Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Accomplish One Thing

Losing Momentum
In the beginning stages of motherhood, you may look back wistfully on your previous life and think, "I used to be able to accomplish so many things!"  With very small kids, just taking a daily shower can be a major accomplishment.  Days may go by where it seems like you get nothing done.

I think that wakeful babies are nature's way of slowing a mother down.  Your world gets very small when you're sleep-deprived.  You're forced to shrink your to-do list.  If you can accomplish one thing today, like doing a load of laundry or taking a shower or running to the post office or taking a walk, it's enough.  Recommendation: shrink your to-do list to one "accomplishment" per day.

Re-Defining Accomplishments
In fact, what are you counting as an "accomplishment"?  Are you tired?  That could be a sign you've been very busy indeed.  I know, it feels like you haven't done anything all day!  There's a pile of dishes in the sink and all the clothes need washing and the carpet needs vacuuming and the stack of bills is calling and you wanted to organize that shelf...

Think about this: if you are the mother of a toddler, you are on the job non-stop with no lunch breaks!  And that's just when your little one is awake.  You may also be on the job, parenting, instead of sleeping at night.  So you are accomplishing a lot and your job is very important.  If you didn't do it, who would?  And how would life be for your child if you weren't on this job?

Your New Accomplishments
Surrender to the job at hand and leave the old accomplishments behind.  Enjoy being out of the rat race and embrace your present, more important work.  Get down on the floor and play or listen to what your older child is trying to tell you about his day.  Change a diaper, clothe, wipe up the spills, feed, resolve a conflict, sleep, carpool, teach, volunteer, be a role model, love...

You have a new and different job now that may seem like it's not accomplishing much, but it may require more out of you than the old one did.  The best part about this job is that you get to be "unproductive" for awhile which can feel like lots of down time if you allow it to.  Plus, you get all that love, hugs and kisses too.

2006 Allison Gilbert, M.A., L.M.F.T.; Free Tips

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 "Allison, you were a lifesaver. I hope you don't mind my rhapsodizing about your help, but I am still incredibly grateful to you for helping our family in our time of need, and so I will continue boasting about how awesome you are to just about anyone who will listen."-Mother of a preschooler and a newborn

"Thanks for everything. You have been such a great  help! My husband told me that he thinks this is the best we have ever done."  -Mother of a preschooler and a toddler

"I love getting your emails, Allison!  Keep up the great work!" -Mother of elementary school children, who also owns an online business