We’ve all heard the terms ‘mental load’ and ’emotional labor,’ but it’s easy to toss them around without pausing to really understand what’s happening in our minds and bodies when we carry prolonged stress with us in our roles as mothers and household managers. Today Meagan and Sarah look at the different ways stress manifests in our own bodies (and psyches), and offer concrete tips for managing feelings of burnout in a particularly challenging season.
This episode contains a story of pregnancy loss. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and recently we’ve seen online and in celebrity culture a few examples of women talking must more openly about their loss experiences, even sharing very vulnerable photos with the world like Chrissy Teigan did earlier this month. Here at The Mom Hour, we are 100% on board with movements that make moms feel less alone in their experience, so we think it’s really important to continue sharing these stories. In today’s special bonus episode, Sarah talks with Leeann Dearing about her personal experience with pregnancy loss. Leeann is an actress, entrepreneur and proud homeschool mom, and she’s also co-founder of the funny mom duo and viral video company Leeann & Michelle, whose videos you have probably seen taking over the internet.
I think there’s something about the relentless micro-stressors we experience during an ongoing pandemic that can lead to a slightly skewed response to normal issues. Over a matter of a few hours I basically blew off the loss of hundreds of dollars in groceries, but I lost my mind over a few dollars in frozen waffles and all they represented. I had an absolutely crappy morning, including facing the music about my kids’ academic dilemmas and a ridiculous utility bill, but the thing that bothered me most was the loss of a club sandwich delivered to me in a fictional hotel room.
It’s not if but when: losing your cool with your kids is part of motherhood (especially during a global pandemic). Sometimes we yell, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we stomp our feet like a toddler or sass-talk like a tween. If you do any of these things too, we can assure you you’re not alone–and it’s not too late to practice the art of recovery. In Episode 278 of The Mom Hour Meagan and Sarah talk about the different types of mom-meltdowns we’re prone to, and what repair and recovery can look like when we’ve lost it with our families.
Whatever you’re facing right now that feels hard and awkward, that same thing will one day feel routine and automatic. Remember breastfeeding? How long it took and how many accessories it required in the early days? And how, a few months or a few kids later, how it just sort of happened by rote while you also carried on a whole conversation or read to a toddler or caught up on email? The new hard thing becomes just a thing you do and don’t even have to think about. Like wearing a mask to the grocery store or logging into Zoom school.
We moms know how to manage our expectations and help our kids manage theirs. We understand innately how to fit a lot into a little time, and we can also learn to stretch a little bit of certainty, energy, or joy to fill a longer period of time than we’d necessarily like. Yes, we wish the finish line was closer. We’d be content with just having some idea of where it is. But right now, the only way to get through this without hyperventilating is to pick a time frame that’s a little more manageable.