Dear Exhausted, Weary Mom

Can I just say it is extremely difficult being an exhausted mom? There are moms who are exhausted because they have done an exhausting amount of work in their day. Those are the ones I marvel at. I watch them, I see the unfathomable (to me) amount of energy they put into pushing, pulling, running with, and chasing their kids, and they do it with genuine smiles and laughter. They sing, they play patty-cake, they bake WITH their kids (which I just can’t comprehend) and they do things like (gasp)- craft time. I get tired just thinking about it.

There are moms who pour themselves out for their kids, from morning until night, and it seems to me the feeling of accomplishment must be very satisfying. I am one of those mom’s too, pouring myself out all day, yet it looks so different. Oh, for the energy to do craft time- and clean up after it, and be able to move on to another task without needing to pump yourself up like you’re playing in the Super Bowl. Oh, to exert strength playing with your children, and not feel like all the wind has been vacuumed out of your sail.

I have so much admiration for the energetic moms I know, and that well-earned exhaustion they feel at the day’s end. I hope I join their rank soon. I feel like I’ve had, here and there, too far spread out, glimpses of what that kind of normal mom life might feel like. Those are bright days in my memory bank.

But there are other moms like me. I can think of at least five that I know off the top of my head, and so I know I’m not alone. There are moms struggling through physical or mental health issues, single moms, moms of multiples waddling their way through the third trimester of another pregnancy- who are like me, and yet not so different from the energetic moms. You pour yourself out from morning until night too, but it looks small, and it seems like you are below ordinary. You get your kids dressed, and that’s hard, but you do it. You feed them, and it’s hard, but you do it. You go to the park, you smile, you make effort to be an involved momma, and it all looks so normal, but it’s costing you. It’s a sacrifice. You love it, yet, you wish the simple things weren’t just so draining. You wish the trip to the park, didn’t mean feeling paralyzed later.

Your house is far from spotless, cookies come from a box, craft time is a coloring book, learning comes from a green frog on a device, “outings” are restricted to a 2 hour time frame, and you probably need to bring along help. This is me, yet I have no doubt that I am doing my best. I am giving it my all, and sometimes it feels like more than my all.

To not be able to be the “you” that you really are inside, and that you really want to live out as a mom, can be devastating. I have had my break-down moments. These are some simple truths that have helped me.

  1. You are the mom God chose for your children. He knew what He was doing. He knows that you cannot be more than you’re are able to be at this time, here and now .
  2. God sovereignly chose this circumstance in your life, not only for you, but for your children too. If He loves you, and can use this in your life for good, He can also use a weak, tired mommy, in your children’s life for their good. He loves your kids too, and has purposes in mind for this.
  3. If you are unable to care for your kids, whether occasionally or often, God knows. He is not surprised or thrown off. Sometimes, your hands are tied, and your kids might need to spend a lot of time with other caregivers, even if that is not what you want. That is incredibly hard. I have been through that, and I had to believe that God had good plans in His mind for my kids, that He would bring about through other people. We all want the ideal life for our kids, and as mom, we want to be there, participating in it all, contributing to it all. But God can use others to bless our kids, even in less than ideal circumstances. God knows dear mom, and we have to trust Him.
  4. Let the “extra things” fall by the wayside if you must. Focus on loving your kids, walking in the Spirit and producing fruit, and pointing them to Jesus. Let the most important things be the most important things. You don’t need to please your neighbors, friends, or whoever else you are worried about impressing- you need to please God. God knows your heart, and He knows your condition. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14).”

Trying to treat your children with love and respect, walking in a manner pleasing to the Lord, is challenging when your exhausted. You will not last long at it in the weakness of your flesh. It’s only possible by the power of God.

Sometimes suffering helps us see more clearly the things that really matter. If you have very little energy, try and put your energy into things that matter for eternity. Once again, nobody might see it or know. Your kids probably won’t even know how your seemingly ordinary responses and actions are actually you, pouring out your life as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). But when you respond patiently, although in your body, you feel like you are falling apart, God knows. That’s supernatural. That’s accomplishing something, and it matters friends. It might look like nothing to somebody else, but you’re storing up treasures in heaven. Your heart matters to God more than your living room. Don’t compare yourself with other moms who seem to be accomplishing so much more. Be happy for them. Bless them. They have their lot, you have yours, and God has called you both to glorify Him within the means of the abilities He has given you.

I wrote this poem a few months ago, and I thought it might be relatable and helpful here. I wrote this, kind of as a prayer, because I have had so many moments just like this, feeling like all my strength has shattered on the ground and left me in a puddle, and there in that moment trying to respond to small kids in a godly way, is one of the hardest moments in the world. It’s impossible without God’s grace and strength, which is the only way I can ever get through moments like those.

When My Strength Fails

When my strength
goes seeping through my hands,
my feet the weary swivel
on which swaying tower stands,
and you dear ones
gather at my knees
with questions and needs
swirling round my head like bees;

I am tempted then
to shoo you away,
because standing’s
hard enough for me today.
I am desperate then
to go and rest,
but my racing heart
still wants to love you best.

My mind caves in
on its’ self,
my next step
a buried book
fallen off the shelf.

My children watching-
mommy’s been through this before,
when weakness rules
and harsh reactions
take the floor.

Lord, help me in that moment
fainting,
look to you
so I could be
displaying
still the kindness You impart,
partaking
in the grace that’s greater
than my heart,
stronger than my weakness
grace surpassing fear,
grace that dissipates impatience,
grace that comforts tears,
grace that keeps from sin,
so that in weakness
His power might shine,
That you might know the love of God
loved children of mine.

I tend to need a song for every season, and this one fits nicely with what has been said here. Enjoy.

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