Monday, March 21, 2016

Feeling Overwhelmed as a Mother?

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Caleb was working outside. He had his thick soled boots on but took them off when he came back inside to measure something. We don't wear shoes inside our house because nine very active people in and out of the house on a farm would make for very unsanitary living conditions. I draw the line at mopping more than twice a week. 

Since he was just going out onto the deck, he felt it was OK to go barefoot. He stepped on this piece of glass someone picked up out of the yard but left on the deck. It was tucked in an out of the way spot which is right where Caleb had to step to get around a board on saw horses! Caleb found it..the hard way! 

In my younger years, I'd internally beat myself up for:
  • not knowing something had been broken
  • not getting it out of the yard before someone else found it
  • not knowing it was on the deck
  • not knowing Caleb was barefoot
  • Caleb having cut his foot
I am a Christian who seeks the Lord for wisdom and guidance daily. I try very hard to keep everyone safe, healthy, and ultimately happy. I say ultimately because discipline and correction make children unhappy temporarily. I want to do the very best job Wendy can do in this wife/mothering calling. I am very competitive with SELF. I want to excel for God's glory and my family's benefit! My expectations of myself are set very high..much higher than I would expect of anyone else.

I am also human who is weak and fallible and so much less than what I desire to be. I am outnumbered. There are eight other people who share our home/farm. They are very active all day long. Like their very human mother/wife, they are all weak and fallible people too. They forget instructions, leave things behind, don't think things through, make messes, etc. No matter how hard I try, I will never be able to keep up with every move they make. 

Setting goals and competing with self is a good thing. It keeps us trying to do better. Limitations and failures are a part of reality. I am not going to catch every ball in this super sized juggling act. Sometimes people are going to have to make a sandwich because a meal wasn't cooked. Sometimes they are going to have to clean up a mess I made so I can work on something important no one else can do. Sometimes children don't listen to instruction. Sometimes a barefoot someone is going to get hurt because someone broke glass I didn't know about and didn't see to pick up. I am going to drop some balls.

Beating myself up isn't going to do anything except weigh me down with guilt. Because of the heavy criticism in my early childhood, it took me a long time to learn this important concept: I wouldn't talk to a friend, much less a stranger, like that, so I shouldn't talk to myself like that either. I want to help my best friend succeed, then why not encourage myself in a manner that helps me succeed? You, tired and worn out mother, should do the same! 

My to do list this spring is very long! Even if I don a cape and tiara, I can't do it all! What I can do is seek the Lord minute by minute in the midst of the constant chaos of busy family life. 

I can seek Him to lead me to the most important tasks of the day while keeping the attitude that I am serving Him first by serving my family second. I can acknowledge my weakness and limitations. Then, and only then, I can seek ways to improve my performance within those limitations. 

Be nice to yourselves, mamas. This calling is a big responsibility, and it isn't for sissies! The more people you have to care for and keep up with and the more activities participated in-the harder it gets! To succeed, we have to face some hard facts about ourselves, seek Help, and work to improve within our limitations. Then, we have to trust the Lord to fill in the many gaps and take care of our family. 

Caleb was cut, but it was shallow and closed up within a day. He learned his mother was right about wearing shoes every time he went outside to protect his feet. He learned his whole family is there to help him when he is hurt. I was blessed to witness my children tenderly care for each other. I forgave myself for not seeing it all and not doing it all. I once again accepted my limitations. I tried to improve the situation by discussing with my family the importance of putting broken glass in the trash immediately and how placing it on the deck does not solve the problem. I thanked the Lord for keeping Caleb from cutting himself deeper and asked Him to please keep helping me in my role as a mother.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.