Mommy Survival Mode
We’ve all been there. I’ve been there. I don’t think there was ever a mom on the planet that has ever been able to say “Nope, have never clicked the survival mode button.”
The struggle is real and when motherhood comes rolling in like a wave, more often than not moms knowingly or unknowingly find themselves shifting into survival mode. It’s all about self-preservation and hanging on to the last shreds of sanity you have left while trying to maintain the livelihood of the human replica’s you’ve created.
As one meme pointed out “I’m just trying to survive in a house with an army of mini terrorists that I've created myself!”
I’m here voluntarily so does that still make me a hostage? Hm….
What does mommy survival mode look like?
Imagine being on a boat with holes poked all through the bottom and water pooling in. All you have is a small bucket and you’re desperately trying to shovel the water back out the boat. The water keeps coming in, and you know maybe you should try to plug the holes but you don’t have the energy or time to try. You’re too busy and worried about the ship sinking if you stop scooping water out with your bucket. Just when you think you’ve got enough water out, another wave hits and you’re back to endlessly scooping and dumping water out your boat.
That’s mommy survival mode. You’re doing what you need to do to make sure your children are taken care of and the house is in a semi-decent state but that’s about all the energy and time you have for.
Every day is filled with the same monotonous tasks. It’s become such a predictable cycle that you’d think it would be effortless at this point but you’re still (rightfully so) exhausted. Your mental, physical, and spiritual energy are nearly zapped if you still have any left.
There’s no time to plug up the holes in your boat, you don’t have the energy.
Self-care, leisure, slow-days, “me-time”, hobbies? Not an option, you don’t have the energy and certainly not the time for it.
Even family outings seem like a chaos of preparation and cat wrangling.
Maybe some days aren’t even that bad. They’re just long, tiresome and repetitive. You’ve seemed to have lost the enthusiasm you previously had wiping noses and making cute sandwich cut out’s.
Laundry is never ending, work is boring, someone is always hungry, it’s all endless. It sometimes feels like something is missing and you can’t figure it out.
I’ve been there! I know what it feels like to wake up and think “here we go again”. The guilt hits hard because I felt like I should be happier and more enthusiastic, but I was on a boat and just doing all I could to shovel the water out. I thought that’s all I had to give. For a while, I thought that that’s what mother was. Just maintaining the status quo.
It certainly had its repercussions on my life. I found myself becoming more
I didn’t feel any sense of purpose or feel like I was going anywhere. That feeling of wandering through life with no destination in sight made days feel even longer and empty. It showed in my conversations with my family and friends. The symptoms of me being in survival mode were slowly seeping into my parenting despite my best efforts. That kind of energy has a hard time being contained and was unfortunately, affecting other aspects of my life.
I found that survival mode for me just crept in, gradually and quietly. There was too much on my plate and I was aiming for perfection. I didn’t give myself much grace and was my own worst critic, as most moms are. I know for others a dramatic life event can snap them into it abruptly. An unexpected illness, divorce, financial struggles, a newborn. Either way, it can hit hard.
It begs the question: is this it?
Good news! Great news actually, survival mode isn’t permanent. That doesn’t have to be our daily lives or our motherhood experience.
We have a choice. Stay in survival mode, or dare to get engaged with your life.
Fair warning, though, escaping survival mode isn’t for the faint of heart. This means giving up the bucket to go plug in the holes in our metaphorical boat. This requires bravery and a mustard seed of faith. There’s always that fear that if we stop scooping water out then we’ll sink.
If I started doing things that I enjoyed, what will others think?
If I made self-care a priority, does that mean my kids/family won’t get taken care of?
Would it be selfish of me to pursue happiness for myself too?
Will people think they can’t rely on me if I set more boundaries and said no more?
Am I capable of achieving the dreams I have? What if I fail?
Would other’s think I'm fake if I’m too happy?
We’re scared but don’t let it stop you! Part of the journey for snapping yourself out of mommy survival mode is meeting these fears head on and conquering them. The benefits far outweigh the fears. As you plug each hole, you’ll begin to see how beautiful your life and motherhood can truly be. Not only that, your children and family will benefit too!
When you start your journey, you’ll begin finding yourself with more energy for other things. You’ll have more to give, and you won’t feel like you’re draining yourself doing it either.
This doesn’t mean that life will be a peachy skip through fields of rainbows from now on. Life will still have its moments, but the beautiful thing is when you make the very intentional decision to come out of survival mode, you meet these challenges with grace and bravery. You’ll understand what motherhood could be life and know that you can always make your way back to joy. Storms will always come and likewise, they will always pass.
Some great first steps?
- Make the choice. Decide that it's time for you to take back the reigns.
- Begin by taking care of yourself and beating mommy burnout. Grab the free download 8 Ways to Prevent Mommy Burnout here.
- Commit. This journey is your's to take and your's to conquer like the amazing woman you are!