The Failure of an Indoor Mom

The Failure of an Indoor Mom

Before I became a mom for the first time, I knew exactly what I wanted my motherhood and family to look like.  I was patient, loving, full of energy and convinced I would never become one of “those parents”.  I didn’t understand why people ever yelled at their kids or lost their patience, why some children had permanent snotty noses and why people insisted on leaving dirty diapers in their car.  While I was among the ranks of daughters that heard, “you’ll understand it when you are a parent someday”, I insisted that I wouldn’t.  That my family would have it all together and I would be somehow immune to LIFE.

Just to get this out in the open right now – yes, I lose my patience.  All too often.  Yes, I have gone to bed and laid awake wondering if I had scarred my child for life with my inexcusable “adult temper tantrums”.  I’ve been to the bottom of the barrel, cried (over and over) in front of my children when I just can’t handle anymore, and had to say sorry (again and again).  I have daily moments of frustration, and times when I feel like all I do all day is redirect and play referee.  While I now know I don’t even have a CLUE about what is coming in the future, I also have gotten my fair share of a swift kick in the pants and a (large) slice of humble pie.  My kids aren’t perfect.  I’m not perfect (as a wife or a mother).  My life isn’t a fairy tale.  It’s the down and dirty, get-through-the-days, smile all you can and pray for a good end result (and a happy family!).  It’s crazy, chaotic, pull-your-hair-out, beautiful.

 The Failure of an Indoor Mom

While I wouldn’t trade my husband or children for the world, sometimes I would be ok with a step outside of reality for a few minutes of fresh air.

Speaking of fresh air, it is my saving grace when I just can’t take a second more AND my preventative “medicine” for the chaos of life with three young children.  If I thought getting out the door before L was born was hard, throwing in a baby who needs to nurse and be changed every couple of hours (usually at the most inopportune times, of course) AND her brothers that know they can get away with whatever while I am doing the said nursing, we’re lucky if it takes us *only* a couple of hours.  I literally spend my first waking hours racing the lunch time “alarm – AKA meltdown – clock” in an effort to get everyone ready for the day AND outside before lunch and naps.  If I don’t succeed (which, believe it or not, DOES happen), the kids are crawling the walls, I am biting my tongue and muttering under my breath, and the house looks like a bomb went off in it.  Throw in an impatient 100 pound lab and we’re set up for complete failure.  Seriously – it’s that bad around here.

The days when all I want to do is put my head down and get the toilets cleaned for once and be able to walk through the living room without tripping (and so forgo outside time) are the days when I get nothing done.  It’s completely unfair.  But, the truth is we (all of us) NEED that recess for productivity and the ability to smile and let it (whatever “it” happens to be) slide right off our backs.

I shock myself that I need daily reminders that getting out DOES make a difference and IS worth it, because by golly it’s tough to even get out of the house for any reason!  But, even if we are all still in our pajamas (there’s perks to these spring snow storms which means you can cover everything with snow pants and jackets), we’re getting a walk around the block!

This is the type of situation where the only thing I know is that no matter what, I am a better mom when I can get outside and the effort is worth it.  My patience is improved, I yell less, I love more and I am happier with myself and the life I chose (and love!).

What’s your go-to action when the days are long, the stress is high and the kids are bouncing off the walls?


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16 thoughts on “The Failure of an Indoor Mom”

  1. I’m just like you, Amelia, and I can so relate to this post. Whenever I become impatient or frustrated with the kids or life in general, my cure is to go outside. I crave it and need it – for my own sake and my kids’ sake. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love your vulnerability to share how it really is instead of putting on the “perfect” face that you have it all nailed to sheer perfection. You are an inspiration to all of us.

  3. This post makes me feel much more normal! Pregnancy has me on an even shorter fuse than normal, so I often feel terrible about my lack of patience with my young daughter. But you’re right – getting outside is healing. And even though we’ve been a bit limited to the indoors for a variety of reasons, every little chunk of outdoor time helps. Aside from getting outside, on the evenings of the worst days I’ve found that turning off all electronics (except for some instrumental music) and taking the last hour before bed to simply sit and read as a family has really helped us to all refocus and gain back a little patience and perspective. That is, if the toddler isn’t have a tantrum because she’s so tired. 😉

    1. I totally totally understand – my “fuse” was soooo short when pregnant! And thanks for another great reminder too – I go, go, go and forget that I need time to unwind too!

  4. I’m a better mom if we get out of the house and I/we have eaten 3 GOOD meals a day. Plus lots of snacks for the 3y/o. We’ve been going swimming 2 times a week plus park or walks the other day. It has improved me as a mommy.

    1. Ohhh good point! We need snacks AND good meals. Often I realize they are just hungry when everyone is melting down. Thanks, Valerie, for the reminder!

  5. Like you, my “go to” is to head outside and get moving. We always try and get out for sometime in the morning and then again later in the day just before dinner time (the classic witching hour). Sometimes that means walking to get the groceries, other times it means just exploring the neighbourhood and other times it could mean a great hike.

    We also try and have an hour or so of quiet after lunch. Either playing quietly or reading. This is especially important on days that we have been super busy in the morning. Sometimes it means sacrificing some fun activities, but without that little bit of time out, it wouldn’t be fun for us anyway and the rest of the day would be a continuous deterioration.

    1. Suzi – such a good reminder to me that that quiet time is SOOOO important! You are right – it makes the rest of the day go so much smoother (along with that outside time! ;))

  6. I think we all need a dose of sunlight & fresh air everyday if possible. I find move like molasses to get them out there and then once we need to come back in, it’s a struggle to get them in because they are having too much fun!

    Yes, life is hectic, crazy and beautiful and sometimes we’re on Plan Y too – but I never regret it once we’re out. Tonight we wanted to do a simple walk to our mailbox after dinner but life happened and we didn’t get there. Oh Well, there’s always tomorrow.

  7. I just found your blog and must say I’m inspired. I struggle with being an indoor mom, because I can’t ever catch up with housework and feel too bogged down to get outside enough. Your posts have reminded me that my mental health and bonding with my kids is more important than cleaning out closets. We are camping in SC today through Tuesday for the eclipse, so what a great time to find you. Thanks so much!

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