The Game Of Survivor

By Stephanie

It’s nearing the very last minutes of the day and once again my heavy shoulders sigh at my inability to make any progress over yesterday. I am not even treading water anymore… my head is barely above the surface. Like last week, the big F was sticking its tongue out at me today. I tried the pep talks. I was encouraged that I am not alone.

But I am still lagging behind and I know I just had a baby three weeks ago, but that is just not gonna fly around here much longer. I am not even caring about my own well-being now… I have my children in mind. I am robbing from them a proper bedtime story and cuddles and a Mom with a friendly voice. And that steals from my own heart. And it hurts.

My “break” tonight was nursing the baby with my feet up while watching Survivor after the kids were in bed. A castaway told the cameras that she was just going to work really hard so that she would be more valuable to her team and they would keep her around.

Gulp.

I don’t feel worth much to my team family right about now. There is so much on my plate (that I chose to pile on myself) and I can’t even do my own dishes. For real.

As I scrubbed away at those dirty pots and pans (and directed Gray to pick up all his dinosaurs, prepared Carter for a spelling test, and did problem solving with Noah) I fought back tears (tears that flow freely now) and held on tight to the hope of doing better tomorrow. Promising myself that after some sleep and rest and the gathering of my thoughts, I’ll make a plan and get myself together. And do better next time.

Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary is asking some questions that I think you should honestly answer. What is one thing you feel like you are doing really well as a mother? And what is one area in which you feel you are struggling to do well as a mom? It’s a common theme among us all and lately it is running rampant- feeling overwhelmed- I am seeing it all over the place. And of course within my own mind and heart.

I admitted to myself tonight that I am just tired. Not only fatigued from lack of a good night’s sleep, but life in general has worn me out. It’s not just this Mom thing. And I think back to the time when Forrest Gump was running and running and all of a sudden stops, finally speaks, and says, “I’m pretty tired. I’m think I’ll go home now.”

Life has always been this way. I remember feeling these exact same overwhelming feelings outside of being a parent. All the way back to seventh grade and all the classes and homework and pre-teen angst. Highschool… don’t even get me started. And the pressures of being on my own finally, the grief of too many failures. And the despair of wondering if I’d ever find the man I was to marry.

At every one of those seasons of my life I felt how I felt today. And it was not because I am a Mom. Because back then I wasn’t even thinking about kids. I was making my way through life like everyone else. Climbing the mountains that just happen to be along the way, along every road of life. And I got through it.

No matter how incredibly good and perfect I know God is, I still need the reminder that He will bear my burdens. He will carry me through. Do I need to type out Footprints In The Sand for all of us?! I will not allow this to make me feel even more guilty. But I do need to take a deep breath and stop trying to do it all on my own.

In a strange way, it gives me a lot to look forward to. I am actually a bit excited about tomorrow and this new outlook, the new “me”. And as high as that Mount Everest is before me, I still know I can take it on. And win.

Stephanie Precourt is the managing editor of 5 Minutes For Parenting and also blogs at Adventures In Babywearing.

24 Responses to The Game Of Survivor
  1. Jessica (from It's my life...)
    October 10, 2008 | 12:45 am

    I can so relate to everything you are saying. Hang tight, it gets easier. Everyone need a bit of time to adjust to a change in routine, and a new baby, even a 4th is a pretty big change to adjust to.
    Hang tight!

  2. Liz
    October 10, 2008 | 12:56 am

    I hear you, Momma. I view each new day as a do-over. Hang in there, Sweetie

  3. Musings of a Housewife
    October 10, 2008 | 9:17 am

    I am feeling EXACTLY the same way. I went to bed at 9:30 last night. It helped. But I know with a newborn, you may not be able to get the sleep you need. ((hug)) Hang in there.

  4. Cassie Griffin
    October 10, 2008 | 9:33 am

    I can totally relate! Its so hard to see the light at the end of tunnel, but God will see you through. He will pick you up, put you on his back and trudge you through this sticky mess right now. He loves you!! Just keep your thoughts in check and speak the truth to yourself when you have those feelings of self doubt!

  5. Courtney
    October 10, 2008 | 9:37 am

    I am there with you!!! With 2 boys under 4 i find myself trying to do it all, trying to be supermom, only to fail miserably. I decided a few months back that i had to stop the madness. I had to stop making myself feel asif i am not good enough. SInce then i have learned to overlookt things. So what if my dishes are dirty, my 3 yo wants mommy to read him a book so they can wait. So what if there is popcorn spread all over the floor, my 2 yo wants mommy to play cars with him, i can run the vacuum later. And yes some time things get put off, sometimes my house is a wreck, sometimes i lose my temper, and sometimes priorities get messed up, but in the end i am spenidn time with my kids and all the other things can wait. I am not Mrs. Clever and in my reality i dont think any of us are. We cant do it all and we shouldnt have to. If it isnt my kids, it can wait. Sorry for the book just thought i would throw my 2 cent in.

  6. Kathryn
    October 10, 2008 | 9:41 am

    I am convinced that as long as our children know and feel deep in the fiber of their being that they are loved completely and totally by their parents the rest doesn’t matter. Even when the dishes are piled in the sink, there are one to many fast food meals, we may yell far to loudly at them to pick up their toys, and life is getting hard. As long as they KNOW 100% that they are loved, all is well.
    I KNOW your children know they are loved. You are doing a great job! 🙂

  7. casual friday everyday
    October 10, 2008 | 9:58 am

    I’m 3 months away from this reality and already am dreading it. I like routine and I know that once you have a baby there isn’t anything routine about life for awhile. Hang in there Mama. Life will get back to “normal” again.

  8. Octamom
    October 10, 2008 | 10:17 am

    I’m pretty sure I’ve got this t-shirt…if I could just find it at the bottom of my dirty laundry pile ;o)

    Nothing has reduced me down, made me more aware of my shortcomings, made me lean, lean, lean on Him like this little thing called child-bearing and parenting. It’s a blessed, overwhelming, joy-bearing, vulnerable ride we’re on…and it does sometimes make me a little motion sick–make that ‘e-motion’ sick sometimes. And then I remember to cast my cares on Him–and He is able.

    Blessings!

  9. Heather of the EO
    October 10, 2008 | 10:20 am

    Steph,
    Yes. Yes. Yes.
    I think a lot about how I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself, even before family life. I love that you included that here.

    I have so much to say, but I got started and it was practically an essay, so I’ll save it for another space 🙂

    Thank you for your honest thoughts. It really does make all the difference to moms in your shoes.

    Peace,
    Heather

  10. Kristin
    October 10, 2008 | 10:24 am

    I am so right there with you. I was just thinking about writing a post on this exact topic. Except mine will be about my patience level.

  11. Sarah
    October 10, 2008 | 10:29 am

    I admire your willingness to share your failures, real or perceived, with the world. Talking helps. But you know what really helps? Someone ELSE doing your dishes. Or rocking the baby. Or playing with the boys. You seem to me, from my obviously outside observations, to have good friends who can do that for you when you need help. And if you don’t, or they’re unavailable, I’ll wash your dishes.

  12. Rachel
    October 10, 2008 | 10:43 am

    I know exactly how you feel! I was there a year ago for quite some time. But at some point during one of these times, I realized something that helps me make it through dark days: when I’m in the middle of one, it feels like it’s always been this way and it will always be this way. But it’s not true. Life looks gray looking backwards and forwards when you’re living in a haze, but it’s just the haze blocking the view of the wonderful moments of life in the past and to come!

    Don’t worry – life is not, was not, and will not be as exhausting as it feels RIGHT NOW. You are three weeks out and that isn’t very far out. As my husband says, having a baby sets off a hormonal nuclear bomb, and it takes a LONG TIME to get over all of the fallout!!

  13. Lisa
    October 10, 2008 | 11:30 am

    Yesterday, as we found yet another box of baby boy clothes to wash for the baby, I bawled while preparing them for laundry and cleaning out some of my daughter’s things to make way for his. I felt SO HEAVILY how big this change has been, and how I’m struggling to keep afloat. Just like you, each day is a new day, that one day I hope to conquer, I’m just not yet and it’s KILLING me to fail. I struggle daily. Yesterday’s cry was SO HARD, so IN MY BONES hard, but showed me that I’m only human, and Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this won’t be either. It’ll take time to get back to that perfect we had, but we can do it. I know we can. And in the meantime, I’m going to stop beating myself up.

  14. Amy
    October 10, 2008 | 12:00 pm

    You dear sweet lady. I hope and pray that today greets you with a smile, and as you sleep again tonight it is with a full heart. In our weakness, He is made strong. These times of transition are the hardest, He knows where He is needed in your life 🙂 Don’t let that big F word creep in – you are a super mommy! Hugs

  15. crunchy domestic goddess (amy)
    October 10, 2008 | 12:40 pm

    Hugs, mama. We all do the best that we can and we all need to learn to cut ourselves some slack and find the time to take care of our needs too. I know I haven’t figured it out (as you saw on my post today), but just talking about it makes me feel a little bit better. We’re all in this together.

  16. Elizabeth
    October 10, 2008 | 12:43 pm

    Stephanie,
    I appreciate so much that you had the courage to write that! I found it so helpful for myself to realize I’m not the only one who struggles with these feelings! Five months ago I had my fourth child. I went through a VERY similar time. I had thought after three things would be easier and I wouldn’t have such a big adjustment. I was wrong LOL. I think it was the hardest adjustment yet for me. I was so tired and busy that I just didn’t have the energy or the patience I wanted. Then I ended up feeling worse and worse about it all. I did get through that though and five months later things are much, much better. We got into the swing of things and I now can actually leave the house with all four of them…sometimes LOL! But I still have days where I feel like that. I get overwhelmed. My husband’s work schedule leaves him away most of the time and I homeschool as well so I just feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders at times. I have learned that I feel much worse when I am trying to do it all on my own without remembering God is there to help and he will build me up and give me everything I need. I read your blog everyday and am just awed by what an amazing job you are doing and HOW much you are doing. Maybe this is a time you would want to consider backing off on a few of your other things if you can and giving yourself a little more time to just adjust and rest. I admire you for all you do and am truly inspired. Know it’s ok to not be perfect. Each day is a fresh start!

  17. Not Just Any Jen
    October 10, 2008 | 3:51 pm

    Steph, I am glad you can discuss how you are feeling, but know you are not alone. I feel like this often, and I didn’t just have a baby three weeks ago. I know I did feel that way for sure when my boys were newborn. You are doing a great job as always, you’ve just really set the bar high for yourself (which isn’t a bad thing), but it is important to not let your perfectionism get to you. You children think you are perfect, and even if it isn’t the job you strive for, be patient. You’ll get your groove when you are ready. Maybe you just need to listen to yourself and let things go or slow down.

    You know I am here to help, too!
    Love, Jen

  18. edj
    October 10, 2008 | 3:57 pm

    Stephanie,
    I just want to encourage you that a newborn is a newborn and you are entitled to feel exhausted and out of sorts for at least 6-8 months. Please stop berating yourself. Later you will look back at the time and think, why was I so hard on myself? Kids are amazingly resilient, and manage to do just fine during the times that moms are in survival mode. Please don’t be so tough on yourself. Do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest.
    My kids are 20 months apart; now they are 13 and 11 (twins). Believe me, I know of what I speak.

  19. Kelly
    October 10, 2008 | 5:12 pm

    Elizabeth’s comment (edj) is tremendously wise. Those first few months of dealing with a newborn PLUS adjusting to a larger family are just flat-out hard. It will get better. You will read bedtime stories to your kids again. You will find your balance again. And you will not always feel so out of control.

    That said, sometimes it’s good to let a few things go. The stresses of a new baby can be a good wake-up call to re-prioritize.

  20. SarahHub
    October 10, 2008 | 10:16 pm

    Stephanie, think about this. Maybe you are being a bit hard on yourself? If a friend came to you (who had a brand new 3 week old baby,) and was worried she was falling behind, worried she wasn’t getting dishes done, or stories read, wouldn’t you comfort her? Tell her to slow down because she can’t do it all? Well, I am here to tell you, friend, that you can’t do it all. Ease up on yourself, just a little.

    We all have this ideal of the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect friend. And we’re all trying to fit in that mold. It’s a big burden, and it’s really impossible.

    So, cry if you need to. But know you’re doing a great job.

  21. Cazza
    October 12, 2008 | 12:02 pm

    Great encouragement. It’s amazing how you can speak right into me. You always seem to pick up where I left off.

    It is written – we are very much loved.

    I love that thought that you are always there, giving me hope each day.

    Imagine what it would be like tomorrow.

  22. Cazza
    October 12, 2008 | 12:03 pm

    Thanking you – AMAZING person.

    I love you.

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