What Moms Need in the Hard Times: Disasters, Disruptions and Drama
Hurricanes. Fires. Floods. Tornados. So many families have been disrupted and devastated in the past month.
Even if you haven’t gone through a natural disaster, you may be experiencing disruptions that have invaded your life, be it conflict in your marriage, a loved one finds out they have cancer, or your athletic daughter tore her meniscus and is out for the season.
Here’s what I’ve noticed two weeks out from Hurricane Harvey. There is the obvious devastation that comes from a natural disaster. And this is what the media focuses on. We have been bombarded with those images.
But there are ripple effects from the hurricane that may not be obvious at first but impacts your day-to-day life.
Your life and your family life have been disrupted. Whenever there are disruptions it increases individual stress and family stress. This can easily lead to drama.
Let’s see how this impacts moms.
For one, more is expected from you. Your plate was already full and now you need to push yourself to rally and rebuild, and help your neighbors recover.
The natural result of this is exhaustion and often you don’t even have time to process everything that has happened and you can feel off.
Many of you have experienced trauma. It’s traumatic to watch the news and see the hurricane or fire keep advancing towards your home. It’s traumatic watching the water keep advancing towards your front door even if it didn’t go in your house. It’s traumatic to see your parents rescued from the home they lived in all their lives. It’s traumatic to see the water rush through your front door. It’s traumatic to be across the country and feel helpless as the natural disaster is approaching your loved ones.
Trauma steals your energy and then you have no reserves. It impacts your emotions. You can feel angry, depressed, or emotionally flat. Trauma keeps you in the heightened state of stress response. You imagine the worst. You are on edge and can’t relax. You can’t seem to access hope or any happiness.
Then add to the mix an angry, entitled or negative teenager because her life has been disrupted.
This is a recipe for drama.
Here’s what can help.
Mom you are key here. You are the foundation of this family. You matter. If you are emotionally and physically spent you can’t give anything positive to your family, because you are spent.
Recently, my 21-year-old daughter came over and walked into the kitchen and was engulfed in her phone. I tried to connect with her and she got irritated and then tears ran down my cheeks, which ticked her off more. This goes under the category, “You know you are tired when…” Tears kept coming all day. It really wasn’t about my daughter, I was completely exhausted and my body was telling me that it was time for some deliberate self-care.
What Moms Need When Your Life Has Been Disrupted
1. Deliberate self-care
What’s great about moms is that we see the big picture. We see everything that needs to be done–and yet this can be overwhelming. Something has to go and most often it’s our own needs or self-care.
Your needs and self-care need to get back on the list. It’s as important as anything else on the list including helping your neighbor.
Deliberate self-care is practical and quantifiable.
- I need to take a 30-minute nap.
- I need to go to a yoga class.
- I need to walk the dog and I’ll be back in 20 minutes.
- I need to grab coffee with my best friend.
***Spend 10 minutes and write down three practical things you can do this week. This will help you feel like yourself and start to replenish your energy.
2. Intentional soul care
In hard times our soul feels like a Mack truck has hit it. You fill stunned, in shock, or numb. Or the tears won’t stop. You can’t sleep. You may be busy around the house but your soul is all stirred up.
Hope, joy, happiness, beauty and peace seem to have vacated your body. It feels like they will never return.
This is the result of trauma. Disasters take a toll on our heart and soul.
We need to be intentional about nurturing and healing our souls. The simple things help, like watching the sunset after days and days of rain.
What nurtures your soul?
- It could be playing with your dog
- Being with your friends
- Listening to music
- Quality time with your family
- Prayer and meditation
- Reading a good book, or listening to a podcast
- Worship at church or temple***Spend a few minutes and identify one thing that nurtures your soul and schedule it this week.
3. Extend yourself grace
When you are going through a hard time it’s important to extend yourself grace.
What does that mean? It means being kind to you.
You may find that you feel distracted and it’s harder to get things done. Or things are slipping through the crack, like forgetting your best friends birthday. You feel like you are running at 60% and then you beat yourself up for that.
There’s a reason that you are not at 100% and it’s because you are going through a hard time. Getting down on yourself will only drain your energy more. Give yourself credit for what you are accomplishing. Keep taking the best next step.
By being deliberate with your self and soul care and being kind to yourself you will get back to feeling like yourself again.
And when you extend grace to yourself, it helps your family. The reason being is that if you can extend grace to yourself, you can extend grace to your kids and partner. They are going through a hard time too and that’s why they aren’t functioning at their best.
When things feel overwhelming, start with the simple, practical solutions and then get them in your schedule this week.