What if I was the only one who felt that way?
What if my intentions were misconstrued and I came across as whiney, judgmental, selfish, or incompetent?
What if ? What if? What if?
I’m still nervous to share these thoughts, to lay them out there bare and vulnerable, but for the other mommas who have ever felt the same way, I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Before having children, I’d hear women talk about the pain of childbirth: excruciating, exhausting, intense. But, once it’s over, you forget.
Once you hold that baby in your arms, that tiny little body that you carried inside of you for months, and look into that precious, newborn face, everything changes. You forget the toil and the pain of the last nine months and the suffering of those hours of labor.
In an instant, you forget it all.
I wonder if that’s what it’s like when you grow out of the little years. When I move from this season to the next, when my littles are a bit older than so little, will I forget the toil of these days? Will I forget the bone-tired weariness, the mental fog, the short-temper and frayed emotions? Will I forget the days I struggled to even stay afloat?
After one, two, three nights of a full night’s sleep — after weeks of good rest — will I forget the feelings I felt navigating these weeks of far too little sleep and sparse support?
Well, I don’t want to forget.
I don’t want to forget the pouring out and the running on empty. I don’t want to forget the sacrifices I make day in and day out in choosing to love well. Just like I don’t want to forget the joyful moments, I don’t want to forget the terse tempers, the weary soul, and these desperate days. I don’t. want. to forget.
If I forget, I won’t remember. I won’t remember to reach out, to find a momma who is spending herself on behalf of her family. I won’t remember empathy and support. I won’t remember to just do something, just bless someone, instead of asking, “How can I help?” and putting that momma in the awkward position of not knowing how to respond because, though she’s desperate, she never wants to impose or presume or burden someone else.
I want to remember compassion and understanding, blessing and even extravagance, all on behalf of another momma who is living the desperate days, loving with all of herself, serving God well by serving her family.
I want to remember, and I want to act.
So desperate Momma, if you’ve ever felt this same way. You are not alone.
I’ve been there. I am there.
I tried rationalizing my feelings: this is just a season; I’m just overtired; just get over it.
But all of the “justs” did nothing but make me accutely aware that no matter how much I try to pretend otherwise, I am a desperate Mom.
Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson have a new book out: Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. It is a book that I didn’t want to need, one in which I didn’t want to relate. But as I kept feeling the word desperate well up in my tired, teary prayers, I resolved to at least take a peek.
Lo and behold, I cried tears of understanding and relief as I read Sarah’s words in the introduction:
“Down to the bone, to the deepest part of my soul, is the love I have for my children. Every day of my life is imperfectly offered to them. But the little years, they’re hard and oftentimes lonely. It’s like a secret we fear sharing, just how life-altering motherhood is, especially when you don’t have training or support. Let me pull back the curtain on the idea that just because you love and are thankful to be a mother, parenting will come easily or naturally. The lifetime commitment that is motherhood will, many days, stretch you beyond what you think you can handle.
We moms don’t need an instruction manual. We need physical help.
If you’re a mom of little ones and you don’t have very much help, I know you’re struggling to breath. Your days morph into your nights and mornings come too quickly. You’re bone-tired and would give just about anything for a break, a soul-filling, relaxing, quiet break.”
Reading the words poured into this book reminded me that I’m not alone. This is a book I didn’t want to need, but in it, I found such encouragement, refreshment, and inspiration.
If, as a momma you’ve ever felt desperate, I encourage you to read this book. I know you’re overwhelmed and you barely have time to shower! But in it, you will find all at once, camaraderie, heart hugs, and a breath of fresh air. As cheesy as all of that sounds, it’s true! You will be encouraged and will walk away with practical ideas of how to live well, even in the desperate days.
If you are a mom living past the desperate days, will you read this book, too? It will help you remember. It will help you relate; and it will help you know how to pray and love and serve the young moms all around you.
If you are a not-yet Mom, maybe you will read this book too. We need you! Can I just tell you how much it means to me when you stoop down to talk with my kids, pray for them with all the fervency that I would, and when you come to my home because I’m too exhausted to even think about taking all three kids out … by myself … again?! You have the power to bless and encourage and help carry the burden, and we are excited to do the same for you … and give you all of our baby stuff!
Sisters, we are all walking different roads and facing various trials. May we not judge the struggles one faces in the season in which they’re living. Instead, let’s reach out with empathy, grace, and encouragement.
You might be in a different season. You might not understand.
But show love. Do love.
“This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:35).
I am so excited to help Sarah Mae and Sally get the word out about their book Desperate, which releases TODAY! If you read any of this post, you know that I highly recommend this book.
Go buy it. Seriously.
If you’re still not convinced, Sarah Mae and Sally have put together a pretty great launch package with FREE gifts. You can find out ALL about the free gifts on the Desperate Mom website.
Christina Sweeting says
Thank you Erika. Can I come over today and play with my grand niece and nephew (and they are truly… GRAND) so you can take a nap w/Wil??? Ahh…..we’ll dream about it.
Anyway, especially loved the admonition to be aware that we all are in different seasons with different trials. In the midst of reading Pilgrim’s Progress, I am reminded that we are all on the same road (to the Celestial City), but each of us have different experiences, are tempted by different ‘detours’, respond differently to varied ‘villages’ , but all have the SAME ‘comforter’ to encourage, strengthen and fortify us for each day.
Blessings to you this day, sweet Erika.
Oh Aunt Christina!! How many times have I wished you lived down the street or around the corner! Thank you for your wise, encouraging words. Love you so much!
Jillian Jacobsen says
A friend of mine at work had asked me today if I knew anyone who used wordpress to blog. So, I brought up your site, which I hadn’t read in a while, and am SO glad I did. I’ve felt that same way the last few months. It really helped me remember that all mothers go through this. Let’s get together soon — for coffee – like you had suggested. :-) Miss you and love you guys so much!