Motherhood is a wonderful blessing from God, but so often, it can be tough to get through each day. The feeling of complete isolation and loneliness is real, and I think we should talk about it.
There are many reasons why motherhood can be so difficult. In fact, you’re probably making a mental list of the stresses you’re facing right now. The list quickly grows and turns into overwhelm.
It’s all about the small things
All of the small things add up. Your load becomes heavy, and you feel like you can’t win. At any moment, you could break down into tears (and probably do often), and you don’t even know exactly why. You just can’t see any light and no one even notices!
Well, Mamma, I notice. I’m right there with you. You are not alone.
I wake up, determined to have a good day. I walk into the kitchen to make breakfast and am greeted by a sink full of dishes. Before I can finish the dishes, the boys nearly die of starvation (their words, not mine).
I finally get them fed and try to sit down to do school. That seemed like a good idea, but I soon realize the kids don’t really want to do school, and they make that known in no small way. I’m only two hours into my day, and I just want it to be over.
My top 5 reasons I feel alone
I’ve found one of the best things I can do when I’m going through difficult times is to identify the problems. If I can understand what the ‘enemy’ is, it helps me get through day-by-day.
1. Never-ending workload
Have you been on Instagram today? See all of the picture-perfect families with spotless kitchen tables? Let’s be real for a minute…I can’t even see my kitchen table half the time.
I have three boys who are perpetually muddy. Two of them typically go through two or three changes of clothes per day. Why? I don’t know, ask them. Regardless, the laundry just piles and piles. Of course, it doesn’t pile in the dirty clothes basket. That would be too easy.
The dishes never end. It seems like all we do around here is eat!
I crave a house that is clean and tidy. When the floors are a mess, the counters are buried, and supper remnants are still on the table, I simply can’t relax. I go to bed, and I can’t sleep.
Now, I wake up the next morning and start everything all over again, now going on just a few hours of sleep. I tell myself it will get better, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Let’s deal with it
I don’t have a magic finger snap that will make all of these problems vanish. When you get up from reading this, the work will still be there. Sorry. However, try some of the ways I have implemented to deal with the overload. When I commit to them, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much better my day-to-day workload is.
The first tip is all about the practical. Split up the load into sections and assign one section per day. Maybe you sweep and mop the floors on Monday. Tuesday is all about the bathrooms. Wednesday, the floors are vacuumed so you can stop stepping on Cheerios. Of course, jobs like dishes and laundry will need to be more regular than once per week, but giving yourself grace to focus on fewer things each day does help with stress levels.
The other solutions are simple, but they aren’t easy. We need to focus on what our purpose is as mammas. If the only reason we are mothers is to keep the house clean, then I’m an utter failure.
But a clean house is not our purpose. We have been given a huge responsibility to raise our children to be kind and to love Jesus. If we focus on the task overwhelm, we show our kids that our ‘task’ is a clean house.
2. I’m invisible
Motherhood is thankless. Maybe girls are different, but my guys have no idea what it takes to keep things clean. It seems that no amount of mess makes the slightest difference in their lives. How can that be?
Sometimes I feel like the butler, there to provide food and wait on their every need. They don’t notice when I put the chocolate chips on their PB&Js to make little bears. They don’t care.
All of the things I do all day go completely unnoticed, and it irritates me. I get up early so breakfast can be done when they get up. I stay up late to fold their clothes. The first they say when they walk down the stairs is often a complaint.
Time to refocus
I get it. I’m there with you. But let’s take a step back and refocus for a minute. Why did God give you these little ones to care for? If it was only to be praised and adored, He would have given you a dog. Your role is so much more!
You have the opportunity to be the spiritual godly role model your children will look up to many years after they are out of the house. It’s tough to hear, but appreciation is not the end goal of our labors.
3. My priorities don’t matter
- I enjoy sleep. I really do. If I had to choose between sleep and exhaustion, I’d choose sleep 10 times out of 10. That is a priority for me.
- I love to run. I’d like to wake up early and get a few miles in four days each week. Physical strength and endurance is a goal of mine.
- I’ve been reading some excellent books recently. I get audiobooks through the library so I can listen as I go about my day. Reading has become an important part of my day, and I really enjoy learning from others.
- There are few things I enjoy more than a clean house.
All of these things are good priorities, but as a mom, ‘good’ is not always equal to possible or practical. When I focus on all of my personal priorities, I’m quickly crushed and disappointed. There is simply no way that I can give my own priorities the attention they need while still fulfilling my role as a mother.
Where is your heart, Mamma?
I keep coming back to it, but the reality is that my focus is often not on Christ and His will for my responsibility as a mom. If we want to navigate motherhood successfully, we need to settle with the fact that it isn’t about us.
Our success cannot be measured by how much attention we can dedicate to our priorities. If that were the case, we would all be failures. Always remember, God didn’t give us the responsibility of motherhood so we could fail. Keep your eyes on the Lord and His goodness to us.
It isn’t easy, but that’s where the focus needs to be.
4. Overwhelming expectations are so real
Let’s talk about expectations for a minute. What do you expect out of today? Whatever your expectations are, there is probably not enough time. Consider how much time the laundry, dishes, cleaning, and now homeschooling take each day. They all pile up, and we just throw them on our backs and expect that we can handle it.
How am I supposed to get all of this done? Unrealistic expectations will always meet interruptions, and that is going to cause an issue. I can’t be surprised when my own expectations aren’t met. It’s just how it is. That is a huge part of motherhood, and it’s really hard to work through.
All about attitude
This comes back to my attitude making all the difference! Perhaps I need to release some of these expectations. Maybe I need to forget about my house looking like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens.
I probably can’t make all of the types of homemade whatevers. Maybe I can’t make all of the sides for the family holiday meal.
Putting all of those unrealistic expectations on yourself is just setting yourself up for failure, and I DO THIS ALL THE TIME. Because again, unrealistic expectations will meet interruptions, and then I’m faced with the choice of my response. Am I going to watch my attitude or am I doing to let this take me down the rabbit hole of feeling more and more alone?
5. I want to do what I want to do
I touched on this before, but it’s worth touching on it again. There are so many things that I want to do. I want to run, I want to read, I want to walk through Target without answering questions.
I want to have an empty sink. I would love to not have jelly stuck to my sock. I crave time with friends—anything that would resemble a social life.
But…It’s just not reality.
My priorities need to take a backseat sometimes if I am to be the mother my children need me to be. It’s all about where my heart is. When all the kids are grown and gone, will I be graded on how clean my kitchen was?
No. But I will be accountable for how I led my children. It WILL matter how I reflected Christ. My children will remember the example I set for them. They will look to me as a model of what godly womanhood is. If I’m caught up in serving myself, I am making grave mistakes that will extend well beyond the here and now.
There is hope
Wow. Those 5 things sound like a nightmare! Why would anyone choose this?
But when our hearts and minds are in the right place, it is so worth it. We might not always want to admit it, but we know it is. No, that doesn’t make it magically easy, but it is worth it.
We need to talk about it. Not just the good parts. But struggles, too! Powering through it and pretending it’s all OK or ignoring it doesn’t work.
It helps me to hear other people talk through it. Maybe that’s the same for you. Maybe you found some of that here.
Do you have someone that you can chat with? Maybe you can’t get out of the house right now but want to see other mommas. Have you tried using video chat or Marco Polo. Personally, I like that I can reach out when I can squeeze in a moment between making food and breaking up squabbles and watch or reply to someone.
That’s helpful for me. What are some ways you can be connected and be encouraged in your walk through motherhood?
Let’s build a mom tribe
You don’t need to keep feeling like you are alone.
Let’s work through this together.