Because this series is about celebrating mamas and not just about me as a mom, I wanted to include some thoughts and ideas from others. So I asked some friends if they would consider answering a few questions. I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them, but I knew that I wanted to include more perspectives that just my own.
One of the questions I asked was, “What (if anything), do you currently struggle with as a mama?”
I thought this was a fair question. Because really, I don’t know any mama who doesn’t struggle in some way or another.
Perhaps it’s the balance in it all. One mama writes, “As a mom, I really struggle with finding a rhythm to our days. I have tried multiple routines and I usually end up throwing each to the wind after a few days or maybe a week or two if I’m lucky. I am so spontaneous and curious and internally motivated that it is really hard for me to be predictable and scheduled. I realize that my kids thrive on schedules and routine, so I am really trying to develop this skill for their health and happiness.”
Another mama shares something similar. I guess just trying to juggle it all. Just life in general. Between being a mom, working a couple hours a week, trying to make food, keep up with housework and laundry, trying to find time to exercise, etc. I struggle with finding a balance to keep it all together somehow. It’s always my house and myself that suffer. There is always housework to be done no matter what and when I have time to do the housework, I just feel like sitting down and vegging out and just want to be lazy. Either that or I have to work a couple hours for the day and I get money for working but not for keeping up with housework so my job usually comes first. And then theres the idea of taking a shower and putting some makeup on or getting out of my pajamas or working out for a little bit. And all that takes energy. Soon I usually just pass!
Perhaps it’s being in a season with older children. One mama says, “I don’t know what to do with myself now that my kids can dress, wipe and feed themselves. I cry often, grieving the feeling of loss of purpose and of being needed. I always pictured motherhood being a mother hen with all your littles at her feet, all reading together, all learning life together. Now they are in different parts of the house, with different interests, doing THEIR thing and I’m lost. That should be a good thing that I have raised them to be self sufficient and to do for themselves, right?”
Then there’s the behavior battles. One mom says, “I’m terrified I’m raising a brat! My 4 year old talks back, yells, throws fits every time she disagrees with you. Refuses to follow directions…it’s enough to make you want to quit! I thought she might grow out of it, but it’s been about 9 months or so with no change in site! We’ve tried sticker charts, time out, talking calmly, spanking, threatening soap in mouth….nothing! She is so strong willed I feel she is beating me at this power struggle because I’m so done asking 800 times to get something done.”
Or maybe it’s weariness, the struggle to make it through the day, the struggle to hold it all together.
A mama friend says, “A severe sense of being overwhelmed. In this day and age I really think there is more pressure now than ever to be that perfect Pinterest mom. I work full-time, I’m the full-time caregiver for my children, I take everyone to their appointments throughout the day, I manipulate my work schedule to allow that, I take care of the house, I do the cooking, shopping…etc. I’m not crafty in the least, I don’t have any desire to ever homeschool my children, at the end of the day I just really want them to go to bed, I don’t want to stay up and sing them songs and tuck them into bed( I do I just rarely ever “feel like it”), it’s enough just making sure everybody’s ready for the next day of school. I know I don’t have to do it all, I do have a wonderful helpmate in my husband, but the pressure to do it all is always there.”
Yet another mama says. “I struggle with following through, with having the energy to do what I know my kids need for predictability. I struggle with being negative and critical from just sheer physical exhaustion or mental exhaustion that makes me annoyed at every little thing. I am often the only parent with the kids for days on end with no one else to ever take over. I’m always on. I think it eventually wears on you. I just sometimes cannot hear one more thing, one more question, one more complain. I feel so weary.”
Can you relate?
I know I can. Reading the honesty shared by some mama friends makes me realize that I’ve felt all of these things at some point or another.
It’s so incredibly easy to get lost in the daily grind of parenting. Sometimes it feels like you’re all alone, dealing with things you think no one else can possibly be dealing with. And even if you know “out there someone else feels the same,” when you’re in the thick of it, when you’re in the trenches of motherhood, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. It can feel like you’re all alone, like the ache in your bones will never go away, like the crying and whining needs to stop before you lose it.
The struggles are real, are they not?
And then there’s the reminder from one friend. The part that we all know, but sometimes in the haze of daily struggles, we lose sight of it until we actually stop and think about it.
She writes, “I struggle with losing sight of the fact that season will pass in a blink. Being home with them has been such a beautiful gift, and I have cherished so many moments, but I also fall into the trap of thinking that this season of raising a two year old is “so hard” and wanting to move on to an “easier” season. I also catch myself becoming focused on cleaning the house, making dinner, catching up with paperwork, etc… and can easily say to my son, “Not now” when he asks to play. I desperately want to do a better job in being present and engaged when they ask.”
I know if I asked these same mamas whether or not the struggles of mama life are worth it, the answer would be a resounding, “Yes! Yes of course they are!”
And yet on some days, the weight of it all just makes you weary.
Last week, as I was reading my Bible, I read this verse, which made me think about you, mamas. You who shared these words and you who are reading them now.
Psalms 33: 13-15 From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
Isn’t it a beautiful thing, to know that even though there are 7 billion people living on Earth, He sees you. You, mama. His word says he watches ALL who live on earth. That includes you. He considers everything you do. He sees you taking your kids to and from practice, He sees you planning meals, He sees you sweeping the floors and tucking in your babies. He sees the laundry piles and the book reading and the discipline charts. He sees all the mothering tasks, all those things that feel like mundane work.
We look at those things and sigh, because we do them each day and wake up the next day to do them again and get caught up in the weariness of it all. He sees them too. Because He sees you. And He sees past all those things we focus on so much and He sees our hearts. He formed your heart, mama. In the physical form yes, but also, your mama heart. And that despite the struggle, despite the weariness, He sees the heart that loves your children fiercely.
Some days when it’s easy to feel like “just a mom” or “just one person,” days when the end of the day can’t come soon enough, know that He sees you. He sees you, mama. Nothing you do goes unnoticed in His eyes. And not only are you seen, but you are loved. I’m awestruck by the fact that the mama love I have for my children, pales in comparison to my Father’s love for me.
And for you, too.
Let’s try something. Let’s take our struggles to Him. Daily. Hourly if needed. Allow Him to remind you that He sees you over all the struggles. That his fierce love for you gives you freedom to love your children and face each day with new strength. Not gleaned from your own self, but from Him.
And let’s try something else. Spend some time this month, purposely encouraging other mama friends you know.
I’d love to build a community throughout this series. A small place you can offer encouragement to each other. It’s one thing to tell another friend in private, and another thing to encourage them in a public place.
So if you’re so inclined, comment below with some encouragement for a mama you know. Share this post with them through FB or email or whatever and tell them to read the comments. When you share encouragement with them through this post, it shows them not only are they seen by their Father, but that you see them too. Let’s be okay with lifting each others up for others to see! You’ll have the opportunity to comment on other posts too. So you can encourage more than one friend throughout the series.
Here’s to you, mama! To being seen. To being loved.