The Habit that Helps Me Survive When Everyday Feels Hard

For whatever reason, my days at home with my children have been so, so hard lately. I can’t quite figure out what it is that is making it so difficult for me to get by each day, but I suspect it is a perfect storm of a million little things I can’t control. I’m six months postpartum and still struggling through some postpartum anxiety and depression while juggling a work-from-home job. My middle child is quickly approaching an age known for mood swings and stubborn behavior. My oldest has just started school at home. My baby, well, he’s a baby and he wants to eat at all hours of the day.

Instead of a hard day here or a hard day there, every single day feelings like this grueling, uphill better. I know it’s just a season, but boy do I hate living in survival mode. I don’t like to feel like everything’s a mess, that I’m a mess, that I just have to hang in there. I want things to be getting better but we’re not there just yet.

When I have hard days back to back, I find myself falling into bed at night so sure I am failing. I’m discouraged by how hard it is to enjoy motherhood when each day is a marathon of caring for three kids under five. Most of all, I feel frustrated that I don’t end my day feeling like I have done well in my job as a mom.

Recently, I started this little habit that is helping me survive when everyday feels hard. It isn’t a fix for our hard days, it’s a way to find the good when I’m feeling stuck.

At the end of the day, once all three of my kids are finally asleep for the night, I’m reflecting on who my kids are and what makes them so special. Before I turn off the light, I grab my journal and outline three things I enjoyed about my kids that day. These are specific things, things to remember, things to refocus on why I am putting all of this time into their lives.

It’s nothing special or elaborate. A quick jot of a few notes on each kid.

She rests her head on my shoulder when I read to her. She sings the wrong lyrics to Mary Poppins all day long. He giggles at the sight of me when he wakes up from his nap.

I think it is human nature to focus on the hardest parts of the day or the hardest parts of parenting a specific child. This habit is helping me stop all of the negative thinking in its tracks and encourages my brain to start thinking about the things I love about my children the most and why what I do each day is important.

Spending a few minutes with my journal each day isn’t going to change the fact that being a mom is literally the hardest thing I have ever done. It isn’t going to make it any easier for me to buckle down and put in the hard work of raising decent people, of being patient when I don’t want to anymore, of nursing at 2 a.m. when I’d rather be sleeping. But what it does is more important. This little habit is the motivation I need each day to keeping working hard, to keep putting in the time in the lives of my children.