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Parenting Perspective: Mama, Are You Doing Okay?

Today I'm rebooting a post from several years ago when the kiddos still had chubby little elbow dimples. It's a different format from what I've been sharing, but I think it's worth sharing again. Mama, if you're in the trenches right now with all the little ones, I see you.

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Mama, are you doing okay? I am struggling. Last night I carried my laptop upstairs so that I'd remember to do the online forms for my kids to go back to school, but then they all crawled into my lap and started knocking me in the head with their little elbows and toes as they struggled to get comfortable. All thoughts of filling out forms went right out the window. Why did ALL three of them have to crawl into my lap at once? Well, I had the audacity to hold the oldest because she wasn't feeling well. Pretty soon, two jealous little brothers had to join her. We weren't exactly comfortable, but who was I going to kick out? I made my husband take a picture because this is something that doesn't happen too often any more. Then I posted it on Instagram with a reminder of how this is what I prayed for and I'm grateful.


I wasn't feeling grateful though. That big smile only lasted a few moments. I was actually feeling overwhelmed and ready for them all to go to bed. So I wrote that little feel-good post to remind myself that I'm grateful. Dang it. I'm grateful.


This is our life these days. My husband and I snatch moments to try to talk about important things between their demands for attention. I scramble to rescue my laptop from grubby little fingers. We cherish the moments when they all decide to be sweet. We try to keep our noses from being broken (again) when they swing an arm unexpectedly in the direction of our faces. There are toys everywhere. They never listen the first time. They smear up the windows and chew holes in my upholstered dining room chairs! They sure are cute when they sleep, though. Sometimes, I wish one of them would ask me, "Mama, are you doing okay?"


Sometimes I don't feel joyful or blessed, I just feel angry and frustrated. I catch myself literally growling at them as I try to understand how they could completely cover the bathroom floor in bath water, again, after they've been told every day for years not to! How??? I see posts from other mothers, more peaceful mothers, who smile at the mess and write things like, "Their creative play in the bathtub led to a slight explosion that I'm happy to clean up." or "Isn't it sweet that a tsunami hit our bathroom floor?"


I admire those mamas, but I'm not them.


I struggle with how to pursue my calling during this time when they require so much of me. Didn't I beg God for these children? Didn't I want to be a full-time, stay-at-home mother and soak up every minute of their sweetness? How can I delegate some of their care to others?


If you're anything like me, you're struggling today with frustration over so many things. Here are some examples of all the ways we beat ourselves up:

  • If you're a stay-at-home mama, you feel guilty for not bringing in an income and wish you could have some time away with other adults.

  • If you're a working mama, you feel guilty for not being at home with them more and for not being more focused at work.

  • If you're a work-from-home mama, you feel guilty for not being focused on them every moment you're together.

  • Maybe you're that peaceful mama, but you actually shut yourself in your closet and cried after you cleaned up that bathroom floor. (Please tell me that is true so I can feel a little better here?)

  • Maybe you're the mama who focuses totally on your kids, but your house is falling apart and you feel guilty for not being a better housekeeper.

  • Are you the mama who tries to control everything, but it all feels like it's falling apart?


You are not alone. I'm struggling because I want God to wave His magic wand so I can be an awesome minister of the gospel without actually having to do any work that takes me away from my kids. If you're not sure how you'll ever get it right, I see you. I am you. The worst part is how we compare ourselves to one another and always come up short. I see that Instagram mama who homeschools and always has a perfectly clean house and has a massive garden and makes all her food from scratch and stays in great shape and never gives her kids McDonalds. WHEN DOES SHE SLEEP???


I hear God whispering to us, "I knew you before your were formed in your mother's womb, and I knew your children too. They are in exactly the home I placed them in, at exactly the right time, and I've provided everything they need. You be who I've called you to be and let those mothers who do things differently than you be who I've made them to be."


Then, because surely God has a sense of humor too, He reminds me of how it was when the pandemic hit and we were all at home together, all day every day, with no help. Just me and them. Like I always thought it should be. Even then, they never got enough of me. In fact, they were even more clingy than usual! Even then, I wasn't enough. This feeling isn't situational; it's constant.


Our small children will never be able to get enough of us, mamas. That's just the way it is. If they could permanently attach themselves to our bodies, I think they probably would!


Let's not forget, in the middle of the bathroom tsunami and the closet cry sessions, in the middle of the guilt/condemnation, that when we have a heart to serve the Lord, He is making all things new. He is caring for those precious ones and for our hearts too. When we work as unto the Lord - at home or in an office or on a stage or in a field - we are doing holy work. We can trust God to take care of everything He has entrusted to us.

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Back in 2024, I want to add this note to equip you to handle all this frustration and fear!


When you pray today, ask God to show you what is conviction from Him that something in your motherhood journey needs to be different and what is condemnation from Satan. Satan loves to cripple us into inaction, to demoralize us, and to keep us second-guessing ourselves. He hates us, and he isn't anything other than a liar and a destroyer. Turn on some God-honoring music today, go for a walk, and clear out the noise. Listen for what God has to say. You work for an audience of ONE. Satan has no power over you, so tell him to go back to hell where he came from!


Love,

Kimberly



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