Not being the mom you want to be?
I lay on the ground pain shooting over my left eye from my neck and jaw issues. I tried to focus my eyes as I saw little feet trekking through the grass, returning to where I lay. Then I felt rainwater from a bucket being rubbed on my head. Exhausted.
Every time I’ve tried to get help today it failed. My work has been left undone. Unshowered and in the same clothes I slept in at 12:55 pm. No nap for the little one. I tried for an hour. So here we are in the yard. Trying to play with a little bit of sun peeking through all the clouds.
She picked up my things that she knows she is not supposed to touch for what feels like the millionth time today. Then I asked her if she wanted some water and she said please while rubbing her little hand over her chest signing please.
Life with a toddler. Hard. Pushing you to the limit.
But also precious and sweet.
I poured a drink into a wine glass. Not an alcoholic drink mind you. I don’t drink alcohol but a fizzy drink full of sugar longing for some kind of energy burst and wondering how I will ever stop turning to sugar to fill my needs.
Not my best day as a mom but one of the hard days. One of the real days. One of the lonely ones.
Water. Water helps right?
After accidentally spraying us both in the face with the shower sprayer we were getting washed up. Mid shower I tried to bang out the last bit of shampoo from my almost empty bottle as my warm shower turned cold. I guess the gas is almost out.
Still, I felt a little bit of life coming back to my body and the headache easing just a bit as our daughter played by my feet with her duckies.
I looked down at our 18 month old realizing she would be 19 months old in just a few days. She looked up at me with her toothy grin and said “Hey.”
Then she got soap in her eyes. My soap, not the tear-free kind. I rinsed her off and took her fussing from the shower. Now even more tired she frantically gave me the milk sign.
I wrapped her in a blanket and fed her while we rocked.
I softly whispered, let’s try this again.
Some days can be really hard momma. And sometimes it’s not something big but all the little things that pile up when you are just too exhausted to deal.
But the days are not something for us to just get through. This is our life. These are our days. These are our children’s days. So what do we do when we are not being the moms we want to be?
Maybe you find yourself using a form of discipline you never thought you would use. Maybe you are feeling that mom anger you’ve heard others talk about but never thought you would experience. Maybe you have stayed in your pajamas for the third day in a row and have taken the messy bun to a whole new level with more layers of dry shampoo than you can count. Maybe you’re eating all the sugar and not doing any of the exercise feeling depressed and sluggish. Maybe you are feeling resentful and bitter.
Momma it happens. It happens to good moms. It happens to moms who stay at home and moms who work at home and moms who work outside the home. It happens to moms who have help and moms who don’t. It happens.
Our cornerstone passage here at Grace Filled Mom is all about His grace being sufficient for the things we can’t do.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 CORINTHIANS 12:9
It’s true and it’s beautiful. But sometimes we forget to rely on the Lord. We are not using His strength. We are not taking time to listen to the wisdom He has to share with us. After all, these are His children and we’re His children too.
Sometimes we’re not doing what we can. Sometimes we do need to change. This world has gotten too casual, too accepting.
So when we know we do need to change, when we long to change, what can we do?
It turns out God has grace for that too. He is the one who can help us change but there are practical steps we can take too.
It’s hard when we are tired and overwhelmed to make the changes that we need to make. As someone who has overcome depression, I know that it takes action even when we don’t feel like it. And positive actions, even if small, often have a compounding effect.
Here are some tips that I offer with love and know I’m still working on these things too and need His grace as much as anyone…
Ask: What Matters To Me?
Think about this. What matters to you and your family? Are you trying to do things that aren’t really important to you? Things that God has not called you to because you feel like you should or because it’s what someone else is doing?
Social media can perpetuate this. Maybe you watched a homesteading video and are trying to make your own cheese while the Lord would actually rather you focus on reading more to your children. This is just an example, you may be meant to make your own cheese. Only you and the Lord know, just think about it.
Being a good mom can be different. Different children, different households, different personalities, and gifts require different things. When we get out of the lane that we are called to be in it can be very stressful. We try to do things we are not good at and not meant to do to look like some good mom over there. We’re not meant to be that mom over there. God gave you these children for a purpose. He gave that other mom different children for a purpose.
Pray about it and journal your insights. Ask the Lord if there is something you are trying to do that is out of your lane that is not honoring Him and your family.
Letting go of things that you are pushing to do but weren’t really meant to do that are taking up time and energy can bring so much relief. And if there is something you want to do that is not working right now there may be a different season for it. Being clear on what matters to us and our family is something our children pick up on too. What do we want them to see as important and valuable?
It is good to evaluate this from time to time as we can get so busy surviving the day-to-day that we forget.
We do just to be doing and stay busy for busyness’s sake instead of getting to the heart of what is truly needed.
Ask: What Patterns Am I Repeating?
Maybe we had many good or even so-so days but we obsess about one bad day, one hard day. Our children likely won’t remember the bad days here and there. What they will probably remember though is the patterns, the things about us that we repeat. The routines we repeat.
The patterns they will likely remember are how we read to them every night before bed. How we did hugs when they came to us needing cuddles. How we continued to work hard for our families even when feeling exhausted. How we nursed them back to health when they were sick. How we sacrificed to take them on trips or outings when it was a stretch.
It’s the patterns that build our lives and that create memories for our children so let’s focus on those and not get too stuck on the bad days that happen here and there. Let’s not allow a single moment to defeat and depress us. We can ask for forgiveness if needed but then move on to better experiences.
What are the problem times in your day? What are the problem areas in your home? Are there any workable solutions that you can come up with to fix these areas?
- No personal time- figure out a way to schedule time for yourself each week to do something you enjoy for at least an hour. Could be during naptime, could be with help but make it a priority even if it means the floors don’t get cleaned that day.
- Sleep deprivation– We’re struggling with this one but do the best you can to create a consistent nighttime routine for yourself and the kids. And I know it’s hard with so much to do but sometimes a nap needs to be a priority over cleaning.
- Financial struggles-The financial world we live in can be very challenging. Groceries are through the roof. We can sit down as a family and try to get the education and support and systems we need to make it the best we can and prepare for the future.
- Overstimulation- Whew, momma! This is a big one. Too much to do and too little time and overwhelmed brains and kids calling “mommy” and on and on. Create quiet times and spaces for yourself to pray and read and breathe. You may have to get up a little earlier. And I know we just mentioned sleep deprivation. It’s a hard balance but you need quiet time. Making plans and lists can help you feel more calm knowing what you need to do. But take it a thing at a time and give yourself grace.
- Meal Planning and preparation- another overwhelming thing for me. Making dinner day after day and breakfast and lunch and trying to get those healthy snacks in the littles. Food prepping has helped a lot at our house. Not whole meals in containers but items prepped to put together for meals. Proteins cooked to be reheated. Veggies chopped, sauces and dressings made.
- Mom Guilt- with this one it’s hard. Leaning on Jesus is the best answer. He is greater than any mistakes we make but He can also change us so we make them less and less often. Lean on Him.
- Social isolation- try to have outings with family and friends. If you can set up play dates to meet with other moms and talk about your struggles and triumphs that really helps. If you don’t have that there are groups online too. We need a social life, even introverts like me.
These are just a few of the many stressors moms can face but we can change our perspective and pause and look for solutions. Is there a certain time of day that our children have a meltdown why? What is going on around that time? Are they too tired, hungry, etc?
If there is a certain room where we feel more angry and resentful, why? Is it cluttered and overstimulating? How can we reduce that?
There are so many things in our environment that we can fix to feel less stressed. And often it is an easy, simple solution if we just think about it rather than just dealing with it every day.
Take Time To Connect
Sometimes when I am feeling extra stressed I know it is because I have been thinking about work and all the house projects and really pushing and not really present to truly connect with our daughter. Sometimes you have to just let it all go and read a fun book with your child, go outside and fly a kite, dance in the sprinkler, something to connect and have fun together. You’re not a bad mom.
I know you have unconditional love for your children. You may just need to step away from social media and from the high expectations and to-do list and connect with your children. This is what matters at the end of the day to them. Have some fun and connect. When we feel connected to our children we have more peace joy and purpose.
We need those times to look into their eyes and not rush. To hear them. If you have reached a breaking point look for ways to reconnect.
Think About Who You Needed
If you think about who you needed when you were little it probably wasn’t a perfect person. The people that you loved who helped you made mistakes. But we can work to be who we needed when we were little.
Think about the people that encouraged you, how they did so, and how it made you feel. And if you didn’t have those people what did you need? How did you feel when you felt left out and didn’t have the help you needed? What could have changed that?
Let’s work to be the supporters and nurturers we had or needed when we were little.
Know There Are Different Experiences And Seasons
Different parents have different experiences with their children so we cannot compare especially if we are looking from the outside at the highlight reel. There are different seasons too. Different stages. As a former preschool teacher, I taught 4-year-olds. I’ve always loved babies. I’m a kid person. And while I still love toddlers too and think they are amazing and fun I am also finding the toddler season quite hard. I’m an introvert and somewhat Type A. I like clean and calm and quiet and toddlers are not those things.
But the beauty of going through the different seasons is that we learn and grow and expand who we are and how we handle things. As parents we learn, hopefully. To sacrifice and show love even when it feels hard and that is good for us.
Life is challenging. It’s the world we live in and if we weren’t growing through parenting challenges it would be something else.
Remember There’s Mercy
When we need to change His grace is sufficient. We can pray, we can read, we can journal, we can listen to podcasts. But ultimately we can come to our Heavenly Father and rest. We can give Him our burdens and let Him replace them with peace. For us first-time moms we may not know how to be the best mom we can be. Even season moms struggle. The mental load of children is huge. That may just be the hardest part. Little people are hard and it is a big job. We often don’t have the same support either as previous generations. But with God’s help, we can live the best life. We can do an amazing job and be great moms. We can get help with any mental health issues and postpartum depression. We can see those mundane tasks as blessings. We can take the toughest jobs and ask for the grace and strength to get them done. The rest of your life can be the best of your life. A good relationship with our Heavenly Father can make all the difference. Be the kind of mom who gives her burdens to Jesus. Take a deep breath and ask for new life.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 18:28-30
I did get my toddler down for a nap that day. It was late and I had to cancel taking her to a play date because of it. I finally got dressed too at 2 p.m. I sat down at my desk to get back to that blog post that I had been trying to write for two days.
Hair still wrapped in a towel. I bowed my head and prayed. Let’s try this again Lord. Please. Help me.
These days won’t last forever. Sure there are some hard ones but I’m here for them. And what a precious gift to be a mother.
As mommas our hearts can really ache with those thoughts of failure and if you are going through that my prayers are with you. We don’t always have supportive helpful partners and can feel like so much weight is on us and it often is. But Jesus is the burden lifter. Always remember. He is the renewal we need. That’s the biggest piece of advice I can give is for you to give it all to Him. All of it. The feelings you think you shouldn’t have. The failures and shortcomings. The overwhelm. The not feeling like you have enough time, the children’s needs, the need for alone time, the needs of your partner, family, and house. Give it all to Him. He is enough even when we’re not.
For the rest of my life, I know that being a mom will be the most rewarding job and my greatest achievement if I give it all to Jesus.
This post may not be an exact blueprint on how to be a better mom or have your own needs met while caring for the needs of others but it kind of is because Jesus is the answer. It’s the beautiful thing about our family life and any part of our lives, He says He will never leave us or forsake us. Spending time with Him, quality time is hard when you feel like the center of your entire family but with that time we can gather the strength we need to finish the race.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.Revelation 2:7
Let us focus on that tree of life we have waiting for us and our families if we endure mommas.
Let me know how I may pray for you.
If your home is contributing to the struggle check this out: Cultivate A Peaceful Home