Motherhood is an amazing gift. There is nothing I love more than baby snuggles and snotty faced kisses. Since I was little I’ve always wanted to be a Mom. It was my dream, but there came a moment last year where I hit a wall. Motherhood was burning me out and requesting a sabbatical was not an option.
It’s the month following Spring Break and Summer vacation is within sight. The school year with your kids is by no means a sprint, nor is it a relay race, no one is going to take the baton while you sit out a lap. No, the school year is a marathon and no 5 k either… it’s a full 10k (mine felt like a full 50K!). If you have no children in school, I’m sure the year feels no shorter. Motherhood can become repetitive, monotonous and when it seems the cuddles and connection is being eclipsed by go, go, go you may find yourself like me scratching your head, coming undone, locking your door and crying for a minute. What happened?!!!
What happens when motherhood stops being all you thought it would be?
I know you love your kids; I love mine too. But this Mom thing… this Mom thing is tough. There is no retreat, no time off, and in all the moments where we don’t have it together I hear the warning given to Peter Banning (in the Disney movie ‘Hook’) – ‘We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it!’
Where do you go when Motherhood is burning you out? Where do you go when you’ve hit a wall and you feel you can’t run further, you feel like you can’t finish well or maybe finish at all, at least for today? Oh I know we dig deep and we get it done, prioritize multi-task through it but this version of motherhood sometimes feels so much more like surviving than thriving.
We search for the problem we blame our husbands for not helping out more. We blame our friends for not being there enough, our families for not being involved with our kids and then we blame our kids for not LISTENING!
Is anyone LISTENING TO MOMMY!
But, friend, you and I both know the truth deep down, the truth that the symptom speaks to a much deeper problem. We are running on empty. We are running on fumes and we have been for a while now.
We are burning out and there is no vacation, pill, prescription that can heal this kind of broken.
What happens when you hit that wall and realize, you can’t go on?… not like this. You can’t afford to because literally time is passing, they are growing, we have lost the joy in it but most of all … we have lost our first love. No, I’m not talking about the first love of marriage or being a mom. I’m not talking about the first love you felt the moment that pink sticky piglet was laid on your chest in vibrating soft wales of world entry when you fell in love as a mom with your first baby. I’m talking about the first love you felt when your life was pulled out of a pit. When your eyes locked with the God-man, Jesus Christ, the One who saved you, the One who knew you through and through, who saw the faults, the flaws and yet loved you. The One who stitched those babies together inside of your womb one by one, cell by cell. Remember your first love… and return.
I’m not trying to appeal to our motivation or ask you to stay present in the moment; to say we are missing it and these little seedlings are growing up before our eyes or remind you that we’ve been entrusted with such precious gifts…We know that. Every parenting magazine and Halmark card given on Mother’s Day says it. I’m not going to say these are 10 easy steps to fixing things and gaining back more time starting with getting up 2 hours earlier, writing in a dayplanner, and pinning pictures on Pinterest of how to organize your home. If you aren’t getting up at 6:30 am already it’s not because of your laziness or a lack of desire. I’m here to say we are powerless to find the desire to get through this marathon without a source and without a desire. All the other advice, tips, plans, recipes and parenting books are band-aids on a gaping soul-wound.
Don’t Give In, But Please Give it Up
When you are growing weary while doing good the key is don’t give in … but please give up! Don’t give in to the tendency to sit and wallow in self-pity or in what could have been; measuring your shortcomings one by one and trying to improve them once more. We are carrying burdens on our own that we were never meant to carry.
Don’t give in to sins deceitfulness ~ Hebrews 3:13 ‘Encourage one another as long as it is called today so that you are not hardened by sins deceitfulness.’ So I’m saying this over you and over me. I’m calling to every tired Mommy. Don’t let sin lie to you. Sin’s deceitfulness is telling you that you are a failure. Sin’s deceitfulness is telling you that your spouse is not enough, or not helping enough, or not there enough. Sin’s deceitfulness is telling you that this phase you are going through with a difficult child, a child with medical needs, with special needs, the child with high emotions or preschool aged tantrums or a the teenager with an attitude is more than you can handle. Sin’s deceitfulness is robbing you from relationship and hospitality because your house is not nice enough or new enough or organized enough.
The deceitfulness of sin tells you that YOU have to handle it, that YOU have to be enough and there in lies the serpents trick. His hissing lie ‘I will make you like the most high’… far more subtly saying ‘You can do it all.’
You can wear all the hats and be all the roles and pin all the pins, run all the errands in between work and ministry and at the end of it all when it’s all YOU there is a giant pile of empty and heavy load of burn out. We are trying to be everything and fix everything; to be perfect through it all, in our little cosmos we are trying to be God. We are taking on a burden and breaking under it rather then yoking ourselves to Him and sharing His load for us. A load which is NOT heavy but light.
You are not in this alone. And you cannot do this alone. Alone we mothers are on a fast path to strife in our home, our marriage, our relationships. Alone we are burning out. Instead we need to start crying out.
I hit my wall and ran into this passage, I ran into the arms of my Savior and made this my prayer… no I made it my cry for help. I reached the end of myself, the end of my striving to fix everything and play god.
I prayed this, a prayer for the worn out, tired bedraggled Mommy. A prayer for any sinners empty soul.’
Create in me a clean heart Oh God. And renew a right (steadfast) spirit within me….
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. I need a willing spirit. A spirit that wants to again, a spirit that finds joy in this again. I need less of a sense of duty and far more a sense of desire. For You are my desire.
Cause me to remember how my heart first burned. Cause me to go back and do things I did at first, the things I used to do … for the love of You.
I Give Up – I give up trying alone. I give up focusing on the can’t and surrender to Your will in me to do the work You’ve called me to, this work of being a Mom.
Women, how do we do it all? … Only through the strength of the One who paid for it all, the One who conquered it all, battled it all and is sitting waiting to pour grace on you; to anoint your head with oil, commission you and re-commission you to do this ‘Mom thing’; to be a conduit for the love of God’s to your kids, your husband. But in order for our cup to overflow onto them we must first be filled, and filled, and filled and filled again. Over and over, everyday, each moment a breath of grace; a breath of Father I belong to you…Father, I need You.
And that… THAT is how we do this Mommy thing.