As I write this post, our state is dealing with unprecedented wildfires. The town I live in is on high alert and we literally could be notified to pack up and evacuate at any given minute. We are surrounded by a raging inferno. To add to this uncertainty this week I was to begin a new job at a school teaching from a computer. To say I have been struggling as a mom is an understatement.
I have beat myself up these past few days as I have been consumed with the reality of what was in front of my family. I have felt like I have neglected my people as I have tried to process what was going on outside these four walls. Being a “good mom” is hard, but it feels even harder when we are facing times of uncertainty and difficulty.
What do moms struggle with most?
I have been a mama for just over 14 years. While this doesn’t seem like an enormous amount of time in the history of my life story, it is enough to recognize some of the highs and lows of this journey. Being a mom carries a weight that can be frustrating and fabulous all in the same hour.
Moms carry an incredible God given responsibility. We are gifted with the ability to make a meal, listen to a whiny toddler, and plan a party all in the same thirty minute period. If we have a job that requires our attention outside of our people, we are aware of the deadlines and expectations that are simultaneously pulling us.
Feelings of being overwhelmed, fatigue, and guilt can all creep in and begin to take a toll on moms as they carry the load of balancing life. These feelings, left unchecked can begin to cause feelings of inadequacy as a mother and ultimately lead us into a spiral of doubting our abilities as we face difficult situations.
Help for the Struggling Mom
As we face our God given responsibilities as a mom and react to the pressures that we may be facing, I have found it important to remember the truths that God has given us as His daughters. These truths remind us that we do not struggle alone and that we can be a good mother despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Remember Your Identity
Society today wants to define what a “good mom” is. However, the truth is that a “good mom” isn’t defined by anything that the world preaches. Our real identity is wrapped up in who God says we are.
He tells us over and over in Scripture that we are loved by Him. This is the basis of the gospel message. When we remind ourselves of this, we remember that our identity is not found in what others perceive of us as moms, but rather what God calls us to be.
I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3, ESV
Recognize Your Weaknesses
As we work through our struggles as mothers, I often have to remind myself that I have weaknesses. My drive for perfection and my desire to have everything completed on a specific time frame is a testing of my faith.
As we work toward understanding God’s desires for us, I can rest in the assurance that He will help me in my areas of weakness. When I am struggling with processing a difficult situation, I can ask for wisdom. When I am worrying about the future, He will bring me peace. When I am anxious about my own abilities, He grants strength.
God never sets us up for failure. His desire is only for the good of those who love Him. Resting in this and realizing that I am not a supermom helps bring calm to any frantic feelings of inadequacy I struggle with.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13, ESV
When I am struggling as a mom, seeking support can often be the last thing I want to do. Moms tend to be survivalists. We buckle down and attempt to “get through” the crisis without reaching out for help. Even when we recognize we need it, we struggle to accept this.
Seeking support from those that God has placed in our path is important in times of crisis. There have been multiple times in my life where I have been blessed to share my struggles with another sister. This support allows us to process our frustrations and get insight into the best ways to move forward.
In seeking support I am also teaching my own children the importance of asking for help. They learn that other people can help them work through difficulties and how to discern wise counsel from that which is harmful.
Taking time to reflect and focus are keys to self care and the nourishment of our kids. When our family has gone through difficult crisis, whether is has been deaths, sicknesses, or the most recent quarantines, I have found value in evaluating what is working.
Sometimes just a minor adjustment to schedules or responses is all that is needed to ease the frustrations during times of struggle. I realized this past week, that my own struggles subsided when I chose to limit my news feed and spent more time reading with and talking to my kids. Just this simple adjustment changed my mindset and allowed for a healthier atmosphere.
At the same time I began to talk to my kids about watching for God through our struggles. We learned that sometimes He whispers and sometimes He roars. Either way, we learned to find Him in the circumstance.
Practice a Gratitude Mindset
As we work through our circumstances, gratitude has a great deal of power in our striving to be mothers. It is incredibly easy to become disheartened, worried, and anxious at the lives we lead. Society screams “me” while we look at our people and inwardly struggle to focus on “them”.
God has graciously blessed us in ways we won’t always see. However, when we continually allow our hearts to be in a posture of thanks, we can allow our attitudes of defeat and frustration to burst forth with joy.
Times of struggling will come to all of us. This world will never be free from striving and worry until we meet Jesus face to face. Despite this, we can be good moms. We can be moms who put our faith in the one who walks with us each step of the way.
Being a good mom is not dependent upon my current situation. Rather being a good mom is a result of my reaction and focus during seasons of change and difficulty. My kids may not remember the times of trial, but they will remember the consistency of a mom who kept her focus on the One who holds the world in His hands.