How to keep going when you want to stop
By: Anise Marshall
" I didn't imagine parenting like this. I feel hopeless most days and have a hard time believing people actually have children on PURPOSE."
This is a quote that I've either said myself, or have heard other mothers talking about. Recently, there was a video, that went viral, involving a mother who had wanted to give up. Parenting had simply taken a toll on her and she felt like she was not beneficial to her children. The truth is, when I saw that video, my heart broke for her. She felt so hopeless. Although my heart broke for her, it also rejoiced. I know what you're thinking. Anise, you're crazy. WHY would you be happy about seeing a woman so hopeless, upset, unsettled, lost, sad, OVERWHELMED!? great question! I was happy that she told someone!
Sharing your struggles can be difficult but we all have them. EVERY mother has had a day where she didn't know what to do with her kid(s). (If you say you've never had a day or moment like this, I urge you to self reflect!) Just because you're having a heard time, it does not mean you're a terrible parent, it means you need to be heard and supported through it!
As a mother of multiple children, I've had my days (still do!). To top it off, when you have children with disabilities, it can be frustrating dealing with behaviors, sickness, medication reactions, accidents, etc.. There is no magic formula for raising perfect kids or being sane!
In order to keep moving forward, it almost ALWAYS takes self reflection, trial and error and simply... A BREAK!
What moving forward looks like:
This means looking at the way you've been running things. Here are a list of questions you can use to see if you need to go back to the drawing board.
1. Have you organized a list for yourself (as far as expectations of the children)
2. Have you made your rules/ expectations clear to your kid(s)?
3. Have you tried ways to track their progress
4. Have you put them in a position to track their progress?
5. Have you established what the "prize" or benefit is in the end after expectations have been met for yourself and your children? (you have to earn something for yourself as well)
6. Have you set down and told your kid(s) something you like about their progress?
7. Have you established/ planned one on one time for your children so you both have something to look forward to?
___Trial and error___
This means looking at all the ways things went wrong and trying to alter your "parenting." This could look like:
1. If I know whooping my kid(s) does not change things, maybe I can have them do pushups or writing lines
2. If I know yelling only makes us both anxious, maybe I can come to their level and speak with them in a calm tone
3. If I know they will only listen when I take something away, be CONSISTENT with taking things away.
4. If I say no, stick with no, no matter how much improvement has been made.
5. Teach my children life lessons in every situation so it relates to all things and won't have to be explained over.
6. Have your other children learn from the mistakes of one another and teach them to build each other up.
7. Give your children things they're responsible for so they learn to have independence in one area.
This may be the BEST way to keep going when you want to stop!
We've discussed this before in previous blogs. As a mother who feels guilty when I put myself first, I learned that it is IMPORTANT TO DO IT! It's for the sake of the household. A woman who is not in the best mood has the power to tear her entire house down if she has reached her max! Taking a break can look like:
1. Going for a walk ALONE.(have someone watch the kids if they're to young) Cardio is important and good for the heart.
2. Join a fitness group. There are many you can do on facebook. I recently went through one with Zhivi Williams (lbxfitness.com)
3. Find support groups or create one in your community!
4. Save up money and have a sitter come watch the kids!
5. Send the kids to the backyard with a map and hide things all over. They'll be gone for hours! haha
The purpose is to set boundaries, create structure and commit to the things you want to do so that you ALL can be healthy. This also opens the door to raising children who can learn to think on their own. learn self discipline and be creative. These are all skills that children loose during the school year and have an opportunity to gain back once school is out! (we'll learn more about this in next months blog).
Just like the mother in the viral video, we all want to break down and give up at one time or another, no matter what the situation. The amazing thing is, though, we have to keep going! I hope this blog changes your perspective and allows you the opportunity to embrace motherhood differently. :)