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We’re coming up on another solo parenting busy season – my husband will be out of town a lot! – and I don’t know about you, but there are days when I feel like quitting motherhood. Handing it in, just stepping away. It feels like everything is a struggle; I question why I even try to make them eat vegetables when I know there will be an ensuing tantrum; and, I just get to the point where I want to walk away.
OK, I won’t really walk away, but I definitely don’t do my best parenting in those moments.
Does this all sound familiar? Because Oh my gosh, that’s me! you’re thinking? Friend, I hear you. Absolutely hear you. Some days, you’re the best mom ever, and you handle tantrums and upsets with the greatest of ease. Other days, you’re debating whether you have the resolve to stop them from catapulting off of the couch for the 70 billionth time in 2 hours after telling them that No, couches are not for jumping. With these ups and downs, no wonder some of us feel like quitting motherhood!
Before you actually feel like quitting motherhood, let’s take a second and see if any of these seven options will work for you.
Take a Breath
Easier said than done, right? It can get so chaotic and frenetic, thinking of all of the things that need to happen. Lunches have to be packed. Permission slips need to be signed. Tears need to be wiped… the list can feel pretty endless! But I want you to hearken back to that old flight attendant adage: You have to put your own mask on first.
Yep, you have to take care of yourself first… even if you feel like you’re lowest on the priority list. Now, a spa may not be in the cards right now, but maybe a cup of coffee before anyone wakes up is an option. Or a glass of wine after everyone goes to bed after your nightly routine. Or even a 5-minute meditation on your commute to work.
No matter how it happens, you have to allow yourself a smidge of grace through a self-care break even if just for a moment. I promise that they’ll be there when you get back, and you may be a little bit of a different space when you get back.
Jot It Down
Y’all know I love my bullet journal (or bujo, if you’re savvy), and one of the things I love about it is that I can customize my bujo how I see fit. And some days, maybe I need a Vent List where I write down all of the things that are driving me nuts (see above list that may or may not happen in my house… I won’t point fingers or name names). Or, alternatively, maybe I need a Gratitude List.
But why would you express gratitude for all of the stuff going on around? Well, expressing gratitude may be good for you.
For me, sometimes I feel touched out when my son wants to be all up in my chair and close to me and never leave my side.
And other times, I’m really grateful for the snuggles and the love and the sleepy scent of his head at the end of the day. And sometimes, when I shift my thinking from those frustrations to these tiny gifts, I can feel a little better… and a little less like quitting motherhood.
Get Out of the Comparison Trap
I wish I could shout this one from the rooftops: Motherhood is not a competition.
But, dang it, we get dragged into that comparison trap something fierce. And it totally doesn’t help that when we go to the park or log into Facebook, we’re surrounded by it. It is so hard not to look at other mothers who seem like they have it all together and not look at yourself and just think the worst.
Friend, this is a great time to take a breath and remember that not all mothers are created equal and not all circumstances are the same. In this moment, it may feel like you’re doing the best that you can… and in that other mother’s moment, she’s doing the best that she can. Maybe her kid went down for a nap more easily. Maybe they had a screaming match over socks that morning. I don’t know, and you don’t know. Comparison is the thief of joy said Theodore Roosevelt, and there’s a lot of truth in it!
Talk to Another Mother
Ring up your mom. Vent in a Facebook group. Text your bestie. Sometimes, having another voice and/or perspective on the end can be super helpful! I absolutely believe in the power of reaching out to other mothers, and sometimes just hearing that you’re not alone can be so comforting! In talking with someone else, you may be able to find another way to manage what’s going on that you hadn’t thought of before… or just vent and commiserate, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The other good thing that can come from that conversation is…
Take a Break
When I think about our friends and my circle of other mothers, I know that the offer to watch or entertain their kids is on the table. Maybe she just needs 5 minutes to run to Starbucks. Maybe she needs an hour to run to the grocery store. Maybe her husband is out of town and she needs to grab an Uber to head over to the dealership and get her car before they close and the logistics are a nightmare but thank goodness… her kids are safe and secure and entertained while she runs off to get her vehicle.
That last one actually comes from personal experience, and I am so thankful those friends helped us out!
When the worry of some of those tasks is taken off of your plate, dear friend, you may have a little breathing room you may have the mental space to think that maybe quitting motherhood might not be the best idea.
Read a Book
Sometimes when I feel a little out of sorts or caught up in the comparison trap, I like to take a little bit of time to read a book. There are a few that I can go back to, time and time again, that feel like old friends. The story is familiar and comforting, and the weight of the book in my hand is just enough to help soothe my soul. I keep a stack near my bedside, and when I can remember to put my phone down as I drift off to sleep, I’ll pick one up – I’m currently reading The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin – and read a few pages.
Actual books not your thing? You’d rather zone out to Netflix that read a book a night? Then maybe Audible is a good choice! I like to spend time on my commutes listening to books (it’s relatively adulty-y and not a cacophonous loop of children’s music!), and right now, I’m really enjoying The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.
It’s OK to Take a Breath
I feel like this one is so important that it really needs to be the bookends for this post. Because it hearkens to some things I want to remind you of when you feel like quitting motherhood:
You’re not a bad mom for wanting a break.
You’re not a bad mom for feeling stressed out.
You’re not a bad mom for feeling impatient.
You’re not a bad mom for wanting to quit for 5 seconds.
You’re not a bad mom for taking a breath and putting your needs first.
Motherhood is a long game, filled with highs and lows. You can call it a marathon or a journey, whichever metaphor helps you out the most… but it takes time and investment and a whole lot of you. And if there’s whole lot of you, there has to be a whole lot of taking care of you.
What are some other tips you utilize when you feel like quitting motherhood? Weigh in below!