Hi! I’m Jamie! Before I share my tips for surviving motherhood, allow me to introduce myself:
I’m a new contributor to OSSS and couldn’t be more excited to join a fabulous group of women and share some ideas with you. I blog over at Prepared Housewives where my goal is to simplify Food Storage, Emergency Preparedness, & Survival Skills. I believe most people never get prepared, because they frankly don’t know where to begin. I’m here to hold anyone’s hand that wants to join me in becoming more self-reliant!
Before I start overwhelming you with ideas on how you can get your food storage in order – get ready for emergencies – and survive out in the wild, I thought I would cover the hardest survival skill of them all – MOTHERHOOD!
I still remember when we could afford someone besides my sister to take our family picture. This was going to be our first professional photo ever and I couldn’t be more excited! My dream of being a Pinterest family was immediately crushed and I got a rude-awakening of what being a mom was all about…
This picture sums up pretty well what motherhood has been like for me 😉
As much as I hear the phrase – “Enjoy them while they’re young, they grow up fast” – it doesn’t make being a Mom any easier!
I have 3 little men and 1 bossy princess who have run my life now for the past 7 years, and as cute as they are, I have definitely run the range of emotions that come along with being a Mom. The constant whining, crying, fighting, and dealing with special needs has definitely taken its toll, and often times I wonder if I’ll get through it alive!
Let’s just face it, sometimes motherhood is just about surviving. It can be a constant rollercoaster, but here are some ways I’ve been able to start having more Ups than Downs!
- #1 Find an Escape
Do you ever feel like the most boring person alive when someone asks you what you enjoy doing? Asks about your hobbies? Or what you do with your free time?
My answers usually consist of – sleep, delete emails, eat chocolate, change diapers, & go back to bed!
If you have similar answers, it’s time to find an escape! I’m not talking about running away and checking into the nearest hospital (as tempting as that might be), but finding something you’re passionate about. What is something you love doing, that makes you get excited to wake-up each day, and gives you a sense of purpose? If you can’t think of anything, it’s time to go searching!
Moms need to escape somewhere happy for at least a few minutes each day – doctor’s orders! It gives you energy, renews your Spirit, & makes you a much better Mom! Your escape can be as simple as reading a favorite book, playing the guitar, or pinning things on pinterest!
I started a blog a year ago because I wanted to help save people from disasters, but little did I realize it was actually saving me. It breathed new life into me, and even better – I can now tell people I do something besides clean poop all day!
- #2 Prioritize Yourself
Part of becoming Mom means you no longer get any sleep, you shuttle kids to and from activities, and you serve every sick person on your street!
That’s just what Moms are expected to do – right?
I’m pulling out my wagon wheel to help me explain this one!
Most women have it all backwards! We start on the outside of the wheel and work our way in. We try to impress the world, then spoil our kids, we neglect our spouse, and then leave ourselves too exhausted to take our vitamins & floss our teeth.
I know this may sound super-selfish, and go against everything you’ve been taught, but you will be much more effective if you start with YOU! Start in the center of the wheel and work your way out! When you’re healthy, mentally stable, and sometimes put a brush through your hair, you’re a better YOU! It puts you in a better position to meet your hubbie’s needs, be a super-mom to your kids, and even have time and energy left to go save the world!
There will always be times when priorities get a little out-of-whack, but just remember, you’re Mom and you know best!
“A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do… But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.” – Julie B. Beck
- #3 Wake-up With a SMILE!
Every morning you should wake-up with a smile!
I am NOT a morning person, but by forcing a smile on my face things don’t bother me as much – spilled milk, lost shoes, helpless kids, and the list goes on. Just trust me on this.
Try waking up tomorrow with a HUGE smile and see if your morning goes a tad-bit smoother!
- #4 Simplify Your Life
Cut the fluff out that wears you down and stresses you out!
I’m all about simplifying, so whenever I find something that will make my life easier I jump all over it!
One thing that freed up a ton of time and helped me tremendously was when I started meal planning and grocery shopping only TWICE a year! Yep, you heard that right!
Other things I’ve tried simplifying around our home is – gifts, birthdays, traditions, toys, activities, and anything else that sucks my time away and makes life difficult.
There are numerous ways to go about this, so start tackling some things of your own!
- #5 Decide Who YOU Want to Become
Are you just an under-appreciated maid constantly looking for everyone’s crap? I know this is how I feel most days, but that is why this tip for surviving motherhood is so important!
Every morning the following quote stares me down:
“We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become each day.” – Richard G. Scott
And every time I see it, I reflect on if I’m becoming what I want to be.
What about you? Do you know what you want to become?
If you don’t know where you are going, it’s pretty hard to get there, so have a vision, set goals, create a personal mission statement, and if you’re really brave – have some dreams.
It’s great when kids realize Mommys have dreams too, and even better when they see you’re not afraid to go for them!
Goals give meaning, motivation & direction to your life! Set goals in every significant category of your life such as: Spiritual, Family, Work, Physical, Finances, Friendship, Knowledge, Mental, Emotional.
These are the categories I have and questions I ask myself when setting goals:
- SPIRITUAL– In what way can I draw closer to God & help serve others (especially family)?
- MENTAL – What new thing can I Learn? Read? Do?
- PHYSICAL – Am I taking care of my body? How is my health? What can I do differently?
- EMOTIONAL – Do I surround myself with people who are positive & help me be a better person?
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many. I try and start with 1, but no more than 3 in each category!
Whatever you do, focus on what you ultimately want to become, or else you might end up as a glorified crap locator 😉
- #6 Say “NO” a LOT
Do you want to know why my friend is skinny, super-toned, and looks amazing after birthing 5 kids?
Besides having some awesome genetics, she has learned something that I’m still working on, and that is how to say NO!
She goes to the gym everyday at 9 am and NOTHING gets in the way of her workouts! She is the first to help others, volunteer, and hang out with friends, but if she’s asked to do something during her workout time – forget it!
I used to think she was a bit extreme and needed to be more flexible, but I’ve come to learn one of the most important lessons through her example:
- Whenever you say YES to something – you are saying NO to something else
- For example when you say YES to a big project, you maybe saying NO to spending time with your kids.
and vice versa…
- Whenever you say NO to something – You are saying YES to something else.
- For instance if you say NO to TV, it might mean saying YES to working out!
So before you make ANY decision, ask yourself if the tradeoff is really worth-it?
This is why having goals and a vision is so important, because when you are faced with decisions, you will know whether it’s a YES or a NO!
“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.” -Elder Dallin H. Oaks
- #7 Ask For Help
This can be one of the hardest things to do as a Mom. Asking for help does not come easy, because we hate admitting to ourselves and especially others, that we can’t do it all!
Not everyone is lucky enough to have grandparents that are able to help with their grandkids, or friends that aren’t already overwhelmed with their own lives. So who do you turn to when you need someone to talk to, or just give you a much needed break!
A few suggestions you can think about:
- Have your spouse help! Don’t abuse your spouse, but don’t forget they can be a huge support and help! One couple I know, the husband will takes charge once a week and give his wife the night off (hint, hint, if my hubby ever reads this!).
- Join or form a babysitter exchange group where you can earn points for watching people’s kids, or use points to get help with yours.
- Find or start a mother’s group in your area. You can do this with Facebook or another social media site to help you connect with others and ask for help when needed.
- Hire a mother’s helper! I use to have my 11-year old neighbor come over after school and help me for about an hour or two.
- Get professional help if you need it! There’s no shame in it and it doesn’t mean you are any less of a mom. I’ve even hit up a few this year 😉
Don’t forget us too (your online friends), we know we’re not as good as the real thing, but sometimes just having a listening ear that won’t judge (and most likely you’ll never meet) is all you need!
- #8 Accomplish Something Today
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
You know that thing you’ve been putting off forever? Yeah, that one!
You’ve been waiting to get around to it once the stars and moon align, for when some extra time will magically appear, and after you lose that last 10-20 lbs!
Well, not to be a Debbie-downer, but it might just never happen. Go ahead and just go for it!
I’ve been wanting to do the Texas Marathon, not because I cared to put the 26.2 sticker on my car, but because the medal you receive is almost as big as the state itself 😉 I have to admit I was horrible at training, and my time wasn’t anything to brag about, but on Jan 1st of this year at 1:15pm I crossed that finish line and it was one of the most exhilarating feelings I’ve had in a long time. I made a goal & I accomplished it.
Each day is a new start, a new beginning! Stop waiting around and go ahead and accomplish something today, this week, or this month! Getting something checked off your list is a huge ego boost and can be like a snowball effect to help you reach the rest of your goals you’ve set for yourself!
- #9 Turn the Locks Around
Maybe I’m evil for doing this, but turning the locks has kept my sanity more than anything else!
My neighbor has well-trained kids that play quietly in their rooms and read books for 2 hours a day. My kids came from a different batch in Heaven and there is no way they do anything quietly, unless they are plotting to set fires in the backyard, or are covering each other with angry bird tattoos.
My solution – turn the locks around!
It has worked wonders! Now instead of showing my crazy side to my kids when I find a new hole in the wall, or see that they painted their brother blue, we walk calmly to their rooms and they get locked in. No more screaming or fighting (at least for the most part)!
Just remember to lock the window too! You might just have a neighbor come over and inform you your kid peed out of it!
- #10 When You Want to Scream – Take a Picture Instead!
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory!” – Dr. Suess
There is nothing like walking into the office to work on important business (checking email’s important right?), to find that your 2 year old discovered a new trick…
This just calls for a loud scream, followed by a good cry, with some chocolate to top everything off! And that is exactly what I used to do, but I’ve discovered something that works even better – Stop and take a picture 1st!
Often times when you take a moment to take a picture of their mischief it will give you a chance to calm down, and maybe even smile! Of course you don’t want to encourage their bad behavior, but it helps me from losing it and having a major meltdown.
Plus, at the end of the year when I put all the pictures into a book – those are by far our favorite.
- #11 Seriously, Stop Comparing!
“God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect. Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are NOT! Please remember to be compassionate and patient with yourself and be careful to not compare yourself to others. Be thankful for all the small successes… these may seem tiny to you, but God notices them and they are NOT small to him.” – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
There will always be people that seem to have it all – great hair, well behaved kids, good jobs, more fun, lots of friends, perky boobs (even after 10 kids) – and everything else that you are feeling insecure about at the moment!
God doesn’t expect anyone to compare their worst to someone’s best, so why do it? Instead, be thankful for the small successes – they really are bigger than you think!
Plus, we all know those super-moms with perfect kids have Benadryl in their purse 😉
- #12 Learn to Laugh!
No matter what you do, and how hard you try, there will still be days that don’t go as planned – not even close! Your kids may build a water park in your living room (w/ real water effects), your baby will eat a Smurf before church (at least look like it), and you won’t be able to find your bra when you’re in a hurry.
In these situations there is only one thing you can do – Laugh!
If you don’t know how, it’s time to learn!
How Are You Surviving Motherhood?
I’m still new at being a Mom and have plenty to learn, but there are 2 things I know for sure:
- NEVER say NEVER! As soon as you do it will happen to you!
- EVERYTHING is easier said, than done! So don’t get frustrated with your efforts!
Each of us have different experiences, children, and circumstances, so please let me know what tips or advice you have. Let’s support each other so we can stop Surviving Motherhood, and start Loving it instead!
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you! Remember, if you want to talk or need someone to listen you know where to find me – over at Prepared Housewives or on Google+! If you liked this post, you might like some of my others, but no promises!
OMG! I have a guest room in San Diego if you come alone.
Awesome! What’s your address 😉
Connie Boyd says
Well…I am so incredibly relieved to read this and find your blog. I NEEDED encouragement in such a real way and your post helped me get just that! I smiled, I felt understood, I felt connected to someone in a way that I don’t usually 😉 Thank you and may the Lord bless you for this ;0 I look forward to looking around your blog, when there’s time…I was giving myself a time out from screaming nap-fighting children. Now I must go back and make sure they’re OK 🙂 Thanks for the break and encouragement.
You have no idea how much your comment meant to me Connie! I appreciate you taking a break from the screaming nap-fighting children to share your thoughts! I was a little worried about how people would react to my post, but you made writing it so worth it!
If you ever need another break from kiddos or just want to vent – you know where to find me 😉
Liv Taylor says
You’re a riot, Jamie! Thanks for this post; it is always nice to have a reminder that there’s no such thing as THE PERFECT MOM and I’m not alone in feeling like a crazy person 😉
Thanks Liv! Yes, I’m actually the head of the crazy people pack 😉
I took a parenting class last year and I would always joke I was a Perfect Mom 5 minutes a week – from the time I got out of the class until I picked them up from the babysitter.
Kelly Meier says
I absolutely love this list!! Being a new mom, the best advice I got from someone my first week home goes along with #2 – if mom isn’t happy, the baby isn’t going to be happy. She also reminded me of when flying how they always say adults put your air mask on before assisting others. There is a reason for that! And laughing has definitely gotten us through some rough patches!
Tammy Gnagy says
Not very impressed with this list, grocery shop twice a year? Lock your kids in their rooms? Just hire extra help? Send my kids to a babysitter so I can work out while my husband slaves at work all day ?
Sounds great, and TOTALLY unrealistic
Jamie S. says
Sorry you didn’t find it very helpful. I understand what works for me won’t work for everyone. Would love to hear any tips you have that are more realistic.
So true! That totally goes along with #2! Mom’s need to remember it’s ok and not selfish to take care of themselves!
Congrats on being a Mom! It’s definitely the best and most crazy journey you’ll ever go on 😉
Thank you for this! You really hit home on a few things I could work on. I have 3 children, 6, 4 and 5 months. I have been struggling with some of these areas and you really spoke to me. I really like how you talked about saying no to one thing can be saying yes to your kids.
That resonates deeply with me, I grew up with parents who were always, and still are deeply involved in the lives of others. It has always bothered me and I am trying to build a better home for my family.
Thanks Joy! I went to a time management class and the lady teaching talked about whenever you say no to something you are saying yes to something else. That struck me hard too. I think about it constantly whenever I’m committing myself to something.
I think it goes back to the rock analogy. If you fill up your jar with sand and water first, you won’t have room for the big rocks (or the things that really matter). Anyways, I don’t think I’ll ever have this figured out, but it’s worth trying. Sounds so easy, now if I could just do it 😉
This is wonderful Jamie! Thank you so much for all of this great advice! =) Much appreciated!
Thanks Brittani! Hope the advice comes in handy 😉
I have read and re-read this article and your points are SO RIGHT ON! You have me rolling with laughter one minute and deeply reflecting the next. Your pictures are definitely worth a thousand words!!! SO FUN and SO APPROPRIATE. I think Motherhood is the most under-rated occupation in the world. Motherhood is DEFINITELY not for sissies! Thanks for your great article Jamie!
Jamie S. says
Thanks Jolynne! Motherhood is definitely a lot of work, but definitely fun and full of surprises! Thanks for your sweet comment!
Carey Williams says
Im having a hard time as a mother right now. Thinking im not doing enough etc. I recently retired from the Army and stayed here in Ga. I have 4 boys (15,13,8,4) 1 spoiled princess who’s 7 and im in my 2nd trimester with our 6th kid. Im so overwhelmed. I went from being a soldier and running all our pharmacies on post to a stay at home mom. Training soldiers is so much easier then being a stay at home mom. I love my husband and children but like you said we take care off ourselves last. I am going to try what you said especially when the kids are fighting or my daughter is throwing a tantrum take a pic and walk away. Everybody thinks I must be a great mom since my kids are so smart in every activity etc but im so not. I stress out, cry and do allot of praying.
Thank you so much for writing it helped me more then you will ever know.
Jamie S. says
Thanks for your service in the Army! Your comment meant so much to me! I just read it to my husband and he told me I needed to probably read my article again and take some of my own advice 😉
You’re amazing! I’m praying for you! Wow, #6 – You need to give me some tips!
Sometimes we all need a good cry, I had a good one last night! Lots of prayers and caffeine definitely help too 😉
Sometimes adjusting from working full-time, to being a mom full-time can be very tough. My friend made the switch and struggled with it a lot the first year. I think sometimes we beat ourselves up because we think we should be loving every minute of it and be grateful for the opportunity to stay home, but it doesn’t mean it’s still not hard.
I think as long as God sees we are trying He will help us. Just in case though, I decided to ditch the college fund for the kids and start a therapy fund instead 😉
I love this! It’s humorous and joyfully written and it’s totally stuff us moms need to be reminded of too. Thanks for such a great post!
Thank you Ashley! Appreciate you taking time to comment!
Thank you for the perspective….and the chuckles. I needed them today. That wagon wheel is fantastic. It’s exactly what I’ve been trying to explain to my husband….sometimes others (cough, cough, in-laws, cough) have a way of getting inside the wheel. Anyway, keep up the good work.
Laura Goldy says
“Other things I’ve tried simplifying around our home is – gifts, birthdays, traditions, toys, activities, and anything else that sucks my time away and makes life difficult.”
Could you talk more on how you simplified these areas? I’m interested!
Hey Laura! This is such a great post. Jamie is no longer a contributor here, so not sure if she will stop back to respond… but, I have a few thoughts! I’m a mother of six, homeschool, and run this blog, and a few of the things I have done to simplify is to say no a little more often. 🙂 I can’t have my kids doing every activity in the world. They all get to pick a couple, but I do everything I can to keep their activities within a 2 mile radius of my house. That helps a ton! Driving all over town is the worst. With birthdays, I don’t get caught up in ultra-cute parties. We do something fun and simple and it’s great. Regarding traditions, we have started saying no to attending all of our extended family traditions and events. We have started many of our own and it has been so wonderful for our family. Finally, I have been going to they gym every morning before my kids get up. It’s hard to drag myself out of bed (especially when it’s cold outside!), but I know that it works wonders for my sanity. It gives me a chance to get out of the house, think about things without kids chatting all around me, and listen to my scriptures on my phone. I also always say my personal prayer while I’m driving to the gym. By the time I get home, I feel spiritually and physically accomplished and much more ready to take on the zillions of tasks ahead of me. Life is so busy, isn’t it?!! Hang in there!