It was 2:00 in the afternoon and I had hit my wall. Exhaustion was settling in. It had been a long morning of re-directing children, soothing boo boos, cleaning up messes, grocery shopping and trying to squeeze a bit of school in for my oldest before he left for an all day drama rehearsal. So by 2:00, my eye was twitching and I just wanted a cup of tea and a nap but I knew that was not possible. I had four children, ages six, three, almost two, and ten weeks, who were depending on me to be "fun Mom". So, I bundled everyone up and we went outside to play in the mud. I mean, what could be more fun that that?!
Crying filled the air.
My six year old was playing King of the Mountain and flinging snow, meanwhile, my little cyclone of a toddler made a bee line for the road so I ran after him. When I came back Princess Pickles had decided to pull her pants around her ankles, since they were wet anyway, and she was running around with her bare bottom hanging out.
I was running back and forth between children for an hour and a half. By the time we came inside everyone was caked with mud and needed to be bathed. I counted down the hours until my husband would be home to offer up relief... and then I got the call. Hubby would not be home until 7:30 or so because he had a meeting. It was on the calendar but I had not checked the calendar for the day.
I was over tired, frustrated, and I had to make dinner during the melt down hour without any help. I began to cry.
Our days as Mommas are made up of every day situations like this. Our husbands have meetings, we burn dinner, our children puke, we juggle a screaming infant on our shoulder with a giggling toddler wrapped around our leg while accepting a package from the UPS guy. We wash, dry, and fold three loads of laundry just to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. This is life as a Mom. It is often a thankless job which can easily lead to frustration and burn out.
I am guilty of being frustrated. We are emotional beings... it is OKAY to get upset and frustrated however it is how we handle that frustration that is key.
I have come to the sad realization that when I am exhausted and spent I tend to express my frustration to my children. It is heard in my tone of voice, seen in my body language, and evidenced by the tears that roll down my cheeks which prompts my children to ask if I am alright.
by Â© Axel Naud
When I am overwhelmed and feeling like a failure it makes my children feel guilty, as if they have done something wrong or that they haven't done enough. They feel like they have disappointed me when in reality, I am frustrated and disappointed with myself but that is not how my children perceive it.
In Sally Clarkson's book The Mission of Motherhood she writes on page 73
"My children didn't need me to be on top of all of my chores or even to be perfect in taking care of all of their needs. What they needed was for me to be content and patient with life. They needed me, as a mature Christian, to walk by faith that God was in control, allowing his Spirit to give me peace and joy in the midst of life's inevitable ups and downs. In a sense, they were looking to me as a barometer of how our lives were faring.
This is one of the best ways I can be a servant leader to my children. When I model patience in the midst of difficulty, joy in the midst of messes, contentment in the midst of lack, then I provide them a pattern for their own lives. They will learn that my joy is not circumstantial but real because I have an endless source of strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in my life."
I pray that as we seek to be better Moms, deliberate Moms, that we would allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. The Lord has entrusted us with these precious children, we are the only Mom they will ever have and we can trust that He will give us what we need to survive the ups and downs. Embrace these growing up years for they are fleeting - play in the mud, bake cookies together, read books snuggled up on the couch, and laugh often. This Momma is going to be trying to put Sally's advice into practice... and to only express my frustrations to my Heavenly Father and my beloved husband rather than weighing down the shoulders of my children. Won't you join me?
Grace and peace,