So it happened. I sat down last night after the kids had gone to bed and started to talk with my husband … and it happened. Tears. Wet trails ran down my cheeks as frustration and exhaustion came pouring out. Because it’s hard. This motherhood calling; this laying down of yourself to serve the needs of your kids and your family with nary a thanks. It’s throw-you-to-your-knees, pour-yourself-out hard.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s high and it’s holy, it’s brave and it’s beautiful, and I’m so thankful that God has gifted me with these beautiful kids and this privileged calling, but somedays it’s all I can do to simply make it through. I get tired of the mom bun, tees and shorts, sweeping dog hair, changing diapers, picking up toys, correcting behavior, making one more meal and then making another. Sometimes I get discouraged. Sometimes we all get discouraged.
But it’s easy to forget that ... it’s easy to forget that we ALL struggle at times. We look at curated Facebook posts and picture-perfect Instagram squares, and we overlook the fact that real life is occurring between those lines.
Pull back the curtain on those still-frames and you’ll find babies crying, kids arguing, dogs barking, laundry accumulating, hair graying, laugh lines creeping, waists shifting, hearts breaking. Because the glorious and the gritty occupy the same space, we just don’t always see it.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s easy to look at a watercolor beach vacation and then despise your kitchen with its fresh-from-breakfast mess still in the sink and a half-eaten peanut-butter-and-jelly on the cutting board. In those moments, in those times that I compare highlight reels to my mundane Thursday afternoon, I can feel the tears pooling. Maybe you can too. Maybe you have days where you want to cry, throw in the towel, give up on this motherhood thing.
You don’t feel good enough, smart enough, equipped enough. You don’t think you can hear “Mom” one more time, strip one more set of sheets, quell one more argument, negotiate one more nap time. No one could prepare you for this … the swelling of your heart with an uncontainable love that is grounded only by the intensity of the motherhood role. Everyone tells you that labor ends when the child is placed upon your chest, but you know better. You know that labor extends well beyond the birthing room.
Oh friend … if this is you, please hear this. You are not alone. On these days, in these moments when you feel tired and worn-out, ill-equipped and unqualified … You.Are.Not.Alone. The same God who sees you when mothering is hard, He who promises to carry you through is the same God who created community to help you shoulder the burden.
So find community, and press into it. Share your struggles and lay bare your heart. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Be authentic. Be transparent. Tell your story. Take off the mask and break down the walls. Invite someone into the heart of your mess just as they are, and you’ll find a common grace.
C. S. Lewis said: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
Motherhood is hard. It’s hard for me. For you. For them. It’s hard and it’s holy, it’s gritty and it’s glorious, and it will bring you to your knees. But when motherhood merges with authentic community, you’ll find a friend to lift you from your knees and a voice of understanding to whisper you’re not the only one.
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