Marriage · Parenthood · Relationships

Burn out, Appreciation, and Grace

One of my friends was talking the other day about being exhausted, not just sleep exhausted but how everything seems to take so much more effort after kids. Maybe it’s from having to herd kids around all day? Maybe it’s the not getting constant sleep to make up for what happens on the daily? Maybe it’s that we never seem to have time enough to ourselves so we can recharge and be the parent we know we can be? Whatever the case may be, I am tired.

There never seems to be enough hours in the day for everything and when there are all I want to do is have a break. I want to use the time where people are asleep to do a whole bunch of nothing. I just want to sit on my butt and read, write, paint, surf the web, or watch junk on TV that is bad for my brain. I don’t want to have to talk to everyone, do dishes or laundry. Not a single thing. Granted I can’t do that every day, there are things that do need my attention; life moves on whether I want it to or not. The past year or so has been hard with finding the motivation to do things. I have been finding myself more and more frequently feeling burnt out, of always feeling like I need a break. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows you know that as well as I do. You can find yourself in a rut so swiftly at times you never realize how long you have been there till it’s too late. A change may be in order to get you out of the funk sometimes and that’s okay.

I have been doing somethings for myself that has made me feel better, such as softball and school. Getting out on the field and trying my best (I suck but I still try) is important to me. Being part of a team and receiving the praise of doing a good job can go a long way of making you feel good about yourself. Knowing you are trying your best is one thing but sometimes hearing it from someone else is something entirely different. Having someone see that you are trying your hardest and appreciating you for it can work wonders. Three year olds and 13-month olds aren’t exactly the best people at dealing out appreciation.

Don’t get me wrong I am in no way perfect on passing out compliments when they are due. I can always do better in appreciating those in my life who deserve it. That rut I was talking about though? Sometimes it can get so consuming that you can’t see that someone else needs the same boost that you do. (On a side note it always seems like that writing is my brains way of working out how I feel and how I can do better. Granted I don’t always follow my own advice but at least I recognize it is a bonus right? First step is admitting that you have a problem. ) Sometimes people need to get their heads out of their butts (mine included) and appreciate what they have and who they have in their lives and treat them accordingly.

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Last year I was watching a show and the conversation revolved around a split up couple arguing over their son and whether he should go to church or not. The father didn’t think the son was ready but the mother desperately wanted the son to have that spiritual connection. Suddenly dawned on her that maybe it wasn’t the son that needed the connection, maybe it was her. Maybe she was that one that needed to improve that spiritual connection in her life. Religion had always been a big part of her life that when it slipped away she was missing something. Now I’m not saying that religion is or isn’t for everyone and you do you, but it’s the concept I’m more concerned with. When she became a parent it had become so consuming that she didn’t attend to her needs as well. She let one of the most important things in her life pre-children slip away.

As parents we become so consumed in raising our children we let it completely consume us, I am 100% guilty of this. I have let my own needs go by the wayside, hence the becoming burnt out. I have let my relationships slip; I don’t appreciate people like I should; such as my husband. He is a good man, but parenting comes between us sometimes and we forget that we are on the same team striving for the same goals; happy and healthy children. It’s hard when you and your teammate don’t see eye to eye; everything becomes harder. The end goal is the same it’s just the journey there that we don’t always agree on. I think when you are burnt out it makes connections with others harder to navigate. Tempers and patience are short, you are just trying to stay sane somedays and no amount of chocolate helps.

I read somewhere that in any relationship you need to give each other grace. Grace is described as showing someone kindness, love, forgiveness, leniency and mercy. When one person is struggling they need to be shown grace in the times they require it most, when it is shown to one it is easy to give back when it’s the other persons who requires it. I believe that as a parent burn out comes from not showing grace to others and I don’t just mean our spouses, I mean our children need it as well. We expect children to be well behaved all the time and it is absolutely not possible. They are children and “big feelings” such as frustration and anger can be too much for them to express in a reasonable way and having an adult telling them to “chill out” doesn’t help anything (although I am guilty of doing this too when I am at my wits end). Even adults wake up on the wrong side of the bed some days; they can be cranky and mean, I surely know that I have those days. Why do we expect children to be any different? I think we try and control our children so much it’s to everyone’s detriment, we don’t show them enough grace. I will be the first to stand up and say that I know I don’t show it enough to others, but I need to.

Hopefully this time I will take my own advice; do things that make me feel more than just a mom to prevent more burn out and show appreciation and grace to my loved ones. In the long run I truly feel that it will benefit everyone having a happier and more carefree mom and wife when I am able to show them that I appreciate all they do, and that I won’t always judge them harshly. I believe that showing my family love, kindness, forgiveness, leniency and mercy will encourage them show it towards others as well.

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