We can all feel like tired moms. Angry moms. Overwhelmed moms. These are natural feelings, but there is one thing above most others that will cause us to feel discouraged and label ourselves as failures. Here is what it is.
There I was, 11 weeks pregnant. Haggard. Worn out. Tired and nauseous. The kids had watched too much TV, the house was a mess, I had no clue if we had food to eat for lunch, much less dinner. And I just didn’t care.
I couldn’t care.
I felt so physically ill and mentally stressed that I was such a failure as a mom that I couldn’t even think about more than just getting through the day. Even though I knew this was a result of pregnancy, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d morphed from a productive woman into a sloth like couch potato who was doomed to ruin my children.
It was in this moment, and moments like these, that I found encouragement in the only way I knew how.
By reminding myself of this truth…
Life is like a video, not a photograph.
One moment does not define your life, it is made up of a huge string of moments.
It’s not always easy to get out of that moment when we know we’re not living up to who we are or what we want to happen in our homes, but here’s how we can do it.
Take your average
Just as you are a combination of body parts to make a whole, the entirety of your actions make up your character. Your knees aren’t as pretty as your eyes, but together they all function. You may not be perfect at one thing, but you surely make up for it in other areas. You may not always cook a healthy dinner, but you do regularly and try to limit junk food.
You may yell on occasion, but overall you are a positive mother who affirms her children. You are your average, not one isolated moment.
There are seasons that are harder than others. Pregnancy, newborn phase, job loss, moving home, relationship struggles, and loss of a loved one are examples. You won’t always be able to respond perfectly in every scenario and sometimes life’s stressors are more than you can cope with at once in your own strength.
Remember, cliche phrase that it is, this too shall pass. You won’t always be pregnant (Isaiah 66:9: my pregnancy mantra) or nursing all night. Kids will eventually be able to shower themselves and do their own homework. Remind yourself of this when it gets hard.
Be honest, but don’t navel gaze
Lying to yourself won’t make you feel better. If you say “It’s not so bad, I don’t mind the house a mess, chaos is fine.” You won’t feel better because – to you – it’s not true. A more honest and effective phrase is “The house is a mess, it bothers me, but it won’t be like this forever. I can cope for a time.” It’s not allowing a pity party nor is it minimizing the failure or frustration you’re feeling.
This was actually the best advice I received pre-marriage. From my hairstylist who did my updo for the wedding.
Bounce back. Admit failure. Admit defeat. Admit unhappiness. And then get up and keep going. Or, if you can’t yet get up, admit that it’ll take a bit to get up but that you will do what it takes when the time is right.
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