Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do You Ever Have Down Days?

The Question:
Dear Jane,

Do you ever have days where you don't want to be a mom and just veg out?  What do you do?  I have awesome kids, but sometimes I am just tired and I just want to let my hair down, but with three boys 4, 2 and 2 months, it gets too out of control.  Do you ever want to hang out in jammies and do whatever?  I feel I have to always be doing something or something is happening that's not suppose to.


The Answer:
Dear Friend,
Yes.  Absolutely yes.  Every so often throughout all of my childbearing years, I would wake up too tired to face my life.  It took me a long time to recognize this.  I would try to push myself through it (because what else can you do?) until my mother one day said something like:  "Have you ever noticed how sometimes you just have a very slow, worn out day?"  She lived 800 miles away so I wondered how she knew.  "Yes!"  I replied in utter shock.  She went on to mention some of the symptoms:  a lazy lethargic feeling, not really sick but sometimes kind of hoarse, unmotivated, a little down.  "Yes, yes, yes,"  I replied.  She said, "You know what I used to do on those days?"  "What?!!"  I cried.  "Nothing,"  she said.  "I canceled everything.  I stayed in my pajamas.  I unplugged the phone.  I let the kids stay in their pajamas.  If someone dropped by, I opened the door a crack and told them I wasn't feeling well.   I read or watched tv and let the world fall down around me."    Wow.  This was good news.
I started tracking my down days.  They seemed to often follow a very stressful few days--such as the Standards Night I was in charge of or the Road Show I had to direct.  But I came to recognize the day almost before my eyes opened.  And I made it a policy to follow my mom's advice--to just be kind to myself.  "Bring home pizza,"  I'd tell my husband, "we're functioning on low today."
And for me, it never really extended into days and days.  Usually the next day, I'd be ready to roll again and actually rejuvenated by my self-imposed break from life. 
How (I'm sure you're asking) did I manage to take a day off with a houseful of little children?  I'm not sure.  I'm not a person who normally lays around all day, so maybe they sensed that something was up.  Maybe they didn't question it because after all, they got to eat all the cold cereal they wanted all day.  Maybe they enjoyed the fact that I wasn't running around cleaning and cooking and ordering them to pick things up--but just fixed and immobile on the couch.   I don't remember ever farming them out on those days.  We just all vegged out together.
And one other thing--don't read books on child-rearing or self-improvement while you're doing this.  Just read a good clean novel or watch a tear jerker and if at all possible, have a good cry.  The whole thing can be very renewing to the soul.
So there you have it--the truth about how I survived 99 months of pregnancy, 11 years of nursing and children 24-7 for 29 years and counting.  We holed up once in a while and went into slow motion.  And it didn't hurt anything.
I hope this little confession from my mother to me to you---is helpful.  Be kind to yourself.
All my love,



  1. I'm glad I'm not the only mom that needs to do this every so often.

  2. Wow, I'm so floored by 99 months of pregnancy. You need a medal, Jane. Thanks for the reminder to be kind to ourselves and that a veg day once in a while won't hurt anyone! :)

  3. Timely. That is what I did yesterday and today has been great! Yes! Let's be kind to ourselves.

    99 months of pregnancy! Wow!

  4. Phew! It makes me so happy to know I'm not the only one who needs a day like this every now and then!

  5. Today is the first day in my two children's lives that I really took a break. I hired a young lady in our church ward to come and watch my children while I did the dishes. It was so therapeutic to me. I feel like my patience tank is full again. I think I will be doing this once a week. Thanks for the good advice Jane so we can all avoid "mommy burnout".

  6. What I love about this post is the last paragraph and how you put your life into perspective: 99 MONTHS of pregnancy and 11 YEARS of nursing. My mouth is hanging open right now and I'm laughing in shock!!!!!

  7. Oh this was so good to hear. Thank you!

  8. I love this and enjoy this blog so much! I recommend this blog all the time - in fact my one complaint is that Jane doesn't post often enough! I want more please. :) I'm married without kids for the time being, but we hope, soon time will change that - but if I had kids I would think up more questions for Miss Jane. It's a joy to read :D

  9. THANKS for answering! I forgot leave my name! THANKS again!

  10. I think this is so true even if you have kids or not, it is amazing how a good cry, a break, and a pizza can fill you up again!

  11. I think it's great for kids to see mama having a low key day too. I usually tell them I am "sick" and then they tend to be more concerned and even fight less! Vegging around is a great remedy for a worn out spirit.

  12. I love your perspective on your life you wrapped up there in the end. I always take a Me day. It keeps me sane and if momma ain't happy - no ones happy! As for me, I had 63+ months of pregnancy and a good five years of nursing in 30 years! And we all survived.

  13. thank you. this post will make every mom i know feel so much better. including me. now i just need to give in to the veg day once in a while because if i have a down day i don't give in and then it lasts multiple days. i'm potty training my adorably stubborn 2 year old daughter (for the last 2 1/2 weeks - boo) and on friday i wanted a week vacation. not a day off. i sat on my kitchen floor and cried while my kids napped. i surprisingly felt much better. hehe. :) if it gets any worse i'll take a whole day. thanks, jane. love your blog.

  14. thankyou thankyou thankyou. I am welling up right now. I needed to hear that :)


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