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The image above is interesting because it so accurately describes what you’re feeling right now–not that I’m trying to stress you out, just want to make a point! The thought of dishes alone drives you mad, because it’s like there’s a ghost that pushes dishes into your sink when you’re not looking and then laughs as you struggle to wash them all at the end of the day (or during nap time).
But it’s not just the dishes, it’s all of this, too:
- Kid problems
The list goes on and on for many of us, and it becomes so debilitating to fight off every thing that gets pitched in our direction that we just explode (if not externally with smoke coming out of our ears, then definitely internally with a discouraged heart and tears down our face).
“It’s our reality,” you might say. This is just part of being a parent, and I have to learn to accept it and do the best I can.”
But that’s not true, at all.
Stress does not have to be your reality, and it shouldn’t be! Don’t you want to be like those sparkly celebrities or those people out there inventing stuff or discovering things and just living their lives with an unparalleled freedom? You can be. Sometimes those people aren’t even as happy as they seem, because even the rich need more than money to be fulfilled. Friends, love, hobbies, religion, nature, etc.
And that’s the trick to getting rid of your stress. Be happy. Stop worrying.
So obvious, I know, but think about it. If you were happy, because you look inwards and asked yourself what would actually make you happy, you wouldn’t care as much about those chores that had to wait an extra day. Because you were happy, and happiness does not stem from objects like dishes. Who cares what happens to them, they’re just inanimate objects. You may feel some relief in having a clean home but if you were to strip away everything else in your life and only had clean dishes, is that enough? No.
When I ask myself this question, my definition of happy would be having lots of time with my kids and lots of time to sleep haha. If I gave everything else up, that might be enough for me. But having an organized home or a spotless kitchen will never be enough so I try to put those tasks at the bottom of my list when choosing between clearing a mess or hugging my kids. Because honestly, some days are so full of chaos that if I waste 5 or 10 minutes on mindless chores, I don’t get to cuddle my baby before he falls asleep, or the dogs hide in corners of the house because they sense my tension.
Ultimately, I have been trying to practice a life of peace. If expectations didn’t matter and fears didn’t exist. If my phone disappeared and I had an infinite amount of time to answer emails or meet deadlines, what are the things that truly take me to a happy place? It’s my kids, dates with my husband, writing, traveling, singing, playing with the dogs. All of these lift my spirits, and when I choose to focus on the negativity in my life or in society, it dampens the effect of all those positive things. Maybe the same happens to you. It’s easy to feel blessed when the kids are sleeping and you have a moment to rest, so why don’t you make those moments possible? If you like traveling, what’s stopping you from booking a trip? Excuses are easy to make, but they can be pushed aside as well in order to get to your goal: a new city, a date, etc. The only reason we don’t push excuses aside is because we think they’re more important than the things we want to accomplish. Think about it.
It’s always easier said than done, but I am trying to be active in pursuing the things that delight me. If I need sleep, then I ask my husband for sleep. If I need healthier foods to feel more energetic, then we spend the extra money on fruits or almonds. If I want date nights, then I make a plan. The problem for most of us, especially during motherhood, is that it’s very difficult to make all of this work. Yet, it’s not impossible. Perhaps admitting you need help by asking for a nap is challenging but if you do it, imagine how much better you’ll feel. It might strain the budget a bit to buy foods that are more expensive than processed snacks, but if it boosts your energy and makes you feel more lively, why not? I encourage all moms to stop thinking that because they have kids, they need to be swallowed whole by motherhood. God doesn’t want you to feel that way. God wants you to feel free and happy, and it’s not Him that’s tempting you with self-doubt and frustration or anger or stress.
The one way to get rid of stress is to trust in Him. If He created the entire world and all of us, surely he can find a way to stretch your money for you, or to bring someone into your life that will offer a helping hand so you can take a break. If He never gives us anything we can’t handle, then certainly He will not put so much on you that you crack from stress. All we have to do is believe and have faith. Having faith means acting as if His will has already been done even if you haven’t seen the results yet. It signifies putting all your cares on Him, and yes…relinquishing control (perhaps the hardest thing for a mother to do). But once you take that leap, it will feel so serene, like you’re no longer the parent trying to put everything in order but rather the child of a much more powerful being that’s yearning to cradle you in His arms and tell you it’s all going to be okay.