I love my children to the core of my soul. And you know what else I love?
Funny, eh? Because we all know those two things cannot exist simultaneously unless someone is either sleeping or drugged.
“Mom, can you help me?”
“Mom, look at this.”
“Mom, I can’t reach the crackers!”
“Mom, guess what Sam told me at school yesterday.”
“Mom, I need orange juice.”
“Mom, can I sit on your lap?”
“Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom!!”
Aaaack!!!!! Can everybody leave me alone for one tiny precious minute, for the love of all things holy, I’m begging you, PLEEEEASE!!!
* * * Incidentally, I happen to be writing this post on a Saturday, hiding behind the door of my home office while the kiddos are watching a movie and eating bowls of ice cream. Coincidence? Of course not. Who do you think served up the double scoops? * * *
So here’s what I want to tell you. Whenever I get buzzed to the edge of my nerves from all the “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” demands, I remind myself three very important things. I think these can help you, too.
1. It’s okay to feel this way.
Getting frustrated with parenting doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. It doesn’t mean you’re a weak parent or missing some magic maternal nurturing gene. For crying out loud, we’re human. My brain is not wired for constant input, is yours? So the last thing we need in those moments of burnout is to add guilt to the emotional pile. Give yourself permission to be real.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
2. It’s not the kids’ fault.
They love you. They need you. They don’t care if their own legs can transport them to the cupboard to get the bag of pretzel goldfish all by their lonesome because YOU are the center of their world and it’s natural to lean on Mom. Yes yes yes we need to train them to do things for themselves, but that’s a different conversation. What we’re talking about here is our emotional capacity for being smothered. In the moment, do you snap at your kiddos as if it’s all their fault that Mom is losing her flapping mind? Then consider this. Your child didn’t ask to be your kid. That was kind of your doing. Or, more accurately, God’s. Do you really want to go down that road?
“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands” (Psalm 119:73).
No one is to blame for your frustration. So beware the temptation to view your children as the enemy. They’re on your team.
3. This noise is a gift.
I know. In the heat of a mommy meltdown, the last thing we feel like doing is counting our blessings. But I’ve got to tell you—I’ve walked alongside some dear friends recently who have lost their children too young. These beautiful women would do anything hear their kids say “Mom” one more time. Or to ask them for a glass of water or a Snickers bar in the checkout aisle.
Why do I deserve to have my babies here with me, watching Wee Sing videos in the living room, begging for buttered noodles while they scatter paper crafts across the floor, when other God-fearing women are grieving in too-quiet houses still filled with the presence of a precious child lost?
I don’t. No one does. Not a single one of us deserves the blessings we have and too often take for granted. They’re a gift from God. He gives them freely and, I hate to say it but it’s true, he can freely take them away. So when I get all crabby pants and stuck on my own entitlement to silence and freedom, just for a split second—I don’t dwell there—I remind myself that I might get what I ask for. Heaven forbid.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).
So then. If you’re having the kind of day I’m having, filled with “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” and wishing you could fly away just for a few minutes or hours (or days?), by all means, lock yourself in a room if you can while the kids eat ridiculous servings of whatever keeps their mouths occupied. But please—please—remember this:
It’s okay to have limits.
It’s nobody’s fault.
And even the crazy, I’ve-had-it-up-to-here moments are ordained by God.
He is so good to us. And he loves us just the way we are—frazzled, imperfect, and tired.
Praise the Lord.
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