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Have you experienced “mom brain?” I came across a meme while scrolling through my Newsfeed that perfectly captured how I sometimes feel as a mom of two small children, “I’ve lost my mind, I’m pretty sure my kids took it!” Anyone with a Facebook account has probably seen this quote but only parents can truly taste its truth.
[Tweet “I’ve lost my mind; I’m pretty sure my kids took it! #momlife”]
It goes without saying that I love my kids dearly. Still I have days when it feels like my little darlings have impishly scampered off with my mind and filled it with a blur of flustered thoughts. Recently, after one of these trying days, I found myself weeding in my garden and it struck me: I didn’t loose my mind and my kids didn’t take it. Rather, my mom-brain is like a garden, a garden that needed tending. Not losing your mind to your kids is a matter of pulling weeds and planting thoughts.
Every parent I know has days that make them feel like they’re losing their mind. After finally putting the little ones to bed do you ever find yourself breathing a sigh of relief and saying, “I love my kids, but they can sure take it out of me!” As you replay the day’s “highlights” do you ever think, “Uffda! That was NOT my best parenting!” I’m sure you have. I’m also sure that you tired your darnedest to be calm and collected. Yet some how, whether internally, externally, or both, you cracked under the stress and pressure of raising little humans. Perhaps you yelled at your kids or snapped at your partner. You cracked and what followed was far from your proudest moment, or better said moments.
If you’re like me, between your cracked mind, negative thoughts and doubts begin to sprout:
Why was I so harsh? Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I do that?
If left to fester these thoughts grow into weeds and thorns of guilt, doubt, disappointment, and failure; soon the garden of your mind turns into an overgrown mess. That evening in my garden the act of weeding was truly cathartic. As I pulled weeds out of the dirt, in prayer, I pulled out and examined my festering thoughts, “Are these thoughts true? Are these feelings helpful?”
And through prayer, one by one I weeded out the negativity of the day.
In the garden I was reminded that my rough day of parenting was in the past and the next day held the promise of tomorrow. Uprooting the weeds of my self doubt gave way to planting thoughts, true and lovely thoughts:
- Assurance that parenting is a long journey with many ups and downs shined perspective on my fears of “ruining my kids.”
- Memories of sweet moments with my kids and their cute quirks replaced the highlight reel of my mistakes.
- Thoughts of gratitude took root where frustration had once crowded.
The grace and beauty of these thoughts brought my mind back to a place of peace.
Now this glimpse into my #momlife would be incomplete if I did not mention the Master Gardener of my mind, Jesus Christ. Apart from my faith, the idea of pulling weeds and planting thoughts in the garden of one’s mind would be an empty sentiment of self-help. The truth is my attempts to do it all and help myself fail. Sure they may appear to work for awhile, but eventually my self reliance crumbles like a house of cards. Only the Master Gardener can keep the garden of our minds and our parenting truly flawless and beautiful.
Wife, work at home mom, and bassoonist, Laura Ankrum lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Prior to the arrival of her two children Laura taught elementary music and band in the Boston area. Now her home is her classroom and music studio. Laura is passionate about education, encouraging other moms, and eco-friendly living. She is the social media coordinator at Thirsties Inc.