Survival Mode

Right after I was finished writing Josh snapped this photo. He said we looked cute... tear stained and all.

I’m sitting here totally overwhelmed, emotional, exasperated, defeated. My energy leaks have energy leaks and I can’t seem to get out of survival mode long enough to feel like myself and tap into my strength.

How. Dramatic.

But seriously. I know I’m ‘hormonal’ right now. I know I’m sleep deprived. Money is excruciatingly tight and time is even tighter. As I type this on my 2nd hand laptop a notification constantly pops up nagging me to optimize storage because my disc is almost full. Dammit computer, I know! Everything is stretched to the max right now and I’m TRYING. I’m trying to get back to work and get money in the bank. I’m trying to feed the kids something other than Clif bars and peanut butter & honey sandwiches (not that they WANT to eat anything other than that). I’m trying to keep the dishes clean and the bills paid on time. I’m trying everything in my power to help my fussy baby cope… I’m dairy free, nursing on demand around the clock, dutifully giving her the expensive probiotics and gripe water, consulting Mother Google at every step of the way even though this is my third baby and this was supposed to be easier this time. I’m trying not to be a hot mess for my husband to comfort when he’s also tired from working 10 hour days and not sleeping through the night.

And I really don’t mind trying. I really don’t… I’m a problem solver to my core. I love a challenge and the thrill of figuring something out and maybe even helping someone else with the same problem some day. But when the trouble shooting doesn’t end up fixing anything it just becomes too much.

So now my energy leaks have energy leaks. What does that even mean? What is an energy leak? Well… you could probably guess what I mean. We all have them… they’re always going to be there, they’re inevitable. They’re those recurring nagging little situations that wreak havoc and won’t go away unless you tend to them. Sometimes energy leaks just require a quick fix or a change of habits. Some energy leaks are really hard to solve or just out of your hands completely. Some energy leaks create more energy leaks… and more. And more. And that is when survival mode kicks in. And it’s ridiculously hard to get out of it.

It’s when you’re on a tight budget and there’s no extra money for childcare so you can work for more money. (I’ll just stay up late to work with an extra tired brain… I can survive on only 4 hours of sleep, right?)

It’s when I’m late to pick my son up from school because I was sneaking a nap when my other two kids miraculously fell asleep at the same time. (Shit, I need to get gas too!)

It’s when I’m behind on laundry and my son’s diaper leaks in the middle of the night and the spare sheets are in the hamper. (I know I should buy those fancy overnight diapers, but they’re annoyingly pricey and we should be potty training anyway… you know, when we get the chance.)

It’s when I’m at my wits end so I sit down to journal and sort out my crazy thoughts/feelings/to-do list and I can’t find my damn journal. (Great, now the baby is awake and I won’t be able to sit down to journal anyway.)

And it’s when I’m crying and my husband urges me to sit down at my computer to get these thoughts out of me and the damn charger won’t work unless I have it arranged juuuuuusssst perfectly with just the right extension chord set up at the perfect angle. Then I finally get it to work and I feel so good about doing something productive with all these crazy emotions and my computer keeps telling me I should be optimizing my storage instead. (Seriously the notification pops up every other minute. WHY??? I need to work more so I can buy a new computer…)

It’s like the tired thirty-something millennial mom version of Alanis Morisette’s Ironic song. (Is she a mom now? She should really do a follow up version.)

So, is typing this all out making me feel any better? Yes. And no. I’m being totally open and honest and I feel like this is very relatable so that feels good. When it’s written out I can see that I’m not crazy… life is tough right now. But I also feel like a crybaby. Like I’m being dramatic and that I should just chock it up to hormones and take a nap (seriously any excuse to take a nap always sounds good to me these days). I tend to internalize my hardships or keep them quiet… I have to make an effort to reach out, be vulnerable, ask for help. I know so many women that are the same as me and I see us getting a little more lost every day. Keeping our crazy in and keeping our head down as we try to figure everything out by ourselves just isn’t working, ladies. Don’t even get me started on what our Instagrams look like and how often we find ourselves playing the comparison game as we scroll and scroll and scroll so we can numb out.

We need more connection. More people reminding us that we’re not crazy and that we’re doing a good job. We need more authenticity and transparency so that loved ones can see when we’re struggling. And we need to be more willing to be vulnerable and accepting of help. More hugs would probably be nice too.

For this blog post to even happen my 2 and 4 year old had to be at my parent’s house for the day. My baby had to take an unexpectedly long nap and my husband had to insist that I get my computer out and calmly watch me as I cried over the damn charger not working. I had to have a moment to make myself a good breakfast and a soul warming cup of coffee. I had to ignore my boobs that wanted to nurse a baby. And I had to remember that this kind of inner turmoil can’t be resolved by ignoring it. It needs to be acknowledged and respected and it needs to get out of your head… either by typing it out to share with the world, telling someone you trust, writing it down in your journal, or whatever.

And now that I just typed that last part I feel way better. Because I 100% believe it even if I forget sometimes. Even if you’re reading this and rolling your eyes thats ok because I know someone else relates. And now that I’ve gotten this off my chest I can breath easier and see that I can totally handle this season of my life. It’s temporary. I know I’ll get out of it if I continue to allow my feelings and be vulnerable and willing to accept support. And I also know that this logic and clarity is a temporary reprieve until the next fire needs to be put out and I’m stuck in the mental fray again. It’s a process.

I recently confided in some friends (through sobs, of course) that I felt like such a fraud because I’m a wreck, but I want to coach moms through this exact situation. Who am I to help a new mom out of her misery when I’m here stuck in my own? And then it occurred to me… we all need someone to see us and understand what we’re going through. My current coaches come in the form of friends and a husband that support me when I’m lost. Handling motherhood with perfect ease would NOT make me a good coach. Besides it doesn’t matter who you are or how expert you are at something, you’re just not going to get out of the maze as quickly without someone flying above helping you with which way to go. In other words, you

just can’t see the solution when you’re in the fray. So I may need help resolving the same situation in my life that I can easily help someone else with. We all need each other. We all have something to offer.

If you find yourself relating and want to talk I’d love to! These conversations are so near and dear to my heart and I have such a strong calling to help other women navigating survival mode with me. Because the conversation helps me too. I’m right here with you.


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Orange County, CA United States
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