11 Tips to Beat the Dreary Weary Mama Blues
[Portions reprinted from Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood by L.R.Knost. Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages also available on Amazon and through other major retailers.]
Mountains of laundry. Piles of toys. Diapers and dishes and dust. Sticky fingerprints to wipe. Muddy shoeprints to mop. Bills to pay. Appointments to keep. Shopping to do…
The parenting list is endless because ‘done’ doesn’t exist in a world where little ones live and play and grow. But parents are people, too, and we can get overwhelmed at the sheer redundancy of the cycle of life with children if we don’t intentionally take the time to feel the joy of little arms wrapped around our necks and to find something of ourselves in the busyness of daily life. If you’re on the verge of losing the battle of the blues, here are eleven ways to energize, prioritize, and conceptualize your way back to a healthier, happier you!
- Go outside! No joke. Taking your problems and frustrations outside shrinks them down like shrinky-dinks in an oven. When you’ve got the warm sun on your face and you’re watching your little ones tumbling in the green grass and you’re listening to giggles replace their whines, life feels good again.
- Write it down to turn your frown upside-down. Seriously, writing down a list of all the good things in your life in one column and the bad things in another helps to restore a healthy perspective.
- Go to the dark side. No, really, take a good look at the bad things on your list and see what you can do to cross off or minimize some of the things on the bad side. Sometimes just eliminating one sore point or reducing one stressor can make a world of difference!
- It’s okay to have a disposable day. Take one day a week and use paper plates and plastic cups and utensils to give yourself a chance to catch up on those pesky dishes. It’s okay. Really.
- The Earl of Sandwich invites you to dine. Another way to beat the dishes doldrums is to have a sandwich day. Egg sandwiches for breakfast. Cheese sandwiches for lunch. Turkey sandwiches for dinner. And who really needs to have a plate to lay their sandwich on, anyway? A paper towel will do for a plate and a napkin all in one!
- A load a day keeps the mountain away. Doing one load of laundry every day instead of storing it up for a huge ‘laundry day’ once a week is one way to tame a daunting mountain into a doable molehill.
- Spray the stickies away. Little people usually love spray bottles or water guns, so harness that love for some rock ‘em sock ‘em cleaning help. Put a pair of daddy’s white sports socks on little feet and little hands and arm your small ones with a bit of water in a spritzer or water gun, then join them for an all-out blitz on fingerprints, dust bunnies, and jelly smears!
- There can never be too many cooks in the kitchen. The littlest member of the family can be worn in a baby carrier while the cook cooks or the cleaner cleans. For tinies who are a bit bigger, instead of barring them from the kitchen, turn them into little sous chefs and let them measure and sort and stir. If they’re too little for actual cooking, put pots and pans and measuring bowls on the floor with a bit of sudsy water so they can whip up a storm while you’re cooking or cleaning. Afterward, scooch some towels across the floor with your feet for a bit of exercise and a semi-cleaned floor as a bonus!
- And speaking of exercise, get some of that groovy stuff. Doing knee bends while you brush your teeth, lunges while vacuuming and babywearing, and boogying with your children to some funky music while straightening can all contribute to a mood-lifting, age-defying, endorphin-releasing surge of healthy goodness while weaving in some far out fun!
- Daydreamer, dream on. Don’t forget that you’re a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen, gift-to-the-world, and you’ve got a super-special purpose for being here. Raising your children is an amazing and wonderful privilege, but you’ll have a lot of life left to live once your children are out of the early stages of intense need for your time and attention. So take a few moments every day to dream those dreams while staring out the window over a steaming cup of coffee, and journal those thoughts and ideas and plans. Your time will come, mama!
- Don’t forget the chocolate! Everyone likes to be appreciated, and a sweet reward at the end of the day says “Good job” like few other things can. So stash some luscious dark chocolate next to a good book and escape the joyful chaos of life with littles for a few minutes every evening after everyone’s asleep and the still-messy house lies quiet and serene. The mess will be there in the morning, but the quiet moment won’t. Relax, mama. You deserve it!
Any super, stress-busting ideas you’d like to share? Pull up a chair in the comment section and share away!
L.R.Knost is a best-selling parenting and children’s book author and founder and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, an online resource for gentle parenting education, articles, and research. Books by L.R.Knost include Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood , Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages , and The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline the first three books in the Little Hearts Handbook gentle parenting series, as well as her children’s picture books Petey’s Listening Ears and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series available from Amazon and other major retailers.