11 Things to During Tough Times in Motherhood

I’m just going to go ahead and say it: motherhood is hard!  Last week we went through a real rough patch with our almost 5 year old son.  The tough times seem to come in cycles, so hopefully we’ll get our sweet boy back soon.  I know many of you could relate when I shared my struggles on Instagram, so today I wanted to share some things I do when I feel overwhelmed and at my breaking point during tough times as a mom.

pressing pause motherhood devotional

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1.  Pray.

I’m way too independent and self reliant for my own good but when I turn it over to the Lord I always feel better.  I spent a lot of time praying for patience, compassion and self control (for myself) this past week and the calm presence I felt come over me reminded me that I need to rely on Him all the time, and not just when I feel like there is nowhere left for me to turn.

2.  Cry.

Sometimes a good cry is all you need to feel better.

3.  Listen to the Rain for Roots station on Pandora.

This channel has some good Christian kids songs and you can easily tailor it to add in more Ellie Holcomb, Nichole Nordeman (her song “Slow Down” about motherhood always makes me cry), Chris Rice (his rendition of “It is Well With my Soul” makes me cry every time), Bethany Dillon’s song (“You’re the Best Song” about motherhood also makes me cry).  I promise there are lots of other songs that will not make you cry haha, sometimes I just need a reminder that there really is a lot of beauty in motherhood even in the trying times.  The kids songs are all catchy too and not the ones you typically think of when you think of Sunday school or kids church songs.  Highly recommend listening to it, it really helps set the tone for our day!

4.  Read a Daily Devotional, the Bible or a Parenting Book.

I have had The Simple Joys of Motherhood devotional for a few years but wanted something a little deeper since it’s quite light and mostly just has little stories and quotes in it.  I just ordered the devotional books Pressing Pause and Always Enough | Never Too Much thanks to recommendations from y’all and I can’t wait to dive into them this week.  I also purchased a couple Christian motherhood (non-devotional) books: Risen Motherhood and Praying the Scriptures for Your Children.  As for non-religious parenting books, I’m currently reading Easy To Love, Difficult to Discipline and I really like it so far and am already trying to practice the tips.

5.  Exercise or Go For a Run.

Glowbodypt is my go-to when it comes to strength training.  I shared my experience with her post-pregnancy plan in this blog post (code WHIMSY10 will save you $10) and I’m currently 3 weeks into her 10 Minute plan (code WHIMSY10 will save you $10).  So so good!  Ashley is a mom of 3 young children and is so encouraging and really focuses on performance rather than getting smaller.  She’s a true athlete, a fellow West Point grad, an Army wife and I can’t say enough good things about her and her videos!  She also has loads of free videos on Youtube and a free prenatal plan.  As for running, I’m not doing that nearly as often as I used to (or as often as I’d like to) but a few days ago after Tom got home from work I immediately said to him: “I need to go for a run.”  It had been a tough day and the 6 mile run in the fresh air, alone, was so good for me.  I came home with a renewed sense of patience with the kids and all of the benefits of a good endorphins boost!  It’s tough to find time to run with 3 little kids and no gym to go to, so I think we will also buy a treadmill sometime soon.  I need to be able to log more miles and in these COVID times I think a treadmill is going to be my sanity saver, especially once it’s winter!

6.  Do Something Alone.

Whether it’s a pedicure, walking around a store, sitting outside on the steps, grabbing a coffee or meal by yourself…alone time is so needed when you’re a mom.  I also like to garden, water plants or even just weed a flower bed.  Sometimes it’s nice to tend to something that isn’t a child.

8.  Cook.

Cooking or baking can often help with stress relief, or at least distract you from things for a while.  Plus you end up with something yummy to eat!

9.  Spend some one on one time with your child.

One on one time with your children is so important, yet it’s so easy to forget to make time for it, especially during this pandemic when we’re not out and about as often as we used to be.  Last week things were particularly strained between myself and Jack so I took him by himself to get chipwiches (chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches) and then we went to Trader Joe’s and I let him push the shopping cart all by himself and he felt like such a big boy helper.  It was wonderful to spend some time just with him and remember how sweet of a boy he really is.

10.  Get off Social Media.

It’s so easy to fall into the comparison game and think that everyone is just loving life as a mom all the time.  The fact of the matter is, motherhood is challenging no matter the child, and we all have our struggles.  If you’re struggling with the comparison game spend a few minutes and unfollow those that you don’t thing are great influences and then take some time off of social media!  I try to only follow women and companies that encourage, uplift, and paint a realistic look at life.  The number of accounts I follow has been on a downward trend this year and it has made me a good bit happier.  You get to choose who you follow so don’t follow someone that doesn’t lift you up or make you feel good about yourself!

11.  Talk to Someone.

Whether it’s your friend, your mom, your sister, a therapist, it really does help when you’re able to verbalize your struggles.  On Friday my neighbor and I decided to go for a 4 mile walk together while my older two were at school (I pushed Tate in the stroller) and it was nice to chat and vent and commiserate about life right now and we also got in some exercise too.  I felt a lot better once we finished!

Katie Vail
Katie Vail

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Sarah Zappone
    October 14, 2020 / 5:16 am

    What a wonderful and helpful post. Thank you for, as always, staying genuine and true. I always enjoy reading your candid insight and things that are helpful to you. I am going to look into the Pandora radio and books because I think they’d easily bring some extra joy into my life 🙂

    • October 15, 2020 / 4:12 am

      Thank you so much for that feedback, Sarah. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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