The Pace of Motherhood

I feel like this Houston winter has been particularly gloomy. Perhaps it’s the glimmering hope of snow presented by meteorologists which cancels school, activities, grocery shopping, anything to get out of the house. It’s the same hope of bundling up our kiddos and watching their faces light up as flakes fall from the skies, a phenomenon they’ve heard about in a movie or book.

Yet no snow fell from the sky. Our roads became icy as the city prepared for the worst, but we were simply stuck inside for a few days hoping Mr. Sun, as we affectionately call him around here, would come out from behind the clouds to play.

It was during those icy days that I found myself in a serious motherhood funk.  I was coming down off of a great birthday the week before filled with love and good wishes from family and friends, and with the weekend came a stomach virus for our oldest and then some version of it for myself. I was tired, moody, and pregnant-woman hungry, but nothing tasted right.  Shortly after on a trip to the grocery {most likely for more Gatorade and oyster crackers}, I heard Jimmy Buffet’s “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season.” While I’m nearly 100% certain that JB did not have parenting in mind when writing this little ditty, his chorus fits perfectly ::

And now I must confess,
I could use some rest.
I can’t run at this pace very long.
Yes, it’s quite insane,
I think it hurts my brain.
But it cleans me out and then I can go on.

In fact, it appears he’s choosing to hang with the elements of a hurricane for a bit of refreshment.

Whether we are stay at home moms, working moms, or work from home moms, we can all relate. It may very well just be my own personality, but I feel that my own mothering follows such cycles. Everything goes so smoothly. Laundry gets folded and put away; my dinners are healthy and consumed by everyone; and I just might even have time for a blog post. As my blog would show, this happens about once a month when I manage to write a late monthly update for John.

And then a “hurricane season” hits, and with every part of my being I feel that the pace of mothering is simply too overwhelming.  The walls begin to close in. Silly daily blips are blown way out of proportion. My spirit suffers, and in turn, my family doesn’t get a very good version of me. It’s then that physically, emotionally, and spiritually I need some escape to rest from it all.


But not many of us live a life where that’s entirely possible, so on this journey I’m trying to find what it is that, in the words of Jimmy Buffet, cleans me out and lets me move on?

Know My Triggers

For me, it might be that I was up most of the night with a molar-cutting baby.  Or it’s the weather keeping us from the park, from afternoons in the backyard, or even from walking out together to get the mail and some Vitamin D.

I’m normally fairly comfortable with a bit of a mess and some clutter here and there, but every now and then it seems to suffocate me, and all of those “babies don’t keep” type of reminders go out the window.

Admittedly, it’s pressure I put on myself after spending too much time on social media. My feed on our “snow days” was full of moms looking for fun activities and posting special snacks and crafts for the days stuck indoors. I allowed myself to feel guilty for viewing a snow day as an excuse to enjoy a movie morning and afternoon. After all, I stay home and spent valuable time with these guys every day. Yet, I continued to get sucked in, and it wasn’t long before I felt inadequate. Had I realized how the posts were negatively affecting me, I could have unplugged and felt less stressed about keeping up.

An awareness of just when these triggers might be causing me to feel overwhelmed and become frantic and snappy with my family will help me identify it, deal with it, and keep it together a bit more gracefully.

Let Moments Be Moments

It’s too easy for me to remain in a “bad day” or “bad week” attitude. Whether my impatience with the three-year-old won out or I moped around in the morning being tired instead of vibrant, I’m so guilty of carrying a bad moment with me for far too long.  Whether a short second of my temper not in check or an hour or two of overall moodiness, that’s all it was – a moment. Sometimes I simply need a perspective change. I won’t be perfect, and these moments will happen. I don’t have to dwell within them. I need to take more time to focus on other daily moments where I shined and my family felt the rays of love in hugs, airplane races, afternoon snacks, and lots of smiles.

Make a Plan

When my energy returned after that bit of a parenting slump, I sought out ways to engage again in the life that I enjoy as a mother. When my husband worked late one evening, I ventured out on my first solo dinner date with the boys for pizza.  I wanted these two boys to be my focus and know my love in the time spent with them.

Part of being intentional involves fulfilling who I am by being the best mom I can be and managing ways to make memories with our boys. The other aspect is taking care of myself.  When I know I’m down, I need to schedule an evening out for a solo Target run, grab a Starbucks after preschool drop-off, or put my headphones in and jam to my favorites while cleaning the kitchen. I love music, and I forget how little of my own I actually listen to these days.

And just like that, when I feel like this parenting gig is more like surviving a hurricane, I need to remember to take just a few minutes of clarity in identifying what’s set me off, releasing the bad moments of a day or week, and intentionally planning to live as a mom and self. And “then I can go on.”

I’m off to make a “Just for Mom” iTunes playlist for my mood lifts.  let me know your favorite unwinding and renewing songs! And tell us, Moms, what do you do when you can’t run the pace of motherhood much longer?

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Jenn is an English teacher turned stay at home mom to boys Wyatt {2010}, John {2013}, and Abram {2014}. South Louisiana born and raised, North Louisiana educated, and Texas “polished,” she has found Houston to be home with her husband for the past ten years. After infertility struggles, in 2010 she traded in A Tale of Two Cities for Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and has since been busy discovering ways to learn while playing, maintaining a semi-scheduled family life, and integrating both Texas and Louisiana culture into her family. Besides making memories with her boys full time, she enjoys reading, running, crafting, cooking, and football. Y’all stop by When In Doubt, Add More Salt to read more about family adventures with the boys and Jenn’s thoughts on hot summers and Pinterest pin attempts, and her love/hate relationship with March Madness brackets.


  1. Jenn! Such a good post – so open and honest. I feel the way you do much of the time – motherhood exhaustion is cyclical but when it hits, I just feel like my family doesn’t get the “best” me. Which in turn makes me feel awful again. You’re right about knowing your triggers – I need to know when to stop reading blogs or facebook posts that make me feel “less than”. As for what else I do, nothing helps me more than getting away for an evening with a girlfriend to commiserate – makes me feel less alone AND reminds me that I am more than a mom, I’m still a woman, a wife, and a friend – and I need to nurture all of those areas SO that I can be a great mom.

  2. It’s like you have been reading my journal… so spot on. We watched About Time last night and it totally spoke to me and is right in line with this. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. Have tissues handy though. Also, Jimmy Buffet?? Man you are a girl after my own heart!!


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