, sillier, more entertaining. But you know what? My blog is about finding my own voice. Would I make more money if I narrowed my niche and made people laugh more? Probably. But I don’t want to be a facsimile of what everyone else is doing. I love Rachel Hollis, but I don’t want to copy her as tempting as that may be at times. When I started this blog, I vowed to be authentic and genuine. I promise to always be myself. I promise to filter my photos, but never my words.

Friend, if you are trying to be like someone else, stop! Seriously. The world needs who you were made to be. Not a copy of someone else and especially not a substitute for someone else. No, it needs you. Whether you believe you are special or not doesn’t matter. I’m telling you, you are! You have something no one else has and you don’t need the world’s validation to approve of yourself. You are enough. You are qualified. You are made different on purpose, for a purpose. Now go out there and be you!

You Aren’t Too Old or Too Young

We’ve all heard that age is just a number, but is it? Is your age stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest and seeking out your dreams? In case you are unfamiliar there is a famous vlogger named Ryan who is only eight years old. The little tyke now has his own line of toys and novelty items. He (and his parents) have made more than twenty million dollars in the last few years doing nothing more than filming toy reviews on YouTube. Now you and I may wonder if his parents are exploiting him, but my point is that no one cared that the reviews were coming from an eight-year-old. Quite the opposite. People wanted reviews from an actual child that used them – not adults! You may think you are too young or old for something, but I promise you there is a niche for your knowledge, wisdom, or talents. Somewhere, someone needs what only you have!

Maybe you think you are too old or it’s too late to start something. Wrong! There are so many people who succeeded after 40. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t become famous until he was 46 in the movie Pulp Fiction. Henry Ford was an engineer under Thomas Edison, but he didn’t start his Ford Motor Company until his 40s. Ronald Reagan had a career in Hollywood, but he only entered the political arena in 1964 when he was 53. Even the queen of crafts and domestic living, Martha Stewart didn’t become successful until her 40s.

What would happen if you chose not to limit yourself because of your age? What if, you stopped waiting for tomorrow, for more money, for more time, for more experience and instead just started where you are right now? If you start towards your goals right now, will your dreams come true? I don’t know. But if you don’t start, they never will! That is a guarantee.

Make Time for “Me Time”

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted a summer job at my dad’s laboratory. He said no because “once you start working, you’ll never stop.” To some degree he was right. Once you step up and take some responsibility, it never lets go of you. There are bills to be paid, chores to be done, obligations to meet and all are never-ending. There will never be a time when your job is done. Work will always be calling you. That’s why you need to set boundaries. Believe me, I learned that the hard way. You can only burn the candle at both ends for so long.

If you search this blog, you’ll notice I’m enthusiastic about self-care. That’s because I have learned through my mistakes that recharging mentally, physically, and spiritually is immensely important. Seriously, take time for yourself. Before you become too burnt out to function. There lots of ways to do that. In the past, I created a 30-day digital detox challenge and a 30-day Self-Care / Wellness Challenge.

You’ll need to make it a priority like anything else that is important to you. Just like work, church or a doctor’s appointment. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it. Vow not to give yourself crumbs anymore.

How Will Loving Yourself Change You

I’d love you to join me in devoting the next year to loving yourself more in the ways I’ve described. I’ll be documenting this journey on my Instagram account and I’d love for you to join me and share your journey too.

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10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Are you struggling to manage your stress levels? There are ways to help you manage it properly. Here are 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress.

10 healthy ways to cope with stress

Pressure has a way of finding us. It doesn’t matter if you are working or not – in fact, being out of work can actually be quite stressful. Throughout life, we will be forced to endure stressful times and situations. But there is a way to way to manage it on your own. Here are 10 healthy ways to help cope with stress.

Set Boundaries

In my twenties, I was working 60-hour work weeks at an already stressful job. It really began to take a toll on me. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and when I discussed it with my therapist he asked me who was to blame. “Well, my company of course. They force me to work all these hours.” But as he pointed out the fault was mine for not having set boundaries. In a sense, I never said “no.” I just kept taking whatever crap they threw at me. We decide when enough is enough.

Boundaries clearly set how much of something (or someone) you will tolerate. Boundaries are essential to staying healthy. They keep you honest about your limits and they stop toxic people from having intimate access to your life and your emotions.

It’s a shame, but sometimes you need to set boundaries on people too. I don’t think people always mean to be toxic, but there are people out there who are overly critical, jealous, and petty. People who are constantly overstepping their welcome in your life. For these bullies, you need to set some serious concrete boundaries. You’re in control of who you let in your life. It may mean cutting someone out of your life or at least an area of your life. You don’t need to apologize for it. Choose peace. Learn to say “no.”

Arts & Crafts

Arts and crafts is probably my way of relieving stress but it is for many others as well. Art can be used as a form of free expression where emotions might be displayed. But it is also simply a way to relax. Art often has repetitiveness like brush strokes (painting), scribbling, making loops (crocheting/knitting). Repetitiveness can be relaxing.

Don’t worry. I hear some of you. Some of you might not think you’re creative and that doing art actually causes stress when it doesn’t look the way you want. Even if you aren’t artistic, something soothing like adult color books may be helpful.

Exercise

In my youth, I loved using exercise as an outlet for stress. I know lots of people who prefer running for getting out stress or anxiety. For me, I loved kickboxing style aerobics. There was nothing more therapeutic to me that pretend to beat the crap out of something! Yoga was always a great way to feel centered and balanced again. I found it particularly relaxing to hear my own breath.

I remember there were times that doing it by myself was very relaxing, but I also recall that sometimes, doing it with a group was also a stress-buster. We sit afterwards and talk and that was always a nice way to finish that time. When you’re stressed go beat up a punching bag or pound some pavement. That can sometimes help.

Go Outside

As I write this, it is Texas summertime with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. And while I think braving the excessive heat can be depressing, I still think that being outside can reduce stress. I love to wake up before my kids and sit on my porch with a cup of coffee. I sit there and watch the sun come up and pray over my family. It’s refreshing to be outdoors.

There is something therapeutic about being outdoors. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few minutes can be refreshing. You may not realize it, but being cooped up indoors can add to stress. Enjoy some tea on a porch, take a walk, go to a beach, take a camping trip, but spend sometime getting reacquainted with the sunlight and air. The change of scenery will do you some good.

Journal

I think journaling will always be one of my main ways of coping with stress. We are emotional creatures. Part of growing up is learning self-control over emotions, but as adults we either have adult sized tantrums or we pendulum swing over to bottling them up entirely. Really we need to process those emotions and get them out, just in a healthy way.

That’s why I recommend journaling. It’s non-destructive and yet it still allows you to say what you’re really feeling. More often than not, journaling has also helped me explore and figure out what I’m feeling. I’m always a little surprised when unknown feelings, fears, and thoughts begin to surface. I’ve learned a lot about myself!

I know there are a lot of people out there who hate to write. I understand, but I still encourage you to give it a try. Although, keeping a paper journal is custom, these days, there are so many electronic alternatives. I personally love the Day One app. It’s available on the App Store for both devices and computers.

If you need some inspiration to get started, take a look at some of my journaling prompts.

Letter Write

This might be a new concept, especially if you aren’t a journal junkie, like me, but I chose to include it separately from journaling because I think it holds a lot of merit. Something that has always helped me, is letter writing. This is similar to journaling in that you will be writing out your thoughts – just in a different way,

Instead of writing to yourself, write to whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Haven’t you ever wanted to tell someone off? There’s always the same problem with doing that – consequences. You always risk permanently severing the relationship or situation if you do. So in this instance you’ll be writing it for your own benefit. Sometimes what causes stress is simply the bottling up of emotions.

Use paper or type it out. Tell off whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Don’t hold back. Tell them how you really feel. Rip them a new one! Get it all out. Then you can do one of two things: destroy the letter or mail it to “God” via the post office.

Talk to Someone

Talking something out can be incredibly helpful and therapeutic. It can give us an opportunity to hear some of our thoughts out loud. I’m an avid advocate for professional therapy (duh, my degree is in Psychology), but it’s because I think it is incredibly helpful to talk things out. You hear yourself express feelings you might not have realized were there and you get constructive feedback.

I would caution you. Confidants should be chosen wisely. Some close people in your life, may not be the best ones from which to seek advice. I have two criteria for choosing a listening friend: they have to be able to listen to me (hearing me out and constructive feedback) and they have to have their own shit together. Yes, I cursed. I did that on purpose. That’s because everybody has shit in their life – the muddy, icky crap that is hard to clean up and deal with. But some people are doing a great job at handling it. Don’t go to someone whose own life is a screw up. You don’t want their advice.

Good places to start? A trusted elder, a pastor, a professional counselor, a parent, a sibling, a close friend. Nobody has it all together, but go to someone who has some semblance of it, someone who will impart wisdom.

Hug It Out

As human beings we were designed to be loved through touch. When moms and babies hold one another, pheromones are actually released. The same is true for adults. Ocytocin is released thereby reducing blood pressure.

Sometimes, when I am an stressed I have to recalibrate my human touch experience. Stop and ask yourself. “How long has it been since I cuddled with someone?” Or maybe even more specifically, “how long has it been since someone cuddled with me.?” That may sound sappy and saccharine, but what you’re looking for is meaningful touch.

The human touch can be powerful. If you don’t have someone to hug it out with, I strongly recommend getting a massage. Massage isn’t just about applying pressure, it’s about receiving human touch which in turn, relieves tension in muscles.

Positive Self Talk

Can we be honest for a second? We stress ourselves out a lot of the time. Meaning we have a habit of predicting catastrophe in our lives even though it may be without any merit.

We may find ourselves fantasizing and worrying over things which may never happen. We might be overly critical with our performance or hold ourselves to overly rigorous standards or ideals. Perhaps, we may be pursing perfectionism and give ourselves little grace. In short, we may be adding to our own stress. This is where we need to recalibrate our own actions.

Here is what I mean when I say positive self-talk

  • Imagining / role playing the positive outcome
  • Telling yourself to remain calm
  • Telling yourself things will work out
  • Focusing on gratitude
  • Nix harsh self-criticism and self-doubt
  • Spend time in prayer or calming meditation

Pray or Meditate

Prayer or meditation can be a great way of relieving stress. Prayer can be a way of practicing both meditation and talking it out. I recommend also spending some moments in silence and breathing in and out deeply. Give yourself permission to set your troubles aside for a moment and relax.

I know some people are weary of meditation because of racing thoughts. When I first started to practice meditation, I found myself struggling to focus. My mind would get distracted and go off on mental tangents. That is where guided meditation can help. These days there are apps and websites that can help you focus by listening to someone else’s voice instead of your own.

Storms Don’t Last

I think it’s very important to remember that storms don’t last. Stressful times don’t last either. Eventually something will change the status quo and ease the tension. If you find you’re struggling to manage it on your own, there is no shame in seeking out professional help.

Thanks for reading, 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress. Before you go, share or pin this post and please subscribe to my blog.

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8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout

Momming is hard! You may be wondering if you’re just tired or it’s something more serious. Here are 8 signs you have mom burnout.

If you read this blog often, you’ll know I write often about how hard motherhood is and dedicate a lot of my posts to motherhood support. I think it’s really important to understand what moms go through, but most of all to know there is help. Mom burnout is a real thing and you may not even realize that it’s happening. Today, I’m sharing 8 signs that you have mom burnout.

8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout

You’re Exhausted All the Time

You’re exhausted as soon as your feet hit the floor and you drag all throughout the day. Girl, I’ve been there. All-day tiredness is a big sign that you are running on fumes. If even a good night sleep can’t quench your exhaustion, there is a bigger problem afoot. Even a deep sleep can’t solve the mental and emotional exhaustion you might be feeling. Or perhaps you aren’t sleeping at all despite being totally exhausted! I’ve found there are two things to help with that. Relaxation (decompressing) and joyful activities.

Relaxation requires you to be awake. It can sometimes mean stillness, quietness, or engaging in an activities that makes you feel relaxed, centered, and calm. For some ideas, look at my post 30 Day Wellness Challenge.

When it comes to joyful activities, this means doing things that bring you joy. Maybe it’s playing sports or doing crafts. Exhaustion can happen when the rigors of life are out of balance with the joy in our lives. Don’t forget that having fun is a great way to replenish yourself.

You Can’t Focus

A lack of focus can show up in all kinds of ways. You may notice you are struggling to remember things. You may notice it’s more than just fogginess. Perhaps, you’re making serious mistakes and oversights – things that are completely out of character for you to overlook. I have a great attention to detail, so when I start making sloppy mistakes I know it’s time to slow down and regroup. When you’re exhausted and burnt out, you’ll struggle to keep it all together.

Everything Sets You Off

For me, the main sign I am burnt out is very obvious. I get irritable! I’m being generous here. I become nothing short of a fire-breathing, snarling, little she-demon when I’ve hit my limit. Everything upsets me. Patience is short. Mercy is little. I hate admitting that, but chances are if you’re around me for any length of time, I can’t keep that a secret. Maybe other people aren’t as extreme as I am, but I bet most people are fairly irritable when they are burnt out. I’ve seen it before in co-workers and family. When we’ve had enough, we get pretty fed up with everything. If you find yourself irritable and frustrated all the time or over small matters, you may need to ask yourself if it’s time for a break.

You Become Negative

Okay y’all. I’m no Tony Robbins or Rachel Hollis. I’m not naturally happy-go-lucky or super positive. I try to be, but it certainly does not come naturally. Becoming negative though is actually one of the first signs I have mom burnout. Being negative doesn’t just mean being a “Debby Downer.” It also means you start feeling jaded, maybe even a little cynical about your life, people and circumstances.

The problem is that when we feed a negative attitude, we being to feel even worse. This is why we are instructed by the Bible, motivational speakers, and life coaches to remain purposely positive during hard times. Actions follow our thoughts. Negative thoughts snowball and we can start lashing out in all kinds of destructive ways. A consistent pattern of negativity might reveal you are burnt out.

Health Problems

When you’re burnt out, your body is physically depleted. Stress can leave you more susceptible to illnesses. Anxiety can create tightness in your chest and even arrhythmia. Depression can actually make your body ache. Mental health affects physical health.

In 2009, I had a nervous breakdown from being overloaded at work. That year, I used six months of sick time! I had precancerous cells, a tumor, a sinus infection that would never heal. Honestly, I felt like my body was breaking down (at the age of 29). I just couldn’t get well until I finally took a few months off work to rebound.

I’m not suggesting that being perpetually sick is solely due to stress. There can be lots of underlying health problems that can cause that. But if you find you are systematically unwell while also experiencing burn out, you may need to take a serious look at what stress is doing to your body. Remember, take care of yourself, friend.

8 signs you have mom burnout
Courtesy of Unsplash

You’re Not Motivated

You know this one well. Demotivation. When we are burnt out, the last thing we want to do…is…well…anything! We are tired of giving. Tired of sacrificing. You’re so done with picking up toys and wiping up crumbs! I know I’m burnt out when I let the house go, live in sweat pants, and have the TV babysit my kids. I know you’ve been there, mama. We all have! We all have days where we don’t feel like adulting, but if you have a long stretch of feeling like this it may be more than just feeling a little lazy. It may be the sign that it’s time for a change. Try switching up your routine or get outdoors. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’ve also found that inviting a friend over for the day can help battle the monotony and loneliness.

You Feel Overwhelmed

After I had my second son, I knew I was burnt out because I felt overwhelmed. For example, before my second son, I was a lively mom who loved hosting playdates and going to toddler “mommy and me” activities. But with my new addition, the thought of straying even down the street from my house overwhelmed me. I suddenly became a homebody because even a trip to the grocery store gave me anxiety. A big sign you are burnt out is the inability to handle small tasks without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a big cue you may have too much on your plate.

In moments like this, you need to ask for help. A neighbor, a spouse, parent, friend – someone you trust. Swallow some pride and ask someone to lend a hand or give you a break. Maybe you need to shirk some unnecessary things in your life to lighten your load. You may even need to get professional help, like a therapist to help process feelings of anxiety.

You Cry

I’m being candid here. I cry when I’m burnt out. Whether it is out of frustration or being completely overwhelmed, I find I fight back tears. First, there is no shame in crying. In fact, I recommend it. Crying is an emotional release. It is a biological mechanism designed to help us release pent up feelings that might otherwise burden us. Sometimes, having a good, hard, ugly cry is therapeutic. It is cleansing. Do yourself a favor. If you feel your eyes welling up, go to a private place. Scream into a pillow. Sob into your hands. Go ahead and open up to the heavens and have that deep, wailing, body-shuddering cry until you can’t cry anymore. Then get up and wash your face.

Hang In There, Mama

Listen, friend. Things might be rough right now, but they get better. We all get into slumps and have to struggle to find our way out. Get support. That includes seeking out professional help like a therapist if you need to. They can add tremendous value.

Thank you for reading, 8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout. Before you go, PIN this post for later and share it with a friend who needs it. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for future posts, FREEBIES and giveaways.

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6 Things You’re Doing Wrong as a Mom

Gotcha! You’ve entered a judgement free zone. This isn’t about parenting styles or choices. It’s about how to be good to yourself in this tough season of life. Here are 6 things you’re doing wrong as a mom.

6 things you're doing wrong as a mom

I bet you saw this title and immediately thought I was about to judge you! I took a chance, knowing that the title of this post would turn people off right away. As you’ll see, that’s not what this post is about. This post is a loving reminder about being good to yourself. If there is anything we do wrong in motherhood it’s being overly harsh and critical with ourselves. We neglect ourselves far too often.

6 Things You’re Doing Wrong As a Mom

Neglecting Yourself

Y’all, I can be totally guilty of this. With all the things we have on our plates it’s so easy to put ourselves last. But you need balance in your life. You need a little fun, rest or relaxation. Sometimes just a couple of hours away is all you need. Mom burnout is a real thing. You can’t take care of your family well, if you’re depleted.

Taking care of yourself, needs to be as important as any doctor’s appointment or school function. It means planning ahead and scheduling time with yourself. I’ve already learned if I wait for it to happen it never will. It doesn’t matter how you spend that time. Maybe you take a long bubble bath or have a girl’s night with friends. Maybe it’s dinner and shopping trip alone or an evening at the gym. Just spend it doing something that recharges you and brings you joy. For ideas, take a look at my 30 Day Wellness Challenge.

Neglecting Your Marriage

Just as important as taking care of yourself is taking care of your marriage. We have a tendency to put kids first. That’s not a bad thing. But we have to remember to lovingly feed our marriage. If you don’t feed it, it will starve. I’ve always said that relationships are like bank accounts. When you are constantly making deposits, withdraws are easier to make. Withdraws are anything that subtracts from your marriage like occasional long hours at work or maybe some constructive “feedback.” Keep your marriage in the black. When you marriage is in the red it is strained and small withdraws can cause major upsets and fights. Hard times are easier to have when you are connected with your spouse.

This also includes making time for intimacy and sex. Yup…I’m going there. Sorry, me-maw! Girl, I know how hard it can be. You’ve been dealing with work and kids all day and the last thing you may want to do is “put out!” Haha! I know! Sometimes after a full day of being a human jungle gym the last thing I want is to be touched some more. But staying physically and emotionally close to your partner, really needs to take front and center stage. It gives your babies security and keeps your family strong. For ideas on small ways to connect, read my posts 25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse and Easy Cheap Date Nights At Home

Failing to Share Responsibility

Look, I get it. I really do. Sometimes…well, most of the time, it is so much easier to just to just do things yourself. Rather than listening to grumbling, whining, and complaining from a husband and kids it’s just easier to be the martyr and get it done. If you have control issues, you may even feel the only way it will get done right is by tackling it on your own.

However, two things happen when you do that. One, you shoulder the entire responsibility of household management which can lead to you having no time for yourself resulting in Mom Burnout. Secondly, your children miss out on developing vital life skills. I’m always amazed at how many women today can’t sew a button or cook something from scratch. It’s simply because they were never taught. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way, I’m simply trying to illustrate that we lose generational skills and traditions when we fail to teach our children. Keep in mind, if you don’t teach your child, they can’t teach their kids. In my next post, I’ll share 100 Life Skills To Teach Your Child. Giving your child consistent responsibility not only builds character, but it prepares them for life. Be a little selfish – delegate!

Not Having a Mom Tribe

Okay, full disclosure. As I write this, I don’t have a mom tribe. I had one for a long while and I can honestly say it was the happiest time of my mom life so far. Then I hit a rough patch. I was struggling personally and I didn’t feel the support I used to feel. Kids were getting older and some moms had moved on once kids were in school. Others had literally moved away. For many reasons I began to question if I had outgrown my group. I still occasionally go, but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s been a year since I made the very hard to decision to take a break. I don’t consider it to be a mistake, but I also feel like this year was incredibly hard doing mom life on my own.

There was no one to talk to for advice or empathy. I miss laughing and going out with friends. This dry season has taught me just how important it is to have a mom tribe. It doesn’t matter if you work or stay at home. You need some women in your life who “get you.” These days, there are lots of ways to find them – work, church, school, Facebook groups, Meetup groups, MOPS, etc. It’s scary at first to make new friends and you’ll probably have to go a few times before you feel comfortable. You may even need to go to a few groups to find one you jive with. That’s okay. Just get out and make some friends in the same stage of life as you. Don’t worry. I’m starting to get out there too!

6 things you're doing wrong as a mom
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

Trying to Be Perfect

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know, I’m a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionism can be really dangerous to your mental health. It’s also just a way to cover up insecurities. Goals are good and so is pushing yourself to do better. But some of us take it to an extreme and find ourselves crushed if we can’t meet our perceived standards.

The worse part about perfectionism is that it spills over to other people. We can begin to impose standards and expectations on family members and friends. It can turn into sanctimony and the judgement of others and nobody wants to feel judged.

Remember be kind and merciful to yourself. Give yourself room for growth and learning by extending grace to yourself on a regular basis. It will be good for you and your relationships. It has taken me a long time to learn that people don’t identity with perfectionism. They identify with flaws.

Feeling Guilty

Okay, mama. This is a big one and I am guilty when it comes to this too. Mom guilt. It’s a real thing. It’s the sister of “trying to be perfect.” There are all kinds of things for which to feel guilty. Maybe you’re a working mom and you feel guilty that you don’t spend enough time with your kids. Maybe you feel guilty that you are overly harsh with your kids. Perhaps you feel guilty that you can’t keep up with your house or chores. The list is endless.

Guilt is a cognitive and emotional experience felt after a moral, personal, or universal standard isn’t met (accurate or not). Guilt is designed to be our moral compass to show us we’ve done something wrong. Shame and guilt are intended to be useful tools used to help convict us to do better. But something happens when it gets out of balance and it turns into excessive guilt. Feeling overly guilty can turn into self-condemnation and can lead our thoughts into very dark places. We may begin to feel unworthy of good things or happiness. It can lead to situational depression and unwarranted self-abuse. Remember, be compassionate with yourself.

Here are some steps to help:

  • Tell yourself you’ll do better next time
  • Remind yourself it was a learning experience and hindsight is always 20/20
  • Consider whether or not the situation was even within your control
  • Speak compassionately to yourself
  • Consider if your standards or ideals may be too high or rigorous
  • Remind yourself you are human and perfectionism isn’t possible

Before You Go

Thanks for reading 6 Things You’re Doing Wrong as a Mom. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Share it with a friend or on your Facebook wall. Also before you go, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for FREEBIES and giveaways. I give them away every month.

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How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner

Take control of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Wellness Happy Planner.

how to use the wellness happy planner

Hey there, friend! Do you struggle to look after yourself? I know I did. As a mama of two, I was always on the back burner. But then I found the Wellness Happy Planner! I was already an avid Happy Planner, but finding this helped me schedule and prioritize, much needed “me time.” Today I’m going to show you how to use a Wellness Happy Planner ® to practice self-care.

To learn more about wellness and how to care for yourself, I encourage you to read my prior post 30 Day Wellness Challenge. In that post, I provide a FREE printable to help you get ideas for emotional, mental and physical wellness.

Also, in lieu of reading this post, you can watch a video on How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner.

What is a Wellness Planner

The question I get asked a lot is, “what is the difference between a fitness and a wellness Happy Planner?” The fitness Happy Planner is designed to track diet and exercise. The wellness planner can certainly track diet and fitness if desired, but it really offers a deeper health check of body, mind, and soul.

Available Sizes

The Wellness Happy Planner is available as an 18-month planner.

Layout

Right now the Wellness Happy Planner is a vertical format. Like the typical vertical layout, it has three boxes. However, the last box has a journal prompt with a a square grid space. You certainly don’t have to use this space for journaling. It is very easy to cover up with stickers.

how to use a wellness happy planner

The planner has monthly tabs as well as monthly spreads. The weekly side bar includes a exercise habit tracker, a small prompt and a “currently.” section. See my video below for a flip through of the new 2019-2020 Big Wellness Happy Planner.

How To Use the Wellness Happy Planner

There are endless ways to use the wellness Planner. Personally, I use it as part journal, part planner and part memory planner. I use it to express thoughts and work through emotions like a journal. I also use it to actually plan and make time for self-care. Lastly, I use it retroactively to record good things that happen to me as well as gratitude. I think of it as my own authored book of inspiration. If you are struggling with what to record or plan in your planner, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Body

  • More water
  • Exercise routine
  • Taking walks
  • Food journaling
  • Accountability / Accountability partner
  • Sleep goals
  • Weight loss journey
  • Rest / relaxation goals
  • Spa time / Long baths
  • Skin care routines
  • Vitamins / medicine

Mind

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Being mindful
  • Play an instrument
  • Writing
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Taking a class
  • Decluttering
  • Play an instrument
  • Hobbies / crafts

Soul

Gratitude Journal Prompts

Get your mind off your problems and on the good things happening in your life with these gratitude journal prompts.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog.

Why Gratitude

Gratitude can totally change your perspective on life. Being mindful about the good things in your life help you focus on happier things instead of problems. The truth is everyone has problems and we face one problem after another. If you’re waiting for your problems to go away before you can be happy, you’ll be waiting your whole life.

Choose to be happy where you are, right now. There is always something for which to be grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal has show in studies to directly impact our happiness.

If you’re interested in additional journaling ideas, see my post 50 Journal Prompts. Here are just some of the benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Brings a feeling of calm
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Takes the focus off your negative problems
  • Helps you find what matters most to you
  • Learn more about yourself
  • Aids with depression
  • Makes you more mindful
  • Notice that small good things really are happening in your life

Today, I’m providing a list of gratitude journal prompts to help get you started.

Gratitude Journal Prompts
Courtesy of Unsplash

Gratitude Journal Prompts

  1. What are you grateful for financially?
  2. List things that have helped you get through hard times.
  3. What are you glad your parents taught you?
  4. Name 3 things you’re glad you learned in school.
  5. Describe a time you thought something wouldn’t work out, but did.
  6. List 3 things you love most about each of your children.
  7. Name a physical feature you love about yourself.
  8. What do you love most about your job? (If you’re at home, what do you love most about it?)
  9. If you could go back and thank someone from your past, who would it be and why?
  10. What do you love most about your spouse?
  11. Name something hard that ended up being good for you.
  12. For what talents are you most grateful?
  13. What has been your best experience this year?
  14. Describe a time you were grateful to be forgiven.
  15. List 5 things you love most about your personality.
  16. What do you think friends love most about you?
  17. Name 10 people you are grateful for.
  18. What was the best part of your day today?
  19. Write the last compliment you remember receiving.
  20. List things that make you feel comforted.
  21. Why are you grateful for your freedom?
  22. Which of the 5 senses are you most grateful to have?
  23. Describe a memory from your childhood that makes you happy.
  24. List ten things you take for granted.
  25. Why are you grateful for your family?

I hope these prompts help you realize you have reasons to be happy and content. In the comments below, I’d love to hear some of the things you are grateful for.

April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Overcome depression, sorrow, and grief with these powerful scriptures. Speak truth into your life with the Holy living word of God. Join me for April Scripture Reading: Depression and Grief

SCRIPTURE READING: depression and grief

A Season of Sadness

I live with depression. I know well the feeling of complete hopelessness. Depression and grief has a way of stopping time. The moment can feel endless. You may find it hard to believe that situations or feelings will ever change or improve. I promise you friend, it will. It’s a season – and seasons don’t last. Read what the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says:

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
            A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
            A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
            A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
            A time for war and a time for peace.

Depression, sorrow, grief is for an appointed time. We have seasons of abundance and seasons of loss. I love what the Psalmist says: “Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) The good news is this: this season of your life is temporary. One day, it won’t hurt like this. One day this will be over. God will bring you out of the pit (Psalm 103:4).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A Time to Cry

When calamity strikes, it is our nature to wonder why. We want answers, no – we demand them. Our humanness wants explanations in order to process loss. But sometimes there are no answers. There are no reasons, at least not earthly ones.

In times like these, we must remember that all things that happen in our lives are designed to draw us closer to Him. And our trials? What about our hurt, pain and suffering? Yes, that too. He wants us to fervently seek Him. Secondly, our weakness, our tears, our hardships all exist to magnify His glory. In order to be our Savior, we must first need saving. See what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Not convinced? Read what the Psalmist writes in 50:15:

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”

Simply put, God uses our pain to show non-believers how He saves.

Death

Maybe you are struggling with a loved one who has passed on. I encourage you to comfort yourself with the living word of God. He has promised that we will be reunited with those we love. We will see them again. Therefore, death is not the end.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, grief subsides allowing you to catch your breath for a moment, then it seems to overcome you again all at once. One minute you think you’re doing better. Then a reminder or a memory will surface and the thought of having to live the rest of your life without them seems unbearable.

Perhaps it is not the physical death of a person you are grieving, but the death of something else. Your dream, health, a job, a friendship, a marriage. Maybe you are so overcome by disappointment you can’t see a happy future. There is one. He has promised it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

despair
Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Battling Feelings of Grief

Remember Who God Is

Compassionate

I count at least 20 times in scripture where God and Jesus are described as compassionate. Paul writes in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our suffering. He empathizes with us. He is compassionate towards our troubles.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Unchanging

The character of God is unchanging. “I am the Lord. I change not.” (Malachi 3:6). Everything is subject to change except for God. Read that again. God does not change. Therefore neither do His promises. I love an easily overlooked verse in Psalm 11. “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). In other words, when the floor beneath you gives way, what should we do? The answer can be found in the next verse. “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord sits on his throne in Heaven.” This declaration reminds us: when all that is good falls apart, God is still in control. He is still on his throne. He is not shaken by our troubles. God does not change.

Put Your Hope In God

The Psalms are a wonderful comfort in times of trouble. The Psalms demonstrate the cry of someone in need of help and refuge. They echo our troubled hearts. They also model how we should pray (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). But Psalm 42 also describes what we should do when we are sorrowful and disturbed.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist tells us to put our hope in the Lord. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that God is a good God and He has good things in store for us (Jer 29:11) . We get hope by praising God in the midst of our sorrow and by comforting ourselves with His promises.

praying over him

Give Up Your Ashes

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 61:3. It is the messianic prophesy of why Christ came and died for us. This lone scripture has brought me so much peace when I’ve been overcome with depression and grief. Here is the truth:

to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty instead of ashes. Ashes represent what is left over after something has burned away. The leftovers. The broken pieces. But here is the rub. An exchange has to take place. Note that scripture says, “instead of.” Some translations say “for.” You must give your ashes to God. Give Him the brokenness and remains. Give Him the ashes and He’ll give you restoration.

Remain Thankful

Another way to pull ourselves out of sadness is to try and get the focus off ourselves and on our creator. You can do this by praising God through thanksgiving. It is hard to be downtrodden when you are remembering all the good God has already done for you. This is why Paul says to “set your mind on the higher things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Thank you for joining me for April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief. In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. In case you missed it, see also March Scripture Reading: Fear & Anxiety.

7 Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

Bipolar is a very misunderstood illness. It’s comes with a stigma. But here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

7 Things About Bipolar I Want People To Know
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Mental illness. It’s almost a dirty word. Okay, so it’s two words. But these days there is a lot of misinformation surrounding bipolar disorder.

So let’s start with the basics. First bipolar is a mood disorder. It creates high (mania) and low moods (depression) in a patient. Psychosis (being out of touch with reality) can also occur during severe episodes. It also affects circadian rhymes, thereby disrupting sleep and furthering the symptoms. The episodes can last weeks or months. It is not uncommon to rapidly cycle between them at the same time. It is created by an imbalance in neurochemicals. Lots of scientific studies suggest it is both hereditary and genetic. However, situational and environmental issues can increase or affect episodes. There are several types of bipolar but two are most prevalent. Type I patients who spend a great majority of time in manic moods and Type II patients who spend most of their time in a depressive state.

Depression

Depression can be characterized by hopelessness, specifically a lack of joy or the inability to enjoy things. You can be plagued with thoughts of suicide or self-harm. You can feel excessively guilty, have difficulty concentrating, and may gain or lose weight. In extreme episodes, it includes psychosis which manifests as delusions or hallucinations (both auditory and visual). It’s common for untreated patients to self-medicate through substance abuse.

Mania / Hypomania

Mania is odd because it can be like a euphoric “high” or it can be excessive anxiety. It can include obsessive, racing thoughts. It makes you impulsive and extremely irritable. You can become a thrill-seeker and even sexually promiscuous. It makes you have poor judgement and can result in spending excessive amounts of money. It can cause you to lash out at others and creates long bouts of insomnia.

Okay, now that we are through the scientific and more sterile descriptions, let me say, I was diagnosed with bipolar as a preteen after first being misdiagnosed as a child with major depression. That’s very common at that age.

Lastly, this post isn’t designed to scold anyone. It’s about educating people about an illness that is grossly misunderstood. Here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

We Don’t Like Being Called Crazy

This should be a given. But I’m still shocked at how many times people use the word “crazy” to describe someone who has bipolar. It’s really hurtful. We aren’t “crazy.” You wouldn’t call an amputee “stumpy.” See? We feel the same being called “crazy.” We have an illness. It’s a physical illness that affects us mentally. It’s caused by the brain not producing neurochemicals like serotonin. Similarly, we don’t like being asked mockingly if we are “off our meds.”

We Aren’t Bipolar

Allow me to explain. There is such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, but in particular bipolar and schizophrenia. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve heard people say, “she’s bipolar.” We aren’t bipolar. We HAVE bipolar. You’d never say, “she’s cancer.” It dehumanizes us. We’re aren’t our illness. It doesn’t define us and therefore not our identity. It’s just one aspect of our life.

You Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Us

Contrary to what the media and non-medical professionals would have you believe we aren’t going on a rampage. And no, psychotropic drugs don’t turn us all into mass shooters. Those people have all kinds of contributing factors, including circumstances completely unrelated to mental illness.

Not all bipolar patients are violent. In fact, that’s not as nearly common as you might think. For example, with Type II patients we are far more likely to hurt ourselves.

We Don’t Want to Disappoint You

We hate when we have to cancel on you because we’re sick. We’re just as disappointed. It’s embarrassing – especially if our caregiver (a spouse, parent, etc.) also has to cancel to take care of us. And please, don’t say we should “plan better.” No one plans to be sick. We have no way of predicting when our mood will change and no way of gauging how bad it will be. I don’t even have words to describe how hurtful and abhorrent that is.

Can you imagine saying that to someone who has cancer? Seriously. Imagine someone has cancer and is going through chemotherapy. They have an important function and can’t go to the event after a chemo treatment because they feel horrible. You would never say things like, “well you should have planned better. After all, you knew you had cancer. You knew you were going to have chemo. You should have planned better.” Yeah, it’s that disgusting and insensitive.

We Say Things We Don’t Mean

They say bipolar is the great melting pot of mental illness. It has anxiety, depression, irritability, OCD tendencies, hallucinations, insomnia, and sometimes what looks like ADHD. When we are in a manic stage, we are often impulsive and irritable.

Being impulsive can cause us to not think through the consequences of our actions. When you combine that with irritability, it makes for lots of unkind words. Oh we regret it afterwards, believe me. But in the moment, there is little self-control. We damage and lose relationships over it. It hurts us as much as it hurts you. When those feelings pass, we are embarrassed by the destruction we caused.

Suicide Is Always Knocking On Our Door

This is a really sensitive issue, but it needs to be discussed. We might seem okay. We might even seem thick-skinned. But we are always resisting the urge to kill ourselves. We have a hard time coping even with the simplest of life situations. If something upsets us deeply, we can despair very quickly.

Then there are times when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s exhausting to fight this everyday. We just want it to stop. We want peace. Suicide is a very tempting option.

We Pretend to Be Okay

Most people have heard the old adage, “fake it ‘til you make it.” However, for us, it’s really true. I don’t want to make it seem like we are lying to you everyday. But the truth is we’re always trying to make it through the day. Similarly, it never goes away totally. I’d say we are either better or worse. Medications don’t cure it. They only make it more manageable. Bipolar is a chronic illness and therefore we live with it everyday. We just don’t always talk about it. We deal with it on our own as much as we can.

Those are the things I want people to know about bipolar. I hope I’ve provided some insight on bipolar. If you suffer from bipolar, I’d love for you to leave a comment below about what you would want people to know. If you’re looking for other wellness topics, check out Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage.

Dear Mama Who’s Struggling

Every mom has rough patches. You aren’t alone. I have some words of encouragement to the mama who’s struggling.

mama who's struggling

Dear Mama who’s struggling,

I know how bad, your day, week…heck, your year is going. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. I know you’re struggling. I see you. Yeah, you in that pile of diapers, tantrums and tears. I see you! With that tween who is discovering boys or that teen who is pushing you away. You may be pretending you’re okay, but that smile doesn’t fool me. I know the days feel long and endless. Hell, this whole stage feels endless.

I know that sounds awful, but you know it has nothing to do with how much we love our kids. Love isn’t the problem, right? We love them, there’s no question. Love is what gets us through the sleepless nights and the days of runny noses and stomach bugs. It’s what makes us sit down to a make believe tea party when we’ve got dishes stacked on every kitchen surface. Love is why we play “dinosaurs” for the tenth time today when we’ve got mounds of laundry piled up like a trash heap. Love isn’t the problem.

I get it. Most days it feels pointless. I mean does anyone else really care if the microwave gets clean or the furniture gets dusted? It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones stressing over the state of the house. And for what? We know as soon as we get it clean – as soon as every last goldfish crumb has been swept up and every last Minion, Dory and PJ Mask figurine has been put in its place, it will all be back on the floor tomorrow. I know it feels pointless.

But I promise you girlfriend, it isn’t pointless. I promise you it matters. You matter! You aren’t invisible. Even if no one praises you, even if there are no accolades. Hell, even if you think you are failing miserably, it matters. YOU MATTER. You matter to those little babies. You’re their whole world. They love you no matter what. I don’t care if you totally phoned dinner in tonight. Even if they are on their last pair of clean underwear, they love you and they’re proud of you.

It’s not endless either. That’s the saddest part. Over the years, your kids will slip away from you to live their own lives. In fact, the older they get, the less time there is to teach and shower them with that obsessive love you feel. Motherhood is the only career where you work yourself out of a job. If you’ve done a good job, they won’t need you. These are the good old days you’ll miss. You won’t ever regret loving your kids instead of doing chores or errands.

mama who's struggling

This motherhood thing is no joke. It ain’t for the weak! It ain’t for the fearless. The truth is – Motherhood can suck. It can also be amazingly wonderful and everything in between. That’s because it’s a journey. It’s a process. And once you’re a mother, you’ll always be one. I don’t care if you never even saw your baby. If you lost your baby in the womb or at the moment he or she should have taken their first breath. You’re a mama. Motherhood is hard…even on it’s best days.

And by the way, I don’t care if you give your kids Vegan snacks or candy for dinner. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool like me or if they are in public school. You’ve got my respect. Your version of motherhood doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Seriously, if there is anything moms do wrong, it’s judging other mamas. Let’s not do that. We’re all just winging it. We’re all just trying to survive. Trying to make it through this tough season. Mother Theresa said, “If you’re busy judging people, you have no time to love them.” Truth. Just love each other – we’re all learning this mom thing at different speeds, in different ways. There is no one “right” way to mom.

I know you feel guilty. You snapped at them yesterday. Thank God no one saw that. It’s amazing how quickly you can bottle that up if you’ve got a play date or someone you know unexpectedly drops in. I know. I’ve done it too. And if you think the women in your mom’s circle haven’t done the same at some point – they’re lying. Because here is what no one tells you: all moms lose their shit at some point. There…I said it. It’s true.

Even if you are an awesome mom, we’ve all locked ourselves in a room, or a car, or some quiet place alone and sobbed into our hands. Raise your hand if you’ve cried to a husband that doesn’t understand. We’ve all wondered if we’re completely failing at this. We wonder if anyone sees that our life is a mess.

Let me tell you something I’ve learned: motherhood is a lot of work and a lot of second guessing. You might think the moms you know have it all together. They don’t! They just use perfectionism as a masquerade. Trust me, I invented that! My life is a mess. Everyone’s is. They’re very own hot, lovely, perfect, beautiful mess.


The post, Dear Mama Who’s Struggling first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.