Mom Ruts are totally normal and will happen from time to time. However, it’s no secret that they completely SUCK when you’re going through them. For me, it’s depression, hormones, no motivation, and just misery. The worst part is that it affects my entire family when I sink to this low space, so I’ve realized how important it is to try to get out of them as soon as I can.
If you’re struggling, I feel you momma. Here are some tips that helped me personally get out of these horrible ruts! I hope they help you to.
1. Do something to feel good about yourself
I unintentionally started to get out of my mom rut when I decided to cut 5 inches off my hair. I was so sick of it, didn’t have time to style it, and it looked like a rats’ nest everyday. I didn’t realize how much it brought me down until getting it cut! I felt like a new – and better – person already. I felt lighter. I felt good about myself again.
If your budget allows, treat yourself to a new look – whatever that means to you. If your budget doesn’t allow (I’m lucky enough to have my sis in law cut my hair for free), then pick up some boxed hair dye, paint your nails, give yourself a facial or take a bubble bath with some wine. Help yourself feel good about yourself again and tell yourself that this is the beginning of your comeback.
2. Start decluttering
Most of us don’t realize it, but clutter = DEPRESSION! Living in a cluttered home can unknowingly put so much stress on ourselves – especially stay-at-home parents who sit in it all day. The toys, the shit all over the kitchen counters, the laundry piled up, the closets full of who-knows-what, the crap in backseat floors of our cars… it all builds up.
One of the first things I did was pick up all the toys laying in my living room and 1) threw them in a Goodwill box or 2) organized and stored them on a shelf. If my kids want to play with something (or I need to distract them), I bring out a bin or a couple of toys to enjoy instead of leaving them out all the time and all over the place. My kids enjoy the organized space more, and I don’t have to step on legos (as much!).
3. Make yourself a new daily schedule or routine
One of the worst ways to start my day is waking up and hearing my kids already awake – before I have time to get myself ready. This made me feel extremely disorganized and grumpy. So, I started making a point to wake up BEFORE the kids and shower, do my makeup/hair, and if I have time, head downstairs to drink some coffee in peace. Even though it’s hard to wake up earlier than children (who apparently are fine waking up at 6am), THIS IS A GAME CHANGER AND IS SO WORTH IT. Just the simple 20 minutes of getting ready in silence gives me the peace I need to get in a positive mindset.
Next, I started making myself do certain things to keep my sanity throughout the day. For me, this included unloading the dishwasher while my kids eat breakfast, cleaning up dishes as I go, and doing one load of laundry per day (and putting those clothes AWAY!!!). Keeping up with the house daily makes a huge difference, and avoids clutter aka STRESS piling up. Here’s an example of my schedule (most days) with 2 toddlers:
5AM – Wake up + shower + get ready
545AM – Head downstairs + coffee + “me” time
630AM-9AM – Kids wake + breakfast + clean kitchen + play time
930AM-12PM – Outing with the kids
1230PM – Lunch + tidy up living room & kitchen
1PM – Kids nap + laundry + prep dinner + “me” time
330PM – Kids wake + snack + free play + kids bath
5PM-630PM – Dinner + free play
7PM – Kids bed
730-10PM – Parents eat dinner + clean + bed time!
4. Start using nap time wisely
The Kardashians and Teen Mom episodes from last night can wait (errhmm, I’m talking to myself here). There was nothing I looked forward to more than sitting my butt on the couch as soon as I put the kids down for a nap. As well as scrolling through Instagram whilst catching up on my (embarrassing) reality tv shows. But what did this do for me exactly? I’ll tell you. When the boys woke up, I felt more tired and cranky than before. I felt guilty for being so unproductive. I was stressed because my house was still a mess from the morning. I felt drained from wasting time on mindless tv and social media.
Now, do us moms need a break to sit and watch TV? HELL YES!!! But if you can… keep this break until after bedtime when the day is done. Trust me, I look forward it to it all day. But when you’re productive during nap time, you’ll feel so. much. better. I PROMISE.
Ideas for what to do during nap time:
- Prep dinner (chop veggies, prep casserole or the crockpot, etc)
- Do a chore around the house (mop/vacuum/laundry/scrub toilets..fun!)
- Pay bills or make appointments you’ve been avoiding
- Work out (at home) with your favorite music
- Meal plan/make a grocery list for the following week
- Update your calendar to keep yourself organized
- Make a healthy snack + smoothie
- Set up a late afternoon activity for the kids
5. Have a night or morning out
Speaking of moms needing a break, WE F**KING DO. I am so guilty of not taking enough time for myself. I still feel guilty to ask someone to watch my kids… even my husband sometimes! But what I forget is… when I don’t have a break once in awhile, it affects my mental sanity which ends up bringing my whole family down with me. If I’m not well, my family suffers!
Let your spouse or family members watch your kids. Hire a babysitter, or utilize a drop-in daycare! What to do? Here are some ideas!
Ideas for Mommy Time:
- Sit at a coffee shop and read
- Walk around a local lake and listen to music
- Get a massage
- Go out to brunch
- Sit by the pool
- Go to the farmer’s market
- Have a girl’s night out
- Date your spouse
- Walk around an outdoor shopping mall
- Go to a concert or listen to local music
6. Eat healthy 80% of the time
When you take care of your body, you feel good about yourself. One of the quickest ways to feel good is to EAT good. Research some healthy quick/easy snacks and meals and start incorporating them into your family’s diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are proven to help our moods and give us energy. Processed carbs, junk food, and sugar do the complete opposite and are directly linked to depression, weight gain, fatigue and digestion issues. Sub out junk food snacks + drinks for fresh fruit salads, green smoothies, and lemon water! Pinterest is your best inspiration to get ideas.
7. Get the kids out of the house each day
If you don’t already do this, it is a GAME CHANGER for your sanity. Sitting in a house all day drives anyone nuts… but especially a mom with young kids. Start planning a good chunk of time each day to go on an “adventure” with the kids.
10 Outing Ideas With Kids:
- Local museum
- Local playground
- Library story time
- Kids’ play space in your area
- Airport observation deck to watch airplanes
- The mall
- Local mom group meetups (try looking on Facebook or Meetup.com for your area)
- Local animal farm
- Playdate at a friend’s house
- Grandparent’s house
8. Talk to someone about it
If you’re really struggling, you don’t have to struggle alone! Reach out to a close family member or friend who would understand. If it’s deeper than a rut, seek out help from a therapist, church pastor or someone you can really trust. The sooner you help yourself get better, the sooner you can get back to being the super mom you know you can be.