Orange County Christian Counseling
Mothers are often on a roller coaster of emotions as they navigate the trenches of motherhood:
Some mothers feel isolated – buried in diaper blowouts and the constant process of picking up toys, wiping snotty noses, and trying to keep their small child in a routine.Others feel overcome with tiredness. The constant wakeups, newborn feeding sessions, anxious thoughts about sick children and milestones, and the desire to have a few moments of quiet at the end of a long day begin to wear on a mother’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Mothers often feel the constant burden of wanting to give their absolute best to motherhood. The desire to want to raise amazing, respectful, world-changers while simultaneously begging for bedtime to hurry up and get here. It’s a constant state of being torn because you want to live in the moment and absorb it but feeling like it’s the most tiring and draining season of life.
Some mothers feel like they are depleted in every way and unable to have much of a life outside of motherhood. They might feel like time with their spouse is minimal, they can’t commit to social events or break away from the routine, and they don’t want to overcommit to chasing after their dreams.
God promises to renew your strength (Isaiah 40:31)
If you have a newborn, those long nights and middle-of-the-night hush-toned lullabies and rocking chair snuggles won’t last forever.
If you have a toddler whose tantrums feel unending, God will give you the strength you need to continue through the trenches and call on Him for peace in the phase of constant commotion.
If you have a child starting school and your mind constantly races with the endless possibilities of their days without you present to ensure their safety, the power of prayer can place a shield of protection around both of your anxious hearts and minds.
If you have an adolescent, teenager, or new young adult preparing to spread their wings and fly, be confident that God will continue to guide and direct you as you decide when to speak up, when to let them fly, and how to minister to them in each phase of life.
When you’re tired and weary mama soul needs tending, God will give you rest in green pastures and beside quiet waters. (Psalm 23:1-3)
Four steps to consider as you navigate motherhood:
1. Know you can’t pour from an empty cup.
While it is a well-known and easy saying that rolls off the tongue, it can be difficult to apply. In an age where mama is always on the go scheduling appointments, acting as a chauffeur to and from kid’s activities, helping with homework, tending to the constant flow of dirty dishes and crumbs on the kitchen floor, planning birthday parties and snacks for the soccer team, ensuring the groceries do not run out, or trying to keep the laundry pile from becoming the new Mt. Everest, you must remember to take to pause and refill your cup.
Permit yourself to take a few moments of quiet to spend time with God every morning and unwind at night once you put your to-do list down. Grab a delicious coffee on the way out to chauffeuring children and running errands for the family. To be the wonderful mom you are, you must pause to take in the scenery of the beautiful hearts under your roof.
Soak in those morning cuddles when you can. Bask in the little “I love you, mommy’s” as you read with your toddlers on a rainy day. Take time to bake some homemade cookies on a random afternoon and do puzzles with your children. It can be so easy to become consumed with the constant list of things to do that you forget to take time to enjoy it and renew your mama soul.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. – Psalms 23:1-3
2. Do not compare your style of mothering to those around you.
One way our emotional and spiritual cup can become dry quickly is by constantly comparing ourselves to the other mothers around us.We see a mother whose child appears to be a little angel in the grocery store while our child throws themselves down because we say no to a candy bar. Another mother shows up to carpool with the cutest outfit, hair curled and makeup flawless while we show up in yoga pants, an oversized t-shirt, and a messy bun. Yet another mother seems to be rocking motherhood and her career while we forget to dream and find it difficult to meet deadlines on time.
Rest in the knowledge that you are the exact mama your child needs. You are doing your best, and that is what matters. Do not compare yourself to those around you. Everyone faces their own battles and troubles along the journey. You do not know everyone else’s struggle, so do not make one woman’s life the goal of yours.
3. Strive to find mom friends who support one another.
In a world that makes it overly easy to compete, one of the best things we can do is have an authentic support system. Aim to find mom friends who support you and aim to be a mom friend who supports those around her. You need a friend you can call when your children are completely terrorizing your house and make you question your sanity. You need a friend you can ask to stop by without feeling the need to clean like a madwoman for hours beforehand.
Mothers do not need to compare their journeys and whether they breastfed or bottle-fed, homeschooled, or sent their children to school, or whether they worked full-time or stayed home. Motherhood is about your family and your family’s needs. It’s about doing what you believe is best and what God has called you to do. While all mothers have the specific mission to shepherd their children, every journey is unique.
Sharon Hayes said, “Successful mothers are not the ones that never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.”
Jesus watches over us and has called us to support and encourage those around us. What a different world this would be if we could be more vulnerable about ourselves and our inner struggles.
He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions. – Deuteronomy 32:10-11
4. Do not try to travel in the wilderness of motherhood alone.As you face periods of anxiety, defeat, extreme tiredness, and loneliness, it is important not to try and navigate the seasons in the wilderness alone. You might be struggling to find the appropriate balance between motherhood, marriage, and chasing your dreams, struggling to connect with your spouse.
Perhaps you struggle to find the words to ask for help or admit that anxiety and depression are inwardly consuming you. You might be wrestling with feelings of worthlessness and be questioning your identity. Speak up. Cry out. Text your mom friend. Sit down and talk to your husband. Schedule your counseling appointment so we can aid you in your unique and beautiful journey of motherhood.
Regardless of what phase of motherhood you are in, it is never too late to address past hurts, open up about and establish ways of chasing your dreams while being a great mom, and have a hand to hold as you navigate the uncertain waters before you.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. – Isaiah 40:11
In case no one has said it to you today – you are doing great, mama!
“Mother and Child on the Beach”, Courtesy of Daiga Ellaby, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; Woman Holding Child”, Courtesy of Larry Crayton, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Woman Kissing Child”, Courtesy of Andriyko Podilnyk, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Dirty Coffee Cups”, Courtesy of Izz R, Unsplash.com, CC0 License