I see you staring at your never-ending to do list. I see you in church bouncing your baby with tense shoulders and a grimace you hope looks like a smile on your face. I see you in the grocery store trying to reason with your toddler as he launches himself at the lollipops. I see you at the gas station debating if it is worth the hassle of the car seat and coat to get the Dr. Pepper you so desperately want. I see you as I scroll through my Facebook page posting the questions seeking advice from other mothers. I see you, and I’ve been you.
I know what it is like to bounce your precious little bundle who is crying inconsolably. I know what it is like to look at the piles of laundry and wonder how one little person can create so many dirty clothes. I remember struggling through the store trying to get groceries to cook a decent meal only to be so exhausted from the experience that I grabbed a frozen pizza and called it a day.
This place you are in right now is hard. Getting used to the new demands of motherhood while trying to figure out how to balance motherhood, marriage, and the rest of life is overwhelming. Just like any season of growth, it comes with joys and sorrows.
Being a mother is one of the biggest blessings in life and one of the biggest challenges you will ever face. That remains true no matter if you have one child or twelve. In fact many days, I still wonder how moms of more than three do it. I can’t even call my kids by the right names some days.
Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: God gives you the strength you need for the number of children he has given you right now. If we always had more than enough strength than we need for the season of life we are in, we wouldn’t need him.
I wish that I could give you a magic potion to make motherhood all unicorns and butterflies, but let’s face it; we don’t live in a fairy tale. But from one mom to another, let me encourage you to:
- Count your blessings daily. Even if the blessing is as simple as eating a meal while it is still hot. When you take time to look for the good, the good multiplies.
- Decide what your “good enough” is. Sure hour long workouts, ironed shirts, gourmet made-from scratch meals, and cutesy footprint crafts are all good things. However, when you are already overwhelmed, putting pressure on yourself to do it all is only going to create more stress. Instead, decide what is “good enough” for this life stage. Maybe you cut some things altogether (I vote the ironing), or maybe you just lower your standards across the board.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for or to accept help. I know you feel like you should be able to do it all, but sometimes we all need a little help.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the parenting advice. It seems as if everyone has an opinion to give. Some of it is wise, and some of it is just laughable. Take what you want and shrug the rest off, but never let another’s advice make you feel like you are failing.
- Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We all have shortcomings and our own moments of overwhelm.
- Remember people are always more important than things. This is a special time for both you and your little one. So rock a little longer, stop and look at the caterpillar, play peek-a-boo, point out the rainbow, build the block tower. Sometimes little moments spent with little ones make the overwhelming parts of life just a little less overwhelming.
You, precious mama, are good enough. After all, you are the one God chose to be the mother of this child. Yes, the days may be long and the work may be hard, but you were created for this. It does get easier, and you do gain confidence as time goes on.
So don’t look down on yourself when you see a mom of more who looks like she has it all together. Truth be told, she doesn’t. God gives you the strength you need for the place he has you and when or if he decides to give you another child, he will give you the strength you need then too. For now, snuggle with your little blessing and know there are others walking this journey with you.
You’ve got this.
A Sometimes Overwhelmed Mama of Three