Stuck in the Doldrums: An Attack Plan
by Jen Hatmaker on April 2nd, 2013

dol·drums
[dohl-druh mz, dol-, dawl-]
noun ( used with a plural verb  )
1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises.
2. a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
3. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.

~
 
Conversation with Brandon two months ago:
 
Me:      Blah.
B:         What’s wrong.
Me:      Nothing. Just everything. Everything is bad.
B:         Specifically?
Me:      Just that our kids are probably all going to hate us and struggle with multiple incarcerations, I apparently will gain a pound a month until I die from diabetes, this house is a craphole of chaos, and my weird quirks are getting worse. I hid in the bathroom at another conference.
B:         Is that all?
Me:      And also, only two of my kids love to read, so obviously, Failure, your name is motherhood, and all I do is put out fires and discipline, so I’ve basically come to hate the sound of my own voice. I can’t stand myself and these kids aren’t faring much better on my Like-O-Meter, and I’m sorry to tell you, but your scores aren’t great either. I cannot even talk about emails. My Bible feels like a useless lead weight. I don’t feel like I’m taking skin care seriously enough. I also ate a tub of pimento cheese. All hope is lost.
B:         But at least you’re working on that melodramatic tendency.
Me:      Just lost another four points, Pal. Feels like a dangerous time to mess with me.
 
I essentially slid into a two-month case of the doldrums, trapped by inertia and overwhelmed by the escape requirements. On my best days, our life is heavy duty, but during my low days, Google search: “fake my own death and disappear,” which Brandon might dub melodramatic, but he is just a dude with a stable mind and can’t be trusted.
 
Here is the bummer about the doldrums: the very efforts needed to lift out are the same things you’ve lost energy for. The simplest remedies feel like weights drudged up from the bottom of the ocean. Your mind knows to do them, but your will refuses to cooperate. Which makes your mind furious and mired in shame, which makes your will dig its heels and wallow, which makes you realize you are turning on yourself, you are your own worst enemy. No one can oppress me like myself.
 
Nothing miraculous happened, except one day I said, this is enough. Virtually nothing changed that day. Or the next. These things aren’t overnight success stories, because if it took three months and 459 lazy, unhealthy, toxic choices to get stuck, it takes some time to climb out. Also, the work required is unsexy, ordinary, boring old labor that lacks the appeal of instant gratification and the pizzazz of an unsolicited miracle. I wish I had better news, but apparently we just have to grab a shovel and start digging.
 
For my dear readers stuck in the doldrums, and may I say that I love you and you are not alone, these are the labors that pulled me through, one teeny moment at a time:
 
First, make a list of everything you are behind on. The amount of emotional energy this steals from me is almost unbearable. Ironic too, because each line item could be accomplished in minutes at best, a day at worst: mail these things, return this, make those appointments, answer these emails (<--- just, omg), scan that contract over, send in the money for that school thing (this, times a zillion, free public school my eye), pick up that stuff, return that phone call (<--- just, omg), finish writing that article. Overdue tasks contribute heavily to my Shame Spiral, and writing them all down in one place and slowly crossing them off is an instant boon, literally. Unbelievable the weight that rolls off when the Behind Pile starts to shrink.
 
Second, the house. For the love of Mary Magdalene, the house. I am one of those annoying people who needs order and declutterfication. Oh to live in chaos and whirl and twirl amongst the piles instead of, say, barking like a seal at the humans who live here and begrudging everyone for being such slobs unkempt people. But no.
 
So, brace yourselves, we launched another chore chart. This one is simple and repetitive. Everyone has one chore a day, and it is the same every week. This is not for pay, because their prize is getting to live in my house for free, oh my gosh. The kids did these tasks before but with no regularity and primarily after I turned into a lunatic. Not allowing the house to slip into entropy is mentally healing. The chart is imperfect, but even loose structure restores order to my inner turmoil.
Yes, I succumbed to chalkboard paint. Next up: Chevron.

Third, parenting. Obviously my five kids are perfect and make straight A’s and speak loving words to each other constantly, but clearly their classmates have poorly influenced them lately, because they’ve turned into savages. (This surely has nothing to do with their mother’s two-month doldrum disorder, because children are never the thermometer simply reflecting the temperature of their parents. I’m sure their digression is just a coincidence.)
 
So this cute thing happened where the kids were horrible and fighting and I went to my room to cry about these terrible children God stuck me with, and He said a little thing to me: He immediately brought to mind six, six lovely moments my kids engineered that very day, and He said, “You are only noticing the bad moments and completely ignoring all the good ones.”
 
God never coddles me when I want him to, GAH!
 
So we started the Brag Board. Anytime we catch someone being kind, helpful, gracious, or awesome, we write it down, big or small. It has to be about someone else, because the first thing my humble offspring would write is It was so incredible how I unloaded the dishwasher. Funny thing: I’m not positive they’ve had more shining moments than before, but I’m sure noticing them now. Evidently we will see exactly what we’re looking for. Does this mean I’ve had to follow a certain child around, searching for one tiny good thing to say? Yes. But catching kids in their goodness totally beats reprimanding them only in their struggles, and the Brag Board has pulled the whole family up a few degrees.
To be clear, Ben was recyling, not resicking, which we frown upon.

Finally, I made a list of all the practices that make me feel healthy. Not surprisingly, I noticed most absent in my doldrums: cooking, reading good books, limiting screen time, eating well, date nights, taking walks, scheduling time with a counselor, being outside, praying, changing out of my pajamas (this is a thing), my friends. All ordinary, nothing new or dramatic. These are mainly things that fit in the gaps of life. But I just committed some time back to my staples, maybe just one a day.
 
None of these were executed at once. Over a few weeks, I just implemented healthier practices, one at a time. It was not revolutionary when I sat down with Alan Bradley’s latest novel finally (“Whenever I’m a little blue, I think about cyanide which so perfectly reflects my mood” ~Flavia), nor did my world tilt back on its axis when I wrote the first entry on the Brag Board. The chore chart didn’t solve the crisis, and neither did catching up on emails.
 
But all together, over weeks, just doing the work, bit by bit, digging deep for diligence and grace and best practices, the doldrums receded. These things make us healthy and whole for a reason, because we are not succumbing to disorder and shame anymore. It’s not fancy or quick work unfortunately, but it is effective.
 
If you feel stuck today, can I suggest approaching the doldrums in a reasonable way, one tiny element at a time? Alone, none of these are monumental, but together they begin to lay small paver stones out of the mire, forging a path back to health. It will be imperfect with incremental steps forward and back, but God can use your brave movement to soothe the shame of stagnation and restore peace to the chaos.
 
Grab my hand. Let’s do this.
 
~
 
Two things: This is not a post for you to tell me my family is awesome, so thank you for refraining. I am writing this precisely because we have been so unawesome. Second, this does not apply to serious trauma or depression. The doldrums are a funk, not a severe crisis. Sometimes our hearts require therapy, intervention, and possibly medication, and the practices I described are inadequate. Readers, how else do you beat back the doldrums?


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238 Comments

Julie Barnhill - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:51 PM
I'd comment, but, you know..... :)
Amelia - April 2nd, 2013 at 5:15 PM
Julie Barnhill, is that YOU?! I love all your books-especially "Motherhood: the Gift that Keeps on Giving" and "She's Gonna Blow"! They have helped me tremendously. And Jen Hatmaker, this was an EXCELLENT article; spot on. Thank you. Thank you both.
Danielle D. - April 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 PM
yes, my sister in law and I are reading this (She's Gonna Blow) together (we live a million states from each other, so we're tele-book-clubbing). Very helpful. And nice to know we're not alone.
Karin - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:51 PM
So, so timely for me. Add general illness to the list (which creates the ultimate doldrums) and I just totally feel you, girl. Thanks for the practical tips on how to dig out.
Kris A - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Jen, Jen, Jen... yeah, I've battled this myself the last few months. Life was work and grad school. I kept reminding myself that I chose this life, that it's only this way until May, that it's too freakin' cold to go anywhere anyway. And I could feel my spirit dying inside of me. Totally melodramatic right there with you. Ennui isn't a strong enough word. So this week, when my students are on spring break, I'm burning some precious vacation days so I can get schoolwork done without missing a little reading time or having to say "no" to lunch with dear friends because I just can't do it all. Now... if you'll excuse me, it's almost 2 PM and I need to shower so I can change out of my pajamas.
Mandy - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:54 PM
OOOOOMG.....thank you for this! I thought I was going to need to take a pill that would cause head lice and chicken pox but it turns out I just have the doldrums. Thanks for saving me a trip to the doctor.
Melissa - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Oh my goodness I thought I was the only one who struggled with this. I could not even NAME it, but now calling it the doldrums really makes sense. And I feel less ashamed! Thanks so very much for sharing. I am slowly pulling myself out of the doldrums. Thank you so very much a million times over. I am also mom to an Ethiopian child by the way. He likes to smile and say "don't look at me" when he wants to do something he knows it is wrong. It is really delightful.
Brenna - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Love this, Jen. I've been feeling the same way lately (OH MY GOSH can my first year of law school be OVER already?? i have ZERO motivation and a million things to study (aka LEARN).

so i came to the same realization that you did. i picked up my Bible and really let words sink in. i stalk Holley Gerth's blog and bought her newest book, because dang i just really need a pick me up and some nice words.

then i drag myself to the gym and lift weights so heavy that i'm not sure i can open doors right now. and i SLEEP regular hours.

world of difference, my friend. oh and i stopped eating sour keys. that is slowly helping as well.

next up: i need to find time to tackle my nuclear disaster of a room.

and so we all just keep on swimming. thanks, Dory & Nemo.
Elisha - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 PM
My sunroof open, worship music on going to work, 80's hip hop headed home, glass of wine while paying the bills (no judgment!).

Finally, wiping down the inside of the microwave. Sounds crazy but the whole house can be a cesspool, but if the inside of the microwave is clean I feel like I've got my crap straight and I don't suck. Crazy! ;)
Leann - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:53 PM
My 2-year-old opened the microwave last night and asked me to clean it. You know the microwave is dirty if a 2yo boy is judging you. :)
Donna - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:56 PM
I plan a getaway for one day somewhere that gets me out of my stuff, my self, and my mire. (Chicago is close and one of my favorite one day get aways). I come home usually with a better perspective and a better ability to get some focus.
Lori - April 3rd, 2013 at 7:56 AM
Ditto, Donna. I take the Metra into Chicago to renew. Just walking around, spending an hour at an Argo Tea Cafe, and sitting in peace for a bit at Fourth Presbyterian Church (such a beautiful, old church right in the middle of the hustle, bustle, and excess on Michigan Avenue) can be "just what the doctor ordered".
Sara - April 3rd, 2013 at 1:54 PM
LOVE Argo Tea :) I too love to visit when I am in from "The Burbs". Actually sipping on a bottle of their ice tea at the moment.
Nice to hear others dealing with this....I think it is something women understand - men just don't get it.
jamie west zumwalt - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Thank you for this. Been in the doldrums myself. I know this stuff. I do. But making myself get up and do them%u2014that is the problem. Today I will start my list. Thank you.
Molly - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Motto of a single mama with 5 kids :)
%u201CCourage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.%u201D
laura - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:20 PM
i hope you do not mind, but i am putting this up on my bedroom mirror. (from mother of 5 with #6 on the way soon)
Erin - April 10th, 2013 at 3:05 PM
I love your motto... may make it my own. (only 2 kiddos though)
Allison Hunter - April 20th, 2013 at 10:18 AM
This is precious. Mama love is sacred.
Christie - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I have so been there these last few months. Spring has been a huge healing balm. Opening the windows has helped. Thanks for this...sometimes just hearing your pain or frustrations expressed by another helps. Not because you are suffering too, but because you KNOW.
Mary Carver - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I love this. I have to do this at least once a year...FINE, twice. Today I can say that I've recently hid at a conference, my house is definitely a craphole of chaos and I can always, ALWAYS eat an entire tub of pimento cheese. So I get this and am thankful you did the work and then put the words together for us.
Amanda - April 2nd, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Thank you so much for just being real and saying it like it is!! So good to know I'm not alone!!
Rita - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:00 PM
I try to find something new to learn so I'm thinking about that and not myself so much!
Beth - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:00 PM
I slide into the doldrums so easily, it's just good to know I'm not alone! And, I can identify with the need for order ... and living with people who do not seem to have that same need... :) Thanks for the reminder about making time for the things that are good for us.
Nancy - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Eyeball time with my sisters...as in, I get to see them in person. Nothing brings me back from the edge better than that.
Amanda - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:01 PM
Thanksgiving. Thanking Him for the good and bad leads to a place of trust and safety. I have a gratitude journal. It has transformed my heart to receive all things with thanksgiving. I am not consistent with it, of course, but when I count the gifts, it takes my focus off myself and puts it on the Giver. It reminds me that I can't manhandle my own way, but I can trust Him in all circumstances and be content in all things.
Erin - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:02 PM
Realizing that doldrums are for just a season is a great way to look at things. Doldrums are often moments of change, self-realization, reflection and cleansing. Love your transparency...always....you give hope to all whether they claim to be perfect or not!! I fall in the latter category. God bless!
Mandie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:02 PM
First, this seems to be my life every year or so. Sigh.... Second, I can easily fall the other way in the extreme. For example, I was severely out of shape a few months ago and had been for like 5 YEARS! So I decided to get off my rear and do something about it. I started going to aerobics and talked some of my friends into training for a half marathon with me. Then I started Insanity (which fits it's name perfectly) while still doing aerobics AND running. And while I have lost weight and toned up, it got so bad that I was neglecting other very important parts of my life to work out. Geez. Oh, and I got completely overwhelmed with what I was eating. For every meal. Every single day. It consumed me. God doesn't coddle me either.....especially when I'm the problem. :) He reminded me that I have an amazing husband and two incredible daughters and a very large, loud family that I was neglecting in big ways. So a month ago I started to slowly find the happy medium again. It took about a month, but I am happy to say that this last weekend (Easter which is an awesome coincidence) we celebrated two birthdays and our risen Savior and I even ate cake without an inner meltdown about calories. In conclusion (haha) there is a beautiful place where organization meets spontaneous, fun life.

P.S. I love the chore chart and have been motivated to make and keep up with one. Thanks!
Kim - April 5th, 2013 at 9:44 PM
Wow, that is so me. Except I haven't found the balance yet! I got so fed up with my obsession with my weight and fitness and calorie counting that I have gone the other extreme again and have been eating like a maniac, regardless of how disgusting it makes me feel, and have put five pounds back on in the last month! May I ask if you have any advice on how to find that balance? Because I am very much an all-or-nothing kind of personality. I also very much relate to this article. I am perfectionist in every area... most especially my weight and the organization and cleanliness of my house. And both areas cause me a LOT of stress because I have three children, aged 5,4 and 2, so neither one of these areas are easy to control with three preschoolers around! :) It sure helps to know I am not alone though.
Mindy - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:02 PM
Love, love and love it all. Brag board starts today, beginning with: Mom read an awesome blog post and is creating a brag board. Thanks for the inspiration!
Millie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:02 PM
I so needed this today. In fact, I will just go on believing that He orchestrated it just for me. Thanks so much for writing it.
Katie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:03 PM
amen, my DBFF! (digitial BFF) I, too, have had the "funk" for a while and have simply succumbed to list-making, prayer, and a dry erase marker. Thank you for your honest and encouraging words for this first-time mom of a 4-month old. Now...i'm off to change out of my pajama pants
Charity - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Thank you!!!
Lindsey - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:05 PM
Perfect timing on this post for me too. I am a school based SLP, so spring is the worst/busiest time for me. I feel like I am drowning in IEPs sometimes! Plus, I am impaitently waiting on our LOA to arrive so we can start making concrete plans to get our baby girl from China! As ready as I am to get her, this also gives me slight (ok, probably a lot) anxiety about packing, attachment and bonding, a 15 hour flight with a child who doesn't know me...you know the drill. :)
Nina - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 PM
Praying for you school based SLP!! From, another SLP
Elisha - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:44 PM
seriously God bless both of you (from a Mom with 2 kids with IEP attending those meetings plus an extra transition one to high school.) So much work-you all are incredible.
Lindsey - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:41 AM
Thank you Nina! I know you can relate to all the paperwork!
Lindsey - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:49 AM
Thank you Elisha too for understanding how overwhelming the writing of the IEPs and the meetings themselves can be. And thank you for being an involved parent who actually attends the meetings! Bless you and your kiddos, and especially your transition meeting. :)
Grace - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:06 PM
Your blog comes at a perfect time. I have been in the doldrums for a few months and just a few days ago I just started doing the small things one at a time. Praying to God and rowing towards shore. Thanks Jen!!!
Beth - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:06 PM
You wrote this for me! I was such an Easter grump. It was shameful, really.
Cori - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:07 PM
I totally relate to the list of things I'm behind on, and that they could be done in so little time and remove such a ridiculous burden. Why why why do I do that to myself? Nice action plans. I need to start looking for good in my kids, too.
Sarah - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:08 PM
Girlfriend, thank you for this--my weary soul needed just that!
Tiffany - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:09 PM
One of the best things I've found to beat the doldrums is to play. Yes, play. A board game with friends, a good natured joke on a sibling, dodgeball with youth, blacklight egg hunt with adults (true story), 80s music lip sync concert... whatever brings a smile or the cure-all, belly laughter. You see, Jen, you have kids so you have an excuse to play on the playground or color or go to Chuck E Cheese and win tickets to buy junk. When I do so sans kids, people judge. Their issue. I'm having more fun than they are! ;)
debra - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:10 PM
I am right with you & trying hard to battle back. I tore my meniscus running a few months ago so exercising was not an option. Then foot surgery on the other good leg made me a downright invalid. The 15 lbs that happily jumped on board my pity train didn't help matters AND it appears that I am smack dab menopausal. My hubby asks me all the time if I need some cheese with that "whine" He may go missing sometime VERY soon ;). Thanks for this post. I feel so much better knowing that I am OK & not the only stuck in the dumps.
Eva Carr - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:11 PM
I smell some plagiarism afoot! How did you get inside my head...and borrow my family...and have the same pet peeves as me?!? What gives??? Stinkin' sin nature. Bogus. But thanks for nudging me toward a remedy that doesn't involve me sneaking off in the weak hours of the night! ;)
Laura - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:13 PM
Loved this & perfect timing too. Spring is just D-R-A-G-G-I-N-G it's feet here in upstate NY & yes I did wake up to snow this morning. Feel like I have been milling from one thing to another....not very effective in doing any of them. This post....just what I needed. Thanks for being so real & honest.
Jaymi Vandewater - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:13 PM
How did you know EXACTLY where I am right now with my 5 kids, and my crazy house and my stuck self who wants to throw up my hands and cry (which I did last week)? Sunday I actually did copy your chore chart idea you had posted before and I must say it went well yesterday and made my heart feel a little less knotted up. I don't know if I've ever read a more timely post and I want to thank you for encouraging me. I join probably thousands of others who feel like you are a friend. One way I beat back the doldrums is to have time with Jesus in my car. I get too distracted in my (messy) house or at a coffee shop. Gotta be somewhere where I can listen and cry freely and worship. Love to you, jaymi
Katie Kronberg - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:13 PM
My daily staples are a shower, a walk, a cup(umm pot) of coffee and a chance to write out my thoughts. Also I've learned to not guilt myself over only having time for a couple verses- God knows what a 3 year old dramatic girl and a wants-to-nurse-all-the-time five month old does to your time:) and one more thing- honesty! I'm not afraid to say to my hubby that I just need five minutes alone with God to cry it out(usually with bathroom door locked to keep said 3 year old out lol).
Rebecca Gaston - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Thank you for sharing these glimpses of your life with me (us); they are both helpful and liberating (in the most practical of ways)!

Oh, and I think we have the same fridge.


Heather - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:15 PM
You are feeding lambs. The guilt and the pajamas and just doing it. Thank you for the hand up. And the raw honesty.
Katy Epling - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:15 PM
I cried when I read your conversation with your husband, becauseI have said some of those exact same words. Thanks for sharing your heart and for putting in writing some of the things I already know to do. I have found that I get so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start and want to give up before I begin. I have to tell myself, "Just take ONE step. Do ONE thing." I may not be able to get all caught up on laundry, but I can put ONE load in the washing machine. And when that's done, I can take it out and put it in the dryer... etc. Forget about taking it "one day at a time"--I'm living minute-by-minute here. :-) Also, I am constantly surprised by how much I am affected by what I listen to. Turning on a sarcastic radio host or a mystery/thriller audiobook may not be a big deal on a "normal" day, but it can just drag me further into a pit on a low day. Listening to upbeat music really does make a difference. Again, none of it is magical. Lots of hard work and determination. But do you know what else helps? Knowing that I'm not the only one who wrestles with this. Thanks again for sharing. I feel like we're in it together, sister. ;-)
Julie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:17 PM
Very timely! Thanks for your insights. You are spot on.
Amanda - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:17 PM
AMEN. Yes. I just love how you write serious things with such humor. I've been in counseling for anxiety/depression lately, and at this point I'm doing much better but I'm still sometimes stuck in those doldrums. What an excellent word for it. :) I've found joy in doing many of the same things you described, and also realized -- no plan or strategy or fasting or sacrifice is going to make me whole... only bringing my brokenness before Jesus each day and receiving His wholeness.
Melissa - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:19 PM
I'm grabbing your hand....I need help ........I'm also sharing, because I know I'm not alone
Morgan - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Amen. :)
Laura I-promise-I'm-not-crazy-if-this-posts-five-times-blame-the-computer N - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:24 PM
I didn't know that happened in Texas too. I go through this almost every winter, and realize I am coming alive again in the spring. I thought my motivation must just be solar-powered. :/

I do something similar- like tape a note to the mirror with a reminder to: dress to the shoes (in something clean and not humiliating to answer the door in) and exercise three times a week (like walk 20 minutes, that's a feat when you're blue), and it helps a lot. But you nailed it, it is so hard to do what you need to when you've already sunk.

I'm also tempted by the chalkboard paint, but feel that I won't even know who I am anymore if I get sucked into a Pinterest craft.

Thank you for admitting you go through this as well; it could be very helpful and healing to many.
Kathy - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:25 PM
I hear you, girl!
Miranda - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:25 PM
I hate the doldrums even though they always result in a positive change each time they come along. It has been cold here since the beginning of October, which irritate me so much I could cry every time I step out the door. It is now causing me to have to work indoors instead of out, which makes it difficult to be a natural light photographer at times! It's been so cold and wet we can't get our garden planted, which is like skipping a therapy appointment for me. I swear my laundry reproduces at night when we are sleeping. We bought our home this past summer and its a project house, but we just don't seem to be finishing any projects. My children act like feral children at times. And to top it all off, all my girlfriends seem to be going through the same thing! However, if I can find one thing everyday to be thankful for it fills my motivation meter ever so slightly and even though it seems that I lose 2/3 of that found motivation over night, I know that over time it will add up and I'll be back on track. Thank you for the reminder that we all go through it and for the encouragement that eventually our tanks will be full again!
Vickie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:26 PM
I could have written this. For years I thought the funks were hormone related, but since mine have packed up and moved to more fertile ground (see what I did there?), I still fight this fight. And it took me many years to realize that the very things I least want to do are the ones that will make me happy, whole and healthy again. To quote you, "Gah!"
Lyli@3dLessons4Life - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Love the brag board. Love you. Thank you :)
Laurie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:29 PM
Just knowing that someone else has been where I am.......thank you. I'm telling my bad attitude to take a hike so that I can salvage this life, this life that God has given me. With His help my life may once again reflect His awesomeness even in my ordinary.
Lesley - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:29 PM
I so identify with what you are saying here...I either feel like a total success or an abysmal failure. When I feel like an abysmal failure, I mope around and have very similar conversations with my husband as you had with Brandon, where everything is awful and I am a huge loser. One of my darkest moments (I was pregnant, of course) was when I was walking around with powdered donuts in my robe pocket all day. (Although, I kind of miss having my food that accessible, now that I am a functioning human being again).
I have am starting to realize, however, that God is faithful during these times, and the way I am learning to cope is just to simply cry out to Him and ask for help, admitting my sinfulness and helplessness, and trusting that He will lift me up. He ALWAYS answers, maybe not right away, but, like you said, step by step, until one day, I am soaring again. Now, when I am back in "the pit", I know from experience that it is a short (maybe even a week-long!) season, and that, if I am committed to finding my joy and purpose once more, He will enable me and bless me in my efforts.
I hate to self-promote here, but I went through another dark time in January (pregnant, of course), and wrote about it, including the lyrics to a hymn (written by Charles Wesley) that God used to bless my socks off. It was life-changing, and if it helps anyone who is walking through a difficult time, I will be so happy. http://mrsgoresdiary.com/2013/02/18/he-hides-the-brightness-of-his-face-but-i-will-never-give-up-my-shield/
Love you, Jen Hatmaker - thanks for sharing your heart and these great ideas!
SL - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:29 PM
Doldrums: the cesspool of emotional exhaustion. We are synchronized swimmers, ready to dry off and live in the sun!
AW - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:30 PM
I'm doing the opposite of making a game plan. I'm going through a sabbatical of sorts. I started a marriage counseling/bible study several months back where I'm focusing on my identity in Christ. And I felt heavily motivated from the Holy Spirit to pull back from many of my obligations. I pulled out of my women's bible study. I've pulled out of the homeless ministry. I've even stopped going to worship. *gasp!* I am obligated to TeenMOPS for the rest of the semester, so that's still on the plate, but only until summer. The main focus right now is my marriage counseling/bible study and my family/home. It has been refreshing. I'm not caught up on my home so to speak, but further than I've been in a long time. It feels good to have order. It feels good to have some silence in my head and heart. It feels good to have some quality one-on-one time with the Lord. I have had to conquer the "guilt" of not being a "good SAH(Baptist)M by being involved in a million GOOD things like bible studies galore and ministries and mentoring. I've had to labor to rest in my Lord. But through the Holy Spirit, I've been told His Grace is Sufficient. I know I'll slowly enter back into some of those obligations, but for this season, I'm choosing the freedom to focus on just a few things. And it's been AWESOME! God has spoken so clearly, so succinctly to me two things: One, He is sufficient. I don't need to fit the mold my church/religion/culture dictates for SAHM's. He calls me to live out my identity in HIM. Two, I am Loved and Adored. Personally. By name. Chosen. How special that is!

Thankful for my freedom in Christ. Thankful for the period of resting in Him. Thankful for His sufficiency that dictates my to-do list/day/emotions, instead of everyone and everything else.
Jill - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:30 PM
I just got out of the doldrums like last week. Bah, I totally hate them, but they are there. Thanks for writing about this. I needed to hear it. Others will need to hear it.

I love your chalkboard chart and your brag board. Two things I should do.
Lindsay - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:34 PM
Oh, Jen, thank you thank you thank you for this post! I, too, am married to a man with a stable mind and have my own melodramatic tendencies (bless these men, right??). I've been stuck lately, in one of those "everything in my life sucks and I suck and it will always suck forever" places and you're right...little steps, digging out. I could weep with how freeing and shame-reducing your words are. Thank you.
Casey - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:36 PM
Thank you! It is time to assess the situation, make a plan of attack, and DO IT! (At least some of it)
Mary Ostyn (Owlhaven) - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:36 PM
I've decided that one of the benefits of having multiple children is that they don't ever ALLL hate me at once. But even having 2 or 3 casting dour glares on a given day can wear a girl down. I have to keep reminding myself that the negativity is thick partly because FIVE are currently teens. Makes me seriously doubt our sanity deciding to artificial TRIPLET kids a few years back. But by God's grace, we will persevere, despite the momma-doldrums. I like your plan. Another thing that helps me is to chant like a mantra: "It is my job *only* to be faithful. The results are up to God." When I get too hung up on what the outcome looks like now, in the messy middle of it all, I get discouraged.
Mary, momma to 10, including 4 from Ethiopia and 2 from Korea
Sherri - April 5th, 2013 at 1:27 AM
Thank you , kindred spirit, thank you. It feels so good to know I'm not alone in this world of teens.
Patty Romack - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:36 PM
I can't believe the timing of this post! I just "liked" you today on Facebook through another friend, and then to see this in my feed was amazing! I have been struggling with depression, which can seriously go along with the doldrums. I've been unmotivated and sick of the chaos in my home. I've been eating unhealthy, feel like crap, and whine because nothing's changing. Well, HELLO, of course nothing's changing, because I not doing anything about any of it. That is, until I read this post! You have given me the motivation and "kick in the pants" that I so desperately needed! And you made me laugh along the way, which is the BEST medicine! Thank you a thousand times over!
alison - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:38 PM
I am not alone! Thanks for sharing....it's so nice to know we are not alone on this journey of motherhood. Love and appreciate you and your honesty and transparency!
Elizabeth Davis - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:39 PM
I DEARLY LOVE YOU JEN HATMAKER!!! You speak to my heart and soul...my hubby reads your blogs too :-) Helps our family of 8 out TONS!!!
SSW - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:41 PM
It is 11:40 AM local time and I am still in my pj's.Thank you for giving me practical, helpful, and actually doable steps to try - and none of the guilt producing, judgement that can so often accompany "mommy blogs". My eldest son has just been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and I have been very much in the doldrums for the past couple of months. I needed this!
Amy B - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:44 PM
In the biggest funk right now. Started working out again this week to just do something to break this negative cycle. A healthy dose of sweat (which I loathe) and John Piper sermons (which I adore) has helped. Thanks for the ideas.
Ellen - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:44 PM
Yep. All this is true. I usually spend my lunch hour holed up in my car somewhere eating something terrible out of a paper bag, but I had lunch with a human being today, and it's amazing how wonderful it felt! It was work-related, but it was still so nice. My energy level is markedly better than it usually is at this time of day.

Also, may I suggest that when you're in the doldrums, do not decide it's a good idea to finally see what all the fuss is about the TV show "Breaking Bad." It will not help.
Tracie - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:45 PM
So well said and so perfectly timed!
Thanks for being so real and honest. It's comforting to hear that you 1. Have been in the doldrums and 2. Have gotten out of the doldrums!
:)
Beth - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:47 PM
This is just so incredibly timely....thankful for grace that is sufficient for days like these....love that someone signed their post "Dory and Nemo".....just keeping swimming!
Heather - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:47 PM
Deep breaths. Exercise. One thing at a time. Oh, and something else that's been nice for me? Reading through the chapter from 7 on the sacred pauses. I've never attempted to do them all in one day, but if things are sluggish, I pick the pause that's closest to the current time of day, and pray/ read more upon that theme. It's helps to draw me out of me and my LIST of NEVERENDINGNESS and onto serving God/others. So, thanks for that, btw.
Jennifer - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:51 PM
LOVE those reassuring moments when you realize you're not alone.
My season has been the same, but different (and lasting far too long)....and what made the light bulb click for me- was a 21 day visual fast. No tv/movies/social media/pinterest/electronic games/and very little computer time in general. Mainly, because I needed to get my eyes off of the nothingness I was using to fill an unknown void...and definitely get them off of my wallowing self and onto the One of whom they never should have been distracted from. My vision/focus desperately needed changed. I thought the added benefit of this non-stolen time would mean hours of productivity on my part...but it wasn't near that simple. But it so very definitely helped re-ground me and the stage was set for better choices to be made, and the journey began to come out of the doldrums. Thank you. for your post.
Amy - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Poem that comforted Elisabeth Eliott in her time of need

Do The Next Thing

From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
DO THE NEXT THING

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
DO THE NEXT THING

Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
DO THE NEXT THING

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
DO THE NEXT THING

-Author unknown

Caterina - April 3rd, 2013 at 2:14 AM
Oddly enough, a similar line from a novel by Madeleine Brent stuck with me: "Do what comes next." Not sure if it was Golden Urchin or Moonraker's Bride, but I know it was one of those.

Taking stock of the little mantras helps. Remembering "do what comes next", and "harm none", and "love is the law", those are all good for me. If I only have the attention span of a gnat, then I will pay attention to tiny chunks of positivity.
Sarah Q - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:56 PM
This is exactly how I've been feeling. Thank you for your transparency and practical reality of working back towards healthiness!
@OdysseyMamaC - April 2nd, 2013 at 1:57 PM
Dear Jen: Your hand is really hurting right now I'm squeezing it SO HARD!!! Totally stuck in a bad case of the doldrums today, and here you are writing exactly what I feel. I'm behind on grad school. We're building a house, and it seems I'm constantly behind on those decisions. My house is a mas of crushed goldfish, dog hair, and smelly teenage boy socks. We're adopting another kiddo, and Youth Villages is stuck in the MUD, which adds some serious "#$*!@"-ish feelings to the blah. And all I want to do is eat leftover Easter candy and sleep....which makes my stomach hurt and does not help in the least little bit. Thanks for the reminder that I need to grab a shovel and start digging. Maybe just one more chocolate egg first?
Amy Pepin - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 PM
Jen, I love what you have to say! For me the doldrums set in when I start to feel discontent or frustrated with the lack of progress that I have made in my home, or with my kids, or with myself! When I feel the doldrums set in, I sit back and focus on how far God has taken me and what he has taken me through, and I thank him for his daily work in my life. I focus on how much God has given me and all the answered prayers. I also give myself some grace for not being everything that I think that I should be. Because afterall I really do want my life to reflect him and his purpose for me.After that I find myself less frustrated and more motivated to jump into life again. Keep the blogs coming!
Osheta - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 PM
I've been experiencing the doldrums for a few months now. I actually blogged about it, it was so bad. I ugly cried in our van for a couple of hours, read a story by Anne Lamott my friend posted to Facebook and then...got a pedicure. That little bit of self-care helped. This post was helpful because church planting is so hard. I'm in a deeper funk than ever and I know a huge contributor is how much time, energy, and mental space I'm devoting to this plant. I'm really looking forward to seeing you at exponential later this month.
Lori H - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:12 PM
Thank you for this. I have been STUCK for a couple months, procrastinating on everything I need to be doing (job-hunting, for one). Will try to implement this plan! Thanks for the honesty and of course, the humor!
Jami - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:15 PM
Maybe I'll fold some laundry today or write those thank you notes from my 4-year-old's party last month that was too large. Maybe. Or maybe I'll grade some papers. I shall call my doldrums March and get myself out of them before we are too entrenched in April.
Michelle - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 PM
So, I guess I'm not alone?
Again, your words speak what my heart can not express.
Thank you.

Something I am doing that seems to tame the crazy: one-on-one time with my kiddos (girls, 9 & 10 years old). Nothing fancy. Just dinner at a pizza place to listen & chat with no interruptions. Or frozen yogurt & a walk around the block. Always reconnects us.

Kimberly - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 PM
Jen, you are SERIOUSLY the best. Your transparency is beautiful. For me, moving really helps shake out the cobwebs - going for a run, dancing around wildly, spinning a hula-hoop, etc. Getting outside into some sunshine works wonders for me as well. Bonus points for moving WHILE outside! I also try to tackle the most-hated tasks in a more fun way, (i.e., doing the sink-full of old dishes while blasting very dance-able music. It helps.)
Brittany - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:35 PM
It's just so great to know you're not alone with these darn doldrums, amen? For me, yardwork helps. I guess it's the combo of movement, sunshine, getting my hands in the dirt, and also instantly seeing the work of my hands. Thanks for writing this!
Courtney Laib - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:35 PM
Thanks for sharing these words Jen. And for, like usual, being so transparent and relatable. I too have experienced the doldrums. What usually gets me out are some of the things you listed... exercise, being outside, and most recently I've added time with a counselor which has been so incredibly helpful but what really does it for me is to get away by myself. Even if it's just a drive or to go sit in a coffee shop or to walk around in the city (Chicago). Being alone (although you would think would only take me deeper into the doldrums) usually brings great refreshment. Probably because the doldrums are brought on by all the 'stuff' in my life and to get away and just be quiet is a refreshing change of pace and scenery. Glad you're on your way out of the doldrums:)
Linnea - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:43 PM
Thanks for writing this and giving ways to get out! I've been feeling this but couldn't put my finger on it. Yesterday was a rough day but a blessing at the same time. The devil was telling me what a horrible mother I am. I was believing it, not recognizing it as Satan. Then out of no where I heard the sweet voice of my 5 year old boy say "You're a really good mom." Cue the tears. God wants me out of this doldrum and he's speaking to me through my little boy (and now this article). Thank you.
Angie V - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:45 PM
Thank you! So helpful for me today. PS: I did get out of pjs today -- yoga pants do not qualify as pjs, right?
Melinda - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:50 PM
Not even gonna lie....I go tanning. If I get in a serious funk, I lay in a tanning bed and pretend I'm on a beach. I feel like this is a place that I can admit this and not be judged :)
Laura - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:52 PM
I love your realness, Jen. Thank you from my broken heart. I had to confess my doldrums to a friend recently and risk seeming totally weird and needy. The power of Jesus released through her prayers was what I needed to take the first steps out of my pit, and I am forever grateful. Pray it forward, sisters!
Kim - April 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 PM
Love it !! Thank you for being so REAL!! This must be why my friend Emily LOVES you
Audra Blumn - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:02 PM
Oh...my...WORD!!!!!!! Thanking God this very minute for you and how you have made me see that I am not a complete lunatic! (Albeit, my family might disagree!) Jen, I happen to be one of those who LOVES things done a certain way, so much so that I scream and yell that no one helps me and that I might as well just do it myself anyway!!! Mature, right!? On the other end of the spectrum, I get so beat down with no one helping, I will let things go for WEEKS until I literally cannot stand to walk into my house anymore and then I freak out all over again because it must be cleaned NOW! My husband, being the level headed, rational one will just dutifully move aside while I have my rant and the kids think I'm a wacko for telling them for the umpteenth time that we are not pigs, why do they insist we live like them? Why can't you actually put your dirty clothes in your clothes hamper? How much trash CAN you pile up in your bathroom, before you deem it worthy of emptying? Was all that toothpaste in the sink when you started brushing your teeth? When you take your socks off, do you have to leave them in nasty, smelly balls? Etc, Etc.

The hardest thing for me to come to terms with is that they are not adults (arguably they know better 13-14) and I am expecting them to be perfect. WHAT AM I THINKING?

Anyway, thank you for being REAL! As always....You're a breath of fresh air!
jodi - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:13 PM
I having been stuck right there with you lately. Feeling so blah, so horrible at everything I do - parenting, being a good wife, keeping the house clean, feeding my kids healthy foods, keeping up with the laundry, taking care of ME - skin, health, sleep, exercise, divulging in hobbies, etc. Thank you for giving me a plan to crawl out of this place. I'm thinking the headache I've had for 5 days straight is evidence of the stress I've been feeling.
Name - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:26 PM
Happy Tears! Confirmation from the Lord! Thank you for sharing! I can do this!
Kathleen - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 PM
I really appreciated this piece. I've felt this way, on and off, since having kids. I'm learning the things I can't compromise on are exercise, sleep and healthy food. When those aren't pretty consistent, my mental health goes into the mire. And, oh, how I hear you on the clutter and messes! I am giving up homeschooling next year because I just need more breathing space, quiet times, moments to clean & cook without putting out fires. It is so refreshing to hear of others making choices for their own mental health. I hope your steps keep helping you...and everyone else encouraged by them.
Debbie - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:34 PM
I can't believe you...and so many other women...are feeling the same way I've been feeling!!! And I really thought I was alone in this! Thanks so much for the insight...and for helping me know I'm not alone!
LaughingMouse - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:39 PM
Thank you thank you thank you for explicitly sharing that this is not the same as depression!! Although some of us with mild-ish depression, or effectively treated depression can take a page from this book, there are so many others that would use a list like this to beat me over the head with because on the bad days it is all i can do to work 8 hours and make it home without intentionally crashing my car into some idiot on the road who is in my way.

I may take a note from the "list everything" idea and make myself a list, or maybe post it notes, we'll see. I tend to start projects and then set them aside and then eventually forget about them. Maybe a list would help me complete more of them, because, omg yes! how much mental energy it takes up trying to keep track of all those things!

Also, my tip for the masses, if you know something works (for me, exercise keeps me more level and stable, not so much mood improvement, but stability), just keep doing it. Once you get in the habit or routine of doing it, don't let the doldrums talk you out of it. Especially something that can't hurt you anyway! Walking a half hour at lunch is not going to hurt me, even if I don't *feel* better that day or that week or overall, it won't hurt me. And, "they" say it helps.

Thank you.
Suzie Lind - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:41 PM
Sometimes when I read your posts I think you've taken up residence in my head or you heard me hollering at my kids all the way in Texas and I feel very sorry for you. So yes... Been stuck in the doldrums and this week I'm attacking those stupid things I'm behind on and I'm trying to figure out a way to get some exercise (
Sonia - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:48 PM
Love this blog...love your writing, Jen...and I in my technical ineptitude have to ask: How do I receive your blog in my email? Can someone help me with that? Jen (and or anyone)--help a fellow OBU alum! :)
Kate Craig - April 2nd, 2013 at 3:56 PM
This is just great. At first I was going to copy things you said so I could say "so true" after them, but it's all just great! I absolutely love that you were honest and dramatic so we could all to relate to you, but then you were specific and still honest about ways to get out of it. I'm going to say great a few more times. Great, great post.
Amber - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:18 PM
a big plate of loaded nachos and some Parenthood helps beat the doldrums. Oh and painting my toesies!
Adrienne - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:27 PM
Totally stealing your brag board idea - I always seem to be pointing out what the kids aren't doing and not what they are doing that's positive.

Totally relate to this post and needing order and feeling overwhelmed when I don't have it!
Crissy Kinley - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:38 PM
Was in a funk last week, got in a "warm discussion" on Sunday with the Mr. About my screen time addiction.... Felt like I had to rebel one more day (yesterday) and do nOTHING again just to show him ;-) (I'm feisty like that) and then last night kicked it back in gear with just spending time in His word.... Already today I feel better.... I feel your doldrums and this was perfectly times for me as I was getting a "fix" for my screen time addiction again. Thanks for the extra tips to help me keep stepping out of the funk! With 3 kids that are 5, 2 and 9 months I feel like I could use new ideas on chaos control.

Ps I dreamed last night that I bumped into you at Torchy's and couldn't speak to say hi. Does that make me your groupie? I kid ;-) we live out in Drippin and don't make it in to Torchy's very often bUT I'm flying all the way to Kansas City in Oct to hear you and a few of my other favorites. Maybe ill come meet you in the bathroom with a glass of wine ;-)
Sheila - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:46 PM
Thanks for this! Ready for spring and sunshine and I'll bet trying some of your tips!
Tess - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:51 PM
For serious doldrums I leave my house for a couple days. I go to a hotel/retreat/conference ALONE. I do whatever I want to including watching mindless TV for hours. I reset my brain and come home ready to "try again". I had planned on doing this at the conference Friday, but God had other plans. I am now bringing two kids with me to help sell Freeset bags. Will have to reschedule my escape! BTW, I WILL look for you in the bathroom! You had better not hide! ;) Actually, I will let you hide. I have been known to hide in bathrooms also. I get it.
Whitney - April 2nd, 2013 at 4:55 PM
Went through the doldrums a few months ago and did something similar! Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel!
Marlene Miera - April 2nd, 2013 at 5:03 PM
I so needed this.
Amanda B - April 2nd, 2013 at 5:36 PM
Oh, those doldrums! They hit for me in the winter especially. There is so much darkness (literally and spiritually in our state) and it just hits hard sometimes. We change it up. Drop what we're doing and play in the snow more, bake some goodies, and just talk about it. I've felt so smothered at times this winter... four of our seven kiddos were under four this winter and I've been TIRED. So tired. God has given me these words: "But this is what I have for you." And I'm thankful and am seeking to do everything I have to do with this thought in mind. This coming spring renews everything in me (both literally and spiritually) and we're so excited to be outside!!!! That changes so much for me. And being done with school for the year SURE helps.
Marijoy - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:07 PM
Couple of my pavestones: book club, praying with a friend early in the morning to help get my arse out of bed, and planning my week...ugh. Perfect post for me. Thank you.
Megan - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:17 PM
Thank you for helping us all feel better about ourselves! Community disarms shame! My doldrums feel more like constantly being overwhelmed/tired that can lead to just being paralyzed. What helped me today was getting dressed in something that made me feel good (pink skinny jeans with matching lips) even though I was just sitting at my computer in my house getting some overdue bookkeeping done. Also, setting an achievable schedule/to do list for each days helps even though all I feel like doing is sleeping/vegging, maybe watching endless episodes of The Mindy Project. And lastly, fantastic new music! I've been listing to The Lone Bellow this week and they are awesome and extremely mood boosting! If you like Civil Wars, Mumford, Lumineers you should check them out on ITunes!
Thomas - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:21 PM
Omg - the writing is deliciously grumpy and real as a tack on the seat! Your point is taken and you have my blessing for having five kids alone. God bless you for sharing the madness!

Debbie - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Thank you. Winter here in Maine is so hard - and this winter I had a broken foot to make it even worse. For my northern friends - I finally bought a light box and it helped almost right away - I highly recommend one. The light box and God's light box (spring) are pulling me back up. Thank you for telling me I'm not alone, Jen. One day at a time - one accomplishment at a time....
Anna - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Oh goodness, I have completely felt this way for the last semester. That to-do list is a killer, but I am sure it would help! Thanks for sharing!
Leanne Penny - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:43 PM
Shut up thank you because I thought it was just me! We are working, I'm trying to get serious about writing and scheduling again and OH YEAH we are about to move our entire family 1,000 miles and upend everything we know except that we love God, each other and brownies... and pizza and sometimes our cat but seriously. Thank you.
Amanda - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:46 PM
Thanks for being so transparent. I (along with most of the others here, I'm sure) follow you because you're a real person, not a Barbie doll. :)

And my strategy:
20 minutes of meditation before bed, and as much Vitamin D as I can safely consume. Then just single steps. You know what they say: "It doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop."
Lori - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:48 PM
Oh my gosh thank you for this post. Needed it a lot. Because I am so sick of winter and cold and snow. As I type I look at all the snow we still have and it looks like it will never be gone. Haven't had our windows open since last early October and am so sick of feeling shut in here. So grabbing onto your hand.
Lakecia - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:50 PM
You sent me a lifeline....how did you know? :)

Thanks for your honesty and your transparency
Gwen Ray - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:50 PM
Thank you! Your transparent and honest words are what I needed to hear. It's refreshing to know, I'm not alone!!!! And, this too shall pass.!!! *exhale*
Kelly - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:54 PM
ive been reading your blog for a bit, found you on FB...you made me laugh and smile something i have needed to do for awhile..i guess my own doldrums are happening...so THANK YOU
Pattie - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:56 PM
Thank you.
Because living thousands of miles from family is hard.
So is living in nearly-perpetual winter.
And I have gained weight. AND I hate to exercise. A lot.
And we have a rental house, so painting the wall with chalkboard paint is not a good idea.
But I will make a step or two in the right direction. Thank you.
Karen in Knoxville - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:59 PM
I volunteered to help at my sons' school's morning drop-off line. Seeing other moms skidding in on two wheels...still in their pajamas...with bed head and bad breath...and crap falling out of their minivans as soon as the door slid open...well...it was better (and cheaper) than an hour of therapy. Funny thing--the ones with the most crap falling out of their vans have become some of my dearest "tribe" members--they're a mess...just like me...but we keep each other laughin'.

Gina Burke - April 2nd, 2013 at 7:59 PM
Thank you. I am not alone.
Chantel - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:01 PM
I'm one of those weirdos who likes to run. Nothing like a good run/prayer time. I love for things to be organized but if that means I tackle my kids closet while they are home, I risk my salvation. Some good music, a good book, a date night and for the love...my secret weapon has always been to have a new pair of panties in my drawer for a bad day. I have back-up new pairs for really bad blah days. I save them for day when I feel like my expression declares "for the love I need to feel human". Yes, that is me "first world problem"ing it up. If I ever master a chore chart, I'll shout it from the rooftops.
Julie Johnston - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:05 PM
I really, really appreciate this post! I feel as if you have written it just for me. Trips, retreats, time off, etc are just not realistic possibilities with our 7 ages 9 and under (including a 3 and 4 year old adopted in December!) Listing it out, having a plan of attack and giving myself and my kids time to move upward and onward gradually, rather than "arrive" overnight...now THAT can happen! Thank you for the encouragement!
Emy - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Thanks for writing this, because I know you wrote it just for ME!!! Serious doldrums going on over here and I reached my breaking point today! :)
Jan - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Ahhhhh, you put to words what I have not been able to. I thank God for you and your words. Now I've got to share them with my husband so he doesn't think I'm all that loco (just a little loco).
Gina - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:06 PM
I always hide in bathrooms at conferences and I'm not even a speaker! Only so much conferencing I can take in a day... My favorite line from this post "yes, I succumbed to chalkboard paint. Next up: chevron." Bwahahhahh! I do not enjoy chevron patterns and I keep thinking there must be something wrong with me.
We just came back from 9 days on the beach in Nicaragua and I can see that the doldrums might set in pretty quickly going from 90 degrees on the ocean to a Michigan spring (read: more winter). Seriously considering a 2 year sabbatical in Nicaragua after 7 years of church plant gone well. :]
Thanks for this post before I start back into bad habits!
Ashley - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:16 PM
Your timing is impeccable ... Thank you. Of course, you didn't have to mention that you wrote this for me, I know how it is ;). Awesomeness, as usual.
Jennifer - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:21 PM
I could have written this, only add to it we're in the middle of moving. Thank you for being real!
Shannon T. - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:22 PM
First, amen. Second, I will commend you because today your children are not incarcerated... they are performing one chore a day. A little goes a long way. Third, my family is made up of my hubs me. We work. Crazy hours. Travel. Stand for Christ in the midst of dying souls. Deal with frustrating office politics and the intern who needs to know the answer to the cold calling question, "Should I hang up it's a wrong number?" (An obvious slip thru the cracks.) We're young. Pressured to be more, have more, give more than our parents. Finally, we're Type A. And Type A personalities DEF need Jesus. Thankful for Jesus. Without him, we would roll through life, void of empathy, compassion and true love for one another. Love Him.
Sandy Cooper - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:24 PM
I especially like that you consider "scheduling time with a counselor" as a normal thing that makes you feel healthy. Even though I feel the same way, I usually feel like it's extravagant or unnecessary or excessive. But I think I'm going to just get it on the calendar and keep a running appointment.
Wendy Hagen - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:29 PM
Oh the skin care comment really made me laugh. We just have to much to keep up with. But lately I've been using Jergens tanning lotion and it has given me a moment away from the pastey white girl. Which is nice. Thanks for the post. I think every mom can relate. Cept for that kind of cheese. Don't know it. Am I missing out? Should I put it on my list?
Kristen S. - April 3rd, 2013 at 6:42 PM
Wendy, it's a southern thing. You could rock your friends worlds in Cali if you introduced Pimento cheese. Just sayin'...
Robin E. - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:34 PM
How can so many of us feel exactly the same way?!! Grateful for your suggestions. Thanks!
Cara - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:44 PM
I so very much appreciate your honesty!! I was just discussing this over lunch today with a sweet friend of mine! We both work at our church and tend to let the life get sucked out of us!! Any who!! Please add Susan Cain's book Quiet to your reading list. or listening list, I love Audible! There is nothing wrong with hiding in a bathroom! It's just part of who you are!! You need time to recharge!
Thanks Again!
Angela E. - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:52 PM
Got my list made. Going to start working on one of the items now... :) Thanks for the encouragement and transparency. There were a few times I thought, oh, I'm not the only one who struggles with that! :)
Rochelle - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:55 PM
Ahhhh yes.. Just as I proclaimed my intent to run away from home today ( that would be easier than getting everything here caught up). Thanks for the reassurance that even though we are in our own spaces we are all together in this battle...
Emily Bennett - April 2nd, 2013 at 8:58 PM
When I get into a funk and feel ready to get out, I generally resort to bribery. It looks something like this: I'm in bed and don't want to get out. So I try to think of a list of good things that are going to happen that day. (My favorite tv show is coming on, It's payday, etc) If there is nothing on the list, or not enough to inspire the necessary getting out of bed movement, I start making a list of pleasant things I will do that day, just for myself. Go to lunch with a friend, call someone to chat, visit the library, make my favorite thing for dinner, etc. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but when I'm having a hard time enjoying life, I'm the only one who can make it better. Usually when I have dug out of my slump, I am better able to tackle any to do list items that have been procrastinated
Rebecca - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:04 PM
Ohmygoodness, YES. I deal with this much more than I care to admit. I'm a first-year 2nd-grade teacher, and sometimes it feels like if I'm throwing myself fully into my job (which I *want* to be able to do) I simply cannot function in any other capacity. Washing dishes takes immense effort. It's always the little things that pull me back and remind me that my life is good--a glass of wine and a good book, dinner with friends, even grading those dreaded math tests and seeing how far my little buggers have come. It's choosing those little things. Every time.
valena - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:05 PM
Word......
Sher Sutherand - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:11 PM
I was have been so waiting for the posts about the ANC Easter service. I told all my friends about what ANC does in Austin on Easter. I told them all I couldn't wait to hear about it on your blog. But you know, life is life. So I'm reading your recent post and totally relating. But you should know that I really loved your CHORE CHART. Even before you gave it a label, I shared it on my FB page because I think it's so brilliant. I want to go back to having kids your kids' age, but that's not going to happen. So thank you for letting me live it, yet again. And hugs to you for making it happen and being the person I want to be when I grow up.

Debra - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:12 PM
Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone! Just needed that simple bit of truth today. Blessings!
Bethe - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:25 PM
This is great advice. I know, because I'm a hot mess half the time. My other suggestions? Treat yourself to a pedicure. And sit on your back porch and drink coffee/eat breakfast. There's something about being outside in the morning that makes me feel like I'm living in a chick flick movie, even if the rest of my house is a total mess.
www.texaslovely.com
Kristen Ramsey - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:30 PM
I love you, Jen Hatmaker! I wish you were my neighbor. You are God's gift to my frazzled heart. Thanks for speaking so honestly about the life you're living.
Brandy - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:34 PM
I literally spent 45 minutes searching online for pink cowboy boots today because I had convinced myself that the reason I can't get my act together is because clearly the secret of success is having pink cowboy boots. Which I do not have. Therefore, I cannot unload the dishwasher or make a doctor's appointment or enroll my child for school next year. And when I realized that there were no boots to be had today, I may or may not except I did cry a little because then I felt guilty about wasting time. I too suffer with a touch of melodrama. Thanks for your words, I can relate!
amber~. - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:40 PM
we've been going through some doldrums here.. two teens. two little's. hating the sound of my own voice? hello. i feel like gumby the stretcho man most days keeping up with these generation apart aged kiddos~ and so i sat on the toilet tonight while my husband was in the shower, shouting to him over the sound of the water all my complaints and "i can't do this another day.." and he shouted back, "all you're doing is focusing on the negative, babe. look for the good!" and then i came out. flopped across the bed. opened the laptop and find this link on facebook. i read it. and laughed. and sighed. and suddenly felt instantly lighter knowing i'm not so crazy after all.. hey, if jen hatmaker has these kind of days maybe i'm more normal than i thought. ;)) my husband came out and i said, listen. read it all aloud to him. "did you write that?" he asked. as if. but if i could have, these would have been the exact words... gaining a pound a month till i die and all!!! i love you jh. thanks for giving us all hoPe!
Kortney - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:55 PM
Flavia!!!
Susanne K - April 2nd, 2013 at 9:59 PM
I love this! I have been in the doldrums lately and am just starting to bring myself out of them but I think my hubby is starting to sink down in them. He even voiced today he needs a vacation. (He never says that.) I think we need to work on him taking some time off soon even if we can't go anywhere with a beach for a while. I also intend to start a brag board. Great idea!
Jennifer D. - April 2nd, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Thank you. Screen too blurry through my tears to write more. Thank you.
Erica - April 2nd, 2013 at 10:15 PM
This blog is so me!!! I am my own worst critic and my inadequacies seep out onto the rest of my family and it makes live miserable at times. I am so thankful I am not alone and I am going to put your practices to the test. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us to get out of these doldrums.
Carol - April 2nd, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Thanks so much for sharing. I'm feeling it also!!
Wonder if it's this crazy Texas weather!! I've been
So ready to get out and dig in the dirt, I mean
Clay, and plant some things. I've been under the
Weather also, so this does not help. Just need
Lots of extra time to organize.
Valerie - April 2nd, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I needed this. Thanks.
Becca - April 2nd, 2013 at 11:20 PM
I read your conversation in this post to my dh and asked if it sounded familiar. He smiled and said, knowingly, "I love you, honey."

Yes, I have been there... Thanks for the reminders to do the healthy things to keep me where I need to be.
Justina - April 2nd, 2013 at 11:32 PM
I have a four year old son with Down syndrome. He is so energetic and ever present that I don't have time for the doldrums. Sometimes I wish I did! :) Many things go undone because I have discovered that they simply aren't as important as I once thought they were. I do love the brag board... I think that I need to incorporate that with my older two. Thanks for you heart and God given gift for communication.
Justine - April 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Justina,

I was just reading through the comments and had to reply to yours. My name is Justine and I have two kiddos with Down syndrome (almost 3 and 12) plus two "big" kids (who are actually almost 10 and almost 13, so not so much bigger). Anyway, in my life I have met one Justina and about 3 Justine's. It is nice to see a Justina visiting Jen H.
Sally - April 2nd, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Jen, this is so timely for me. Being a working mother of a teenager, a preschooler and a toddler and of course a hot wife to my husband. Okay, really I would say lukewarm wife. I'm so ready to turn my funk into fun. love this post.
Kristal - April 2nd, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Flavia helped me on my way out of the dark, too!! Did you finish it yet? The end!!!! OMG!
MJ - April 3rd, 2013 at 7:10 AM
I've always called it "the hole"....as in, "I'm in the hole....send help." I love "the doldrums" though. Much more appropriate. It is nice to not feel alone while in the hole.
Flower Patch Farmgirl - April 3rd, 2013 at 7:40 AM
My family is such a bunch of arguing weirdos. (They may have learned it from their Mama...) I get this and feel this and relate to this and love this. You're so right about the reading of books and the cooking of real food. But I don't think I can tackle my inbox and I sure as shootin' can't possibly return phone calls. That's just asking too much.

ps - About the good book thing: Waiting to Die in Miami. Oh Em Gee.
Carol Green - April 3rd, 2013 at 8:08 AM
If you're looking for a book to read (since that was one the healthy practices you listed) I highly recommend The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. You basically nailed the main premise of his book in this post--the little things we do everyday will eventually compound and affect our lives. Those small habits can either be positive or negative, but over time their affect will be great. It's a quick and easy read, but so powerful!
Stacy - April 3rd, 2013 at 8:34 AM
I go through seasons where I feel like things are under control. Lately, however, doldrum city. We felt God leading us to pursue adoption through the foster system (we have four children of our own.) I had no idea how quickly those things happen. We were told that we could have a child in 4-6 months. Four months!?! Suddenly, I feel like my house is unorganized and chaotic. The laundry has threatened to bury us all alive (and we are adding more?! huh? what?) I feel like a failure in everything. I have gone into full on panic mode and feel frozen. This makes me feel a little better. A list? I can do that. One thing at a time.Thank you for this.
Sue - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:00 AM
I'm right there with you. Just beginning to get unstuck after 4 weeks. First step was a conscious effort to make something of beauty in a day (sometimes just get outside for a minute to feel the sunshine), this week enough energy to make lists & not lose them & cross things off and started exercising again. Slow but steady in the right direction....
Kristen S. - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:20 AM
I don't ever comment on blogs, especially when there are a zillion other comments. But since maybe you scan them and read them, let me share what a gift you are. Your blog has led to amazing, amazing conversations with so many of my friends since I started reading you. Being a square in the circle of the bible belt and all...you know. Love this post. Love your heart and honesty. I'm old friends with your neighbor Molly D. She commented on the fact that I constantly post quotes from you of FB and told me about y'alls friendship. She's a stud - loved her spunky heart in HS. Hang in there and know you can't be everything to everyone - trying to respond to a zillion, billion emails would drain my soul!
Sally - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:26 AM
Jen you read my mind. Thanks for the humor, honestly and hope. Baby steps with Jesus. Oh and I'm all over that Brag board!
Megan - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:31 AM
A thousand yeses, especially in light of the fact that we're having a nice winter this spring.
Jennifer Cullimore - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:32 AM
Jen, Once again I'm convinced that we were twins separated at birth. This is so what I needed today. Now, my question is...what if my list fills a whole notebook? Should I just scrap it and start over?....Hmmmm. Thanks for being real!
Rachel - April 3rd, 2013 at 9:46 AM
I need fires in the fireplace or a candle lit, a nap, forcing myself to memorize scripture, and as I just read in 31 Days to Better Sex by Sheila Wren Gregoire, I apparently need to be having sex more with my husband - it will naturally cure my doldrums :)
Kris G. - April 3rd, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Can I just say thank you and I love you in one nice gooey cinnamon roll of "oh, I'm so glad I'm not alone in this." God bless your anointing, your faithful vulnerability, your family, and your refreshment, Jen Hatmaker. Thanks for being exactly you.
Sarah - April 3rd, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Wow - I'm so glad to know there is such a world of other "MEs" out there. In an effort to reduce screen time I'm not reading everything, but in skimming I get the sense that there are many of us who face the same daily struggle. Hi to you all and thanks Jenn for your blog. Wish I was back in Texas too.

Ahdra - April 3rd, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Wow...reading this and then all the comments is a boon to my soul like no other. It is nice to not feel alone and crazy! Thank you for the insights and strategies. I couldn't articulate why I was so crabby on Easter...add to that the fact that it was EASTER for goodness sake...but it is making a whole lot more sense now viewing it through the lens of being in the doldrums from the beginning of the year really (I turned 40
Jen Ratzlaff - April 3rd, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Thank you for being "the voice". You say so many things that are in my head in a beautifully eloquent way that never fails to make me smile. You are a voice crying out in the wilderness to make a way for The Lord. I am thrilled for the women who get to listen in and respond. All Glory to God!
Laureen - April 3rd, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Found you from Out of my Alleged Mind. Yoga. That about sums it up. Or. Maybe my daily 4pm tea time. And lots of sleep, 8-9 hours if you please. Chocolate. And did I mention my yoga mat?
Emily - April 3rd, 2013 at 5:22 PM
Thanks Jen!
Thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown with trying to juggle to preschoolers and working full-time. I came up with my plan of attack and feel much better! Now if I can get my kids and boss to go along with it!! :) You're awesome -- keep doing what you do!
Alysa - April 3rd, 2013 at 6:12 PM
Yes to all of these things! When the doldrums hit, I realize I'm letting the list in my head and the "negative think" take control. Writing out a to-do list instantly lifts the heavy weight and quiets my mind. I love the brag board, SUCH a great idea.

Oh yes, and friends, reading, praying, living life away from the screen. All of these things.

hollybird - April 3rd, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Been there too...my husband came home horribly sick from Guatemala, then I had gallbladder surgery...blah blah. Then Monday, my inability to read correctly (otherwise known as rushing through an email), I mistakenly read my son's work schedule for him when I offered to look it up since our home computer is on the fritz. this resulted in his missing work completely and being instantly terminated. Blogged about this very thing yesterday! hollybirdswords.blogspot.com
Bethany - April 4th, 2013 at 8:25 AM
Thank you for your bravery to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can't imagine that being easy, but you inspire so many with this. I have been realizing the discipline (by my often lack therof) that should accompany our lives of faith. It is so hard to be a grownup, and it is so good to know that my own difficulty with it is not an isolated condition! :)


Julie R - April 4th, 2013 at 8:47 AM
I'm so glad I waited to read this until I had the time to really read it ... skimming is my style these days. Anyway, here's what works for me, cuz though I'm a relatively stable minded person, I'm also a woman w/ the normal hormonal fluctuations and other oddities that make me occasionally unstable or at least rather unproductive:
1- add to my "one thousand gifts" journal (see book by Ann Voskamp!)
2- make a list that is realistically prioritized and then follow it
3- do what's next and make sure it's on the list
4- keep focused on the "2 degree difference" - "baby step" changes in life will add up (see book by John Trent)
5- clean the counters around my kitchen & home office combo - clean counters = peace for me
6- make a dinner everyone will love
7- play loud 80s or country music while making said dinner
8- grab hubs for a quick dance during aforementioned loud music that is playing when he walks in from work
9- open the windows for fresh air and because I'm now hot from making dinner & dancing, though since it's central IL, so sometimes this also means turning up the heat ;-)
10- have a LONG lunch with a friend - scheduling this should be on the to-do list!
11- spoil my husband (in The Love Dare style), because loving him well is good for our entire family
12- fold laundry on the couch while watching a movie I want to watch
13- send the kids outside for 1 hour
14- paint my toes, because pretty toes are a gift whenever I see them, even though I'm not a girly girl!
Heather - April 4th, 2013 at 11:13 AM
So many times I read your blog and I think "How does she always seem to know what I'm thinking?" I am just crawling out of the doldrums brought on by over-commitment and was just thinking how great it feels to work out again, get all the laundry done in the same week I started it, and eat food that doesn't come in paper sacks with yellow arches on them. And now, thanks to you, I have the new Alan Bradley on hold at the Library. Tomorrow I'm going to go out into my flower garden and mess around with pruners and small spades, which always boosts my mood. Thanks for sharing that you get down too.
Carol - April 4th, 2013 at 11:55 AM
"...but he is just a dude with a stable mind and can%u2019t be trusted."
Love it!! Loved the whole article!

Brandi - April 4th, 2013 at 2:40 PM
Thank you thank you thank you. Funk has been my middle name. You may have given me what I need to pull out of it.
Kristy - April 4th, 2013 at 3:30 PM
"Doldrums"......the word I've been looking for for years. "Funk" just doesn't seem to cut it. I used to think that getting down in the dumps was a reflection on my relationship with Christ. I would think, "Well, He has distanced Himself from me to teach me a lesson." or "If I were just walking closer with Jesus, I wouldn't feel this way." This is so not true. Psalms 139 says that even "if I make my bed in the depths, You are there." I just have to keep reminding myself that EVERYONE gets this way sometimes. The most devoted followers of Christ get the "doldrums". But He's always close!

Thanks for this post! I needed it today!

theredoflife.blogspot.com
Jana - April 4th, 2013 at 6:03 PM
Hi Jen! I must admit I've had a case of the doldrums. I came to your site looking for inspiration and found you in the same place :) I love that you seem so real and that you write from your heart. I did find inspiration from you today. I have things I can implement here at home and that is encouraging. Aside from home life, I also think that when you see so much sadness / brokenness in the world, sometimes it drags you down, knowing you're just one person. And then God lights a fire under your butt and you forge ahead again. You're doing amazing work for God - in your family, in your city, in the world & for your readers. I love it! And thank you!
Jawan - April 4th, 2013 at 9:20 PM
Wow, I had to majorly scroll down to get to this comment box! God is greatly using you to encourage the world of moms out there....including me. Living a life all for the glory of God is an "ugly beautiful". Thankful tonight that is is faithful and never forsakes his own.
Casey - April 5th, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Hi Jen Hatmaker.....I always refer to you as Jen Hatmaker. I am not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other kind of social media so this is my attempt to contact you. It seems to me that you handle your kids and social media very well. I cracked up at the post today about the text with your son. I feel like everywhere I turn people are telling me to RUN from social media with my daughter but it seems to be a part of the culture now and I check her instagram often and it's just fun communications with her friends at this point. Would you consider writing a blog or a book about parenting teens and pre teens in this new world of technology? I feel like all I get is either "stay away and protect" or "play dumb and allow it all".
Cassandra S - April 5th, 2013 at 1:35 PM
Thank you! THANK you! THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you for putting into words what I have so been feeling. I have had a serious case of the doldrums! I am tired all of the time -- have a doctor's appointment scheduled -- and am going to start doing little things to try and get my clutter in order. Having three special needs children just wears me out and the house is the first thing to go, which just brings me down and I feel like I can't pull out of it!
S - April 5th, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Love this post. Thank you for your honesty and advice.

I am reading Interrupted and it is so, so good. I just finished the chapter "Offering a Tangible Kingdom" and felt like standing up and shouting "YES!". You listed several books as heavy influences. I would like to know if there is one or maybe two specifically that had the most impact on you.

Hoping to finish the book before nap time ends!

Shelly VanB - April 5th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Ugh, I feel like I wrote this ... except I'm too dang tired to write this. And I haven't any tangible way out of the lethargy yet. My self prescribed answer to more snow this morning was 3 Oreo ice cream bars. So helpful.

So, thank you. For your honesty. And for calling your house bad names.
I feel your pain. I'm waiting to break through and feel the momentum again.
One step at a time.

Bill Garrett - April 5th, 2013 at 8:04 PM
You're an awesome human being just for taking the time to write and post this! Thank you.
Amy - April 6th, 2013 at 6:17 AM
Thank you for this! I've been in the doldrums and needed this!
Pastor Ron - April 6th, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Great article Jen...my first time reading your blog but not my last. I see a good sermon with helpful thoughts coming our of this one, Thanks for your insight. God Bless You Jer. 10:23 NIV
Becky - April 6th, 2013 at 5:34 PM
I can't tell you how much I needed this post. Thank you so much for sharing. Printing this out now and saving for inspiration...
Lucy - April 6th, 2013 at 7:39 PM
Grateful.
Kelli - April 7th, 2013 at 1:37 PM
Once again, I'm left wondering how you got in my head or in my house or whatever! Needed to hear today that i'm not the only one out there who deals with this! And who has convo's like that with her husband. And yes, getting out of your pjs IS a thing- who knew?!
Jill S. - April 7th, 2013 at 6:50 PM
It's so comforting to know I am not alone in all of this because I feel exactly the same way, thank you for putting out there in such a thorough and amusing way!
nic - April 8th, 2013 at 7:40 AM
i'm thankful you clarified on ben's 'resicking'--this allows me to carry on with my day without brainstorming three billion possible intended words (restocking? recessing?), including resicking itself.

i am doldruming, but i think i'm still in the early stages of the descent. perhaps we can stop this thing in its tracks
Christina - April 8th, 2013 at 4:07 PM
I was doldrumming huge and didn't know how to take care of it all the way. I journal, I read, I spend time with family, but something was still missing. This past weekend at a music therapy conference I played djembe while I watched an incredible teacher lead the entire room in a dancing, singing, energy extravaganza. By the middle of the class, I was crying and couldn't stop. Now that I'm back home in Dallas, I've looked up West African dance and drum class and am going to get on it this week.
Karen Snyder - April 8th, 2013 at 4:20 PM
I have a HUGE case of the doldrums. I've got 2 1/2 year old who doesn't talk yet but smart as a whip and quick! Trying to potty train him, he just learned that the longer he sits on the potty the longer he gets to play with the IPAD waiting for him to do his business, so he doesn't go. I also have a 1 year old, another boy, who is quite the little demanding mamma's boy with a scream that could wake 5 generations of dead, which he uses constantly. I can't get enough sleep and so I want to give up. My house is a disaster and I don't care that I haven't gotten myself ready for just the day in so long. I am encouraged by reading this particular post and the comments that I am not alone. Also, that I can get out of it. I cleaned my bathroom today which I have pushed aside in the other things I have to do dail, and I already feel a little bit more free.
Wendy J - April 8th, 2013 at 9:50 PM
Reading this and seeing the 199 others above me makes me feel better already. I love you Jen!
Trish - April 9th, 2013 at 12:19 AM
A cry, a hug (even from a pet), a nap, some lunch or breakfast, some sunshine (even if I have to sit in the car to find it), ticking things off my list (even if they were done before they made it to the list), some silence, some prayer (with tears), some music and my hubby's favorite saying "Smile and wave, boys...smile and wave." All help me fight the regular doldrums of teenage boys, house hunting, lack of finances, winter grey days, too little sleep and PMS. Thanks Jen.
Jessica - April 9th, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Apparently, hiding in the bathroom at speaking gigs is a very common introvert coping mechanism. If you having read tis lady's book, I highly recommend it.
http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/about-the-author/
Carrie - April 9th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Thank you very much...I needed to read this TODAY! I will take action, a baby step at a time.
Thank you for your words!
Nikki - April 9th, 2013 at 8:42 PM
Jen, I know you don't even have time to read this....! THANK YOU, just thank you! You're just in my mind,.. my house!!! You're such an encouragement and gift from the Lord!! Tonight, in the midst of the doldrums I typed in JenHatmaker.com so I could get off Facebook! Thank you, Lord, for sending Jen to be an encouragement to so many women!!! I love you!!!
Erica {let why lead} - April 10th, 2013 at 9:58 AM
LOVED this! Shared it on facebook this morning. Thanks!
Michelle Lucas - April 10th, 2013 at 4:47 PM
Hi Jen! I am almost done with "7" and I love/hate the way it is challenging my faith and "works". I love your writing...I laugh hysterically while reading :) I feel so normal after reading this book, and reading your blog. Thank you for your honesty! Enjoying the journey....Michelle
Toni Griffith - April 11th, 2013 at 7:26 AM
Thank you so much for being so real. Each day can be a challenge that takes intentional effort but that is where God's Word begins to make sense in a deeper way...like understanding that suffering will be a part of what we all must endure. I appreciate your putting words to this regardless of how big or small we may measure that suffering it is real and raw to touch in our own life and the lives of others. God is our healer though, He brings to mind what we need and He uses people like you to pen the words that make sense of it all. Oh if everyone could know Him in such an intimate way. May he continue to help us as His children become like Him and know His suffering so we might minister and speak aloud the only hope we have....Jesus Christ.
Tamara - April 11th, 2013 at 4:50 PM
How can you know me so well? Thank you for making it okay to be just plain weird. Fearfully and wonderfully weird. The way God created.
Colleen - April 12th, 2013 at 8:36 AM
I just stumbled on this. I go through these same feelings (usually towards the end of winter). In fact, the whole month of February is my down time. This year I thought I was gonna push through it because I'd lined up tons of activities (some part of work--like the fundraiser that I'm unwillingly in charge of every year, some for fun--family parties, dates with the hub) and Feb. flew by pretty well but here in Indiana it's like the never ending winter and March turned into my doldrum month. I need to recommit to a plan of action instead of going home from work every day and taking a nap. Thanks for the encouragement!
Kat - April 12th, 2013 at 1:11 PM
Totally unrelated topic that made me think of you when I saw them... Have you seen this new initiative to get Ugandan women through college by selling leather sandals online? I think you would be impressed, I certainly was :) www.sseko.com
Jeanene - April 12th, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Oh oh oh. Thank you. It is wonderful just to know I am NOT the only one who gets to this place...I got sick in the end of December and it turned into a serious infection that I relapsed with three times! It was late February before I started to improve..and I have been told it will be a year before I fully recover. I have two toddlers(we adopted in November) 17 and 21 months...who has time for recovery?lol. Thanks for sketching us a map out of the mire!
Evelyn @Smallish - April 16th, 2013 at 3:43 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. (And for the laughs!) I'm not actually in the doldrums at the mo (although I know them well!), but what a great reminder for even those of us who do tend to change out of our pjs (most days) that life, living well, parenting well, takes intentional action, loving steps, and painstaking moving forward...sowing seeds again and again and again:
Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

awesome post.
Tracy Hacker - April 17th, 2013 at 8:55 AM
Your honesty is so refreshing! I am the mom of 5 currently, we are a foster family so the number can change in the matter of one phone call. Life is messy, and hard and sometimes overwhelming. We have two biological daughters, 17 and 20 and two adopted little boys 6 and 4 and our foster daughter is 17 months. Our oldest is in college in Mississippi. Life at our house is crazy on a good day!!! I heard you speak for the first time at the .mom conference in Birmingham and was so blessed by how you tell the truth about life! I feel like so many Christians try to hide the hard times and the struggles and that takes away from Gods glory when He speaks so many times in the valley or the tough times!! Thank you for sharing the truth the way you do!!! Blessings to you!
Kirsten - April 19th, 2013 at 5:56 AM
This.was.awesome. I don't mean you being stuck in the doldrums. But the blog post, of course. I struggled with deep depression many moons ago, so it's important for me to keep the doldrums at bay, cause for me, it can turn down a very ugly road. This was a great reminder to me that I haven't been doing so great at that lately - the funk I feel can be overcome just taking it one step at a time... Right now I have been taking no steps :-)
Rhonda - April 20th, 2013 at 7:41 AM
Just found this via Simple Mom. THANK. YOU. Thank you!!!
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