Join me in welcoming guest poster Cheryl from Moms In Need of Mercy. I hope you’ll be as encouraged as I was when I read her well written words about the weariness that sometimes accompanies motherhood. Cheryl, thank you so much for sharing these wonderful thoughts with us!
Photo by Soopah Grover
Tomorrow morning, I’m calling in sick. Oh wait. There’s just one problem with that: I can’t.
Have you ever had a series of bad mommy days, where it just seems like the joy is missing in the “joy” of motherhood? As a mom of three wonderful and rowdy boys five and under, we hit bumpy patches more regularly than I’d like. There are days when the fighting, the mischief, the whining, and the crying is non-stop. On those days the need for discipline and correction is exceedingly great. It becomes very tiring to keep up with it all—and maintain the calm and gentle spirit of a heavenly homemaker to boot (that’s why my blog is called Moms In Need of Mercy). I wish I had relatives in town to help, but I don’t.
So, as a mom in need of mercy, what do I do?
Photo by gopal1035
Like a soldier in battle, when you’re in the trenches, the fighting is going to be intense until the battle’s over. A soldier can’t just say, “I feel like taking a sick day tomorrow.” He has to show up with even more intensity the next day. That’s why his training is so important. In addition to preparing him for service, it also weeds out the weak from the strong. Soldiers who don’t have what it takes are sent home.
With multiple small children, I’m in bootcamp right now. On days like today, we’ve progressed to full combat. It is hard work. I’m training them, and they’re training me. I don’t want to be a weak mother who’s unfit for the job.
Soldiers don’t enjoy bootcamp. I don’t enjoy the hard days either. But they produce something in us. If we show up when we feel like calling in sick, we build muscles of patience, endurance, and leadership. Our jobs as mothers will be easier down the road, as the training in the lives of our children will produce men and women with character that makes us proud. As Galatians 6:9 encourages, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
On those days when it feels like we’re in the trenches, holding fast to consistency with training and correction is wearying but so crucial. A soldier taking fire can’t tell his comrades, or the soldier firing at him, “I’m getting tired of this behavior. I’m just going to ignore your hostile fire for awhile, because I need a break.” He must stay strong and continue to respond to every shot fired his way—even though it’s hard.
What helps soldiers in those moments is having a clear sense of purpose—they know what they’re trying to accomplish. As moms, we must cling to the vision of what we want our kids’ character to look like down the road. Reminding ourselves of this on days when the going gets tough will help us see past the dark moments. (And on those days, remember it’s not one bad day here and there, but the overall impression from the series of days that leaves a mark on our kids.)
Oh, and one more thing I’ve found that helps on the hard days—when you feeling like driving your children to the nearest drop-in daycare, just to get away from them for a few hours, hug them instead. Even though it feels like the last thing you may want to do at the moment, it will change the mood dramatically. Try it sometime. It also helps to find something fun to do together that makes everyone laugh and enjoy each other once again. (And if you do have parents or in-laws, or other close relatives in town, call on them when you need a break for a few hours.)
Cheryl Hackett traded in the glamour of working as a news anchor for her local NBC affiliate for the glory of motherhood. She and her husband are blessed with three busy boys, ages 5, 3, and 1. Cheryl blogs at Moms In Need of Mercy, where she aims to offer hope and practical help in mothering, marriage, housekeeping, hospitality, saving money, and more. She’d love for you to stop by and be encouraged!