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To the overstimulated mama,

I know you used to be a person who loved singing and dancing, games and riotous dinner parties with friends and family. You probably had the energy for a fun evening and loved to cuddle with your man. I’m sure your outfits used to bedazzle and your hair and makeup would make you feel like a million bucks.

Oh, how times have changed.

Now, a Friday night on the couch is the most coveted activity after a week of little hands all over you, pulling, dragging, squeezing. Your kids keep most of the cuddles you used to share with your first love. Your hair might not be washed or braided or styled, and maybe you’ve forgotten the last time you spent more than a minute on makeup.

I get it.

Your senses are on overload every single day of your life.

At any moment, you hear anything from dogs barking, kids yelping in either anger or joy, LEGOs clanging and toy cars zipping across wood floors. Your voice is strained from congratulating potty-training toddlers, talking on the phone with insurance agents while juggling a baby on your hip, and whispering to your kids while on hold.

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You constantly search for children slipping something harmful in their tiny mouths and watch your big kids play in the yard while keeping an eye on the dog who has been sick lately.

Your body is working overtime all the time. Your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands are busy doing one million things for itty-bitty-bodies who can’t do much of anything for themselves right now.

What you are feeling is overstimulation.

Not only are you pouring yourself out physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Every spidey-mom-sense in you is tingling throughout the day. There is no “off-switch” to motherhood, and the struggle is that sometimes it seems like it will never, ever stop.

My two little girls are ages 2 and 1, and this 24/7 calling of motherhood sometimes kicks my butt so much that I wonder why God thinks I can do this.

I have learned that in His strength, I can and I will. I will not give up.

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But my priorities have changed. Sometimes during naptime, I am productive and cross things off my to-do list. Other days, I force myself to lie down and rest. It’s difficult because it doesn’t feel productive. But when my body asks for it, I listen.

So don’t worry. You will have days in your future where the chaos dies down. You will get to do your hair again and wear clothes with great things like belts and matching dangly earrings.

This is your season right now, and it is a gift.

It’s a messy and wild existence, but it is a gift that will not be here forever.

It’s OK to relish in the boring silence. You are not a boring human, you just need a moment to hear yourself think. It’s OK not to turn on the radio when you go for a quick trip to the grocery store by yourself. It’s OK to pop in earplugs when you take a bath or shower so you don’t have to listen to your husband telling your daughter to pick up her toys, or the baby whining from two rooms over.

I know your life used to feel more adventurous when you weren’t assaulted at all times by little hands and little voices and sometimes big noises at surprising levels when you least expect it.

Maybe guilt nags at you when you think about all the podcasts you want to listen to and music to catch up on and friends to call. There are so many cool things you want to be doing but instead, sitting still for a minute and drinking a glass of water by yourself with both hands sounds divine.

Let the guilt go. Lie in bed at night and count your blessings, and your breaths one by one. Think about how you have given your body and life and personal agenda for the good of another human being today. Embrace the silence and thank God for the chance to rest.

You deserve it.

Kim Patton

Kim Patton lives in Georgia with her husband Kevin and two adopted daughters Eden and Shiloh. She spends her days at the park, teaching her toddler the ABCs, and juggling naptime and feedings with the baby. She writes at kimpatton.com and hosts the Book Therapy podcast.

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