The Mom Funk

Behind the mask of every mother there is at some point an undefinable emotion curdling under the surface that reeks of sour milk.

It hits each of us at random times, and no matter what – we, as women, refuse to talk about it with anyone but our closest friends – and sometimes we dont even trust them worried that they will think if we reveal our feelings, they will think we are an ass.  Instead, we put on our happy faces, cart the kids to school, show up at their games and performances, cook them dinner, wash their laundry and smile and coo as much as possible – hoping that no one will notice.  We even take it one step further by perpetuating our lies and denying our feelings that along the parental path we are slowly but surely forgetting who we are by defining ourselves by our children.

This emotion, this state of mind if you will is called “the Mom Funk!”

imagesCASBAD1HUnfortunately, the mom funk hits and then suddenly all of those day-to-day duties such as changing diapers and filling the fridge with yummy foods and kissing sweet-smelling foreheads goodnight, doesn’t make us all that happy.  Even children laughing in another room and colorful drawings brought home from a kindergarten classroom can do little to stir the soul of a mother who is in the mom funk.

Sadly, because we are nearly forced and programmed by societal expectations to always be grateful, loving creatures, who are supposed to feel constantly showered with blessings from above simply because we have children to call our own, the mom funk goes without cure.

And moms in the funk, ashamed of feeling sick and tired of doing everything for everyone (but herself) hides behind the mask of motherhood and pretends that she is happy.  Still smiling on cue.  Still pretending to listen.  Still getting up in the morning and cutting the crust off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so that no one will notice she is fading on the inside like a shadow does when thunderclouds roll in.

I know this.  I have been in the mom funk many times.  I am currently in the mom funk, where I wish I could lock myself away for a 3 day stretch and do nothing that involves doing something for anyone else.  At this very moment, I resent spending my entire waking hours doing for others, driving my kids around, and feel caught up in a scene from GroundHog day the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning.  It’s hard to be excited about the day ahead when you know exactly what to expect – and have become so regimented that you even drink your coffee at the same time each day.

Truth is, that just because you feel the mom funk from time to time, doesn’t mean you are an awful person or horrible undeserving mom.  You are, after all, a human being – separate from your children. 

But as moms, we cannot easily endure the mom funk without beating themselves into smithereens.

We tend to take the mom funk even further and internalize every sad story we have ever heard to make ourselves feel even worse about feeling stuck in the mom funk.  We start wondering what kind of asshole could be tired of holding hands with her daughter, or having in-depth conversations with her teenager – especially when there are so many women in this world without kids, with sick kids, or who have lost kids.  Then we wonder what the hell is wrong with us for feeling so ungrateful, so tired, so exhausted and so unenthused about motherhood.  Every god damn book we have ever read prepares us for the notion that motherhood is the mack -daddy experience of a good life, right?  So we face palm ourselves even further into the mom funk.

I am huge proponent of the fact that we shouldnt find our own gratitude by measuring another’s misfortune. 

And I also believe, wholeheartedly, that if we were a little more honest with one another and sent out the “hey I am in the mom funk signal” to other women – we would be able to get passed this phase before it turns into depression, or before we lose ourselves.

We would realize that we are normal to have these feelings.

We would be able to understand that in order to GIVE to others, we have to first GIVE to ourselves.  Just like when our cars are out of gas they don’t run, when moms are out of fuel – they too break down on the side of the motherhood road.

So many of us remain quiet and dishonest and ashamed of feeling what we feel.

And I am here to tell you that it is okay.  It is okay to sit down some days and wonder why in the world you had kids.  It is okay to not feel like talking to your children, and it is okay to be overwhelmed and frustrated and bored with motherhood.  There is a major difference between being busy, and being fulfilled.  Most of us are busy.  Not as many are fulfilled.  And your children cannot do that for you – only you can do that for yourself. 

With experience and several bouts of the mom funk, I now realize that in order to be the mom I want to be, I have to take time to recharge me.  Sure, this may mean that there a few days where the kids don’t get as much mommy attention – because mommy is trying to pay attention to herself.  We have to rearrange our thinking to see this hiatus as not selfish, but as a way to stop being SELF-LESS.  Think about the difference between being selfish and SELF-LESS.  When you are self-less, what is it that you have to earnestly offer your children.

I am working through my current mom funk as best I can.  And in a few days, or maybe a few hours – it will pass.  Your own mom funk will pass, if you pay those feelings attention and commit to doing something for yourself.  And by all means – cut yourself a break. 

If you are in a mom funk, then don’t mull around and beat yourself up.  If you cannot admit it to your friends or your husband than email me at momspirational@live.com and we can work through it together.  I promise, I won’t judge.  Because the mom funk my friends is REAL!!!!!

 

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Comments

  1. mommy of 3 beauties says:

    I just wanted to tell u my story ,my version of my mommy funk . I am a 24 year old mom of three,5,3,and 5 months about 2 years ago I hot into a bad mommy funk.never ending for my body literally hurt but my doctor just was like ur to young to have problems its all in ur head ,wow so here goes my story my husband is 41 years old yes.much older but we did fall in love age aside he I has a yound soul I have an old soul we make very good money and I am blessed at my age he built me my home spoils me I stay at home with my kids don’t have to work ,some moms would b jealous .one day I woke up and didn’t have the energy to do anything clean cook didn’t want to hear my kids voices ,I loves them more than anything and would never harm them just the way Im thought there screams fighting everything felt like I couldn’t smile ,well I was one day prescribed pain medicine for a tooth pulled and when I took my first one something clicked in me I had so.much energy to get up clean cook play with the kids finish all my unfinished jobs ,loved that feeling of SUPERMOM… for about a year this went slowly I started back to the old mommy funk but wanted to take more and more I was hooked ,almost lost everyone in my life ,well now I. Clean happy as ever got the real professional right help that I needed and mg life is better than ever had my beautiful son ,and wouldn’t change past for anything i am the person I am today because of what I did (my past) …to this day the women I see and talk to when they r in the mommy funk I tell them what I went through and tell them if it isn’t the normal week mommy funk to please seek the right professional help ,and ur doc may not b the one so u have to find the one that understands what u r going through ,that ur not just another rand patient coming in and out . Hope this helps anyone dealing with the same thing
    .thanks for listening..

  2. Jamie says:

    I think I have had this exact feeling for like a month..i am with my twin 4 year olds all day then my 7 year old comes home… I don’t have a vehicle so I can’t leave and just go for a drive I just feel like a servant and when my husband comes home he just thinks I’m being a bitch he has no idea what I go thru. I do ask my self all the time why did I have kids..all I can do is sit and cry I even had a baby that passed away at 3 months old sometime I wish I had just stopped having kids after my little Trevor passed… Thank you for letting me know it’s not only me…

    • andrea says:

      hi jamie, i am a fellow twin-mom and being a parent to multiples is an ever-challenging, occsionally nerve-racking emotional and physical roller coaster. not to diminish what a mother of a singleton copes with, but multiple parenthood is significantly MULTIPLIED. i have ‘survived’ 11 years as a often single-parent to our now 11 year old twins; my spouse works away from home and can be gone for as much as 4 weeks at a time. to help you cope, and any parent for that matter, i suggest “calling in’ all the resources you can: call your local public health unit – do they offer home babysitting, home cleaning or transportation services? someone coming in to watch your kids 4 hours a week might not seem like a lot, but if it means getting a hair cut, or going for groceries or washing the car ALONE, it will be worth it. some communities offer free transportation for people that dont drive. contact your health insurance company – what benefits are you eligible for, that you can utilize that will asssit in your current coping and healing? accupuncture, massage therapy, chirporactic, psychology are often included in health benefits and overlooked. depending on your location, of course. call your local FAMILY AND COMMUNITY CENTER – do they offer free babysitting while you take a yoga class, or swim? what sort of local family activities are available, that will get your out of the house, with or without the offspring in tow. finally, depend on family and friends – call your mother in law and let her know you need a break. chances are, she has lived through the mommy-melt-down and ‘gets it’, whether she admits it or not….it has been my experience that time heals all wounds. allow yourself to grieve the loss of your little one; only from grieving can we heal. we can try to put on the brave face, and ‘suck it up, buttercup!’, but the reality is that we MUST grieve in order to move forward! i have always said to myself that I was a woman first, a wife next, and a mother finally, and in order to best care for my children, i MUST first care for myself. does it make me selfish? perhaps, but i also know that i will be completely worthless to my children as a mother if i am not selfish enough to care first for myself. get counselling, call a help line or a friends, buy a tandem stroller and get out of tthe house! and most importantly, when you feel like you can’t survive another 5 minutes….remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS :) andrea

  3. Kelly says:

    Oh wow, yes. I had a bad case of mom funk before I was even a mom. It was not planned, and I had been living basically the perfect life for me. I was totally fulfilled, living out on a farm, riding horses daily, and really, truly happy in a way that’s hard to explain to people. Knowing what motherhood entails, I was pretty seriously depressed as I made the necessary changes to my life. I wouldn’t trade my son for the world, I love everything about him, but sometimes… sometimes I get really sad. I remember how happy I was, how free I was to do what I liked (including simple things like going to the bathroom when I felt like it or just going to bed when I felt tired). Now I am caught in a daily grind that makes my brain melt, and it just never ends. When I get a second to breathe, I have to turn around and get everything ready for the next day. There is no “sitting and relaxing” and there is very little me time. He’s getting older, so I am getting out a little more often, but I miss being outside for hours every day, I miss the fresh air and the dirt. I miss doing what I like when I feel like it. I don’t know who I am anymore without those things. And the year+ of chronic sleep deprivation doesn’t help either. The love I feel for my son is nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but the funk won’t go away. Every time I see unfolded laundry or the pile of dishes in the sink or the cups that need to be cleaned for daycare the next day I just want to cry. Then I feel guilty about resenting any of it, like it reflects on my love for my son and family. I just… I just really miss ME.

  4. Jamie says:

    Thank you, that’s all I can say after reading this.

  5. Tiffany says:

    I am 24 and I’m a single mother to 4 wonderful children. I love them all very much and would do nothing to change them being here with me everyday….. BUT, I don’t get any time to myself NONE! I’m single and Daddy got in lots of trouble with CPS so I have them full time now. We used to share them 50/50 and I used to catch a nice break but not anymore. I can’t work I have no family besides my Mom and since I’ve had kids I have no friends anymore and the one friends that I do have has kids of her own. I can’t even afford daycare or babysitters. The Doctor told me after my second one I couldn’t have any more kids boy was he wrong. I’m only 24 I look at the people I went to school with and wish I had their life sometimes. I can’t even go pee by myself anymore! Sometimes I go days between taking a shower, and my leg hairs I can braid. I had to move back in with my Mom and she works a lot, I feel like I need to be the one keeping up the house but with 4 kids one of them a preemie, she is deaf with lung disease and constant need of oxygen, I’m worn out I don’t sleep…. I’m exhausted I feel like I want to give up our walk away and never turn back but I love them way too much. They need me and I need them but I need me time too and it’s just not available…I’m always in the Mom funk and not sure how or when it’s even going to end! I cry everyday but put a smile on my face to hide the ongoing pain that I feel will never ever end. Depression is only the word for how I constantly feel…..I have Noone to talk to and even if I did they wouldn’t understand! When a guy hears I have 4 kids they would probably run anyways! I love my babies they are my life, I’ve given my old life up for this one. Being a mother is a very very hard job….I think being a single mother it’s even harder. 4 kids is a lot to care for and taking care if the house on top if that is just crazy hard I feel like a maid…sometimes I cringe when I hear one of my kids yell “Mom”! It’s like when does it stop when can someone pamper me? I do have those times when I feel like everything is going to be okay…but the Mom funk overpowers those times and depression slaps me right in the face…I don’t know what to do anymore? Am I losing my mind? Thanks for this post it made me feel better about myself, and now I know I’m not the only one that feels this way at times. Motherhood is definitely a love/hate relationship! Love my babies very much but hate the demands motherhood comes with! I’m not ashamed to say I have the Mom funk anymore…it’s normal and it happens! Bless you all <3

  6. Matt says:

    Hello mother funkers!

    I just have to say that I have so much respect for all you moms out there that have the day to day down to the T. juggling packing the lunches while feeding breakfast brushing the teeth making sure the right homework gets into the right backpack, combing the hair of multiple children while making sure they get dressed and out the door looking presentable for school all before you even start to think about what you want for breakfast out what your going to ware today. And its off to the races dropping the kids often times at multiple schools. I have to give it to you all. Moms are the queens of multitasking!

    If my wife left it up to me or I didn’t have her around my kids would live on fast food, be in charge of their own bathtime and toothbrushing and most always run out the door into public looking like little jungle boys and girls. And laundry/cleaning…. Forget about it, I would pay out the ass in maids and nanny services!

    As far as the daddy funk goes… Its non existing in my case. I work so much that i always look forward to coming home to smiling faces and little people hugs and kisses! After reading this I came to the conclusion that my wife is getting more date nights whether it be a movie, dinner with a drink or an all night bar hopping bender where we need to call in the overnight babysitter! Baby I owe you one! (or two) ;-)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A few weeks ago, I wrote my article about the Mom Funk.  (If you haven’t read the article check it out!) The article was inspired by my waking up one rainy morning at 6:15 am, rushing to the kitchen and realizing that making peanut butter sandwiches that early in the day – for other people (no matter how much I love those other people) was a tad depressing.  After all, I do the same thing every day, at the same time every day.  (Although some days, I make ham sandwiches instead of peanut butter, which is kind of exciting!)  I was so overwhelmed that I started looking for help, which led me to this north Carolina licensed professional counselor. [...]

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