Dear Struggling Mother,
Life has gotten difficult for you. You might have a sick child, a sick parent, food allergies in the house, a life trial or you might even be sick yourself. I am so sorry you are on this road. I’ve been there. The voice of experience says no matter the cause, the true test is in how you endure a trial and not the outcome.
You have my permission to take a break from looking for answers. You can not gain perspective and digest all that you have learned while you continue to cram your head with information overload. Mental space is necessary to digest and absorb what you have learned before you add more information to the mental catalogue. Your brain has ways of connecting dots while you are otherwise occupied. Take a break and revisit it in a day or two. Put your computer into shock by turning it off for at least 24 hours.
You have my permission to take care of yourself. Go to bed by 10:30. Get the rest you need. Exercise if you can and always eat right. You must mother yourself because no one else will. But if you get ill, who will take care of your family? If you break family bonds with a constantly irritable attitude, where will your children turn? Turn off the computer and go to bed. Doubly so if your trial involves being woken up at night. Sleep while you can so you endure the sleepless nights better when they come. Sleep is the main determinant of your attitude and how you handle your struggle, even more than the information you might gain in those two or three sleep-deprived hours. You won’t retain most of it anyway because you’re too tired and overloaded. Go to bed.
You have permission to believe that your needs matter, too. The tendency of a mother is to always put other’s needs before themselves. But if you do not care for yourself, you will not be able to care for your family. The children benefit more from having a mother with as good of an attitude as she can muster while serving the same dinner for the third time in a week than from having an irritable and stressed-out mother who puts a different meal on the table every night. A good attitude begins with adequate food and rest.
You have my permission to have a daily quiet time doing nothing that involves your struggle. Put your kids in their room or other safe area, turn on some soothing music and tell them to play quietly until the timer goes off. Then read a book you enjoy, knit, even dare to eat a snack or take a nap. Do NOT get on your computer. Give yourself some mental space from your trial and recharge your batteries.
You have my permission to be creative. Sometimes tuning out the world and recharging your batteries with a craft does wonders for you attitude and outlook.
You have my permission to be gentle with yourself. You aren’t meant to have all of the answers.
You have my permission to not carry it all alone. Always remember to look up, not around. Neither what lies behind you, those beside you nor what lies before you determines your fate. Your strength lies elsewhere.
You have my permission to endure with strength and grace. Better days are ahead. You just have to get there.
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Rosalyn @ Rosalynpricenglish.com says
Beautiful, Kerry. I am sharing this. Wise and encouraging. Thank you.
Kara White says
Melissa @ Unmistakablyfood says
Thank you! I needed this this morning. Especially the last three points!
Soli @ I Believe in Butter says
Good advice for anyone, honestly. I’m not a mom and I seldom remember to let myself have a real break.
Soli @ I Believe in Butter recently posted..Sewing with a plan
Jane Casey says
You give me new ideas all the time!
Thanks for a long running, awesome blog girl!
Jane Casey recently posted..Stop American Censorship!
That was lovely. I especially needed to read something like that on a day like today. I seem to be miscarrying and a host of other things.
We must be thinking on the same wavelength KA! Check out my post from yesterday! 😀
sarah gibson says
Thank you! You’ve been such a blessing to me!
What a lovely, encouraging post! Thank you.
I found this post today as I am trying to nurse my two teens from a very bad case of the flu. I’m exhausted because I’ve been trying to keep up with my own online classes and keep the house going. Thank you for reminding me that I need to take care of myself too!
This was a beautiful post! The one thing I would like to point out is that I know many fathers out there that could use the same message. Perhaps it could have been “To The Struggling Parent”?
Thank you SO much for this post, KerryAnn! Honestly, it felt like you were writing it to me. The second sentence got to me because I have every single one of those things right now. I couldn’t help but think, “How does she know I’m on the computer late every night, searching for answers? How does she know that I’ve abandoned my quiet time, all creative outlets, and that I stay up too late every single night?” I can’t tell you how much this meant to me; it was a huge wake-up call. Thank you, KerryAnn!
KerryAnn Foster says
Denise, I know you’re doing it because I did it myself. I almost died in 2006. It’s taken several years to recover my health.
KerryAnn Foster recently posted..Real Food Storage: Sourdough Pancakes
Kerry, I knew of some of your struggles but I had no idea that you were that sick! I just can’t stop thinking about this post. All along, I’ve thought that food and nutrition were the only answer. I eat well…and I’m sick and obese! Now i see that I will not get well until I start sleeping, stop obsessing about how to cure my kids and myself, and find away to step away, physically and emotionally, from the stress at home. I just can’t thank you enough for this. I was in the ER a couple of weeks ago, certain that I was going to die. I now believe that there’s a way out. Just wanted to say thank you, and I’m so glad that you’re doing such much better. I need to get back to the forum; I miss it there!
This is exactly my situation and unfortunately my daughter cannot handle the emotional distress of being left on her own, she is under a year. She has allergies and digestive problems, as do my son and I. My son has autism, and I have a few health conditions, I have had to step down from perfectionism a lot in order to keep my sanity. My husband’s help has been priceless.