Motherhood Struggles: What to Do When You Feel Powerless and Lost
Now more than ever moms are overwhelmed, burned out, feeling stuck in decision fatigue, have a lack of support, and lack of clarity (not to mention energy).
The sleepless nights, the long days, the roller coaster of emotions, and the responsibilities of all the roles we take on…oh boy, the pressure.
It’s easy to see how overwhelm sets in and eventually causes us to experience one of the most common motherhood struggles: feeling powerless and lost.
So what do you do when you lose your joy in motherhood (or life in general) and begin to feel powerless and lost, not sure of your next steps?
Above all else, you give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling and be where you’re at without judgment and without shame.
First: Find the root cause by evaluating where you’re at and what got you here.
Second: You come up with their opposites – aka what would empower you and bring you joy.
Third: Create your vision based off of your opposites list.
Fourth: Brainstorm possible solutions and next steps, focusing on one next step for each part of your list.
Fifth: Make a commitment to yourself and follow through with your next steps by building them into your lifestyle and habits.
While it may sound like a linear process, the truth is that it will be anything but that. It’s going to be hard and won’t feel easy, but it will be worth it.
Still, it’s helpful to have a roadmap and a guide. This post is meant to be that guide for you as you find your way from feeling powerless and lost to being empowered and confident in your journey.
Ready to get started and fast-track your way to empowerment and clarity in 5 actionable steps you can take today? Let’s go!
Step 1: Finding Out Why You Feel Powerless and Lost in Motherhood (and In Life)
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the chaos of every day life, or in some cases, the boredom. Too much stress, not enough support, and so many factors all play into ultimately feeling like it’s just all too much, and as a result – feeling powerless and lost.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
No doubt there are ebbs and flows in life and seasons of survival and thriving, but I firmly believe that we still need to steer the ship even when the waves are crashing all around us.
Which leads me to ask; have you been steering your ship?
This question has been the number one thing that has brought me out of seasons of feeling helpless, at the mercy of “good days” and simply going through the motions. It allows me to evaluate whether or not I’ve been intentional or have been letting life just happen to me.
And because I ask this question a little more on autopilot now out of habit (because it’s just like a muscle – you gotta work it out to notice a difference) when I am feeling powerless, I am that much quicker to get my booty in gear and back in the drivers seat.
Just a side note, though: I fully believe in feeling all the feelings and allowing yourself to be where you’re at, right here and now – no toxic positivity mindset allowed (basically, minimizing your feelings and struggles in the name of positivity…but that’s for a whole different post!)
HOWEVER…I don’t believe in staying in that place. I don’t believe that you belong there longterm, and I believe that we are all allowed to simply survive when appropriate but ultimately we are called to THRIVE!
But before you can get out of overwhelm you have to figure out how you got so overwhelmed in the first place.
Action step: Ask yourself what has led you here. What has life looked like lately?
- How much support have I had?
- What has my mindset been like?
- How has my health and wellbeing been?
- Am I nurturing my soul, my spirit, my body, and my mind?
- Have I invested in myself?
- Do I intentionally choose my moods, my attitude, and my thoughts or do I react to what happens around me?
- What are some things that I have given up since becoming a Mom and taking on the roles in my life?
Asking these questions and whatever else comes to mind can be a powerful way to connect with yourself and your desires. There won’t be any perfect answers, and some may surprise you but I encourage you to ask yourself these questions with an open mind and heart, and maybe even journal on your answers if that feels right for you.
Step 2: Find the Opposites to Your Answers Above
Now that you’ve gone through some of the possible reasons why you’re feeling burnt out, lost, powerless, or whatever you’re feeling – it’s time to look over those things again and flip them on their head.
It’s time to look at the opposite of your answers and envision what life can (and will) look like instead.
Action step: On a piece of paper, write your answers to the above questions. Draw a line down the middle, using the left side to write your answers from the first set of questions (what has led you here) and the right side for your answers to the second set of questions (their opposites).
How do your opposite answers make you feel? Do they feel aligned for you and your visions, intentions, and goals? Do they feel impossibly hard to achieve and unrealistic? Or do your answers feel attainable and give you the sense of power and hope you’ve been looking for?
Take note of these feelings, thoughts and reactions as you write your answers down, and maybe journal on them.
Don’t rush your answers and don’t answer for other people’s expectations of you or your life. Answer from your own intuition and insight!
Step 3: Create Your Vision and Set Your Priorities
Now that you have your list of things leading up to overwhelm and what life looks like opposite of that, it’s time to create the vision for your life!
You don’t have to go too deep into this step, but it’s important to think about what you do want your life to look like instead of only reflecting on what you don’t want it to be.
Action Step: Going off of your opposites list, write your new vision and a list of things that you would like to see change.
You can just write your opposites list word-for-word or you can dive deeper and really visualize each scenario.
For example, instead of writing just “more time for myself” which may be your opposite to your current circumstance like “not having any time for myself”, you can go deeper and write down the time of day you’d like to have to yourself, how long you need to be alone to recharge, etc.
After you have written down your vision, it’s time to circle the top 1-3 priorities from your vision and/or opposite list that you will focus on in the next step.
Try not to rush this step, especially.
It can be hard to figure out what your next priorities should be, so if you’re having trouble figuring out what you should prioritize first, take some time and think about what stresses you out most and why.
Some helpful starter questions to journal on or ask trusted friends/family about are:
- Do I become short-fused when I get less than 8 hours of sleep?
- Is ___ (example: dinner) something that I find myself getting anxious and stressed out about on a consistent basis?
- What triggers me on a day-to-day basis?
- What do I complain most about?
- Is my home a source of stress? (Clutter, unfinished projects, etc)
These questions will help guide you and give you clarity on what your next 1-3 priorities should be.
For example, if dinner is something that you’re burnt out on and stressed out about on a regular basis, you need to prioritize effective meal management. Likewise, if you find yourself being more short-fused and on edge when surrounded by the clutter in your home, you know you need to prioritize decluttering and getting your home organized.
Another tip: if you’re having a hard time figuring out what your top 1-3 priorities will be because you want to tackle them all at once, remember that you’ll focus on these first until you’ve found how to make them work. Then you’ll move on to the next 1-3 on your list, and so on.
Great things are accomplished small steps at a time!
Step 4: Brainstorm Your Next Steps
This part might feel overwhelming or it might give you hope and feel liberating. But in my experience, it feels like a little bit of both.
Let’s go back to your answers and brainstorm some possible solutions to get you from living out your first set of answers to living out your vision.
Instead of looking at your answers in the first step as what has been limiting you, we are going to reframe them and look at them as something that gives you opportunities to grow.
We are going to brainstorm your next steps!
Action step: Take your list of opposites or your vision and come up with 1 next step for each part of your list that you can take today or within the week that brings you closer to your vision.
Make sure this next step is tangible for your life now, not something that you write down and think you will get to later!
The point of this step is to do one thing that’s simple and small enough you can do today but important enough that it makes a difference.
When choosing your next steps ask yourself if this step is a) something you can do today or within the week, and b) will get you one step closer to your vision.
I also encourage you to take note of how your steps make you feel and the thoughts you have when writing them down.
If you have more than one next step for each part of your list/vision that you can’t decide on to act on first, write them all down on a separate piece of paper. Then either come back to them later or narrow it down now by asking yourself which one lines up with your top priorities here and now.
And don’t worry about the rest of your ideas…you’ll get to them, too!
If you’re having trouble finding your next steps and can’t seem to think of even one, I encourage you to try some of all of the following;
- journal on your answers
- ask friends and family that you trust for suggestions and ideas
- take note of what people you look up to do (you don’t have to copy them, but this can give you some ideas)
- ask yourself if there is anything you used to do that you don’t anymore that made life easier or made you feel empowered and confident (did you use to journal, have a set routine that gave you time to yourself before the kids woke up or after they went to bed, ask for help more, outsources or invested in something, etc?)
- is there something that I can give up to make room for something else (example: can I give up going to every event I’m invited to so that I can take a day for myself?)
It’s okay if you don’t find the answers come easy to you.
Take a break and come back to it or reach out to me for ideas!
Step 5: Stay Consistent and Stick to Your Next Steps
Finally, you’ve reached the part that is going to make the most difference!
I won’t lie, though…it’s also the hardest step of them all because it’s not a “one and done” kind of step. It’s something that requires ongoing commitment and consistency.
This step is all about habits, doing the hard thing, and challenging yourself to actually get what you want in life – and that’s never as easy as we think it’s going to be.
I know this is hard to hear, but the truth is that choosing to empower yourself means choosing to take responsibility for your life and actions.
You can write down endless ideas and next steps all you want in order to get closer to your goals and vision – but none of that will actually help you move forward unless you do (and on a daily basis).
You have to choose to stay where you are or move closer to the empowered and confident life you want on an on-going basis.
Every time you’re faced with the two options, just ask yourself: “Is what I say what I want worth it? Worth the effort, the challenges, the change, and the commitment?” I can 99% guarantee you that yes, it is worth it all!
You will have to sacrifice some things and get uncomfortable, but the more you do it the easier it gets.
Action step: write down some ways you can build your new steps into your everyday life.
Ask yourself some things like:
- How can I make this into a habit?
- Is this something I can do every day, weekly, monthly, etc?
- Can my kids be involved in this in case I don’t get alone time but it’s one of my non-negotiables?
- Is this something that will nurture my mind, spirit, body, and health?
- How will these things help me be a better mom, partner, and person?
Keep it simple and don’t get ahead of yourself! The point is to write down ways you can replicate some or all of the items in the list of your next steps into things you can do on an ongoing basis or use those things as a guide.
You want to make sure these are things that are adaptable and can fit into your life in different ways and not a bunch of ideas that feel too hard to even get started on or are way too complicated to do in this season of life.
Chances are if you can do that one small thing today, you can do it on repeat and stick with it!
These steps will compound and eventually, you won’t even have to think twice about doing these things!
They become habits and when you work out your habits consistently they get stronger just like a muscle.
Before you know it, you will be confident enough to say no to the next PTA meeting or dinner invite (without shaking in fear of opposition), you’ll prioritize yourself without feeling mom guilt, you’ll stick to your morning routine with ease and you’ll know yourself enough to know what you need on a daily basis in order to be the empowered and confident mom you desire to be.
And it will ALL be WORTH it!
Remember and Cling to Your Reasons, Not Your Excuses
This post is meant to be a jump-start guide to feeling empowered and having clarity in your life when you feel powerless and lost, but it is still a process.
It’s going to feel hard at times so it’s important to remember your reasons when you can only seem to think of your excuses.
But here’s another hard truth: empowered people choose to be empowered, and refuse to be victims to their circumstances.
This means you need to intentionally choose to equip yourself for your vision, to work towards more clarity in your life, and to not simply wait for these things to come to you. Because they won’t!
Bonus action step: write down your reasons for each part of your vision and place is somewhere you will see it every day.
- Why do you want more time for yourself?
- Why do you need to set more boundaries?
- Why do you need to ask for accept more help?
Remember and cling to your reasons, not your excuses!
Your excuses keep you stuck. Your reasons and actions empower you to have the life you want.
Here’s a quick summary of the post to fast-tracking your way to empowerment and clarity when you feel powerless and lost in motherhood and life.
Step 1: Find the root cause by evaluating where you’re at and what got you here.
Step 2: Come up with their opposites – aka what would empower you and bring you joy.
Step 3: Create your vision based off of your opposites list.
Step 4: Brainstorm your next steps, focusing on one next step for each part of your vision.
Step 5: Make a commitment to yourself and follow through with your next steps by building them into your lifestyle and habits.
Bonus Step: Remember and cling to your reasons, not your excuses.