You’re in survival mode.
This is for the mom that hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in 3 months. The one struggling with a teething baby at 4:45AM when her alarm is set for 5. For the mom whose husband works long, hard hours to support the family, leaving her solo more often than not. The mom who’s shuffling through her work week, re-packing the daycare bag and laying out clothes for the morning with tired eyes. This is for the mom that’s down with the stomach flu, but doesn’t really have the option to be down at all. The mom who travels for a job she loves, but finds herself pumping in the airport bathroom wondering how long she can keep this up. This, this is for the mom who’s learning how to navigate her days isolated with a toddler and a newborn.
You’re in survival mode, and that’s okay.
Looking at motherhood through the oh-so-perfect lens of social media, you don’t see a whole lot of survival mode. But boy is it out there. Raising kids is an endless ebb and flow. It comes at you in seasons of relative ease, followed by torrential downpours of struggle. When we’re in the parenting trenches, there’s a tendency to look back on a day and see what you didn’t do, what you could have said, how you should have reacted.
In survival mode, you’re tired. Oh God, you’re so tired. Your body, your skin, your brain all seem to be turning on you as you try to hang on through the chaos. You’re irritable because things you once loved to do for yourself have fallen to the wayside during this phase. Nature has a way of directing you down the path of necessity. You know what has to be done and you’re going to find a way to fit it in each day, without room for much else. But, low and behold, you’re getting it done.
It’s a simple fact. There are going to be hard days. They won’t be filled with gorgeous pictures, organic meals, educational crafts, or perfect behavior. There are going to be days when you count the hours until bed time, so you yourself can climb into bed and just start over. Along with the joy it brings, this mom gig can bring you to tears, reduce you to a brain-dead version of yourself, lying on the living room floor at 4:15 in the afternoon.
But when you find yourself in survival mode, you’re doing just that. Surviving. You’re there for your kids. You’re not going anywhere. You showed up. And you love them, fiercely. This phase, this season, it will pass. And another will come in its place. Some easy, some not. But you’ve got your head down, and you’re killing it.
Give yourself some credit, mom.