I’ve been struggling with discontentment lately– in all the things. I’ve found reasons to be unhappy with my community, my neighbors, my friends, my family, my husband, and myself. I’ve even been discontent about the weather which is dumb. Because as all New Mexicans know, the weather can change in an instant.
I’m in a season of motherhood where we’re done having babies and there isn’t another change on the horizon that we can foresee. Things are good but somewhat stagnant. My days as a stay-at-home mom of three littles can be mundane. One load of laundry after another. The same ole same ole. And instead of rejoicing in the good, I find myself on the lookout for something more.
I know I’m not the only momma who’s come face to face with discontentment. I’m sure it rears its ugly head with everyone on a daily basis. Discontentment attacks moms who stay home, whose primary role in life is being a mom. I’ve known moms, myself included, who begin to feel depressed or look for something else. They go looking for a quick fix: a new job, another kid, or maybe even another spouse.
But I know from experience that changing your circumstance or your situation isn’t going to change what’s going on inside.
Instead of a change of scenery, how about a change of heart?
I’ve been called to stay home. In this season in life, my spot is at home with my kids. My husband has a good job, my daughter is homeschooled part-time, and my other two kids are preschool-aged. My husband and I have made building a culture of love and me being at home a priority. But sometimes, I lose sight of our goals and what an integral part I play in them. I long for adventure. I get cabin fever. And sometimes I just want something different than what I’ve been dealt.
But that’s not depression, that’s just plain discontentment. That’s something in my heart that needs a change, not my scenery.
So what is a momma to do when she finds herself in the pit of discontentment? How does she change her attitude from grumbling to rejoicing, no matter the circumstances?
How to Deal with Discontentment in Motherhood
First of all, I need to realize that my heart needs some work. I can’t fix it on my own. So I call out to my Lord and Savior and ask him to change my heart. And friends, He is so good and faithful. He always comes through! He helps me see that a gloomy Saturday isn’t cause to pout. It’s beautiful not only because it’s my husband’s favorite but because He created it. After all, these are the days that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in them!
Sometimes, oftentimes, I wake up with zero desire to do what needs to be done that day. Those are the days when I really have to search for things to rejoice in. So, I write down five reasons to rejoice. And sometimes they are super simple and obvious, but it’s all I’ve got. Even the simple, small things are reasons to rejoice and they help give me much-needed perspective. Like today:
- All five of us are healthy.
- The sun is shining.
- The kids slept in.
- I have a house to clean.
- Matt sent me a sweet text.
There’s nothing super out of the ordinary going on there, but those are all reasons to smile. And so I do. I rejoice in the little things because those are actually big things.
When I really was suffering from depression and anxiety related to pregnancy, my mom suggested I go through the pictures on my phone of my kids. Seeing their pictures always made her smile, so maybe it would have the same effect on me. She was right. Scrolling through their pictures does make me smile. After all, I usually tend to snap a picture when things are going well, not when everyone is screaming. So when I’m feeling blue, scrolling through photos of my smiley, silly kids reminds me that I do have many many reasons to rejoice. Videos of kids doing silly things are even better. And if you really want a giggle, show your kids videos of themselves doing silly things. That’s sure to turn a day around.
Stay off Social Media
It’s a little ironic for a blogger to suggest you stay off of social media, right? Well, let’s just say tread lightly. Modern technology is great in that we can now stay up-to-date and connect with people in other places or even just other homes through Facebook and Instagram. I mean, being a stay-at-home mom must have been so lonely before the internet! But social media can often rob us of joy. After all, comparison is the thief of joy. And it’s really hard not to compare yourself with others on social media. So be mindful of the way you’re feeling before you log on. If you’re finding yourself grumbly about even the weather, pick up a good book that will lift your spirits instead.
So, what are five reasons that you have to rejoice today?
Discontentment and depression are two very different things. Depression is real, and if you find yourself feeling symptoms of depression, please seek help. You can also check out my first post with ABQMom about ways to deal with depression.
Originally published July 2018.