Cheers to you!
To the stay at home moms, the moms who work outside the home, the single moms, the moms who are empty nesters, the moms who are now grandmas...you are so much more than you realize! Cheers to you!
I decided to sit down and write about this, because I myself have realized that I’m not only doing the best I can at raising my babies...I am also trying to be so much more than just good enough! I am trying to not only be a better mom, but a better person each day as well. After all, aren’t we all trying to learn from past mistakes and be better than the generations before us?
I believe a lot of us moms want continuous growth and of course we all want what’s best for our children. We go beyond our limits for these children of ours, so much that we don’t stop long enough to give ourselves the love and grace we need in return.
As I was rocking Micah (my 2 year old) asleep, I sat there in the quiet and peace. I know I know...I still rock my 2 yr. old to sleep. I don’t care what anyone says, I absolutely love this time I have with him and I will hang on to these last few infant phases as long as he lets me (all smiles). Anyways, I was sitting there in quiet when I really thought about how much I actually do in one day. Not only what I physically go through, but what I mentally endure as well. How many fights I break up, the screaming, the meals I prepare that may or may not get eaten, the laundry I fold and put away, the floors I mop, the bathrooms I clean, the activities I do with the kids, the driving around, the grocery store trips, the school preparation, all while also trying to have energy enough to take care of myself as well (go to the gym, make a smoothie, invest in hobbies, etc...). Oh not to mention, trying to be a wife too and go to a job everyday (for those who work outside the home). It’s so much what we go through each day for the love of our family. This is by no means to brag or boast about what we do or discredit what fathers do as well (which can be just as much). This is just to emphasize and come to a realization of how MUCH we actually do in a day.
We all have our limits on what we can handle in a day and once we reach that limit, oh boy…stay out of the way! Next comes the guilt either from the way we handled a situation, or the times when we lost our temper and felt terrible about it, or what we missed out on because of another obligation. Then we get on FB and see that the “Smiths” seem like they are always having fun together. They seem like everything is all good all the time. That’s when we start to think that maybe we aren’t doing something right. Maybe we need to get better at certain things. We tend to remember and fixate on our mistakes or our downfalls. We tend to let guilt take over. We then tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own to make sure that they are all taken care of first and foremost due to trying to be a better mom. Oh what a tangled web we weave for ourselves.
I just want to stop you from all of that for a moment. Isn’t that same old cycle exhausting?! I know it is for me. As moms we are going to be stretched to our limits, we are going to endure more than what we think we can handle at times, but we always seem to get through it don’t we? We always come out on the other side, hopefully better from it than we were before. We get through it with lessons learned, more patience, personal growth, wisdom, and hopefully (most importantly) a deeper connection to the one who had it all under control in the first place, God. That’s right…it is so important to remember that God has everything under control at all times. There is no need to keep wearing ourselves down until we have nothing left. There is no need to keep going on with schedules so packed we aren’t enjoying the actual moments. There is no need to worry (easier said than done, I know). God doesn’t want us to live in guilt either!
Isn't that same old cycle exhausting...
Real quick for me, imagine if Jesus himself physically walked in your world with you even for one day. Imagine what he would say. He would not ridicule you for not having it altogether. He would not harshly accuse you of your mistakes. No, instead, He would love us just the way we are and where we are. He would extend grace and kindness the way we should be doing to ourselves. He would say “My dear child of mine, you are bearing way too much on your shoulders. You are wearing yourself down. Give this to me...these children belong to our heavenly Father and everything is going to be okay. Your load is far too heavy, let me take that for you. You will endure sufferings, but you do not have to endure them alone. Please child of mine, seek me first in your life, for then you will be set free.”
My point in all of this is... I know we all can be too hard on ourselves and focus on all the things we do wrong when we do so much more that is right. We live in this cycle where we are carrying too heavy of a load when we don't really need to. We do all of these incredible things each day for our children and their futures, but still question if we are doing enough or if we are doing it right. “I’m present, but maybe not enough, I’m intentional, but maybe I could be more, I’m trying so hard, but it’s still not working, I’m playing with them, but not long enough, I'm trying to communicate with them, but get no response, I’m trying to be better, but is it good enough?” Here's the thing, if we turn to God with these questions, if we give him our worries, and tell Him, "I give up, I can't do this alone," then there is no longer any room for wondering if what you're doing is good enough. Your family, including your children will see you lead your household with God by your side. By doing this, you will be the best example you could ever be to your children. Everything else will continue to work itself out as you continue to live a life lead by Christ.
Please know that I for one am so guilty at being way too hard on myself, not loving myself enough, not giving myself enough grace, or compassion and definitely not giving myself enough credit for all that I do and endure! I am guilty of being guilty way too much, and trying to live up to someone else's standards, not God's. I am guilty of riding the crazy train for far too long and leading my own life. That’s why I am writing this to you. I want to share what I have learned through experiencing these things on my own.
When I actually do lean on God and when I’m investing time in reading His word, I know in that moment that everything is going to be okay! Seriously! He puts me right back on track every time... right where I need to be and right back in the frame of mind I need to be in. He is truly the one in control of it all, not me. My children, are His, not mine. Either way, we are all going to come out on the other side of whatever we are going through, so my advice for you is, not to try and take it on alone. It's not worth it. It leaves you lonely, fearful, negative, and bitter. Don’t try to be strong 24/7. That is not realistic. It is okay to say, "You know what, I can’t do this on my own anymore." It’s okay to lean in to God for strength. It is okay to reach your limits and decide to surrender it over to the one who has always had it under control in the first place. That's what He wants us to do. For me, my load feels so much lighter and the stress seems to dwindle away when I actually apply this to my own life. I've lived on both sides during different seasons and I can totally see a difference when I choose to let God lead the way. When I don't, I fall right back into that viscous cycle of stress, chaos, and negativity. My whole world seems to fall apart when I try and do things on my own.
I read Proverbs 31 over and over during this blog post. If you haven’t read it in a while or at all, I highly recommend reading this again and again. The woman in Proverbs 31 is the woman, the wife, and the mother I want to continuously strive to be (not like the “Smiths” on FB). I think it’s a good idea to find a mentor or a partner; someone whom you really look up to and someone with the characteristics of that Proverbs 31 woman. Someone who can help encourage you and lead you with biblical truth! Someone to help keep you on track...on God’s track! I reached out to someone as I was finishing up this post, asking them to be my mentor. I was excited by her response. Being vulnerable and reaching out has been the start of new beginnings for me, so I encourage you to do the same.
Us Moms, Grandmas women, and wives...we are so much more than we realize. I encourage you and myself to start seeing ourselves through Jesus’ eyes. Imagine him walking with you each day. Give him your load, seek Him, and learn to give yourself more grace. Happy Mother’s Day!
Here is some scripture to help with strength and giving yourself some grace:
Paul’s testimony in 1 Timothy 1:12-17 is an example of the love and grace we receive from Jesus Christ. I get emotional reading this every time...it never fails.
Here is a book recommendation related to this post:
Jennifer Dukes Lee is a Christian author who wrote a book called "It's All Under Control." I have not read it yet, but I am so looking forward to. It seems to fit the theme of this blog post. I have read her other books, they are listed under my resources page. She writes with so much grace and makes you feel like you're talking to a friend!