How to Thrive in Survival Mode


Everyone has been here at one time or another. Whether you have one child or eight, we all have days where we wonder when will it just end?! Tack on sick kids, solo parenting, or endless activities, and you have a recipe for feeling like you’re going to pull your hair out.

I’ve been slowly learning that rather than wishing the day away, I need to come up with better strategies to embrace the craziness. The only way I can think to enjoy my kids in times of high stress is to take things off my plate. Dishes in the sink? They can wait. Taking down decorations? Nope. Dinner? Delivery, please.

Thrive in Survival Mode

I don’t always operate this way. In fact, I can’t stand dirty dishes in my sink. But when times get tough, kid don’t necessarily understand. All they can see is a frazzled mommy. So, why not make your life easier by lowering those high expectations for yourself until you can regain your balance?

My husband was recently out of town just as our youngest was getting sick. Oh, and I started nighttime potty training our toddler. So, you can imagine how many hours of sleep I was getting last week. I decided to make a list of some things I can do to keep myself from going mad when stress is high and sleep is low:

Listen to Music 

I’ve been starting my day with one of my new favorite artists, Lauren Daigle. Her music if faith-filled and inspiring. And when I’m dead tired, wondering where my energy is going to come from, her words encourage me. By 4pm, the music has shifted to either Disney or the Nutcracker (my four-year-old’s favorite). We sing together, dance and sometimes we stretch! It sounds really stupid, but it’s incredibly stress relieving. On the days when I don’t have time to do my bible study, music really helps to infiltrate my mind with the hopeful words that I need to hear.

Get Outside

Exercise and sunshine are two of the best things you can do for stress relief. Even when you don’t feel like you have enough energy to walk to the mailbox, a leisurely walk sure beats sitting inside trying to keep your kids from killing each other. Plus, you will probably get the benefit of interacting with another adult!

Dinner Delivered

No frozen meals left? Don’t want to eat fast food again? Try Door Dash where you can order foods from local restaurants. They even have healthy meals available from places like Southern Squeeze. Panera Bread also offers delivery. They have a great kids’ menu and coffee!

Groceries Delivered

For just $3.99, you can get Publix delivered to your door (with optional gratuity) in less than two hours via InstaCart. I normally hate to pay shipping on anything, but when I weigh the costs and rewards of taking two kids to the grocery store, $3.99 doesn’t sound so bad. They have excellent customer service where they will credit your account for any missing or wrong items (which has only happened once in two years).

Paper Plates

I have to credit my best friend who gave me this idea when our daughter was a newborn. Not having to do the dishes once the kids are in bed is glorious. If it makes you feel better to recycle the plates, buy paper and give them a quick rinse before throwing them in the bin.

Utilize Child Care at Your Gym

Want to know a secret? I don’t always “work out” when I drop my kids off. If you’re a member of SportsBarn, you can drop off your kids and get a cup of coffee at Grey Friar’s or a massage at Natural Body. And sometimes I just sit in the waiting area and catch up on emails. I felt guilty about this at first, but if that’s my only break all day from the kids, I’m gonna take it!

Just Go For a Drive

If all else fails and you’re about to lose your mind because your toddler is trying to physically hurt the baby or your daughter just peed on the floor for the third time today, just get in the car. Load up the kids and go get gas or go through the car wash or drive-thru Starbucks. Put on a podcast or some classical music. Something about the kids being physically immobile for 15-20 minutes lowers my stress level enough to make it through the day.

Before you think I have this whole mom thing figured out, just know that I am not perfect by any stretch. I have yelled at my toddler way more times than you. I have lost my temper (not just at home). I have cried over and over again because I feel like I can do better. Even when you have tried your hardest to lighten up and let go of being perfect, it’s still really hard.

Even on your worst days, your kids still think you’re the best mom ever. Know how I know? Because I had a mom like that. I could see the stress on my mom’s face on a daily basis, but I still loved her everyday. And now I brag about how great she was and still is. So, give yourself a break. Ask for help. Get dinner delivered. 

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Sarah is a mother of three gilrs, wife, and Physical Therapist turned “household manager”. She has a passion for all things health and wellness whether it’s helping moms find simple solutions to everyday health concerns or assisting older adults find affordable ways to improve their quality of life. Sarah was born and raised in New Orleans and later lived in many cities around the southesat. She and her husband are college football enthusiasts, travelers and food lovers.