If you’re anything like me, you suffer from the occasional mood swing. Before having kids, the solution was simple: When the gray cloud of a foul mood was hanging over me, I vegged out all day on the couch and watched Netflix.
Now enter, the Mommy Slump. After having kids, I was faced with the reality that I still had to function as a parent when these moods hit. I had to, you know, do stuff, even if I didn’t feel like it.
For me, a Mommy Slump is a burnout period I suffer when I am exacerbated by the day-to-day tasks of being a mom. Most recently, I was a bit down after some unfortunate life circumstances and I felt the slump coming. I didn’t feel motivated to go above and beyond in my mommy duties or even life duties.
I didn’t feel motivated to go above and beyond in my mommy duties or even life duties.
After this most recent Mommy Slump, I was compelled to compile a list of things that got me through the day, if for no other reason than to remind myself the next time the slump rolls around.
Maintain your child’s consistent routines.
At the very least, honor your child’s daily routine activities. The consistency will help you gain a sense of normalcy. If you do that, you’ve done enough. It’s okay if your child watched TV and ate cookies all day, instead of eating home cooked meals and engaging in painstakingly complex arts and crafts projects. The goal is to get through the day: Wake, eat, nap, bathe, story time, bed. Repeat.
Carve out some alone time by allowing your children to play independently.
Let the kids play on Leap Frog, with Legos, play dough, or sticker books. It’s good to foster independent play-time anyway and allows you time to focus on yourself. Even if that means you spend that time vegging out on Netflix.
The goal is to get through the day: Wake, eat, nap, bathe, story time, bed. Repeat.
Reach out to a friend to share your feelings.
We all know depression can feel isolating. We know that motherhood can, as well. It is important to share how you are feeling and to feel supported during a Mommy Slump. You really aren’t alone.
Stay hydrated. Simple, but important. A glass of water is an easy way to make sure you are maintaining your health. It’s super-refreshing, too!
Use screen time. In this case, it’s your friend.
If you’re feeling depressed and moody, it’s okay to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or YouTube Kids. It may be better than interacting with you at a time when your patience and mood is at an all-time low.
It may be better than interacting with you at a time when your patience and mood is at an all-time low.
Do the dishes. By hand.
There’s something therapeutic about washing dishes. The monotony of the task can be quite meditative when you are feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions.
Make macaroni and cheese for dinner. Better yet, order in.
If you have toddlers, this applies twofold. There’s no sense in trying to make a gourmet meal that won’t get eaten. Ditch the mushrooms and make your kid’s simple favorite. If that requires too much effort, just order in! You deserve a break, especially at this time.
Take a shower.
Find a way to make this happen. At night, when Dad’s home. While the kids are asleep. When the babysitter’s there. While the kids are at school. With your baby sitting in the bathroom in a baby bouncer. Whatever the scenario, get it done.
This is super important. A bad mood is only exacerbated by lack of sleep. Everyone has different sleep patterns, so this could mean going to bed an hour earlier or catching a quick nap while the baby sleeps. In any case, find a way to make it happen, it will help.
Read/watch an inspirational book/movie.
Everybody’s got their something and maybe your something is watching Rocky Balboa run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Maybe it’s reading “The Secret” or thumbing through the pages of “The Alchemist.” Maybe it’s listening to Tony Robins or some other self-help guru at a TED conference. Maybe it’s revisiting the work of Ghandi. Whatever it is that inspires you, try to partake in it. It may be just the spark of motivation you need to get through this slump.
Even superheroes have bad days, but you can get through it! Part of being a Wonder Mom is knowing when to take off the cape and revel in your human fallibility.★
Jamie Parganos started the Wonder Mommy blog to create a community for moms to share their stories and support one another. She is also CEO and Founder of Mommy Hacks, a subscription box service designed to help you win at parenting. Before founding her companies, she worked as a program director in the New York City public school system. A mom who wears many hats, Jamie is also a professional singer. She lives in NYC with her partner and two children, ages 3 and 10 months.