Do you ever feel like a family doormat? 

Somewhere between December and January, this was me. I questioned: Does my husband notice my efforts to keep our family moving smoothly? Does he really see everything I do, plan, orchestrate, and implement for the good of our family? Are my kids taking advantage of my efforts to make their childhood a good childhood? Do they even care if I’m here?

I’m not trying to play the victim here, but when my 4-year-old daughter commented that she was going to pretend I was in Heaven, I felt like I could have snapped. How could she say that to me? We had just ended Christmas, and all that Christmas magic came from me. I turned around to have my 3-year-old son tell me he didn’t like me anymore. Another blow. 

Though I know they didn’t mean it or even understand what they were saying (like most kids), it still hurt. I’ve envisioned life as a mom for many years, and this was not included in my imagination—at least not until their teenage years when I’ve had plenty of time to kiss their boo-boos and bask in their baby and toddler snuggles. Their comments and the feeling of invisibility within the walls of our home made me feel frustrated, unloved, and insecure. Can you relate? 

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I work so hard to make our house a home and to give our children all of me. I want them to look back on their childhood and think my mom really loved us. I shared this with a friend while explaining my circumstances. In response, she asked, “Do you think you’re doing too much?” I wondered that myself. 

As a mama to one in Heaven, I try to treat every day as a gift, because it is. I try to let my children know I love them through words and actions daily because I know tomorrow isn’t promised. I try to go above and beyond my call to show love because I want them to feel love at its best.

You can never do too much for the people you love the most, I thought as I pondered the question. They are a gift, their life is a gift, and I want to treat them as such. Yet there I was feeling bone-dry, empty, unloved, unwanted, and unwelcomed in my home. I was not feeling like much of a gift myself. Pair that with the lack of connection with my husband and closest friends because of the holidays and busyness, and it created the perfect storm within me. Do you feel it too? 

Until, it hit me: literally, the stomach bug. I woke up one morning feeling pretty nauseous. As I worked my way through the day, I began to wonder, am I pregnant? Could I be? I opened my phone to start calculating if, when, and how many days I was “late.” That was a strong possibility, so I took a testnegative. It felt like another blow. The nausea continued until later that evening when the vomiting began.

I asked my husband to come home from an outing he was on with our daughter, and I climbed into bed. About two hours into my bed, my 4-year-old daughter brought me a cool washcloth and rested it on my forehead. She laid a bottled drink next to me and instructed me, “Take small sips, mama,” as her little hand brushed against my face. These were my actions being lived out by my 4-year-old. She has witnessed me do this time and time again when she and her brothers had been sick. 

It wasn’t long until my 3-year-old climbed into bed with me and told me he was there to snuggle since I wasn’t feeling my best. He wrapped his little arms around my neck, though uncomfortable for me, it was a sweet reminder that my love is not lost. It’s there, hidden under the complex layers of toddler emotions and exhaustion. 

Before I knew it, all three of my kids were snuggled in around me, watching Paddington Bear, giving their best efforts to help mama feel better. 

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Although I don’t always see it in the day-to-day as a mama, I saw my children’s love for me in their efforts to help when I wasn’t asking for it. I saw their worry and concern as they watched me feebly walk from room to room, sipping on water and Body Armor, in hopes I could keep it down. I saw it in my husband’s actions as he chose to sleep on the couch with all three kids upstairs to give me the bed to myself. As a co-sleeper, good, solid sleep is rare in our home and our bed is often crowded, so I appreciated his efforts to make me comfortable. 

I think a lot of times it’s easy as a mom to feel overlooked, unloved, underappreciated, and like our efforts to love our family go unnoticed. However, I can say with confidence that though our families may not be loving us in the ways we want to feel loved, our actions and efforts are not going unnoticed. They are there; we just don’t always have the access to see and notice them. Keep loving your family well, mama! You will see the fruit of your work when you least expect it but need it most. 

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Amanda Crews

Amanda is a follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and mama to Carson in Heaven, and Mia, Arie, and Mateo here on Earth. She offers Christian encouragement on her website http://www.sanctifiedbylove.com. She also enjoys reading, writing, cooking/baking, traveling, and investing in relationships.

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