Drowning in Motherhood: Three Survival Skills

A family member used this phrase last week to describe her life with a newborn and a toddler. I remember so many days just a few years ago of my own fierce determination mixed with immeasurable joy and overwhelming exhaustion that left me drowning in motherhood.

As a former lifeguard and 8-1/2 year veteran of motherhood, I compiled my top three survival skills to share with new moms who may find themselves in over their heads.

Survival Skill #1: Relax and Submit to Your New Reality

I recently researched an indoor swimming facility for my three young girls to escape this long, dreary winter. I learned that the swim instructors teach a “rollover” technique to children as young as four months. When a submerged child rolls onto her back instead of kicking and fighting for the surface, the air in her lungs creates enough buoyancy to bring her head above water.

Motherhood is like that, too. When we learn to relax and give in a little, the stress and struggle of mothering eases up. Maybe the house is a mess or you’ve served canned soup and grilled cheese for the third time this week. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of mothering. Sit back, put your feet up and catch your breath.

Survival Skill #2: Find Your Life Preserver

Getting your head above water is only the first step, now you need some help staying afloat. When you first become a mom, it’s common and so easy to become isolated from your former world. Your past relationships and lifestyle may not fit any longer; and that’s okay. But motherhood is a lot more difficult if you put yourself in solitary confinement.

You’ve got to reach out to find new connections that will help you through this part of your journey. Consider joining a play group, striking up a conversation with other moms at the park, or enrolling your little ones in a cooperative preschool or Mother’s Time Out program. You will learn so much about parenting and child development, and hopefully, you will start lasting friendships based on the commonality of motherhood.

If you are parenting with a spouse or partner, tether yourself together during this time. Losing your connection to the person you love most is not only possible, it’s common during the first year of parenting. It’s true that your relationship will never be the same, but with a lot of work and communication, you will build yourselves an unsinkable lifeboat.

Survival Secret #3: Count Your Blessings

How many times have you exclaimed, “Thank God!” after pulling through a harrowing experience? It may sound cliché, but learning to appreciate what you have each day will give you the strength to endure whatever comes your way. I give this advice frequently, but only because I’m given so many reminders of why it is important.

Last week, I received the staggering news that a friend’s 12-year-old daughter had died suddenly after a mild illness. It is a tragedy like this that causes you to shift your priorities. In my case, it reminded me of the first few weeks after my second baby was born. I was struggling to care for a 2-year-old and a newborn. And then came a phone call that changed my life forever. A teenage family member was hospitalized in the intensive care unit because of kidney failure.

From that moment on, I cherished the dark, quiet hours at night when I fed and rocked my baby girl. I was still tired, but no longer frustrated or overwhelmed. I understood then, and now, that I am blessed and make sure my children know every day how much they are loved. After many surgeries and weeks in the hospital, my family member survived. The lessons I learned from her struggle remains.

My second daughter is now six years old. Last weekend, she crawled into my bed in the wee hours of the night. She was feverish and wanted to sleep with me. My desire to make her feel better overcame any worry over catching her illness, so I snuggled close to her and listened while she drifted off to sleep. I took a deep breath and whispered a prayer of gratitude. And when – two hours later – my two-year-old daughter padded in wordlessly and climbed into bed on the other side of me, I repeated the ritual.

Grace and Peace.


2010 Moms with Grace in Review

The stats helper folks at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured imageA Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 29 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 37 posts. There were 60 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 33mb. That’s about 1 picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 1st with 86 views. The most popular post that day was Sample baby routine pages.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogsurfer.us, attachmentparenting.org, facebook.com, lifegems4marriage.com, and babylovecarebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for open window, sample baby routine, moms with grace, best washing machine for cloth diapers, and sample baby routines.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Sample baby routine pages February 2010


Caring for Cloth Diapers in your HE Washing Machine June 2010


4 Tips to Strengthen Relationships with Your Children September 2010
6 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,


About May 2009
1 comment


Mom, Could You Pencil Me in for a Nap? September 2010

Admittedly, this is a very small audience in the grand scheme of blogging. I thank all of my loyal readers for keeping me inspired to write over the past year. I had committed to writing once a week, and as you can see, I fell far short of that. Writing every other week for a working mother of three small children has proven to be more realistic.

What topics on mothering, working from or staying at home, faith, families or babyhood would you like to explore in 2011? Are you resolved to improve any particular area of your life and looking for more encouragement?

I usually try to make a broad resolution for the year, to help improve many areas of my life. Last year, I resolved to spend regular time in meditation, and am happy to report that this practice has brought about noticeable positive changes for me.

This year, I resolve to use my talents to serve God. Remembering this and striving to do this each week will certainly assist many areas of my life. From motherhood and marriage, to my professional career and my position within my community, I can’t think of one simpler way to experience joy.

I also have one specific resolution for 2011: to get out from behind the computer and spend more time face-to-face with the people who are most important to me. While I love to write and will continue, nothing replaces the physical energy of connection that you experience when in the presence of another like-minded being. I hope you all will explore the power of this connection over the year as well.

Grace, peace and happy new year.