October 1, 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. thanks. needed this today. [everyday?] *tears* amen.

  2. Hi Brandy. My name is also Brandee and I am also a mom of several in Texas. I have 5 kids, and follow your blog often, throughout the homeschooling months. Meal planning is especially helpful for quick and easy ideas. Budgeting is hard when you feed kids, especially the kind that are teens. I do lots of comp ads, menu plans for the month, loss leader purchases, and monthly trips to Sam’s. I try to keep our budget low, but I hate seeing pinterest posts about how someone buys a month of food for a family of 7 for only $200. Mine range from age 6 to 14 at this time, so they EAT. I do my best to feed them healthy foods and make things from scratch most of the time, so we often use Azure Standard and a local produce co-op, too.
    If you don’t mind terribly, could you privately email me what your monthly grocery budget rounds out to be? I hate to be so nosy, but $200 is far from realistic here, unless we are talking about a week, not a month. I cannot figure out how to get it lower. Blessings to your family and for all you do.

    Brandee

    • Hi Brandee,

      I am another homeschool mom of many. I have 7 children and I am with you on the food budget. I do the best that I can and we spend around $1000 per month on food. Sometimes a little bit higher. I do have 6 gluten free eaters so that does bump our costs up quite a bit.

      Anyways, I just wanted to pop in and share my experience with this!

      • Thank you Tracy. I know you were talking to Brandee, but I appreciate knowing what others spend b/c we’re a family of five and that’s hard to keep a bill low when we’re doing GF and healthy eating.

  3. Thank you, I need to be reminded of this on a regular basis. :)

  4. Thank you! Really needed this today. Feel like a failure for not being able to keep up with all my goals. I really want to say, “but, Lord, this is *so* hard!” to diet and exercise on top of everything else I *have* to do for my family! But then I remember that this is the life I chose and would choose again any day because I love my precious little babies and I want to raise them for the Lord. My husband and my babies do come first. But I need to take care of me, too, so somedays that means the house is a wreck and the kids get Cherrios anytime I hear “Mommy, I’m hungry” rather than fresh fruit (because I ran out of that two days ago and haven’t had a chance to haul everyone to the grocery store for an endless trip through aisles with a screaming toddler and curious preschooler) and I go to the gym instead of finishing the article that is supposed to post tomorrow … Oh, how I miss nap time…
    PS – Brandee – I can’t swing less than $200 a week either on groceries/supplies for a real/whole foods diet and my family is smaller than yours! Good luck! God bless all you lovely ladies.

  5. Emmy Gallodoro says:

    I needed this. Lately I feel very overwhelmed with a kinderGardner and a preschooler. I get very overwhelmed daily and sometimes its hard to see pass the mess or trouble they are causing to the blessing that they are. I use to be able to have an hour to recharge during nap well they have recently decided they don’t want naps any more so I don’t really get that break I so desperately need. When my husband gets home from work he is very good at helping but my job doesn’t end just because he is home. I still have kids to bathe and dinner to put on the table. I use to go to bed around 9 then it became 10 now its 11 and when my boys don’t sleep all night and get up at 7 it makes for a really long day. Thanks for the encouragement that I don’t have to be perfect my kids just need to be loved

  6. Thank you! At 2 weeks after baby #3 in 3 1/2 years, that is exactly what I needed to hear! It is nice to know I am not alone :)

  7. Such wise words! Thank you for this heartfelt, honest post. I have had all those thoughts and feelings you wrote about, more than once. I can attest to the fact that we do need Godly friends, and we need to be communicating and spending time with our husbands. It is easy to put those people aside when we have so much going on. I have five ‘littles’ (ages 7, 6, 4, 2, 1) and my husband and I didn’t go on a date alone for 4 years! Those were busy and trying years! I need to remind myself often that these days and years won’t last forever. My babies won’t alway be babies. :) This is what the Lord has called us to – Motherhood! It is an awesome and daunting task all at the same time. We aren’t just mothers until we have time to do something else, this IS what we have time to do. I wish we were more open with each other in real life about our “problems”, then we would know how to encourage each other better.

  8. We are in full fledged terrible twos with our first child — and this is one of those weeks I needed to read something like this! Thank you for sharing your optimism and wisdom!

  9. Natasha Rodriguez says:

    Thank you….perfectly said :)

  10. Thank you for sharing the words that I needed to read today! God used you well in my heart today. :)

  11. Looks like you spoke to more than just my heart today! I wanted to tear my hair out and run screaming when my husband showed up tonight. I did my best to peacefully eat, and then I ran. I got out to go to the store and cool down.
    Kids fighting, mom’s raising her voice one too many times, kids yelling, no one is obeying, crying for dinner, crazy kind-of-day! I got in the car and seriously was mad at God! Telling him that I could not do this for the next 20 years! Asking him why my sister’s baby didn’t get to live and why I have 3 children who I feel like I can’t raise b/c I”m exhausted and my sister would be a better mom to her baby! Ahh, I was so frustrated.
    And then I got home, gave them all a snuggle in their bed. Pulled my 2 year old out and rocked her for a few minutes. We’ve just started potty training her and daddy told me when I was with her that she went poop on the potty – that simple thing made me thank the Lord for one silly blessing for the day. I seriously don’t know how I’m going to make it through motherhood, but counting my blessings (even the messy ones) certainly helps!

    • @ Brooke
      you will make it. One step at a time.

      I sometimes feel all i do is scream… but i keep going too. :) hang in there. trips to walmart after kids are in bed can be therapeutic. and i get mad at God too.

    • Brooke, keep hanging in there. Your sweet mom heart is very apparent. I hope your day is blessed!!!

  12. Thank you so much for this! I don’t think you could have described how I feel more perfectly than me writing it myself. With 3 under 3 I’m overwhelmed at thinking about whenever #4 decides to come. I’m tired all the time, I’ve let my friendships go, while my husband and I don’t fight I think we are both far from satisfied from our relationship, I can’t always keep up on laundry/dishes,and did I’m mention I’m tired! However, I do feel like I am able to daily be positive and thank God for my wonderful blessings. I enjoy every second that I’m able to nurse my sweet baby boy, and I’m learning that the house doesn’t always have to be perfect during this time. Thanks for the encouragement! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone!

    • Brit, you’re not alone!!! Hang in there! Congrats on the new baby! Did your hubby find a new job yet?

      • Not yet, but we are hopeful for a new job prospect! He has his 5th (and we think last) interview with a company today that would move us to Alabama (from Iowa). It’s exciting and scary. It would be a great opportunity for our family. :) Thank you for asking and for your encouragement.

  13. brandee scoggins says:

    I love all the comments…i know the post wasn’t really directed toward grocery budgets, and mine are technically not “little” anymore, though I do refer to my 6, 8 and 10 year olds as the little ones. As a family of 7, with no food sensitivities, we spend about $850-$900 a month on groceries. Two are teens, four of them dance, and all are fairly active kids, none are overweight. They EAT. I buy whole grain bread and other good stuff at Dollar Tree, I use the produce co-op about once a month (try as I might, mine do not enjoy veggies much at all–we do lots of fruit) I bake from scratch often, and we eat lots of starches as fillers…rice, grits, oats, couscous, bread, potatoes, dry beans…and eat out only about once or twice a month. Processed boxed and frozen food is rare, but we do use some canned stuff…mainly specialty milks, tomato based things, and cream soups. Most veg are frozen or fresh, as is fruit. We use a good bit of dairy. I get 10 lbs of cheddar from Sam’s every month and it is hard to make it last. We also go through about 3-4 gallons of milk a week for coffee and unsweetened cereal (husband eats cereal daily–kids about once a week). They don’t get to just drink it. Also, we are living in the suburbs…no farm life here. I just read other people’s money saving posts and think how unrealistic that is for us. Homeschooling and running the house means little time for making everything from scratch, so it has to be easy, and fast, and fairly nutritious, but if they won’t eat it I won’t make it. We all have our foods we don’t like so I don’t force them to eat everything. i just don’t find that fair when i have things I don’t like, too. So that is enough of my rant. you all helped me feel better about the enormous food budget. At least I know I am not nuts…not totally anyway! Blessings to all of you great moms! Keep it up!

  14. Thank you for this! It is so timely for what is going on with us and our kids. We are entering a very challenging stage with our 4 year old. The days end with me in tears and my sweet husband trying to reign us all in. I frequently get inside my head and convince myself I’m not good enough at my job. I set my expectations too high (perfection, anyone?) and I fail every day. Reminders like this are what help me get through each day (and sometimes each hour!).

    • Jessica, yes, we expect too much from ourselves and forget that we are human. Just keep focusing on the essentials. Love God, and love them. Anything else accomplished is added blessing. I hope your day today is amazing! :)

  15. Thank you, I needed this today. I am right there with being overwhelmed…I have three little ones and it gets hard. So thank you!

  16. Beth in Illinois says:

    Thank you! Today (thankfully) has been a really good day, but I often have those bad, overwhelming days when I have to remind myself of the big picture. I’m expecting my 4th in April and I am trying to prepare already to make things a little easier when that baby comes. My oldest just turned 4, I’m potty training my 2.5 year old, and my 10 month old has started trying to walk. My days seem so crazy sometimes and it’s hard to imagine throwing a newborn into that mix! My husband and I just scheduled our first date in about 5 months! We desperately need some time to just be together. We will and can get through this!!

  17. Thank you so much for these words today!

  18. I read this thinking, “OMG has she been following me????” I needed to hear that… so much. There are days when I’m so burned out I don’t think I have a single thought in my head that’s actually mine. I’ve taken up running, but trying to get out the door for that sometimes seems like I’m being selfish for wanting that time to myself. I have my goal set on the Shamrock run in Portland in March. I’m hoping to finish the 15K. I know I can hobble my way through a 10K. An extra three miles… I will do it even if I have to walk a little bit. I need this for me… to prove that I can actually do something for myself. I’m sure it’ll bless my kids as well.

    • Keep at it, Nicole. And a 15K??? Wow! I’m impressed. I was just so happy that I could run an entire 5K, and you are working on triple that! Good job!

      • Thanks, Brandy… I needed to lose weight and I needed something in my life that required some discipline… not to mention it’s a great break from the kids! It gets hard sometimes, but there is nothing like being out there with a whole bunch of other runners who cheer each other on. The race community has become “my people”. I run fun runs (5K & 10K). May not be able to run all of it, but I love it nonetheless.

        Thank you for your blog. You have no idea how much it’s done for me just in a day. Helped get me out of my pity party and start enjoying life with my family instead of feeling like a martyr.

        • Hi Nicole! I live in the Portland area too and am desperately wanting to get back into running myself (ran Hood2Coast before babies) and once did the 15K at the Shamrock Run (pre-babies again).
          Thanks for your encouragement…I WILL go running this week!!

  19. It is almost midnight. All my boys are sleeping so this is my most profitable time of the “day.” I am so tired and worn out lately, feeling like everything I do gets undone right away. My sweet baby boy turned 4 months today. My hubby was commenting on how he is changing so quickly. It made me sad to realize how fast the time is flying by. My older boys are 4, 3, and 2. I feel as if my life (since my first was born) has been a big blur. I know I will miss these days. But sometimes I still feel so overwhelmed. I sat down for a quick break tonight and asked the Lord to give me a bit of encouragement. He brought this site to mind and how perfect was this article?! Thank you for sharing your heart and letting the Lord use you in such a special way in the lives of those you’ve never even met! I pray He richly blesses you for that! :)

    • Hi Miranda. This is exactly why I started this blog. For this very specific reason and topic. :) I am VERY glad you are blessed. I can relate to the “big blur” part. Sometimes I feel guilty because our 4th and 5th were born just over a year apart, and for that reason, I don’t remember many details of my 4th son’s toddlerhood…..Yeah, it’s sad. But you know what? It’s okay. He’s always been super loved and wanted. And you know something else I realized a while back? All of this is being recorded somewhere Else. And someday, we may get to see it all played back for us, I’m not sure. But even if we don’t get to watch it like it was all recorded for us, we won’t care, because we will be in the presence of the Almighty. So, it’s all good. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could preserve more memories, so I still try, but I think you get my point. ??

      • I totally agree with, their precious lives being a blur. I am in a unique situation I have 2 boys in college then a 16year gap and poof 2 more little’s. As I watch my little I remember amazing details of my older boys that I never knew I knew.
        I remember being with my grandmother and 2 aunts, as she watched my babies play, she began to tell stories of her 6babies, my Aunts told me they had never heard these stories. My grandmother at the most beautiful peaceful smile as she watched them play. So I totally believe their lives are recorded for us.

      • I love this thought! Tonight after struggling to put my 2 and 3 year old boys and baby sister to bed, I fell on my bed and googled, “I have three small children and I am overwhelmed” and I found your blog. I’ve never read it before. I always tell myself that someday I will miss this time, but sometimes it is SO HARD to convince myself. I need to remember to step back, and to lower my standards a bit. I love this reminder that things are being recorded and we will be able to watch it back someday, because my 2-year-old’s babyhood was all a blur to me, and I can’t believe my baby is 8 months old today! Already! I think the hardest part for me is the isolation because I live so far away from all of my family. I have made friends through church but they are all busy too and I don’t really have a close friend to help me through this. My husband is good at calming me down and telling me not to worry about things. Thank goodness I have him. Well, I think I just needed to get some thoughts out. Thank you for writing this post and helping me tonight. My husband is on a camp out with Boy Scouts and my 2-year-old is really testing his boundaries lately. I feel awful for raising my voice at them so much lately. Thank you for the reminder of what is really important.

  20. Thank you so much for this. I desperately needed it!

  21. Once again a friend directed me to your site & the subject couldn’t be more perfect. I read an article you wrote in February & emailed you then when I was expecting our 8th baby to share how overwhelmed (& under supported) I felt. Well, little Alaisia is now 6 wks old & with my others (now 9yr old twins, a 7yr old, 6yr old, 5 yr old, 3 yr old & 22 month old), keeping up with the house (laundry, dishes, meals), teaching the oldest 4 (3rd grade & 1st), I’m wondering even more how to carve out time to spend time with the Lord, keep my husband as a priority & keep up with the rest (not to mention get a shower every once in awhile somewhere in there)! Your blog post is very timely & encouraging; I’m encouraged to know I’m not alone (though I feel it most of the time!) *thank you*

  22. Toni Geisler says:

    Seeing all the ways life gets us, I want to share a story from my youth. I grew up in a very tight knit family. I was in 2nd grade in 1968. Dad and Uncle Tom took time out of their hunting season to gather reeds. They then bought plywood and cut out 6inch ovals, drill holes around the edges. These 2 men then came to my 2nd grade class to help all of us make baskets for Christmas. Mom used mine regularly for holding cards, address book, stamps…for close to 40 years before giving it to me.
    Your kids will remember when you dropped everything to make them feel important. Rough times to a parent can be an adventure for the kids.

  23. Amen. Well said. :-)

  24. Wow… how did you know? :) (tear) Thanks.
    -Momma Harvey

  25. This is so, so good. I even found myself rushing through it, because there is so many others things to do. I made myself slow down and read it through again. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

  26. Susan Alexander says:

    Thank you for this! – from a mom of a 4.5YO, 2.5YO and nearly 11MO. Sometimes I need a reminder that this will pass!

  27. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Brandy. I have a 2 1/2 year old, 15 mos. old and a newborn, so I appreciate your reminder! :)

  28. I seriously cried reading this. I have been feeling completely overwhelmed lately. I don’t see friends, don’t get sewing done (and that is my much needed creative outlet/personal time), dishes are piled, laundry such a mess I now fear the pile. and yet I feel 100% busy with a 3month old and 2yr old all day long. both needing to be held and cuddled all day…
    Thank-you for posting. i needed this today.

    • Jen, I am right there with you with two exactly the same ages…and I just quit my job last May as an executive to take care of my family, only months after moving from a big city to a farm 35min away from anything…what a major switch, but I just have to remember that God has a plan for me and as long as I try to hear him everything, I have to trust that I’m staying on his narrow path. Love to all you mommies. xo

  29. This is just what I needed to read today. I am in the thick of it and so. very. tired. But I needed to hear that it is just temporary. Just knowing THAT helps tremendously. Thank you for posting such an encouraging post. It really spoke to me and helped me to dig deep to find the strength to go on.

  30. Thank you for this beautiful blog post. I was really touched by it and shared it with my moms’ group on Facebook — which is made up of moms with young children. Thank God for Facebook; I haven’t actually met most of the moms in the group (they live too far away), but they have been an incredible support for me!

  31. Thank you. No words, just thank you.

  32. I am working on our yearly calendar. I make them online and for each month I add photos of the year before. So as I prepare 2013 calendar, I am looking at all of our photos of 2012. It’s amazing how many things we did, how many places we went to, how many smiles and hugs we shared… The tantrums, fights, screams and bad days are not pictured. So maybe, just maybe they weren’t that bad… maybe they will be forgotten and forgiven and the love that we shared will be what will be remembered. These are tough days but when I look at all those photos I think: ” this is so worth it all!”

  33. I would just like to mention flylady.net. I used to feel overwhelmed like alot of you gals and since doing this system I have had like a 1000 per cent improvement . It’s free and it works. One thing I know from experience is that if you are feeling overwhelmed you tend to spin your wheels and not get a whole lot done. I totally used to do that. The FLy Lady’s { FLY stands for finally loving yourself} motto is ” Babysteps” and setting up routines a little at a time. She helped me to focus and gave me a simple plan so I didn’t feel so pulled in so many directions and instead I was able to take action effectively instead of wheel spinning. If any of you have questions about the system or would like to ask my help or advice feel free to email me at [email protected]
    In Him, Laurie P

  34. Brandy, I just found this message posted on Facebook, and it truly touched my heart and caused the tears to flow. I also have been “that mom,” the one who was always behind and never as good and talented or as in control as every other mom I knew. I am the mother of 7 – all now grown with children of their own. My first six are only 7-1/2 years apart, and believe me, I had many,many moments where I felt overwhelmed and almost crushed by life. I had not only secret crying moments in the laundry room, but outright crying jags with my children. Then I worried that all they would remember about their mother was that she cried all the time. But now when I ask them about their childhood, this is what they say, “I remember that you always sang with us.,” or “I remember that we would put on a record and dance in the living room,” or “I remember that you would give us pots and pans and spoons and let us march around the house playing rhythm band,” or “I remember all the times we went to play at the park,” or “I remember that you were always reading with us.” So my thought is this: If the kids grow up focusing on and remembering the good and fun and rewarding times, so then should we. The trying, and often overwhelming, times will not go away as long as there are children who depend on you for their very survival. But there will also be good times, and if you ask for God’s help in seeing them, He will be there. And before you know it, those little ones of yours have little ones of your own. So if you are in the midst of the trying times, keep on going and loving and playing with your babies, and that is what they will remember. You can do it.

  35. Beautiful!

    I have also felt all of those things before, and still do more often than I would like. But my oldest is 7 now and I’m starting to get better helpers and it’s possible to see a light at the end of this long tunnel on occasion. Things will get crazy again in the next two months as we welcome our 7th baby, but I know we’ll just keep moving and relying on the Lord and we will make it through!

  36. Thanks for sharing. My 3 year old triplets are a huge challenge right now. The constant whining and fighting is overwhelming, but it will pass. And I need to enjoy some moments and create memories of a happy child. I just hope some days that they won’t remember everything!

  37. I found this site posted by another friend on facebook. It brings back SO many memories of when I had 6 children at home. However, there were 17 years between the oldest and youngest, 11 years with 5 children at home, and a husband who had a busy career trying to provide for us all so I could stay home. You women with children all close in age have my utmost admiration!!

    Now I’m divorced, my youngest is away in college and our big home that used to barely accommodate everyone is empty. It is so weird. I see the struggles they have as adults, and wish so badly I could go back in time. I stressed over the little things; I read a zillion parenting books when I should have dropped everything and had more fun with them. I wish I wouldn’t have gotten so involved in their squabbles and issues which exhausted my mental, emotional and physical energy. I wish I had looked in their eyes and told them more how much I loved them and how much they meant to me.

    I wish I had taken better care of ME, set boundaries, and insisted on taking care of the marriage. My husband often complained that it seemed all we talked about were the kids and “family” business. Like so many marriages, after 25 years it was boring and unfulfilling to him and he jumped the ship. Not that all husbands are like this, but it happens. I ignored the kids while I desperately tried to rescue a marriage that was terminally ill, and the teenagers especially suffered immensely.

    I’m not trying to be negative, but as I look back I would have done things differently. My kids are great kids and always will be, but they were wounded by the chaos that slowly and imperceptibly grew until it was out of control. I salute you moms whose devotion to the Lord is unwavering, because He truly is the source of strength, and He got us all through the storm. *Hugs* to all of you.

  38. I stumbled across your blog post during a midnight baby feeding. God certainly had a hand in leading me to your site at a time when I most desperately needed it. My third child was born 11/28/12 (same day as you posted this inspirational message!) Needless to say, I have been feeling very overwhelmed with three little ones under age 4. I used to be the momma that went out almost everyday for playdates, would keep a clean home and even found time to get ready every morning. That has not been happening and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the piling up laundry, dishes, never ending diaper changes and maybe a shower with my hair pulled back to dry every other day.

    Your post brought tears to my eyes as I remembered I need not be supermom. Just a loving and caring mother is all the kids want and need right now. I’ve printed this message and will look back to it on days I need to be reminded to rely on God to get me through the day.

    Thanks for such an inspiring message.

  39. I have found that when I am overwhelmed with the housework, dinner, laundry, etc. and the kids are calling for me every 2 seconds or arguing or taking toys from each other that if I just take a few minutes to sit down and read a book or build a lego tower or roll some balls around the floor with them, things seem to go much better and I am able to feel the joy that they really are, again. I have 2 girls, 4 and 1 1/2 and third is on the way in May.
    I was an extreme neat freak before my girls came and now I am just realizing that it isn’t that important. Jesus doesn’t care if my house is clean, if the dishes sit for a day, if the laundry piles up. He cares that I love my children and teach them about Him and that I love Him and spend time with Him myself.
    As I type this, they are running around the house, singing praises (that they make up) to the Lord. That is a moment when I know the Lord is helping me do something right:-)

  40. Wow. Have you been reading my mind?! You got it right on…except for the vacuuming part. I don’t vacuum. :) I’ve got 4 kids…6, 4, 2, and 1. And yes, I am going crazy. I totally needed this today. Thanks!!

  41. Thank you Brandy. God used this to encourage me this morning. I just followed a share on facebook and I am going to subscribe. Praying God’s blessing on you today. :)

  42. This post was both encouraging and practical! Definitely sharing!!

  43. i’m obviously late to this post, but will comment anyway, because it’s as relevant today as the day you wrote it, and though there are already so many comments, i could not help but add my own. just today, i lowered to my knees while trying to unpack the my bedroom… the last of rooms to be unpacked in the home we just bought and have been in for a month now… yes, that’s right. a month. and i’m still not unpacked. and none of the rooms are fully set up yet. and i am overwhelmed. and i am 41 and feeling way too old to be a mom. and so i lowered to my knees in utter frustration and exhaustion tonight. and i did exactly what you said to in the “make things right with God” paragraphs. and i could barely whisper the words to him, because i felt bad that i had not gone to him earlier… before things got really tough. but it felt good to just tell him for the first time in a long time how i felt… that i couldn’t handle being a mom to a toddler at this age in my life. i honestly love being a mom. but there are days lately that i question if i can… if i’m failing. i sat there and cried. every single point you made in this was so specifically relevant to me, and that is how i know other moms have gone through this, and it is so nice to know. and i needed your reminders. i really really did. so i appreciate you writing this. came here via someone’s facebook link, i think. i will be bookmarking this and coming back to it often for sure! thank you.

    • Georgia, I’d hug you if I could! It does get easier. So the boxes sit. So what? Enjoy life! I mean it. I am glad this post spoke to you. Encouraging moms is the reason why this blog exists. So…bless you, friend. Keep up the good work. YOu CAN do it!

  44. I needed this. I really, really needed this. Not just today, but all 11 of the days that I have kept it open on my phone and read it at some point during the day. I have 5 children (15, 10, 7, 2, 1) a husband, and a full time job (plus a one night a week job). I work graveyard shift 4 nights a week because my husband is out of work. I have never had the pleasure of staying home with my children. A neighbor once commented to me that she didn’t understand why I kept having babies if I didn’t intend to be home to raise them……….this still haunts me. I would give anything to be home more. Today I laid in my bed and cried (I was supposed to be sleeping before I headed out for a graveyard shift). I just feel so inadequate. I give all that I have and I feel like its never enough. My body is angry at me, I need to lose 25 pounds. And I just can’t seem to do anymore than I already do.

    Thank you for putting it into perspective. Mom’s like me need to hear this more than you can imagine. Maybe, just maybe, I am enough. My children are loved more than I can say. And maybe, just maybe, they will remember that when they are adults…………

  45. {{hugs}} to Tiff and all you hard working moms! It wore me out just to read your post! Don’t let anyone guilt trip you about having kids. I bet you didn’t plan for your husband to be out of work!!! This is an opportunity for them to step up to the plate. I knew a mom who left her abusive husband after 5 kids – oldest being 14. She worked full time and went to school at night. Her older kids had to take on a lot of responsibility, but those kids were far more mature than their peers, who lives revolved around themselves.

  46. Thank you.

  47. Even though I know all of these things, I really need to re-read this often. Knowing and doing can often be a leap. Thank you for posting this!! :D

  48. Thank you! I really needed that today! :)

  49. Hi! I’m speechless right now ( and that’s a rare thing) :). I’m a SAHM of 4 little boys ages 2-9. I also just had back surgery 8 weeks ago which always makes things interesting. I was lying in my bed with my mind just running non stop of all the things I’m doing wrong, either with my kids, my husband , my life, pretty much just everything , when I decided yet again something has to change. I pulled out my iPad and googled overwhelmed moms devotional and for the first time your site came up first. Ironically, well maybe not really , I had just come back from rocking the baby back to sleep, praying over him, for his brothers, my husband, our family…of course the tears flowed when I read this blog, but I also thought, finally, someone who really knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed, drastically out numbered, swimming thru the sea of life and staying sane! I really feel that God has led me to your site and I can’t wait to read about how you handle 8 when I can barely hang on with the 4 that I have. I feel so guilty that while I would never give up any of the 4 ( well most of the time) I ve been thinking all too often that ilife would have been so much easier with just 2. It is such an insult to the two more precious little ones that God felt I could handle. I’m just no doing such a good job of it right now. Anyway can’t wait to start following your blog !

  50. I like the article; however, (and I’ll take flak for this I know) I’m offended that the majority of articles are written from the vantage point of the mother and supporting the mother as this fantastic article does. Please do not forget raising children is any easier for the father! I am the father of two wonderful little ones. My wife and I are both full-time working parents and just as she tends to the laundry I do all the cooking, yard chores, help with laundry and tend to the kids solo, at minimum, 3-evenings a week (she works retail so she has evening and weekend hours). Gone are my weekends of kicking back and watching sports all day; instead they are substituted by changing diapers, making food, getting naps ready, etc.

    Please keep that in mind. “Parents” need the encouragement and support…not just the women.

    • Andy, you are so brave to comment here. :) I totally know that dads work their fannies off for their families. I respect that. I respect dads. I’m not at all offended by your comment because, frankly, it’s not my fault there aren’t “dad blogs” to encourage you guys more. I suppose they are out there, but especially for me, being in the “mom blog” world, I don’t know of any off the top of my head. While you are entirely correct that parents in general need encouragement, I am specifically hoping to fulfill my duty to minister to and encourage mothers by writing here at this blog. My heart is to share with and inspire mothers. :) (Plus, I’m not a guy or a dad, and don’t claim to be a parenting expert…) I hope that dads are encouraged too, by my blog, whether that be by reading here, or by the simple fact that their wives are uplifted in their daily work. I give you a standing ovation for helping out with the laundry, and for changing diapers, making food, and helping get those little ones down for naps. Man, it’s hard work, isn’t it!? High five, Andy! Hope you stick around. :)

  51. 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

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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!

  55. 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! :)

  56. 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!

  57. Kim Utley says:

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

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

  59. 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

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

  61. 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

  62. I needed to read this today! Thanks!
    http://www.mommymoments.org

  63. Thank you, it really helped. big hug

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