Monday, May 23, 2016

My DAMD frustration and the Cure for it


The Day After Mother's Day (DAMD) was the most frustrating day of the year for me. The world moved on from celebrating motherhood and I was left right in the middle of it. The flowers dried up, the candy was on sale. I was rightfully back at my "job," struggling to find meaning and lasting joy through it all. 

It's only right that I give you a disclaimer. My husband has always helped me a lot. When I went through "all day sickness" with my kids (instead of morning sickness) he would get everything ready so I could rest for 3 or 4 hours. He's the man who cleans ceiling fans when I go out of town friends. My husband also works, so he's not here at least 40 hours each week. 

I have searched for the meaning of my DAMD frustration and I found that it came from:

 the weight of the job - while the world moved on, I was still doing the heavy work of motherhood. I enjoy it but let's be honest, there's nothing easy about changing 3 diapers, cooking, cleaning and being part of other activities in life. Add sleep deprivation to this, hormonal changes, friendship challenges and you get a frustrated person. I was not ungrateful, I was just a tired mamãe.  

• wrong expectations - being celebrated is so good, I decided I'd like the whole world to do it all the time. This is unrealistic, I know. I also had the unrealistic expectation that at least half of Downton Abbey's staff would move in and help me (now you understand why I try not to watch too much tv?). Right or wrong, expectations are a part of the motherhood journey. 

Each year on Mother's Day I experience a mix of thanksgiving with grief because my grandmothers are no longer alive and I can't be with my own mother (she lives in Brazil). If I'm dealing with any other inner struggles, it shows up too. 

This year I had a new thing happened: my husband was out of town on mother's day. It was my first time in 7 years without him by my side to celebrate such a big date. 

I made up my mind that this year, it was going to be extra special. The kids are old enough to understand mother's day and to fully express their appreciation. They made cards at school and they prepared a special surprise for me. 

Before the big day, I was aware that the DAMD was coming and I did not want it to be similar to what I experienced in the previous years. Instead of focusing on what I didn't have, I decided to change my perspective and celebrate what I had before during and after mother's day. 

Before - I took the kids to the beach. We LOVE the ocean so we decided to go and enjoy it for a couple of hours. It was lovely, it added so much joy (and memories) to our hearts! The goal was to get out of our routine and have a fun time together. 

During - I cried hidden tears as I remembered my grandmothers and as I missed my own mother. Then the kids woke up and gave me their surprise: the made breakfast (granola with yogurt) and they read their cards. It was the best, most thoughtful and true display of honor anyone could ever give me. I love my kids! We also went out for lunch and the restaurant ran out of food so I couldn't eat. Instead of having a bad attitude, I fed the kids and I had a pleasant and thankful attitude towards the staff who gave us that meal for free. I learned so many lessons during that 20-minute meal. Motherhood is about sacrifice and putting others first, while doing it with grace. 

After - Because I didn't eat out the day before, I gave myself the gift of a run in the gym and afterwards the kids and I went out for fajitas. It was awesome! I was also aware that this year the DAMD was different and I was okay with it. Being proactive really worked. 

I don't know if you can relate at all with my experience. I do know that frustration and anger are so normal for people who do it all for everyone, all of the time (aka Moms!). I do know that God loves me for who I am, where I am. He also gives me strategies for every season of motherhood. I also learned to rely on my friends for affirmation and support. 

I don't know what the next DAMD will look like but if I rely on God for guidance, it will be a day filled with thanksgiving, no matter my circumstances. 

Do you ever feel frustrated in your motherhood journey? How do you bounce out of it?

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