Usually, when in #real survival mode, you are also overwhelmed. I see lots of bloggers use these two phrases interchangeably.
In fact, upon doing a quick search on Pinterest for “help for moms, ” or “overwhelmed moms,” I find lots of tips and advice. But, it is not exactly what I need.
Go ahead try it. I will wait right here.
Did you find some of these articles?
- “A Real Mom’s Guide to Organizing Your Life”
- “Breastfeeding is Hard: Read These Tips and Advice”
- “Five-minute Banana Blueberry, Avocado Puree for Babies”
- “Organizing Life for School “– Over 5K shares on Pinterest
- “How to Survive and Thrive as an Introverted SAHM”
- “7 Easy Ways to Be a More Positive Mom”
- “Car Cleaning Hacks for Moms?”
- “Resource for Helping Find Joy in Parenting
- “How to Handle a Picky Eaters”
- “63 Ways to Live Frugally
- “5 Time Mgmt Tips for Moms”
If that’s the kind of stuff you are looking for, then this post is not for you. Go ahead and check out the articles mentioned above. My feelings aren’t hurt; I am sure there are lots of helpful information in them.
But what if you need something more?
What if your challenges and trials are more serious than simply “knocking the wind out of your sail” and cause a bad day?
What if your challenges leave you stranded in the middle of the ocean breathlessly treading water?
I am talking about #real “survival mode.”
A period of time in your life when a force outside of your control exerts pressures, limits, difficulties, burdens, anxieties, or demands on you.
Over the years, I have experienced many episodes of being forced into survival mode. And Every. Single. Time. it was totally beyond my control.
Pregnancies are really rough for me. I am exhausted and have infinitesimal amounts of energy for nine solid months. It is amazing that I make it through each time. I am blessed with four children. My husband and I joke that when I finally give birth to the newest baby and we add one more child to our schedule, his life gets easier! That is how significant my challenges with pregnancy are.
Depression has been a part of my life for twenty years now. (Read my story here) Most of that time my depression and anxiety have been controlled by medications. But, every so often the medication stops working for me and I have to switch medications. We don’t always find the medication that “hits the spot” right away. Months of transitioning occur. During that time, I am struggling to keep my head above water. Our whole family is thrown into “survival mode.”
Most recently, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am only 39 (for a few more months, at least!). The chronic pain I have lived with for more than eight months, now, has again thrown us into survival mode.
Why? Because it can take 12-18 months to find the right medication for your body’s physiology and even when you do find the right medication it takes a minimum of 3 months to start working.
There are numerous other reasons someone can be forced into “survival mode.”
- special needs child or elderly family member that requires caretaking
- developmental issue or challenge for a child
- physical illness or injury
- mental illness
- loss of a loved one
- financial hardship
I have a strong faith in God and a very pragmatic and loving husband.
Through the years, we finally developed a routine for the times we have lived in “survival mode.”
STEP 1: Identify
Name the setback. Is it physical, mental, emotional, situational? Don’t be afraid to say it out loud. Often times, by simply recognizing the struggle, you can gain back some control over the challenge.
STEP 2: Assess
Take a realistic look at:-What You Can Do
- What You Can Do
- What You Can’t Do
- What You Need Help With
- What You Need to Let Go & Let God
- Dump each task, responsibility, chore, or commitment into one of these “buckets” or categories.
STEP 3: Prioritize
Prioritize the list of things in each bucket.
Example: In the “Can Do” bucket, what is the highest priority and what is the lowest.
Thrive Guide for Moms with Chronic Conditions
Do you live in survival mode because of your chronic illness or condition? Learn the smart way to handle everyday life.
Don’t just survive, THRIVE!
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STEP 4: Create a Plan of Action
How are you going to get these things done? Will you set small goals for the things you can do? Will you pay for a service for the things you need help with? Who will you ask for help?
STEP 5: Let It Go and Let God
Finally, you have to let it go and let God take care of it. Practice acceptance. Embrace your imperfections. Focus on the positives. Pray. Be thankful. Faithfully expect God will have a treasure for you on the other side of this trial.
There will be certain things you struggle to let go of. In these cases, turn to prayer and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this something I think is necessary because of societal or cultural expectations?
- Is this something you think is necessary because you are placing unrealistic expectations on yourself?
- Is this something you really have no control over and just need to pray for peace and acceptance?
- Is it something you really need to focus on right now? Can it be saved for later?
Just because you can’t do it now, doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do it later.
For me, this is the case with my desire/need to lose weight. After all of the medications I have been on throughout my life, four pregnancies, bouts with depression, sleep disorders, and physical illnesses like Rheumatoid Arthritis, I have continued to gain weight. But I know that until things get under control, I will not have the physical or emotional energy to put into making a permanent lifestyle change of eating healthy and regular exercise.
Now, I have been saying this for years. . . it’s not an excuse. . . I literally have been facing one major struggle after another.
I am hoping I am on the cusp of escaping #real survival mode, but only God knows what lies ahead for me.
Another key person who has helped me through struggles my entire life is my mom. She always reminds me of three very important things:
- Take one day at a time
- This too shall pass
- I am loved and have many gifts to offer
Yes, these are all phrases we are used to saying and mostly take for granted. But, we need to start believing and have faith.
How do you deal with #real struggles? Comment below!