Moms, Fill Your Cup!

by Jennifer Boudreau on June 27, 2013

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Moms, Fill Your CupYou may be familiar with this scene… Last week I was frazzled, and I mean really frazzled. I had been feeling this way for several weeks and last week I had finally reached my limit. My husband is a very hard working man and had been working more hours than ever. On his days off he was playing catch-up with all the other responsibilities he has. With the exception of some wonderful help from our families, I had been flying solo with the kids. You are probably aware that flying solo is fine, but without a break, things can get ugly. I was snippy, mentally drained and had ZERO patience. I was not myself and in desperate need of a break. Not a run to the grocery store without kids break, but a real break.

Prior to having kids I would hear parents complain about the challenges of having children. I would always think to myself “how hard can it be and why do they complain?” After all, thousands of people, if not more, would give anything to have a child, so I wondered why they did not just enjoy every minute of it. Looking back, I think of how clueless that thought process was. Once I became a parent, I immediately got it. As much as I am a glass half-full kind of girl, I will be the first to admit it is hard at times….and far more difficult than I could have ever imagined.

Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, the demands of raising children are great. Yes, there is a list of endless tasks, but if you are like me that is not where the difficulty lies. Hands down the biggest hurdle is the amount of patience required. I know that I am preaching to the choir here, but I would not be surprised if my kids ask me for food fifty times a day, even if they just finished eating a meal. They get upset and all hell breaks loose when a sibling tries to play with one of their toys that they weren’t playing with or do not even like. Some days trying to get out the door in a timely manner is like performing an exorcism. Patience is an absolute must in parenting and patience is my strength, but not when I am as frazzled as I was. I needed a breather.

I talked to my husband and told him I was in dire need of a break and I needed a day to myself. I felt guilty because I know he is tired himself, but I knew for the sake of the kids I needed to do it. He was out of town for a few days for the Coast Guard, but the two days after he got home he was off work. He had scheduled a variety of things on those days, but he willingly cleared his schedule for both days. He must have thought things were really bad to clear two days! On day one he insisted I not do anything. He made the meals, cleaned up, handled the kids’ demands and changed the poopie diapers. I spent four peaceful and blissful hours at the pool. I laughed as I saw toddlers and preschoolers tugging at their mom’s swimsuits while their moms’ feared a boob would make a surprise appearance. That is typically me, but not on that day. That day, my suit stayed in place and I lounged. While relaxing at the pool I read books that inspired me. After all, filling your cup means someone or something has to pour into you. Finding people or things that motivate and inspire you is a powerful way to help you grow. When you grow, you are in a position to pour into others and help them grow, including your children.

Day two I did not get to lounge around, but instead got caught up on work. All of us fall behind, and we fall behind often, so having a day to catch up does a lot for the soul. You feel accomplished and as if a load has been lifted off your shoulders. With that being said, I went in to Day 3 rejuvenated and caught up. Hello! I am kinder and more patient with my kids, I am not yelling at them all the time, and not annoyed when they ask me for food….again.

If you find yourself complaining, exhausted, annoyed with your children or spouse, snippy, overwhelmed, etc., do your best to get a break day. Talk to your spouse, family member or friend and let them know that you desperately need a break. Then, do something you enjoy. If you are a working mom, call out from work and take a mental health day. Do not tell them I told you to do it! There is NOTHING wrong with taking a mental health day. It is far different than playing hooky. You will come back to work a better employee because of it.

Our children are gifts and we have the privilege of raising them to the best of our ability. We are not meant to yell at them all the time or make them feel as if they are an inconvenience. It happens, trust me, I have lost my cool plenty of times, but we have to be aware of our actions and what they mean. Our kids are constantly watching our behavior and you betcha’ they are going to model it. When we realize we have nothing left to give, it means we need a refill. We have to fill our cup and put ourselves in a position to be the best possible mommy we can be. Now, it is my husband’s turn to have a break day!

For extra mommyhood stress tips, check out my blog post, “Mom Stress-Simple Tips On How To Reduce It.

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