There have been a few (okay, a LOT) of times in the past three-ish years where I have just felt like I can’t go on in this motherhood journey. I love being a mom and all, but I will be the first to freely admit that I can get easily overwhelmed and swallowed up by the enormity of the task that lies before me.
Anyone else out there that feels the same way? Anyone?
I’m guessing that the feeling of wanting to throw in the towel occurs a lot more often than we would like to admit. I know for myself, the first time the feeling of “what have I gotten myself into” happened right after the pastor announce us as husband and wife. That’s right, folks! My first thoughts after becoming a new wife were thoughts of being overwhelmed at becoming a mother instantaneously. Whew! The honeymoon gave us a good chance to connect as a couple-something that was very difficult to do given our short dating/engagement period and the fact that we had three children with us on just about every “date.” However, we did leave our honeymoon early to get back to the kids (something I kind of regret now), and now we find that our couple time is even more sparse what with adding two more kids and all. But, I digress.
What was I talking about? Oh yes! Being overwhelmed in motherhood…
I don’t think I can begin to go through all of the times when I bawled my eyes out because of different battles of the will with the kids, moments when I felt alone in parenting because my husband was working long hours, moments where I felt completely cut off from everyone and everything and all I wanted to do was throw in the towel and rejoin the land of the living.
Do you feel that way?
Let me tell you a little secret. Actually, it’s not so much a secret as a friendly tip.
For us new mamas with the brand-new babies, if you’re feeling like you just can’t go on with the limited amount of sleep you’re getting, ask for help. Ask your husband to watch the baby when he gets home from work so you can take a quick nap. Ask your mother to come over and help watch the baby so you can sleep. Or do dishes. Or whatever it is you need to do to shake off the feeling of being lost in new mommyhood.
For us bonus mamas. Tap into your support network. I don’t know how I could have made it through the last few years without my family. They have been the best support network I could have ever asked for. Seriously. There have been times where I need a break from parenting. A break from the constant chaos, from the seemingly constant butting of heads with my kids. I love all my kiddos, but I’ll be honest-raising bonus kids is so much harder than I thought it would be. The struggles that pop up and the “baggage” that comes with raising children that are not biologically yours means that you do have to be creative in how you deal with the issues that were left unresolved before you came into the picture. And for me, I need little mental breaks every now and then to help me recharge and refocus my priorities and goals when it comes to raising my children. Thankfully, I have an incredibly supportive family who have been willing time and time again to take my children for a day, a night, a week so that I can have those times of refocusing and recharging. If you have a strong relationship with your family or friends you trust, tap into that network! Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself or rant about how you just can’t give anymore of yourself to your family. Ask for help. Ask for your family to watch your kids overnight.
Recently, my husband made the comment that it had been awhile since the kids had spent the night at my folks house. I looked at him like he was crazy, and he went on to explain that he felt that I needed a break to recharge my batteries. HE GETS IT! I was on the phone with my mom immediately, and, people! My wonderful parents took, not the oldest three, not the oldest four, but ALL FIVE of our children! Even the baby who screams through the night! My husband and I had all sorts of plans of what we would do with our free weekend, and we ended up doing absolutely none of them. But, you know what? What we ended up doing was just sitting around the house, getting some projects done, talking, laughing, and reconnecting in a way that we haven’t been able to do for a while. And when it was time to pick the kids back up? Any feelings of how I just couldn’t go on were gone. I say all that to say, if you need to take a break from your kids, take it.
You might be reading this post and thinking, “This chic has gone completely off her rocker.” Aha! There is a method to my madness, reader. You see, one night in the very beginning of my journey as a mother, God kept bringing to mind different Scripture passages. They all had one thing in common-they were all about how Jesus, exhausted after ministry, would go alone to pray. Christ, who poured Himself out in ministering to people, understood that time alone-specifically, time alone with God-was necessary to keep on ministering.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
“Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him.” (Luke 6:12-13. See also Mark 3:13)
“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6:31-32)
“Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there.” (Matthew 15:29)
These are just a few of the passages that demonstrate Christ’s commitment to solitude to restore his soul during the constant demands of his ministry. As mothers, I believe that it is absolutely vital that we follow Christ’s example and allow ourselves the time to get away from the demands of our ministry to our children. To sit with God, to reconnect with our spouses, to recharge our batteries so that we can more effectively mother and love on our children.
So when you feel like you just can’t go on anymore, get help. Ask for a moment where you can get away. Spend some time with God. Ask him for the help and strength to carry on when you feel like you can’t.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)