April 17, 2014

Dear Overwhelmed Mother of Little Ones,

These are hard days, I know.  There’s little sleep, too many dishes, and always a diaper to change.  And it seems there’s always some mom who has it all figured out, too, leaving you feeling less than adequate for not having scrapbooked the kids’ entire lives thus far.  You used to sew, but those days have been exchanged for full-time laundry duty, and because of this, you feel guilty for your feelings of resentment.

You sigh and wonder if anyone else understands.  You might even secretly cry in the laundry room as you realize that the daunting task of keeping clean clothes put away for everyone is a pointless endeavor.  You need an encouraging call from a friend, but today the phone doesn’t ring.

Friendships have become just another thing to manage on your already full plate, so you sub-consciously and consciously choose to forfeit this “extra” type of relationship so that you can better focus on getting your chores done.  But you soon realize, albeit far too late, that this method of time management has back-fired on you.

Your marriage isn’t what it used to be.  You got married young and things just aren’t the way you thought they would be.  You’ve changed.  He’s changed.  And there isn’t much time to work on the two of you.  He needs your affection, and well, you just don’t have much left to give. You don’t want to let go, and know you can’t, but you also know that marriage takes more time and care than you have in you to invest right now.

There are days you even question God.  “Are you there, God?” you ask.  And really.  Sometimes it is so hard to hear Him amidst noise of the kids, the vacuum, the TV, and the busyness of life.  You begin to wonder if He’s in the details.

You’re lonely.  Overwhelmed.  Burnt.  Out.

 

But there is hope.  I know because I have been THAT mom.

I know because I have thought all of those same thoughts.  And I know because I have survived.

Motherhood is tough.  There’s no denying that.

But this part, this phase of having lots of littles, when you’re knee deep in chores, and live “behind”, and “in the weeds”, and feel like you have sensory processing issues because you just need some peace and quiet – these days are TEMPORARY.

If I may, dear friend, suggest to you this.

Take a big step back.  When you’re wide awake, and not at the end of the day when you can barely keep your bloodshot eyes open.  Take a look at the blessings you’ve been given.

Focus on the positive. House is a wreck?  That’s a sign that life abounds around you. Sure, kids coloring on the freshly painted walls isn’t the most pleasant thing to have to deal with, but they won’t always do that.  There will be a day when they don’t do that anymore. And in the grand scheme of things…..well, it just isn’t that big of a deal.  Hide the markers or something, but don’t sweat the small stuff.

Keep it simple.  Overwhelmed with just cooking and trying to feed them all?  It is a big job feeding a growing family, sure.  In difficult seasons, stick to the basics and keep it simple.  Some fruit and a sandwich for dinner is OKAY!  And yes, for three weeks straight.  What matters is that you feed them and love them and just keep going for now.

Remember that they grow up too fast!  I know you’re sick and tired of endless piles and laundry, but it won’t always be this way.  Eventually, little boys grow into teenagers who actually want to do their own laundry (sometimes) and you sort of (in a strange way) miss doing it for them.  Wow – they grow up SO fast!!

Keep some friends.  But choose them wisely, please.  You need encouragement and support, especially in this season of your life, so pick some friends who are choosing to raise their children for the Lord, too, and do life together.  It can be a dreadfully lonely road if you don’t keep some God-loving friends.

If you don’t have a support system, get one.  You can’t do this alone, and no one expects you to.  Ask for help.  Participate in church fellowship.  Enlist the help of trustworthy family members.  Hire a housekeeper when you’re desperate for help with the house.  You will never be SuperMom, so don’t attempt it.  The result is always the same:  burn-out.

Make things right with God.  Pray.  Tell Him how you feel.  He can handle it.  Ask Him for help, and believe that He does work all things for His purpose.  Desire His will.  Boldly pray for His will to be done in your life.  And then trust Him.  He didn’t promise it would be easy, but He did promise that He would never leave you.

Make things good with your husband.  Realize you’re both growing and maturing.  Accept that there will be good times and bad.  Decide to make it through.  Say out loud that you are in love with him, and choose to be.  Purpose in your heart to make it work.  Recognize that he is your number one priority outside of God, your teammate, your partner in raising your children together for the Kingdom of God, your best friend, and your biggest fan.  Try to treat him that way.  If that’s new to you, it will take time.  Take a small step each day in the right direction.

If you remember nothing else, please remember this:  Just hang on. Just keep going.  These times are hard with so many little ones, and so many needs that must be met each day.  But it is temporary, and they grow up too quickly.  Slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.  Maybe the laundry will be piled up for a while, and you eat less than the gourmet meals you wish you could provide, but your family will know you loved them.  This is a precious season.  Focus on what matters most.  God and your husband and children.  There will be a season in which you’ll have more time for keeping the home as you’d like, and pursuing other interests and endeavors, but until then, do less, and enjoy knowing this is a precious season in life.  God sees you, and no grand or tiny task that you do goes unnoticed by Him.

With love from your friend,

Brandy

To read more encouraging posts for moms, please browse the  What Moms Need series.

 

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Comments

  1. thank you for this. I needed this encouragement. Its taboo now-a-days to admit that being a full time mom is hard and overwhelming, as if the solution is to just not do it, to walk away from something that has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing in my life. I needed a voice to know I am not alone and it is going to be okay.

    • Nicole, it really is going to be okay. You have great perspective and priorities. Keep at it, my friend.
      Blessings,
      Brandy

  2. Have tears in my eyes…just found your blog tonight…so good to read this post and read from a mom who “gets it”. Thank you for your transparency.

  3. I cannot explain to you how much I needed this. I have had a terrible day and all I want to do is lay on the couch and not move for five hours… But I can’t. So knowing I needed encouragement I googled “overwhelmed moms” and came across this. Thank you so much for writing this. I want you to know how much it helped me today.

  4. Thank You for writing this. I was sure you were reading my mind. I have been back to this article 4 or 5 times now when I was totally overwhelmed and wanted to give up.
    I have 3 older children (high school) , and 2 younger children. I do not remember having any of these feelings when the older kids were little, I just loved being a mom so much and couldn’t wait to do crafts, sing songs and bake cute little shaped cookies for every holiday. I am sure I was overwhelmed, but just do not have memories of that.
    So when my husband and I decided to have a baby so many years later, I thought this time I would be an expert. I had already done it all and it would be so easy. Plus I had older kids to help. I was so wrong!! It is so much harder, and the kids are even busier than me, so they are not a help. Then we had another baby a few years later, it just compounded the overwhelm. As much as I love my kids and all the activities, the regret of not getting anything done just was driving me insane. The laundry piles up, dinner ends up being hotdogs or pasta (again), and I can’t even remember what day it is and which kid to pick up from where. I was feeling like a horrible mother and terrible wife.
    In tears one day, I was just staring at my computer, because I could not face the dishes that were overflowing the sink. Somehow I clicked on this page.

    You reminded me, that one day this shall pass.
    I will look back and miss my babies being small. I will wish that I had more laughs with my kids, more bike rides outside, more hugs, stories and love. The dishes will probably still be there, and they can be ignored for the more important things. And when they get older, I am sure I will forget I had overwhelm.
    Today when I started to get that feeling of guilt (or embarrassed that one of my neighbors might see the laundry pile) I clicked to read again, and reminded myself that I am blessed.

    So thank you again, for helping me get through some long days. I think I will click “print” this time for when I need it next.

    Blessings!

  5. That was true in every respect, heartwarming, encouraging and affirming and truthful BUT I will be honest with you when they are little they have little problems (there are a lot of them) but when they are big they carry with them BIG problems. Laundry does NOT diminish and they NEVER want to do their own! They’d rather wear it dirty because “it’s not that dirty”. The only thing I would disagree with is it DOES NOT get easier. Would I change a minute of it? Nope not on your life, the alternative is not even close to acceptable, an empty house void of noise, confusion, dirt, laundry, dishes I will take because you are more right than you can possibly imagine. I blinked and it went way too fast. My first baby is knocking on the doors of colleges and my youngest is standing on the doorstep of puberty. The statement it goes too fast and they grow up too quickly is more of an understatement than I could have ever imagined or understood. This overwhelming life is full of highs and lows, pain and joy, fear and bravery. You will never know all that is good about it until you experience all that is hard about it. The greatest joys come from experiencing the greatest sorrows and recognizing that God is driving it all. We must be forever grateful to Him for all that he has given us for He loves us enough to trust us with his most precious treasures. Yes it is as hard as it gets when we are in the middle of each phase and stage of their lives but it is the greatest journey ever! Next year at this time life will be very different…our last Christmas together with all our kids, kids. It is all fleeting, bittersweet, cherish it all!

    • Well, when I say easier, I mean compared to when they are ALL little all at once…..Do you remember that feeling? :) I loved what you shared here. Thank you for sharing. Such good advice! :)

  6. I thank God for bringing me to this article and I thank God for your God given perspective and wisdom that I deeply needed today and everyday! God bless you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  7. Kim Utley says:

    Beautifully written my friend! Thank you for your heart and for sharing it so freely. :)

  8. God bless you. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, especially where you mentioned talking to God because He can handle it.

  9. Thank you for writing this. As a mother it gets overwhelming at times. This is just what I needed to hear! Thank you and God Bless

  10. I enjoyed reading this article. As of right now my life is crazy busy. I am truly blessed to have found an amazing website!

  11. Thank you so much for this! I needed this more that you could ever imagine. I am worn out and overwhelmed. Thank you and God Bless

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