How do you stay happy and content with day-to-day life when it seems like you’re living in a sea of trantrums, poopy diapers, dirty dishes, and endless errands? I just don’t seem to be getting the joy out of life that I used to, and I’m not totally sure why. I think I have a hard time seeing the big picture and instead get stuck in the daily grind. Am I the only one?
NO, you are not the only one!!! Believe me when I say that most of us have been through the daily grind.
I had four babies in three years and was I ever tired! I thought I would drown in diapers. Thank goodness for Pampers.
If at all possible, get a mother’s helper. This can be a young teenager who comes in to help. Or if you can afford it, get a once-weekly housekeeper. It is worth living on beans and rice to have the house CLEAN once a week.
I had a mother’s helper and a housekeeper (at different times) and both were enormously helpful. My husband was a military man and I was a SAHM, and we had virtually NO money but we managed to garden and eat sensibly and still have a little money left over to pay for a mother’s helper. Advertise at church and in your local paper. Teens don’t require a lot of money. Have her watch the babies while you clean, or vice versa. You’ll seriously be glad you did - I was!
Oh, I’m with you. There are a lot of days when there seems to be little reward for all my hard work. But then there are those moments - when DS tells someone he loves Mommy because she plays with him, or when he prays for me (when asked what we should pray for). Those moments make up for the constant laundry and cleaning - but they are few and far between, so sometimes I get down about that stuff too. I’ve found that looking at old pictures or watching video of when DS was a baby really helps. Just to see how much he’s grown seems to make me happier! The other thing that really helps is getting DH to watch him so I can go somewhere alone (or with girlfriends) for a while. (That doesn’t happen often - but it helps when it does!)
Hang in there. We all have times like this.
Time for Baby #2!! Seriously! When you have one kid in the middle of the terrible twos, it is so refreshing to have a sweet little baby who is NEVER naughty But then again, you could end up with a real colicky baby. And then when baby is colicky or sleeping (in the newborn stage), you have your older child to play with and have real fun with, not just the quiet cuddly stuff all the time. And then in a few months as baby grows, you get to see the sibling relationship develop, and that’s such a joy.
Not to mention, having another baby is such an adventure and will definitely get you out of the rut you’re in. And with a new baby, you won’t be in any rut for long since they grow and change so quickly, by the time you’re tired of the next “rut” it will be time to move onto a new routine.
I hope you get your BFP soon!
Another thing that I do is to think about how important what I’m doing is. Even just wiping the counters. We are doing our duties, and there is little else more pleasing to God than faithfully fulfilling the duties of our vocation. I know this is corny, but I think about those big battle scenes in Lord of the Rings and when I have to do something hard or something I don’t like, I just tell myself that I need to go to battle for God Or something like that. And to think that those movies were just stories and what I’m doing is *for real *and accomplishing much more for God’s Kingdom, that gives me a little lift too.
It helps me to remember this passage from 1Timothy2:15-
Nevertheless, she will be saved by child-bearing, provided she lives a sensible life and is constant in faith and love and holiness.
Women will be saved by child-bearing. Not that every woman must have children, but that if she does, what she is doing is so important to God that she will be saved through it.
St. Josemaria Escriva might offer some encouragement:
[quote=]"Do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing”
Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism. (The Way, 813)
Do you really want to be a saint? Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing. (The Way, 815)
‘Great’ holiness consists in carrying out the ‘little duties’ of each moment. (The Way, 817)
You tell me: when the chance comes to do something big, then!.. Then? Are you seriously trying to convince me–and to convince yourself–that you will be able to win in the supernatural Olympics without daily preparation, without training? (The Way, 822)
Have you seen how that imposing building was built? One brick upon another. Thousands. But, one by one. And bags of cement, one by one. And blocks of stone, each of them insignificant compared with the massive whole. And beams of steel. And men working, the same hours, day after day… Have you seen how that imposing building was built?.. By dint of little things! (The Way, 823)
Have you noticed how human love consists of little things? Well, divine Love also consists of little things. (The Way, 824)
Steph, I forget how old your little one is (a year and a half or so?) but just remember that in a little while you’ll look up and think, “Huh, when did that stage pass?” It happens so fast–they change and grow, and they change us right along with them.
No. I was the one who threw the tantrum today. :o Honesty, children demand so much from us constantly, and can feel overwhelming at times. I think you hit on the key to contentment in the midst of mothering in you post: remember the big picture.
Music helps inspire me. There’s a Catholic singer named Marie Bellet who writes songs about motherhood. I highly recommend her music to moms who need a lift. (I think I’ll go listen too when I’m done posting.) One song is called “What Difference Does it Make?” It’s fabulous to remind me do the little things with love. The song starts with those self-defeating thoughts about what does it matter if she neglects the little things. In the end the song turns to a prayer, and she writes she heard God say back to her. “…Life is loving, so mind the details. Wrap them up and send them to Me. And what a difference there will be.”
The Little Flower wrote about doing little things with great love. Most of my day is filled with doing little things for little children, and it’s a much better day when I do it with love and keep God in mind. I used to have the signature line: Mommies change the world one diaper at a time. Seriously, I sometimes offer up diaper changes as a form of prayer, asking God to take care of a bigger mess while I take care of that little one.
You all have some really inspiring advice. I’ve been doing this mommy thing for 18 years and I still have times now and then when I feel like my sense of peace and contentment is slipping.
Its only been in the last few years that I have started scheduling me time. I thought I was being selfish at first, but found out I was wrong. I am important and I do deserve some pampering. I make sure I have library books to read and a favorite flavored coffee. I have a journal and scrapbook every stage of our lives. I buy new nail polish or hair color when I need a boost to feel pretty, and take bubble baths (followed by a pedicure and body lotion) often. I listen to my favorite radio programs. I even buy myself a $2.99 bouquet of flowers when I get the urge. (Why wait for someone in my familly to give me flowers? They aren’t mind readers! lol)
I treat myself the way I would my best friend. That gives me a little lift, a little sunshine, and the feeling that as the caretaker of this home and family I am deserving of a little pampering every day.
Am I the only one?
Oh, no way. I think this is just part of the challenge of this life. It is important though for you to have something that lifts your spirits when you feel like this. A hobby or some little enjoyment – mine is working out, even if I have to get up at 5 am or stay up to 11pm to fit it in. It’s me time, it’s something that makes me feel joyful and alive. Anything like that.
Also, my confessor once suggested that I write a litany of gratitude when I was feeling like this. It helps to remember to thank God for all our blessings.
My solution was to “offer it up”. ** All **of it, offer it up…
Just as someone can offer up their suffering as prayer when they have cancer or chronic pain…you can offer up the suffering and pain of boredom, drudgery, isolation and monotony.
I would say to myself, “Jesus, I am bored right now and the last thing I want to do is wash these clothes, but I will do it and offer it up as a prayer to you”. or “Jesus I do not want to drive the kids around for the 100’th time or change this icky diaper but I will try and do it with love and joy and offer this up as my prayer to you.”
Instead of trying to escape from the boredom…embrace it. Embrace this as your cross to bear just as Christ embraced his cross. God has given you this cross to bear and it is a hard one at times. Manual labor, boredom, dishes, tantrums, whining, crying and more manual labor and chores can be a cross to bear…but this is your cross. Try and embrace the cross as best as you can and you will be amazed at the grace that awaits you. This is not easy to do, I will pray for you, please pray for me.
I think most any job can be a daily grind but I think when you are a Mom, home is where God wants you to be, so you-know-who is going to give you a lot of trouble for that. Attacks come in the form of dissatisfaction, restlessness, boredom, inpatience with the kids, daydreams of what you’d rather be doing, envy, etc.!
So put on the full armour of God. His word, a two-edged sword. All the ordinary but extrodinarily powerful graces of the Church - the Sacraments! Confession, Mass. Don’t forget what makes the devil flee - “plastic beads” and a “bread wafer” – you know - the Rosary and the Eucharist!
Too busy for the rosary? One little decade prayed daily is great improvement over none-a-day.
I prayed a mystery-a-day when my son was small by laying with him in bed at night and praying it aloud, which would put him to sleep when he was a restless toddler/young boy who did not want to fall asleep on his own. I admit I did this to multitask - get my rosary in while “boring” him to sleep. But you know what? He will pray a rosary with me now, and I credit it to the early, comforting exposure of falling asleep to me praying it by him.
Too busy for daily Mass? If you are not going now, you can try to get to one once a week, or even once a month. First Friday, maybe.
I miss the stay at home days. It was my hearts desire to do that, and I did it for such a relatively short time. Its not an option for me now and it has been so hard for me to accept my new life of going out to work and trying to be single mom/homemaker/everything when I am not at work. Its very hard to do. But nonacceptance of reality makes it even harder than it already is! So I work on accepting where God has me now (accepting what I must, and changing what I can) and taking one day at a time, and relying of Gods grace to help me get through each day.
Changing what I can has included slowly getting more streamlined (yard sale later this month - I really cut down on belongings) and organizing and fixing up what I can (I am going to reupolster dining room chairs next, the backs and seats - I don’t have a lot of time but will do one at a time till they are done. It will be so rewarding to see it done, as I inherited these with really worn out ugly fabric).
Its easy to feel sorry for myself but I offer up a lot. I cannot feel sorry for myself long when I realize how much worse things could be, and are for so many, (I think: “child with cancer/ me with debilitating illness - okay, its not so bad”). Also after Mass or rosary I do not feel sorry for myself anymore.
Also I am always working on eating healthy and pacing my day for optimum energy. I still have favorite foods that are fattening/not health-supporting but I minimize how often and how much I eat of them and maximize the health-supporting foods. Its a constant effort but it makes a huge difference in my energy and attitude. We can all improve in this area usually and you probably know what you have to do. Any movement in the right direction helps!
Aww . . . all moms go through that.
I have two words for you - Holy Hour. Seriously. Do whatever you can to make a Holy Hour every week. It really helps.
With lots of prayer.
You may be. I’m perfectly joyful. And why shouldn’t I be? My house is SPOTLESS! I have plenty of money for that new outfit I wanted for the wedding this weekend. My extended family never bothers me. Summer is my favorite time of year – especially when the dew points are in the 70’s for weeks on end. The first trimester of pregnancy is such a wonderful feeling with all kinds of energy and no nausea. And my children! OH! Well, they are perfect ANGELS all.of.the.time.
OH wait a minute. I think I dozed off there for a few minutes and had a lovely dream.
I more content certain times of the month.
I’ve come to realize that there are certain times of the month that I will not be content, so I don’t beat myself up about those days (ahhh, got to love hormones)
Honestly, I keep thinking about my MIL, she’s grouchy, irritable and lonely, wants her kids to come and see her all the time…and I just think, there may be a day that I wish they were still pooping in their diapers.
I take me time and don’t feel guilty about it.
I’ve set up a prayer area. Off limits to the kids, I have a water foundation, prayer cards, my Rosary, and some pictures to remind me (icons)…
I take lots of late night baths…(time alone with God again)
and I read at least one page a day of The Apostlate of Holy Motherhood.
God is in the details, moocow…cute username by the way! ha:p God is in every detail…in every vocation…in every job that He has willed for us. I’m reading this wonderful Catholic book called…FINDING GOD’S WILL by St Francis De Sales…and he says that we must look at God’s will as dominant and the only one that should matter to us. We should even just seek to please Him, not try to search for contentment in life, but seek it in pleasing Him. (thus creating a joyful life from this alone)
I pondered that the other night, and ever since I started giving my ‘everyday life’ over to God…surrendering my boredom, and chorelike life at times to God–He totally transformed it into something sacrificing. Like nothing that I do for others, goes unnoticed by God. Isn’t that just awesome to think about???
So…whenever you feel this way…remember…God is in the details.
I am trying to be content. Sometimes it’s the last thing I want to do though. I think it’s normal to feel up and down. We are human. My BF says God is trying to teach me patience. I say He needs to hurry a bit.
One other thing I thought about in this thread is that I often have to remind myself that I need to readjust my expectations about what this life holds for me. This is not our home. We don’t belong here; we belong in Heaven. And so, I try to remember not to expect perfection from myself or others or circumstances since that will only be achieved when we see our Lord in Heaven.
I don’t want to dimish the stress behind anything you said because it is very real, but I just wanted to throw something out for your own personal reflection, and this is not at all a judgement, just a question for you alone to consider. How’s your prayer life? Are you getting any quiet time in the morning before the stress begins? Are you asking for the graces you need to carry out your vocation everyday? Are you offering up your day and all the sacrifices you are about to embrace? Are you asking Our Lady for her intercession on your behalf? Is it at all possible to get to daily Mass? The only reason I throw that out is that I have noticed that I struggle more with kindness and contentment and patience and all of that when I have not been praying and asking for those graces.