Mom Life,Real Talk

When The Days Feel Longer Than The Years

Mommin’ 101 teaches us that “the days are long but the years are short”. 

Throughout the younger years of your children’s lives, especially, you will hear this countless times from older and wiser women in the grocery checkout line. From grandmothers at the park with their grandkids. From moms of teenagers. From pretty much everyone who knows, because they’ve lived it. 

You’ll feel the weight of those words in your own heart as your baby’s first birthday approaches, or the first time they deny a kiss from you. You’ll gently brush the hair off their face as they sleep and declare with a pinch of mourning that you have no idea where the time went. You’ll finally understand the stage five clinger mom in “I’ll Love You Forever”, and suddenly that old woman crawling through her grown son’s window to cradle his limbs won’t seem so completely insane. 

It’s a beautiful sentiment, meant to give perspective on the hard days. But when one day feels longer than the sum of an entire year, it can be hard to maintain that positive outlook. 

When the minutes and hours and seconds of each new dawn begin to blend with the night, and you can no longer tell if a new day is upon you or not, because sleep has abandoned you and the needs of others— of your ever-growing little loves— take precident over your own. 

When the days feel longer than the years because one day is a year. Because when you are finally able to rest, so much time has already passed. 

What then?

How can you embrace the days where the sun never seems to descend? The ones that last longer than a telethon or a Ragnar race or that damn Lamb chop song from your childhood? This is the season that never ends, yes it goes on and on, my friends. 

It would be easy to say, “think about the future! Remember that you’re going to miss this!”— but telling someone that they are going to miss the days of sleepless nights and zero moments alone is like telling someone they are going to miss weeks of rain. There’s just no way for them to know until it’s gone. There’s no way for them to see that until they are face to face with a California drought. 

So instead, maybe we can do something different. Maybe, when the days feel longer than the years, we should be encouraging one another to merely look at that day. Break it up into sections. Tackle it piece by piece. Hour by hour. Can you get through another ten minutes of this? Yes, you can. What about another hour?  If your answer is unsure, then go back to minutes. And if that seems overwhelming still, then ask for help

Mamas, we have to start asking for help when we need it. I don’t know what it is, but every single mom I talk to tells me the same thing:

 They feel an intense mom guilt whenever they have to ask for help with their kids.

Why do we do this to ourselves? When did we decide that it would be better to raise our children from a place of overwhelm than to simply ask for an extra set of hands when we need them? 

I wish I had the answer. 

I wish I could hunt down the first person to ever whisper in a mama’s ear and tell her that she was somehow less than if she asked for help— because I would slap them in the face.

Mama’s, hear me out. 

All of you. 

The working mom who feels guilt because she’s already gone 40+ hours a week— so she feels like she needs to spend every second of her spare time with her kids to “make up” for being gone so much. 

The stay-at-home mom who feels guilt because her job is to care for her children, so asking for help feels like she is quite literally unable to fulfill her job description. 

The work-from-home mom who feels guilt because she thinks that either her work gets neglected or her children do, almost every single day. 

The momtrepeneur who feels guilt because she chose to pursue her dreams and feels selfish for doing so. 

All of you— listen up. 

Your children do not and will not suffer from you getting help. They will be better for it. 

Yes, I’m going as far as to say that they will not only be okay, but better for it. And the reason is simple. 

If you’re out on a run and you sprain your ankle, you need to go home and care for it. Ice, wrap, elevate, and rest. You wouldn’t ignore the pain and keep walking on it, because if you did then your condition would worsen. 

Think of being overwhelmed as spraining your ankle. You can’t keep carrying the weight of that around because the symptoms will only worsen. 

Likewise, you wouldn’t teach your children to push through the pain of a sprain, would you?

If you want your kids to ask for help when they need it (something I know you say to them) then you need to be willing to live by example. Because I promise you that yes, even your newborn baby, can tell when you are overwhelmed. And if you are pridefully pushing through when you should be leaning on others, your children are going to see that and think that is how they too, should be. 

We are not meant to do this life alone, sweet friends. God made Adam a companion for a reason— because even the very first person on this earth needed someone. We all need each other, and there should be absolutely no shame in that. 

So when the days feel longer than the years, do not lose hope. Focus on that single day. That single hour. Those single seconds. And do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Because when the days feel longer than the years, that is our souls way of telling us that it needs a break. So give your soul a break, mama. Your heart and your children will both thank you for it.  

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  • Reply
    December 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I totally agree with this! For the longest time I was the working mom you used as one of the examples.. since I worked I felt bad taking any free time to myself since I felt like it should all go to the kids. This year (2016) my resolution was to get more ME time, and I had an awesome year because of it and I was happier, which trickled down to my kids! 🙂

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      That’s so encouraging to hear, Lauren! It’s amazing what happens to our hearts (as well as our family’s hearts) when we take time to fill our own cups.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I love any post that encourages moms to take care of themselves. It is so hard to ask for help, but there is nothing wrong with a community there to help as needed. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      I totally agree, Kim! I think we tend to avoid asking because of pride and fear of being judged, but that community is there for a reason and we should absolutely utilize it!

  • Reply
    Luz T
    December 27, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    I have always thought this, we need to focus on the now and not worry so much about tomorrow or next week. Its definitely hard though when you feel like your little one is growing so fast.

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Luz, yes! I think it’s hard as mothers not to look to the future and wonder what it will hold for our little ones, but living in the now is a total necessity for our joy and sanity.

  • Reply
    Sane Mama
    December 28, 2016 at 12:53 am

    You certainly are right that we need to ask for help. I struggled with this for a long time. I wanted to be able to do it all, and if I could just be better or stronger I would be able to hold it together. But I was totally wrong about it.

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that you came out on the other side of that, because it can definitely be hard and it’s something that I myself, have struggled with even before having kids. Pushing past those fears of inadequacy is vital in our happiness and health though!

  • Reply
    Amber Starr
    December 28, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Thank you for this! I too feel the intense guilt when I need help sometimes. Parenting, especially young children, is exhausting both mentally and physically (oh how i miss sleep so much). I loved your sprained ankle analogy and will keep that in mind when I’m being tough on myself. <3

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Sleep, my old friend! One day we will get it back (I hope, haha). The guilt can be real, but if we push past that feeling we will be better for it (and so will our children).

  • Reply
    Sharon Chen
    December 28, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I love your point about focusing more on the smaller units of time. Great advice for moms!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you, Sharon! I’ve found it to be a succession method for myself and I hope it will help other moms too 🙂

  • Reply
    Patricia Edie
    December 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Andi…I am sure your blog is a breath of fresh air for so many moms! You say things out loud and you give permission and you affirm and you give hope.

    Regarding this particular post, I am speaking as a grandmother…a grandmother who wants nothing more than to be asked to help. I know many women will say, “I raised my children. Now it is their turn.” But I am the kind of Grandmother who wants to help in a “hands-on” way because that is what allows me to share in the lives of my children and grandchildren. I have friends whose adult children do not “invite them in” to their lives. They feel denied and deprived. That sit at home and look at cute pictures shared on Facebook or little videos shared on smart phones, but they do not get to handle those precious little bundles…they don’t get to rock those infants to sleep or take a walk around the block or sing “The wheels on the bus…” for the 1,000th time. They don’t get to be greeted at the door with a toddler squealing, “Mima! Mima!” and making them feel like the greatest thing since gummy bears. I realize that some Grandmothers cannot be a hands-on help. But for those that can and for those that offer, I hope harried moms will realize that they are offering a gift when they ask for help!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Patricia, I always enjoy your commentary on my posts— thank you for reading and for always providing me with additional insight. I absolutely love what you said here. It made me think of my own mother and the joy she gets from spending time with my kids. I’ve often said to her that I “didn’t want to ask her to babysit again” but I felt like I was overwhelming her, and her response has always been similar to what you just wrote. But your words really put it into perspective for me, and it really allows me to release some of the mommy guilt when I remember that my mom considers watching my children a gift all on its own.
      Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother to your grandchildren, and such a fantastic support system to your son and daughter-in-law. I know that your support has been a vital key to charlottes success and happiness

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