How to Restore Your Soul When You Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind

How to Restore Your Soul

To this day I don’t know just how it happened.

She was the most adorable baby girl you’ve ever seen and I was beside myself with gratefulness for her.

First there was her big brother who was very busy and all of 18 months old.  Then there was this tiny pink thing. My very own sweetheart.

She was beautiful alright, but not the greatest sleeper. She wanted to nurse all night long and it took some of the fun out of it, if you know what I mean?

So I’d been doing this all-night party thing for several weeks when I started getting delirious. A little loco. One night I found myself walking with her in circles until 2 am  when finally….at last…got the baby darling to sleep. I gently tucked her in bed and quietly crawled in next to my sound-out husband.

And collapsed into a deep sleep.

For about 12 whole minutes.

That’s when I heard her soft cries starting up again. I roused myself and leaned over the white, lacey crib and I….well, I screamed.  Something like this: Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

My poor husband bolted upright in bed, immediately on high-alert. “What is going on here?!”

I stared at him wide-eyed—nearly as shocked as he was. Disbelief at what I’d done. Ashamed and embarrassed.

“I dunno, Honey. I guess I kinda…snapped.”

And so her daddy tenderly picked up our baby-doll and took over where I left off. But as he left the room, he gently admonished,

“Hey, don’t let yourself get in that place again, okay?”

Ah yes, That Place.

I can assure you that I never intended to “get there”.

Since then – four boys and four girls later – I’ve been learning how to avoid getting to That Place.

 Here are a few tips on how to restore your soul when you feel like you’re losing your mind.

(And more here: Confessions of a Yelling Mom)

A mix of spiritual, physical, and just plain practical ways to keep from yelling into the baby’s crib and other crazy-mama moments:

1)  Get the rest you require. Make it a high priority because it can make all the difference. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. Go to bed early or take a nap. Ask friends or family to take over and curl up in a quiet place. Get serious about getting some sleep.

2)  Do this in Christ’s strength. Not your own. Don’t convince yourself that “I” can do this, but minister in His power rather than your own. Place Bible verses around the house, sing praises, and pray as you go throughout your day. Motherhood is a spiritual endeavor.

3)  Don’t neglect your own needs. Sometimes a mom gets so busy she forgets to eat right, to shower, and even go to the bathroom. She forgets to love with her husband or talk to a good friend. My dear, how can you fill up your child’s heart if yours is on empty?

4)  Be willing to ask for help. At first it felt rather stupid and weak, but I figured it was better than a break down. So one older lady folded clothes for me. Another teen girl came over to play with the children. We even sacrificed for a season and had a cleaning lady come in.

Me and my daugtherIt’s been 18 years since I yelled into the crib. That baby girl is now a lovely young lady and I asked if she remembered me losing it with her.  She put her arms around me and said she only remembers snuggling together, reading stories aloud, and splashing in mud puddles.

And I’m beside myself with gratefulness. My very own sweetheart.

How about you? What kinds of things do you do to restore your soul? I hope you’ll share with us!

Lisa Jacobson

Club31Women

*Photo credit: The beautiful baby in the crib belongs to my friend Darlene Weir with photo thanks to Kayce Shoffner Photography.

 

 

 

 

This post is part of the month-long challenge From Grouchy…To Great.  Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

From Grouchy…To Great

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Comments

  1. Su says

    What if you don’t have a friend to talk to and have been praying about it? Your series has been awesome and timely. Thank you for doing it.

    • Elissa Philgence says

      I will be willing to pray with or for you. I will be willing to talk with you. Always look to Jesus our ultimate friend. He will guide you on what to do.

      • Rachel Wojnarowski says

        I love what Elissa said. But I will tell you that years ago,Su, I felt the same as you. I needed God to have flesh and a listening ear I could see. :) So I prayed and asked God for a friend. And wow- did He ever give one to me! She has been such an awesome friend in my life. Pray for a friend- God answers prayer!!

        • says

          Amen to all that’s been shared! The only thing I’d add is that sometimes that friend is an unexpected person. I thought that “she” would need to be someone in a similar situation (a mom with young children), but I found encouraging friendship with a single gal with no children, plus an older lady whose children were long grown and gone. Both were “surprise” friendships!

        • Liz Cruz Piccone says

          I can relate to Su. Im a happily married mom of two however the one part of my life that hasnt been tended to are friendships. I was working a few years back and had a lot of coworker friends but once I became a stay at home mom those friendships fizzled. Please also keep me in your prayers :-)

    • Michelle says

      I truly know how you feel to not feel like you have a friend to talk to. I get lonely sometimes, but know a lot of different people, but am not close with any of them as I would consider sharing or venting to. I have 5 kids and my husband and I don’t get much alone time these day since we are struggling to support the kids, and two homes at the moment because we are trying to sell the first home. I just lost my mother in November, and at times feel like I will never find anyone again like my mother to talk to. Talk to GOD like you would talk to a friend. Write a journal, and even get out and talk to woman. Start talking online to woman on here and you will gain friends. Maybe even older woman who have been through what you are going through now. My grandmother is a great person to talk to too. Reach out to those you have become bitter with or have moved away. Reach out even if it makes you feel weak or desperate. Who cares, woman really need other woman. I will talk to you for sure. I need someone to understand my situation too. So if you need an ear, please feel free to let it all out. I will be praying for you. Take care!

      • Su says

        Thanks Michelle. I have four kids and struggling a bit marriage. My mom died this past May. I also know lots of people, just no one I consider a true friend to confide in and know it will stay with them. I pray and talk to God all through the day. I appreciate your words and situation and will pray for you, Michelle, also. Have a great day.

  2. Elissa Philgence says

    Hello Lisa

    Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us. I remember those days not too long ago. My daughter was the same way, now today at 6 she still does not sleep well. What did I do back them, well I screamed, I got mad, I laugh, I did the 2 am walk and them I turned to God.

    Your tips are right on the mark. I should have run to God first, but I did not, I want to show that I was strong that I could do it all on my own. But that not the best way. Today I am still turning to God for strength and wisdom to raise them.

    Blessings.

  3. natalie says

    Thank you. I have 5 month old twins and a “spirited” 2 1/2 year old and we recently rescued a 1 1/2 year old golden. With the babies teething this mama has been short tempered and I proyed for god to help me findmy way back to normalcy. Everyrhing I have read today has pointed me in that direction

  4. Eleni Xenou says

    Your story brought tears to my eyes because I am there RIGHT NOW. Two babies who do not seem to get one decent night’s sleep – so we do not, too – one with nightmares the other teething….oh, well, you know how it is. Nice story, has given me courage :)

  5. says

    Thanks, I needed to hear that today. :) Great points for tired mamas…and it’s good to know that it’s all part of being in the best club God invented, the Mama Club. :) Encouraged by your words!

  6. Darlene Oakley says

    I have two things I know I need when I’m getting to that point – prayer (which I do through my journal–I’m a writer, so writing is therapy) and music, not praise and worship, but the stuff I grew up with in the 80s. I find it interesting that in those moments when I’m stressed are those following a long string of days without any music in my house or listening to the wrong things in my car (politics and news and even sports stuff – where people are just complaining and whining and finding as much negativity in the world as possible).

  7. Andrea Mitchell says

    Been there more times than I would like to remember. I am so thankful for these reminders. And for God’s grace.

  8. Tommie says

    I had twins. When they were 3 I had another son and when he was 11 months old, I had our fourth son. Other than my husband who worked out of town, I had NO help what so ever. Even had to drive 2 days after being discharged after a c-section. I just had to manage and deal. Not everyone is lucky enough to get to nap and take time for themselves. I made it.

    • Darcy says

      That sounds rough, Tommie. I’m glad you made it..
      I’m thankful that where we are, there is a crisis nursery.. for exhausted moms, or families that just need some help.

  9. Tammy Providence says

    Sadly I have been known to yell at my 9 month old at 3 am after getting 2 total. My fourth is my sleep rebel 1/2-1 hour aaaaaaall day with a very busy 4 year old sis. As with Tommie my husband lives 2.5 hours away at seminary while I manage the 4 kids. Sleep deprivation is my life!

  10. Andrea says

    This was an awesome read!! Thank you! I’m a stay at home Mom to 4 kids, my youngest is 5 months…and I definitely have these moments. I’m making a re-commitment to read God’s Word throughout the day, in the midst of chaos! I need His peace. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Lisett says

    It’s nice to see I’m not alone! Just today I cried and asked my 6yrs old for forgivness for yelling and losing my temper. I ask myself why am I like this if my biggest dream was to be a mom (of a big family)? I’m homeschooling and have 4 girls (6,5,3 and 4 months). I am one tired momma! But love it! God bless and give you other moms strength!
    And thank you for sharing your story!

  12. Bernadette Cooper says

    Golly, I remember doing the same thing w/my first child & feeling so terrible. I had little help from their father (who could sleep through a hurricane) & with each one I found myself repeating these patterns. Now I realize I had a bad case of PPD on top of being a very young mother, and I wasn’t just some horrible person. I’m thankful to have learned from my experiences so I can be of help to the girls who are raising my grandchildren.

  13. Ramblings Mom says

    Unfortunately, getting enough rest is impossible for me..my 3 youngest kids (out of 4, all born within 5 years) have been terrible sleepers, waking up 6 or more times a night. My 3rd child was still doing it when I got pregnant with my 4th. He sleeps great now, but the baby, who just turned one, is still up several times, never less than 4 times, and usually 5 or 6. So getting more than an hour of sleep at a time is rare. With 3 other kids, none of whom nap anymore, taking a nap myself is impossible. Great advice, but easier said than done. I mostly rely on advice #2 and also, letting things slide. My house isn’t kept up as nicely as many others maybe, but cleaning has lower priority than my sanity :P

  14. Amanda says

    Thank you so much for your post! I’ve been struggling with trying to manage being a working mom, give my 4 yr old daughter time she needs w/ me while taking care of our 5 month old son, household duties, and being a wife Ahhhhhhh is right. Your post made me realizes I’m not suppose to be able to do it myself. I should me turning to Jesus for my strength. Thank You for this renewed focus. It was much needed!

    Amanda

  15. Ashley says

    I feel like I’m going crazy!!! I’m praying but I still just yelled be quiet to my child. I feel like my insides are coming out I have nobody to talk to we just moved to tx. I have a 4 month and a 19 month. I just feel like no matter what somebody is unhappy. I’m going crazy trying to take care of everybody including my husband and there really isn’t any time for me. I need help but we don’t know anybody here. I feel like I’m just putting more pressure on my husband.

  16. Sally says

    I always love your writing and your humble spirit! However, I do have to say that it’s rather disappointing that your husband allowed you to get to that point while not helping at all, and then reprimanded you rather than apologizing for his part in it.

    • says

      In this case, I’m afraid the fault was mine. I was determined to handle it and pushed myself past my limit. I’ve learned since then to accept my husband’s (and others’) kind offers to help out.

  17. Katie says

    Wow… yelling into your
    babies crib in the middle of the night?
    Yikes.
    SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING I WOULD DO IF I HADN’T SLEPT FOR WEEKS ON END EITHER. And I’m not proud to admit that, either. Know how I know I’d probably loose it in such a un-mama like fashion? THAT’S HOW I REACT TO MY YOUNGER BROTHER AND SISTERS (expected) CHILDLIKE FOOLISHNESS NOW ON DAYS I’M LOW ON SLEEP AND PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL NORISHMENT. Only I burst into tears along with it and they think that’s hysterical. Lol. And what your husband said to you? Sounds EXACTALLY. Like. My. Daddy. I truly hope that, Lord willing, one day, my husband is as understanding and sensitive as yours was in such a situation! Thank you for this post! I will DEFINITELY need this as a mommy (in the future) and can totally use it DAILY as an older sister! After all, the day-by-day right now is my training ground for my future home and family! <3 Wonderful stuff!

  18. Hrigom Byyth says

    The fact of this matter is that there is no mind to begin with. None of us humans want to accept the fact that there is nothing there to find, understand, see, need, desire, experience, etc. All the neurological activity in the brain and all the different patterns firing uniquely through each individual looking “body” made up purely of the matter which is all there is cannot be separated in any way from itself, unless through “thoughts” or knowledge one has of “themselves” and the environmental influences leading up to it. We are all conditioned by ideas and opinions, and there is no way anyone will accept it, because they are so sure of their circular thoughts revolved around in their skull that can use themselves to reflect themselves is an assurance that something like a “soul” or “self” is present. Stop trying to put your organism to sleep, it’s not interested in that or any other idiotic subjective preferences “you” have to throw at it.

  19. Trisha says

    I am still a hot mess dealing with the challenges of parenting, but two things I have been trying have made a huge difference for me. First, I realized my prayers were just fusing all my negative junk into my heart and destroying me. I stopped praying my words, “God this is too hard. I can’t do this. I’m a failure,” and instead started praying God’s words, “I can do all things through you, Lord. You give me strength.” Also, when things are hard to face (like a toddler spraying an entire bottle of Lysol spray over every surface in the bathroom after breaking through the child safety locks), I force myself to think through things to be thankful for. Thankful that my little guy is so smart and determined. Thankful that we have a lovely bathroom that will be just as nice (except for a few spots there were bleached out on the carpet) after cleaning it up. Thankfulness helps the anger disapate.

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