I have always been passionate about designing and making meaningful gifts and keepsakes and was very fortunate to able to start my own business. Lauren Nicole Gifts (name after my niece) was started in 2004 and was a great way for me to have my own business, but still move around as an Army wife. My husband recently retired from the Army and we are now permanently located in Ouray, Colorado

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding Motivation within the Realm of Motherhood

It’s no secret that being a mother (whether you work at home, stay at home, or work outside of the home) is one of the hardest jobs out there. There’s no salary for all of the long hours we put in; and aside from the beautiful children we give life to, the benefits aren’t all that great either. We’re overworked, underpaid, and unfortunately for so many moms out there, under appreciated.

During the first few months after my son was born, I found myself in a funk. Having struggled with depression during High School and College, I found myself falling victim to something much worse than the “baby blues.” I was on my way to a major case of Post-Partum Depression. The beautiful little boy that adored his mama (and still does, by the way) was sucking the life out of me. Between the unending piles of laundry and the dirty diapers, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I asked myself over and over again, “Why is motherhood so hard?”

Over time I’ve realized that the biggest problem I had, was finding motivation. My husband was working long hours; we were in a new city, hadn’t made a lot of friends and had zero family around. I found myself stuck in a place between not caring and “what’s the point?” When I finally hit rock bottom and got sick of feeling that way, I decided it was time to do something about it. Getting motivated, when you don’t feel like you have a reason to be motivated is tough. But there are a few simple, everyday things that can pull anyone out of there funk.

1. Take time to get yourself dressed and ready: Whether you stay at home or work at home, getting up and getting motivated starts from the time your feet hit the floor in the mornings. There were many days where I would have just assumed sit in my PJ’s and eat Ice Cream until it was time to crawl back in bed again. Getting up in the mornings, taking a shower and putting a little bit of time into making myself look better ended up making me feel better as well. Not to mention, my poor husband totally appreciated the change.

2. Make yourself a Schedule: I know that when you stay at home with your kid(s) it can seem a little pointless to have a schedule. What could you possibly need a schedule for when your day involves nothing more than tummy time, feedings, and diaper changes? Well, unless you want to end up on the next episode of Hoarders, you will need to clean your house at some point. And eventually, you will run out of clean clothes…so making yourself a schedule and taking note of the little things (like cooking, cleaning, and running errands) can give you something to look forward to everyday.

3. Find a Hobby: I’ve always been a writer, so when my son was born, I turned to blogging as an outlet and a safe haven on those days that things were just too much for me to handle. Aside from the creative outlet it provided, it opened the door to new friendships and a sense of community that I hadn’t found in our new home. Whether you’re interested in cooking, decorating or something totally different, exerting a little bit of creative energy is good for the soul. Buy yourself a new cookbook and work your way through it. Take up crafting or knitting. Find something to occupy your time with. As you get better, consider opening an Etsy Shoppe or teaching a class of your own within the neighborhood. Nothing will make you feel better than achievement and creativity.

4. Get out of the House: I can be a total homebody if my husband lets me. Now that I work from home, it’s even harder to pry me away from my computer and my writing (what can I say? I love what I do!). But it’s so important to your personal sanity to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air and interaction with real people. Join a playgroup, pay a visit to the local library (most of them have some sort of story time during the week you can take your child to), go on a picnic in the park. Even if it’s only for an hour a day, you will feel 10 times better if you get out and away from your house.

Lastly, let me add that if you need help, ask for it. Everyone has been a new parent at some point or another. Talk to your mom or your in-laws. See if they will babysit for a few hours to you can go do your own thing. For me, a trip to the mall (even if I wasn’t shopping) or a visit to the Barnes & Noble to read for an hour and sip on a Starbucks was crucial during my sons first few months. No one needs or should have to deal with the baby blues and new-mommyhood alone. There are loads of people who would be willing to help you out if you ask.

What are your tips and bits of advice on overcoming a funk?

*And thanks so much to Denise for giving me the chance to Guest Post here! I am a HUGE fan of her jewelry! It’s always an honor to be featured and supported in another blogger’s space.

This post was written by Courtney, author of the blog The Mommy Matters. You can find her spilling it all on her personal blog, especially her adventures in motherhood.


Misty Mathews said...

I just wanted to add that many cases of PPD do require treatment beyond simply finding motivation on your own (sorry if I missed where you mentioned this, Courtney). There's still a big stigma around this that many women struggle with, but there is nothing wrong with seeking help from a medical professional if you need it. I had a terrible struggle with this as a new momma because the chemicals and hormones in my body were WAY out of whack. My husband and I KNEW something was wrong, and no amount of trying on my part or his could make it better. I'm so thankful for an understanding husband and doctor. And for good meds! ;)

Lindsey said...

With all due respect, you are doing new moms a great disservice attempting to diagnose yourself as having "post partum depression" or anything resembling being on your way to it. Simple baby blues and regular frustrations of being a new parent are much different, normal, and part and parcel of new mommyhood. True post partum depression is a serious illness, one that needs to be addressed by a doctor, and usually doesn't afford the luxury of just getting out of the house and doing some things on your own, a hobby is out of the question, as is a schedule. Usually you can hardly get out of bed, there is no motivation to get dressed, and PPD usually carries serious symptoms such as thoughts of harm or neglect, uncontrollable crying, the list goes on and on. To suggest otherwise is disrespectful but also dangerous. Women truly suffering from PPD need to understand they need to seek treatment, not suck it up and deal.
A nice resource can be found here:

Anonymous said...

Having had issues with depression earlier in life as well, I do agree with much of what you said. Important for me has been seeking help when I needed it (and I needed it!); as important was keeping a schedule for myself that included showering, leaving the house for coffee-- with one, two, or three kids, joining a mom's group and seeing those women I was becoming close to. My experience after my first was born was brutal. I was also in a new city, not working for the first time, living in a body that didn't look or feel like my own. I felt like I was in a nightmare, to be very honest. I was functioning but very unhappy much of the time taking care of my new baby and taking it out on my husband. I really thought I was crazy at times. I did feel "better enough" eventually to move on from it--that's the only way I can explain it. When I was pregnant with my twins, I was nervous about those same horrible feelings returning-- I sought help, anticipating I would have issues post partum but also experiencing great anxiety during the pregnancy.
I think you do have good suggestions-- I was unable to write for a long time or seek help after my first because I was so deep in the depths of it. New moms who feel something isn't right should be encouraged to seek all the help that's available. I am still a little confused as to why no one ever asked me how I was feeling at any follow up appointments. Pregnancy and post partum depressions, and other pg and pp issues -- both more and less serious than depression -- are misunderstood and often ignored as others have said. When I finally got back to writing (recently!), it felt like my world came back to me. (This is not the only source of relief I have--it's just an important one. And it took me almost four years to come back to it.) Good luck to you!

Jean said...

Great information. I'm sure many will find it very helpful.

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