As a mama, you get a firsthand lesson on what it means to be selfless. It’s no longer, “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I’m tired.” Now it’s all about your little one: changing diapers, feeding, and comforting their every need.
It’s also hard -and it’s okay to admit that.
Unlike most jobs, mothering doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock and you definitely don’t get the weekends off.
The demands of caring for little ones can be relentless and sometimes leave you feeling completely drained and “touched out”. It isn’t that you don’t love their sweet snuggles and slobbery kisses -but sometimes you want to be able to pee without a toddler sitting in your lap.
So how do we navigate this feeling of being “touched out” in a way that is respectful to our babies but also takes our needs into account?
I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you what has been the most helpful for me. Here are my # tips for how to handle being touched out.
1. Talk To Your Spouse
As much as we would like for them to, our spouses cannot read our minds. What is completely obvious to us may be totally overlooked by them. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a break, communicate that to them!
I recently went through my own period of feeling completely overwhelmed by motherhood. Instead of being honest with my husband, I resented him every time he left for work, thinking to myself that he had the “easy” job.
And because I’m super mature, I punished him with passive-aggressive comments and sometimes even ignored him altogether.
I have the SWEETEST husband, and that poor man was so confused! It wasn’t until I was honest and communicated my feelings that he was able to understand and help.
And guess what, mama? Your spouse wants to help. Asking your spouse to watch your babies while you take a bath alone isn’t as big of a deal as you think. And think about the time and energy you could save by being honest with them in the first place!
2. Take a Minute
What can you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed and touched out right NOW? There have been a few moments in my motherhood journey when I felt completely done (like when my toddler threw a tantrum in the checkout line at Walmart and then tried to rip my shirt off me because he likes to nurse when he’s upset).
Mama, the last thing I wanted to do was nurse my barnacle baby. What I really wanted to do was throw my own tantrum right there beside him.
What can we do when we are in a situation that doesn’t allow us the freedom to walk away? Take a minute!
Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. I know it sounds cliche, but this simple action can help you to process what is happening and make the best decision for you (and your family) in the moment.
At the very least, it will stop you from doing something you’ll regret later.
3. Get In Some Quiet Time
As I mentioned before, selflessness is part of motherhood. But, as Abbie Halberstadt stated in her book M Is for Mama, “No one asked you to be a martyr.
When you have opportunities to sleep, rest, read a good book, go for a walk, or take a bath -TAKE THEM!
For me, this looks like taking time to read and journal during Jackson’s nap. Though my nagging mind is telling me I should be doing something productive like doing the dishes or mopping the floor, I know that without that moment of quiet, I won’t be able to give my son the best version of myself.
So mama, take care of yourself -you (and your family) will thank you for it.
4. Reframe Your Thinking
Most of the times I have gotten to the point of feeling touched out, I’ve noticed that my thoughts have been focusing on what I HAVE to do rather than what I GET to do. Whether we like it or not, our thoughts have a very large impact on our overall mood
Instead of seeing a crying baby as “one more thing to deal with,” try to see it as an opportunity to love and connect. It’s hard, but when we can reframe our mindset into one of gratitude and service, we open ourselves up to the joy that can be found in motherhood.
Taking the time to reframe your thinking is a process that will take time and patience. It may not be easy at first, but with practice, you’ll find yourself feeling more fulfilled and connected to your role as a mama.
Something practical you can do that has helped me is to keep a gratitude journal. When my baby goes down for a nap I make it a priority to get some quiet time in and write down all the things I am grateful for. It could be anything – from my baby’s sweet smile to a cup of coffee someone bought for me.
This simple act of writing down what I am grateful for has been life-changing. I can go from feeling overwhelmed and negative to feeling joy and appreciation in just a few minutes.
5. Take It to Jesus
Lastly, and most importantly, take it to Jesus. It wasn’t until I took my own overwhelm and mama frustrations to Jesus that I started to see real change in my life.
He longs to be your refuge and strength during those moments when you feel like giving up on parenting. Remember, He sees your heart and all the hard work you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to come to Him with it all.
When we take our struggles to Jesus, He gives us the grace and strength to keep going. He wraps His loving arms around us and helps us to make it through, one day at a time.
Practically speaking, prioritize spending time with Him. If you can do it for 5 minutes in the morning -great. If your mornings are as crazy as mine, make it the last thing you do before going to bed. It’s those personal moments with Jesus where He reminds us of His faithfulness.
And thank the Lord that He doesn’t get touched out with us!
So mama, if you’re feeling touched out and need some help, take some time to breathe, reframe your thinking, and take it to Jesus. It won’t be easy but you are not in this alone. Lean on Him during those tough moments and remember that with His grace, you can make it through.
Mama, you’ve got this! Do you have any advice for mamas who are feeling touched out? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below!
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