In my conversations with young moms, there seems to be a common theme…weariness. Sometimes these young women are so physically and emotionally fatigued that they feel hopeless. The days seem endless and the job impossible. They would trade anything for just one night’s uninterrupted sleep. If you feel that you just can’t go on one more day, then this blog is for you.
The good news is…you’re right where God wants you to be. Recognizing our weakness is the starting point of something amazing. You are absolutely right—you CAN’T do this, at least not in your own strength. Yes, being a full-time mom is hard work and often requires more of us than we have to give. But, we have to remember that we are not alone in this task. We have a heavenly Father who is waiting for us to turn to him and admit that we’re incapable. Then and only then can He equip us for this monumental task (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Sound trite? I suggest you try it. Get down on your knees and beg God to provide what you need to be successful at mothering. He delights in our openness and promises to give us strength when we are weary…and what mom isn’t weary? I remember a three-year period when I had only slept through the night a handful of times. Noah didn’t sleep through the night until he was 14 months old and a month later I became pregnant with Lexi. The entire pregnancy I was plagued with insomnia and then Lexi, too, failed to sleep through the night consistently until she was 14 months old (and yes, we tried every theory known to man). By the time this ended, my body had forgotten HOW to sleep through the night! I was falling asleep at stoplights (literally) and one of my friends said later that she was worried about me because it was like my personality had just disappeared in a fog of weariness. But the good news is…by God’s grace I survived, my children thrived, and now we ALL sleep through the night.
Feeling guilty over losing your temper with your child? We all lose our patience and fail in how we respond to our children. When this happens to you, be sure you go to your child in humility and admit your fault and apologize. In doing this, you are modeling repentance and teaching him how to act when he has wronged someone. Ask his forgiveness…you’ll be surprised how quick these little hearts are to forgive our failings.
Talk to God…constantly. I keep a running dialogue with Him all day long. When I’m feeling that temper rise, I go to God immediately (in silent prayer). I know He is only a breath away and I believe He is able to change me and my fleshly response. Also, talk to a friend…have someone you can call when you are losing it who will encourage you in the right way and pray with you. It’s not weakness to ask for help—it’s wisdom. Sometimes it’s the isolation of being a stay-at-home mom that causes us to be overwhelmed. We can feel as if we are all alone in a sea of dirty diapers, crusty dishes and sticky handprints. Having a support group is essential—many a lonely day is lifted by hanging out with another mom and her kids. One of my friends and I remind each other frequently (by phone, email or an encouraging note): “You’re doing the right thing.”
Finally, give yourself a break. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. This monumental task of mothering will get easier and you’ll adjust. Don’t expect perfection. When you fail, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start anew, and remember “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Be patient with yourself and let God mold you as you mold your children. I firmly believe He gives us children in order to refine our character. Keep in mind that, for now, your to-do list will never get done…and release yourself from the stress of a perfect house, gourmet dinners and perfectly groomed children. Let go of the fairy-tale and embrace the reality. If dinner is mac and cheese, but you took the time to snuggle and read that extra book to your toddler, then you have chosen what is best. Your kids won’t remember if your house was perfectly decorated or that you made Beef Wellington for dinner (they’d probably rather have hot dogs!), but they will remember if you were always too busy or stressed to enjoy them. And from my vantage point, the time goes much too quickly. For me, it isn’t that many years until my kids are grown and my house will stay clean when I clean it. For right now, I want them to know that they are far more important than any chore, and that I cherish the time I have with them. There will be plenty of time for those other things later…sometimes, you have to just give up on perfection so you don’t miss the gift of right now.
The most important thing I’ve learned in thriving as a mom is this: We have to let go of self. The most miserable moms I know are those who are clinging so tightly to their desires and dreams that they are missing the incredible gift God has given them in this role of motherhood. Yes, God has given you the many gifts and dreams that you hold in your heart, but that doesn’t mean He plans to fulfill them all right now. Trust Him to keep those dreams safe for you until the season is right to bring them to fruition. Right now, your most important task is to shape those little hearts to love their Creator…everything else can wait or take a backseat for now. God will bless you for giving those babies first priority…will you trust Him to take care of YOU while you take care of them?
Why did God give you this task if you feel incapable of doing it? He did this because He is capable of doing it…through you. He chose you, especially, to be the mommy of your children. He made you exactly the way He intended so you could be the one to lead your little ones to Him and to bring Him glory. He created your babies and chose you as the best mother for them. Isn’t that an awesome thought? Out of all the mommies he could have chosen…He chose you. Is being a 24/7 mother an arduous task? Oh my, yes. Is it impossible? Not with the God of the universe on your side. Will you persevere and let Him lead you, mold you, and make you into the mother He intended you to be?
My favorite verse when my children were small was this:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
I kept this verse on the refrigerator, on the bathroom mirror and in my heart for those days when weariness overwhelmed me. Now that I’m farther down the road of raising my children, I am starting to reap that harvest, and I assure you, it is worth every sleepless night, every agonizing day when you feel like you just can’t go on one more minute. Let me give you a glimpse of life ten years down the road. I used to weary of bath time. With three children, it seemed like it took forever to get all three bathed and dressed for bed, with teeth brushed and prayers said. Now I say, “Go take showers and get ready for bed”…and they do. I used to weary of the endless dirty dishes…now I have willing helpers to unload the dishwasher or clean up after supper. I used to despair of ever being caught up with the laundry…now two out of three do their own. Cleaning house seemed like an impossible dream…now a weekly chore chart ensures the household tasks get done, and not all by me! Days used to be spent in endless discipline…now we go days at a time without an incident. I used to long for someone to talk to…now my oldest daughter is one of my dearest friends. School time was often an endless litany of “what do I do now, Mom?”…now my children are often up before me and busy at work on their own when I come downstairs. We’re seeing the fruit of faithful discipline, patient training and many, many hours of prayer, and it is absolutely priceless. I promise you, the reward will be worth the sacrifice and you won’t regret a moment of it…don’t give up.
God knows when you are weary, and He cares. He’s there with you, gently leading you, comforting you, and giving you strength. All you have to do is ask.
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