We all have “those” days. The “yep, this is motherhood” days. Those days we feel like we’re constantly yelling, saying “no” a million times, and just need two minutes to ourselves to make it through the next hour.

Those days should be are sparse and short lived. I always tell myself “this doesn’t last forever…”. In reality, if the worst thing that happened during the day was my child screaming at Target; that means we’re all alive, he has a set of lungs, and it’s an overall wonderful day. But IN that moment of screaming, kicking, and yelling in the middle of the store, I’m not feeling joy! I’m feeling frustrated and defeated.

Disclaimer: I’m currently writing this while my one-year-old is napping, my three-year-old is in preschool and my first grader is at school. At this moment in my house all is butterflies, rainbows, and quietness. (Wink, wink)

Every season of motherhood has it’s own “trench”. In the trenches of motherhood, life can feel hectic, chaotic, slow, and monotonous at the same time. With an infant, there are hours spent sitting and nursing that can become very lonely. With a toddler, you’re handling melt downs and yogurt spills. Before you know it, your infant is going to kindergarten and you don’t know where the years went. Then the school days come with that whole discipline thing.In other words, motherhood never really gets “easier”.

Add a couple more kids into the mix and you’re yelling from your couch (while nursing a baby) to not touch each other, to get shoes off the kitchen floor, finish homework, and clean up the spilled cereal bowl thats been sitting there for 5 hours. You clean the same mess 20 times a day, drive to and from school, soccer practices, dance class, and gymnastics. Some of these sporting events are spent chasing a baby around a crowded waiting room pulling their hands out of a nasty garbage can 20 times.

Kids are demanding, y’all and these frustrating times can feel endless.

During these days, we, as mothers, need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of our kids.  We need to find joy.

I know you’ve heard this a thousand times before, but let’s just be realistic! If you have a baby plus small children running around, sometimes you need some real advice that doesn’t include “go get a massage, it’ll make you feel better”. Insert side eye. Yeah..thanks Captain Obvious!

If you’re getting a massage every month or drinking hot coffee most mornings; you’re either Beyoncé or I hate you. So, stop it right now.
When I say we need to take care of ourselves, I’m not telling you to find a babysitter and get a massage. Yes, sometimes that’s needed, but why be miserable everyday waiting for your hour away at a salon?

It’s time to find the joy in every day life with kids.

Remember every day is a fresh start with new memories to make. If you’re waking up with a “oh here we go again” attitude, do something different that you didn’t do yesterday.

Don’t only look for the results, but also look at the work. When it comes to teaching our children right-vs-wrong, if we are always looking for that perfect end result we’ll never be satisfied and most likely be let down time and time again. It’s all a work-in-progress and we’re not dealing with perfect little angels in a perfect world.

Just do it…at least once. All those things you look at other people and think “how do they do that?!” Well, do it one day and see how it makes you feel. Is it realistic? Did it give you joy?

Don’t compare. If we looked beyond the outward appearance of many things we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Find your and your kids gifts, and let them shine. They aren’t going to be the same as everyone else’s because we’re all unique. Love your child and your life for all it’s amazing unique qualities.

Do what THEY love. Reading their favorites books, watching their favorite movies, or eating their favorite foods with them. Then say “my turn” and show them your favorites.

Focus on the good. Your healthy baby, that sweet baby smell, the fact that coffee exists, your husband,  and that bedtime is in a few hours. Book a vacation a couple months ahead.

Get out of your normal element. Take a day trip to a different city and explore with your kids. When we go out of town I look for things to do that include wide open spaces. Sometimes just getting out of the house, being in the hot sun or great ol’ outdoors makes a world of a difference in our moods!

Put everything aside for once. One day when my kids were napping, I organized all my linen closets. It wasn’t at the top of my to-do list, more like #56, but it made me feel accomplished and satisfied! Sometimes we have to put our to-do list away and do something for us…even if it means organizing a linen closet.

Don’t try to do everything. This is one I struggle with the most and I think my entire family feeds off of it and demands more out of me since they think I can do it all. Flattering, but totally inaccurate. We all want to think we can, but we can’t. If I try, nothing really gets done. Instead try to pick one or two things a day and get those crossed off the list. This means you must say NO to the others. This may require you to let your kid snack on junk food in front of the TV from time to time and that’s OK!! Confession: I get A LOT done when my kid is holding an iPad.