To the Mom who feels "maxed out"...
Written by Claire McCann
Have you ever felt like you have been through the motherhood "ringer?"
Walmart is ALWAYS interesting for my family. I take our 4 children and my pregnant belly with me every week when we do our grocery shopping. How in the world are you supposed to fit 4 children, diaper bag, purse and groceries in one buggy at the same time?! I'm sure you can imagine this weekly escapade invites many conversations (possibly they realize that I am in need of some adult conversation) and one of the many comments I get by such sweet mommas is...
"How do you do it??" Like, how do you not go crazy!?!
Oftentimes they then explain how they just had their 1st or 2nd child and think it will be completely IMPOSSIBLE to add another into the mix and still be remotely sane.
If we are honest we all know those moments because we've had them. I felt totally "maxed out" when I had my 1st son and he hated the car, hated to sleep and cried more than I knew was possible by such a little person. I've also felt "maxed out" at various moments with each addition of a child, when you have to relearn how things will work for your family all over again. Then, there are the sick days when having kids so close in age creates a kind of domino effect that leaves everyone sick and miserable for weeks. I've felt "maxed out" many times and the truth is no matter where you are in life and how hard it is, you will have your own "maxed out" moments.
I'm sure if we could grab coffee and sit and chat (because this is totally possibly with a ton of LOUD kids) you'd have a list of those "maxed out" moments where you feel like you've failed as a mom. It's innate in women to seek (impossible) perfection and literally have those moments of failure consume our minds, all the while convincing ourselves that we are clearly incapable of doing this parenting thing well. I've got this list too. It's like an evernote file in my brain!
If you are a mom of 1 child... you are doing HARD work! It is absolutely exhausting to give of yourself constantly and never know if it's enough or done the right way and always second guessing yourself to make sure your baby is getting all they need. It's ok to feel "maxed out" at times when you give all of yourself to your family and aren't sure how to find who you are again. Every mom, even the seasoned veteran, has these moments so don't be discouraged. You are not a failure. Those moments do not define you.
It WILL get easier! Not because you'll someday arrive at perfection in your parenting but because you will find YOUR way and THAT is the right way. If your submitting to Jesus and allowing His word to shape your life and parenting then you don't have to implement EVERY. SINGLE. SUGGESTION. that other well intended moms give. You hear them out and seek the Lord, then figure out YOUR way that is best for YOUR children. YOUR children are different from theirs and YOU are a different momma than they are! So absolutely hear them out and weigh that before the Lord.... but don't let someone else's suggestions bound you in the chains of performance to them.
REMEMBER THIS: You will one day answer to God for how you stewarded your children....Not those moms, your mom or Dr. Phil. NO ONE ELSE. If we're not careful, we will place everyone else's expectations on ourselves and forget about God's expectations and His leading. (This goes very, very bad. Like a hurricane of "maxed outness!")
How beautiful it is to see that our "maxed out" moments are Jesus gently reminding us of our own insufficiency to do this on our own. He is sufficient to guide us. He alone is sufficient in our weakness. Our reaction to being "maxed out" can now be to sink more deeply into our pursuit of Jesus because as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10,
"8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
May your "maxed out" moments not define you. May they not bound you in feelings of shame or guilt. May they not paralyze you from pursuing the dream and mission God has set in your heart. May they instead bring you humbly to the Lord in remeberance of His power in your weakness. May they remind you that He is with you and gives you the strength to accomplish His will in His timing. May He be what defines you and not your own ability.