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Surviving Motherhood: 12 Tips to Make it Through Alive

When it comes to survival skills, the hardest one by far is – MOTHERHOOD! Read more about Jamie Smith Black’s 12 survival skills on getting through motherhood – ALIVE.

When it comes to survival skills, the hardest one by far is – MOTHERHOOD!

You can’t even begin to think about storing away food and water for a rainy day when you’re drowning at home with hungry kids, missing socks, and dirty underwear. The challenges and demands placed on mothers today can be overwhelming!

So, whatever you do, don’t give-up! You can survive 😉

surviving motherhood

This picture sums up pretty well what motherhood has been like for me 😉

As much as I hear the phrase – “Enjoy them while they’re young, they grow up fast” – it doesn’t make being a Mom any easier!

I have 3 little men and 1 bossy princess that have run my life now for the past 8 years and as cute as they are, I have definitely run the range of emotions that come along with being a Mom. The constant whining, crying, fighting, and dealing with special needs has definitely taken its toll, and often times I wonder if I’ll get through it alive!

Let’s just face it, sometimes motherhood is just about surviving. It can be a constant rollercoaster, but here are some ways I’ve been able to start having more Ups than Downs!

#1 Find an Escape

Do you ever feel like the most boring person alive when someone asks you what you enjoy doing? Asks about your hobbies? Or what you do with your free time?

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I do!

My answers usually consist of – sleep, delete emails, eat chocolate, change diapers, & go back to bed!

finding an escape from motherhood

If you have similar answers, it’s time to find an escape! I’m not talking about running away and checking into the nearest hospital (as tempting as that might be), but finding something you’re passionate about. What is something you love doing, that makes you get excited to wake-up each day, and gives you a sense of purpose? If you can’t think of anything, it’s time to go searching!

Mom’s need to escape somewhere happy for at least a few minutes each day – doctors orders! It gives you energy, renews your Spirit, & makes you a much better Mom! Your escape can be as simple as reading a favorite book, playing the guitar, or pinning things on pinterest!

#2 Prioritize Yourself

Part of becoming Mom means you no longer get any sleep, you shuttle kids to and from activities, and you serve every sick person on your street!

That’s just what Mom’s are expected to do – right? WRONG!!!

I’m pulling out my wagon wheel to help me explain this one!

wagon wheel analogy

Most women have it all backwards! We start on the outside of the wheel and work our way in. We try to impress the world, then spoil our kids, we neglect our spouse, and then leave ourselves too exhausted to take our vitamins & floss our teeth.

Everyone Else –> Children –> Spouse –> You

I know this may sound super-selfish, and go against everything you’ve been taught, but you will be much more effective if you start with YOU! Start in the center of the wheel and work your way out! When you’re healthy, mentally stable, and sometimes put a brush through your hair, you’re a better YOU! It puts you in a better position to meet your hubbie’s needs, be a super-mom to your kids, and even have time and energy left to go save the world!

You –> Spouse –> Children –> Everyone Else

There will always be times when priorities get a little out-of-whack, but just remember, you’re Mom and you know best!

A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do… But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently. – Julie B. Beck

#3 Wake-up With a SMILE!

Every morning you should wake-up with a smile!

I am NOT a morning person, but by forcing a smile on my face things don’t bother me as much – spilled milk, lost shoes, helpless kids, and the list goes on. Just trust me on this.

Try waking up tomorrow with a HUGE smile and see if your morning goes a tad-bit smoother!

#4 Simplify Your Life

Cut the fluff out that wears you down and stresses you out!

I’m all about simplifying, so whenever I find something that will make my life easier I jump all over it!

One thing that freed up a ton of time and helped me tremendously was when I started meal planning and grocery shopping only TWICE a year! Yep, you heard that right!

simplify motherhood

Other things I’ve tried simplifying around our home is – gifts, birthdays, traditions, toys, activities, and anything else that sucks my time away and makes life more difficult.

There are numerous ways to go about this, so start tackling some things of your own!

#5 Decide Who YOU Want to Become

Are you just an under-appreciated maid constantly looking for everyone’s crap (or just picking it up)? I know this is how I feel most days, but that is why this tip for surviving motherhood is so important!

motherhood is not just locating crap

Every morning the following quote stares me down:

We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become each day. – Richard G. Scott

And every time I see it, I reflect on if I’m becoming what I want to be.

What about you? Do you know what you want to become?

If you don’t know where you are going, it’s pretty hard to get there, so have a vision, set goals, create a personal mission statement, and if you’re really brave – have some dreams.

It’s great when kids realize Mommy’s have dreams too, and even better when they see you’re not afraid to go for them whether or not you fail!

Set Goals:

Goals give meaning, motivation & direction to your life! Set goals in every significant category of your life such as: Spiritual, Family, Work, Physical, Finances, Friendship, Knowledge, Mental, Emotional.

These are the categories I have and questions I ask myself when setting goals:

  • SPIRITUAL- In what way can I draw closer to God & help serve others (especially family)?
  • MENTAL – What new thing can I Learn? Read? Do?
  • PHYSICAL – Am I taking care of my body? How is my health? What can I do differently?
  • EMOTIONAL – Do I surround myself with people who are positive & help me be a better person? How are my relationships with others?

Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many. I try and start with 1, but no more than 3 in each category!

Whatever you do, focus on what you ultimately want to become, or else you might end up as a glorified crap locator 😉

#6 Say “NO” More

Do you want to know why my friend is skinny, super-toned, and looks amazing after birthing 5 kids?

Besides having some awesome genetics, she has learned something that I’m still working on, and that is how to say “NO”!

She goes to the gym everyday at 9 am and NOTHING gets in the way of her workouts! She is the first to help others, volunteer, and hang out with friends, but if she’s asked to do something during her workout time – forget it!

I used to think she was a bit extreme and needed to be more flexible, but I’ve come to learn one of the most important lessons through her example:


  • Whenever you say YES to something = you are saying NO to something else
    • For example when you say YES to a big project, you maybe saying NO to spending time with your kids.

and vice versa…


  • Whenever you say NO to something = You are saying YES to something else.
    • For instance if you say NO to TV, it might mean saying YES to working out!

So before you make ANY decision, ask yourself if the tradeoff is really worth-it?

This is why having goals and a vision is so important, because when you are faced with decisions, you will know whether it’s a YES or a NO!

We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives. -Elder Dallin H. Oaks

#7 Ask For Help

This can be one of the hardest things to do as a Mom. Asking for help does not come easy, because we hate admitting to ourselves and especially to others, that we can’t do it all!

Not everyone is lucky enough to have grandparents that are able to help with their grandkids, or friends that aren’t already overwhelmed with their own lives. So who do you turn to when you need someone to talk to, or just give you a much needed break!

A few suggestions you can think about:

  • Have your spouse help! Don’t abuse your spouse, but don’t forget they can be a huge support and help! One couple I know, the husband will takes charge once a week and give his wife the night off (hint, hint, if my hubby ever reads this!).
  • Join or form a babysitter exchange group where you can earn points for watching people’s kids, or use points to get help with yours.
  • Find or start a mother’s group in your area. You can do this with Facebook or another social media site to help you connect with others and ask for help when needed.
  • Hire a mother’s helper! I use to have my 11-year old neighbor come over after school and help me for about an hour or two.
  • Get professional help if you need it! There’s no shame in it and it doesn’t mean you are any less of a mom. I’ve even hit up a few this year 😉

Don’t forget us too (your online friends), we know we’re not as good as the real thing, but sometimes just having a listening ear that won’t judge (and most likely you’ll never meet) is all you need!

#8 Accomplish Something Today

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

You know that thing you’ve been putting off forever? Yeah, that one!

You’ve been waiting to get around to it once the stars and moon align, for when some extra time will magically appear, and after you lose that last 10-20 lbs!

Well, not to be a Debbie-downer, but it might just never happen. Go ahead and just go for it!

set goals

I’ve been wanting to do the Texas Marathon, not because I cared to annoy everyone with a 26.2 sticker on my car, but because the medal you receive is almost as big as the state itself 😉

I have to admit I was horrible at training, and my time wasn’t anything to brag about, but on Jan 1st of this year at 1:15pm I crossed that finish line and it was one of the most exhilarating feelings I’ve had in a long time. I made a goal & I accomplished it.

Each day is a new start, a new beginning! Stop waiting around and go ahead and accomplish something today, this week, or this month! Getting something checked off your list is a huge ego boost and can be like a snowball effect to help you reach the rest of your goals you’ve set for yourself!

#9 Turn the Locks Around

Maybe I’m evil for doing this, but turning the locks has kept my sanity more than anything else!

My neighbor has well-trained kids that play quietly in their rooms and read books for 2 hours a day. My kids came from a different batch in Heaven and there is no way they do anything quietly, unless they are plotting to set fires in the backyard, or are covering each other with angry bird tattoos.

My solution – turn the locks around! It has worked wonders! Now instead of showing my crazy side to my kids when I find a new hole in the wall, or see that they painted their brother blue – we instead walk calmly to their rooms and they get locked in for a few minutes while we both have a time-out. No more screaming or fighting (at least for the most part)!

kids fishing out of window

Just remember to lock the window too! You might just have a neighbor come over and inform you your kid peed out of it!

#10 When You Want to Scream – Take a Picture Instead!

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory! – Dr. Suess

There is nothing like walking into the office to work on important business (checking email’s important right?), to find that your 2 year old discovered a new trick…

ruined keyboard

This just calls for a loud scream, followed by a good cry, with some chocolate to top everything off! And that is exactly what I used to do, but I’ve discovered something that works even better – Stop and take a picture 1st!

Often times when you take a moment to take a picture of their mischief it will give you a chance to calm down, and maybe even smile! Of course you don’t want to encourage their bad behavior, but it helps me from losing it and having a major meltdown.

Plus, at the end of the year when I put all the pictures into a book – those are by far our favorite.

#11 Seriously, Stop Comparing!

God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect. Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are NOT! Please remember to be compassionate and patient with yourself and be careful to not compare yourself to others. Be thankful for all the small successes… these may seem tiny to you, but God notices them and they are NOT small to him. – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

There will always be people that seem to have it all – great hair, well behaved kids, good jobs, more fun, lots of friends, perky boobs (even after 10 kids) – and everything else that you are feeling insecure about at the moment!

God doesn’t expect anyone to compare their worst to someone’s best, so why do it? Instead, be thankful for the small successes – they really are bigger than you think!

Plus, we all know those super-moms with perfect kids have Benadryl in their purse 😉

#12 Learn to Laugh!

No matter what you do, and how hard you try, there will still be days that don’t go as planned – not even close! Your kids may build a water park in your living room (w/ real water effects), your baby will eat a Smurf before church (at least look like it), and you won’t be able to find your bra when you’re in a hurry.

learn to laugh

In these situations there is only one thing you can do – Laugh!

If you don’t know how, it’s time to learn!

How Are You Surviving Motherhood?

I’m still new at being a Mom and have plenty to learn, but there are 2 things I know for sure:

  • NEVER say NEVER! As soon as you do it will happen to you!
  • EVERYTHING is easier said, than done! So don’t get frustrated with your efforts!

Each of us have different experiences, children, and circumstances, so please let me know what tips or advice you have. Let’s support each other so we can stop Surviving Motherhood, and start Loving it instead!

* This post was originally shared on “Or So She Says” *

About the Author: Jamie Black Smith is a mom of 3 little men & 1 princess, living life in Texas. When I’m not blogging you’ll most likely find me stuffing my face with Cheetos, learning how to bow hunt, or attempting to take a nap! Anyways, if you’re serious about being prepared I highly recommend you STOP everything and JOIN US NOW 😉 You don’t want to miss out!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on April 30th, 2014

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