Dealing With Discouragement

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen51 Comments

Yesterday we went to our community pool/ splash pad. The baby and I were sitting in the sun getting warm and watching her brother and sisters splash in the pool. Anneliese had been chewing on a pair of goggles and decided to throw them at a woman sitting next to me. I grabbed them as they landed on her legs and apologized. She smiled and accepted my apology. We spoke for a few minutes and she told me she had one child, a daughter who was 9 and was swimming with a friend. I told her how lovely her swimsuit was and she looked at me trying very hard to find something to compliment.  To her credit she rebounded and told me my baby was beautiful.  Soon after I left to go take care of my 6 year old and never saw her again, but I thought about that conversation far after it ended.

I thought about it because I took a look at myself.  When she met me my hair was messed up and crazy because just moments before I had been crashing wildly in the water with my kids. When she met me I had put on a white shirt that had Goldfish smeared into it. When she met me I had electric blue toenail polish that was chipping. My 6 year old had put it on me a week before because she said that all mermaids wear that color in the summer.

This woman didn’t say or do anything unkind, but the exchange illustrated a point. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Who needs enemies when we are our own worst critic.

I am a sandwich generation. This means I am actively caring for young children and also caring for elderly parents. Sometimes it feels like I don’t do a very good job of juggling both responsibilities and that there is more I could and should do.

For my church I have a pretty big volunteer job working with the little children ages 18 months to 12 years old. They are so precious and lovely and every Sunday I get joy from being with them, but sometimes I feel like there is more I need to do to serve them.

Sometimes at the end of the day I am so tired that fixing those chipped nails just doesn’t happen. I used to do modeling and worked in clothing retail for many years. That woman would be shocked by the woman I have become.

I wish I could give my children more and always feel bad when I see them getting hand me downs w/o complaint while their friends often get the newest items right off the store shelf.

All of these things combined have left me feeling discouraged.

When I feel this way it is time for me to press the reset button. For me my reset button is gratitude.

Let me tell you a story.

A few years ago my little Rebekah was very sick and had to be hospitalized. She received excellent care and was soon healthy enough to be discharged. My husband and I left the hospital with a very large bill, but with a beautiful and healthy child in our arms. Not everyone is that lucky. We wrote the hospital staff to express our thanks and were incredibly surprised when a few months later the hospital called to tell us that an anonymous donor had seen our letter and heard our story and was paying off our ENTIRE bill.

Recently a friend told me there was a picture of my Rebekah hanging on the wall of the hospital. I had never seen it, but the picture had been taken with our permission when she was in the hospital. I decided today we should go see it. I needed a reminder of gratitude.


After we saw the picture we went and visited my Mom. I hugged her and told her there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her and how sorry I am for not always being the daughter I want to be to her. She hugged me and told me to never feel that way and how grateful she was for all that I do to take care of her. Gratitude.

On my way home I stopped and bought a newspaper from a man on the street. He looked at me and told me “Thank you. I am so grateful for your purchase.” Gratitude.

At lunch time I made simple sandwiches, but used cookie cutters to make them in the shapes of animals. My kids smiled as I served them and said I was the best cook ever! Gratitude

Yesterday I saw one of the young girls from church. She ran up and hugged me and said, “Mommy look it’s my teacher. I love my teacher.” Gratitude

I truly like to be happy and try very hard to stay out of the land of the BIG D, but sometimes I go there and visit for a bit. Never lingering for too long. There are people to care for and work to be done.

I’ll fix those nails tomorrow, but today I am just happy to be who I am. It’s enough.

What do you do when you feel discouraged?

Stay Happy! Stay Informed!



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    1. Author

      Thanks Pamela! That’s the key isn’t it? We just have to slow down and stop and look around us and count our blessings. I love the Alabama song, “I’m in a hurry to get things done. I really only need to live and die, but I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”
      Jen recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

  1. This was what I needed to read this morning. I went to a splash park two days ago and had a similar experience, but with two of my sister’s friends. I wore these over-sized shorts that were falling off of me. They weren’t that big before getting all wet. My 2 year old kept asking for their children’s apples. I only brought goldfish (he’s sick of them). Anyway- I started thinking about similar thoughts on my way home. I turned on the radio and started singing to my kids instead. It was a great day! recently posted…Kids & MusicMy Profile

    1. Author

      It’s crazy how easily we can line up our faults and feel sub-par. Good for you for rocking the tunes and turning that frown upside down :) That’s another of my favorites when someone in my family is grumpy.
      Jen recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks! It is hard to accept compliments from strangers. Compliments from our family members just seems a lot more real since they know us in our good times and bad.
      Jen recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

  2. That is so awesome about that hospital bill. I often feel discouragement for a lot of the same reasons you do. And you are exactly right. Gratitude is the key to overcoming that discouragement. I always tell my husband, when he starts to complain about our trials, that I wouldn’t trade these trials for anything. Because even when we have hard things to go through, our blessings by far surpass our difficulties. All I need to do is look thru pictures to be reminded of what’s important and all that I have! Thanks for this great reminder.
    Leilani recently posted…4th of July Hair Bow Picture TutorialMy Profile

    1. Author

      You are so right! Perspective and remembering our blessings makes all the difference. Oh, and having good friends to say nice things to us. Even if they are “imaginary” as my kids now refer to when talking about all of my blogging friends.
      Jen recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

  3. What a sweet post. I feel discouraged by my own appearance a lot, when I remember to glance at it. You are so right about gratitude though. It can be an instant mood lifter, and there’s not much else as effective as remembering how lucky we are to have our little ones.
    Carolyn recently posted…The 8 Stages of My Day as a Stay at Home MomMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Carolyn. I loved your post yesterday about worrying if we are doing this parenting things right or not. It’s so easy to get discouraged and crazy when we think we are messing up as a parent. I loved your honest discussion about things we ALL feel.
      Jen recently posted…Dealing With DiscouragementMy Profile

  4. I love this full circle story. I can relate to this post because I can always use a dose of love and gratitude. I wouldn’t bother fixing those nails, there are so many more important things those hands of yours are doing on a daily basis and you’re beautiful from the inside out. Aint nothing wrong with a little chipped nails. Love the message in this post.
    Rebecca recently posted…Confession: Things I Don’t Tell My HusbandMy Profile

    1. Author

      My daughter and I picked up a bottle of lime green polish tonight. She wants us to be twins, so now I will go from electric blue chipped polish to lime green. Heaven help me, but she just looked so dang excited about this color I couldn’t say no.
      Jen recently posted…He’s Just a Boy Who Stands All Alone. . .My Profile

  5. What a beautiful post and a fabulous attitude.

    I like to look to gratitude as well. There’s no room for disappointment or discouragement when you’re feeling thankful.

    I love that someone paid your daughter’s hospital bill. That’s absolutely AMAZING!

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am thankful that I have found your light in the blogging world.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…The Big ChangeMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Jennifer it was amazing! I begged the hospital to deliver a thank you note to our anonymous donor so I could tell them just how much their act of kindness meant to our family. You are so sweet and the feeling is definitely mutual on finding kindred blogs for which I am thankful.
      Jen recently posted…He’s Just a Boy Who Stands All Alone. . .My Profile

  6. This is a lovely post. I had to smile (wryly) when I read the first part of your post – I can totally relate to that experience. I can also relate to gratitude being the perfect antidote for so many things although counting to ten or sneaking a cuppa tea are also ‘go to’ remedies in my world!
    Lisa recently posted…My Retro.. Beswick coffee setMy Profile

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  8. So beautiful Jen! You are doing what is important, and that’s all that matters. There will be plenty of time later for fixing chipped nails. You sound like a great mom and daughter. I started a Gratitude Journal again and it really helps put things in perspective for me too.
    Lana recently posted…Picking My BattlesMy Profile

  9. You gave me chills. You are an amazing person! You never know at what moment or where you are going to hit a wall of discouragement but when you do its difficult to climb out of that hole sometimes. What an amazing story and very inspirational. The gratitude that surrounds us and that you talked to reminds me to always keep my head up! Thanks for that.
    Breaking The Momma Mold recently posted…Embracing The SandMy Profile

  10. I really enjoyed your post.. about acceptance by other people and maybe not by yourself. This is definitely something I have done too.

    Stopping by from the Blirthday hop.. glad I had a chance to read your blog post. :)
    Marysa recently posted…Homemade Body ButterMy Profile

  11. I can see how you would have felt that way at the pool. I’ve been there many times. When you’re surrounded by kids and taking care of so many other people, it’s hard to make time to do things for yourself. It sounds like you do a good job of gaining true perspective and focusing on what’s really important though. Someone meeting you for the first time wouldn’t know all that history and everything that you’re taking care of . It’s a good reminder to look beyond appearances when we meet someone.
    normaleverydaylife recently posted…Heartbeat Of Our HomeMy Profile

  12. I am so grateful I read this, Jen! I feel discouraged when I can’t do everything I have decided I need to do. Which is basically everything. But, luckily, I have two babes who don’t know any better and a loving husband who knows that I am doing my best. Thank you for this message, and glad I stopped over from the #BlirthdayBash!
    Charlee Anne recently posted…3 Super Easy Steps for a Rockin’ BodMy Profile

    1. You and me both Charlee Anne! I have visions of the kind of person I want to be each day and what I will get done and quite often my vision and the reality of what takes place is kind of a bummer.

      I am so glad you have supportive family members, that’s they key isn’t it? We aren’t perfect, but love and gratitude sure makes everyday a whole LOT easier.
      Jen recently posted…Mommy Reality #17: Pillow PowerMy Profile

  13. Hi Jen, great #blirthdaybash isn’t it?

    For what it’s worth I think you have the right approach. Taking the time to appreciate what we do have in life is far more important than always striving to give our family and loved ones more than we can. Material things don’t last, but memories and feelings do.

    People remember what it’s like be made to feel good. That feeling sticks with them and makes them feel warm and fussy inside and because of that, they may go on to make someone else feel warm and fussy….Ripples in a pond…And they don’t have to cost a thing!

    I like to take the time to appreciate what I dohave in life and do take a moment to think of people who may not have it so good. I try never to forget that people who appear to have it all, in reality may not and would happily give up everything they have for a bit of my life.

    I think it’s great that you actually took the time to write to the hospital to show your appreciation. Many people wouldn’t have.
    Debbie recently posted…Debs Diary: A Glimpse Into My Life…#3My Profile

    1. Deb what you just said is so beautiful and something I really needed to hear.

      This last week has been crazy and intense with so much swirling around me. I have had to turn and look at what I do have and be grateful that all of the activity means I have MANY blessings to count.

      You are such a wise and dear friend, thank you!
      Jen recently posted…Mommy Reality #17: Pillow PowerMy Profile

  14. So true. It is so easy to get lost in the discouragement rather than the gratitude. I actually find that blogging has been a great way for me to reflect and stay connected to the positivity in my life. Dropping in from the blithday bash.
    Angela @ Trusting the Journey of Motherhood
    Angela recently posted…In and Out of BubblesMy Profile

  15. I have been feeling incredibly discouraged lately for all the reasons you have listed and then some. I read this blog post and immediately felt better for all the graditude in my life that I have not noticed before reading this post! Thank you for sharing with us all and in my opinion you are more than enough you are truly amazing!

  16. Jen, I’m not sure how I missed this post but wow. Just wow.

    Thank you for this. Thank you for the reminder and thank you for having a hand in putting a huge smile on my face this morning.

    Happy SITS day friend!
    Sarah Nenni Daher recently posted…Bath Teas and BonusMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Sarah!

      It’s funny, but I had forgotten how I felt when writing this. Aren’t written words so powerful?

      That’s why I love blogging so much. It’s such a great form of learning and even therapy for me.I learn so much from other blogs and writing down how I feel is so very helpful and freeing.
      Jen recently posted…Hip Hip Hooray! It’s My SITS Day!My Profile

  17. I agree that looking at life through the eyes of gratitude changes everything. There really is so much to be grateful for in life. Have you heard of the gratitude app? It’s really great for reflection. Oh and my nails are so chipped right now LOL! Following on Twitter too! Happy SITS Day!
    Raquel recently posted…Gift Ideas for Your BFFMy Profile

    1. Author

      Raquel it is so nice to meet you!

      It’s kind of nice that it is winter right now so I can wear closed toed shoes and not worry about my chipping polish. My hands are still a hot mess, but at least one out of two isn’t bad!

      I need to check out that app!
      Jen recently posted…Hip Hip Hooray! It’s My SITS Day!My Profile

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