Quick Encouragement for Overwhelmed Moms

Encouragement for Overwhelmed Moms

Dear Overwhelmed Mom:

You can do it! And I wanted to give you some quick encouragement today.

I’m a little overwhelmed myself right now. I’m speaking at a writer’s conference, and my manuscript for 9 Thoughts That Will Change Your Marriage is due at Waterbrook next Friday. So I don’t have time to write long blog posts.

But I do have time to say this:

These years are hard ones. You feel like you have no time to yourself. You wonder who you are anymore, because you barely recognize yourself in the mirror. You’re chronically tired. You feel like you’re always ordering someone around. And you just want to sit down and eat some chocolate in peace.

Those days are coming! It will not always be like this.

But think of these years as building years. You build into your kids, and because of that they become great people. You create structure and discipline, but still talk to them, and yes, it’s exhausting. But if you put in the time now, then later, in the reaping years, you’ll find that your teenagers enjoy being with you. You’ll find that life gets easier. And you’ll find yourself excited, not scared, at what your kids will do next.

This year I was half an empty nester. One daughter has moved out; another daughter will soon follow. And I’ve been so excited to see what Becca has done with her life, and to see her form all kinds of great, solid friendships (including one with a BOY. Oh, my).

She chose well, and she’s a great kid, but it’s largely because we put in a ton of work when they were little.

Yes, I was once exhausted. But I am not exhausted now. I am pleasantly satisfied.

Here are some posts that may encourage you on your journey:

The Pyramid Idea of Discipline (why putting in work early pays off later)

How to Talk to Your Kids

Why I Didn’t Rebel (written by Rebecca)

You can do it, Moms!

Comments

  1. Amen :D
    julie recently posted…FNARMy Profile

  2. THANK YOU!!!! I have four boys, ages four and under. Three of them are currently sick and the other is a newborn. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel right now. This made my day. Well, as much as my day can be made right now. Haha! Thanks. :o)

  3. And overwhelmed dads! Unfortunately I lost my cool yesterday at a Dunkin Donuts employee. Lots of stress has been building up. I have the EASIEST baby…sleeps through the night, likes solid food, rarely cries…and yet I find the hard part is staying psychologically and spiritually “together.” I can handle the messes, physical changes, and changes to my time, but it’s hard to have mental space that is not taken up by your children. Sigh…I’m learning. Thank you for the post!
    Heather recently posted…losing my head over hashbrownsMy Profile

  4. Memories of those overwhelmed days just came flooding back! We just can’t do enough to encourage moms during those seasons of feeling isolated and discouraged. Thanks for posting!
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted…the secret to flipping your kid’s motivation switchMy Profile

  5. Thank you for this post! I’ve had quite a few overwhelming days recently while my husband has been away on a two week business trip. He’s home for three days, and then off again for two more weeks. So you described me perfectly when you said, “You feel like you have no time to yourself. You wonder who you are anymore, because you barely recognize yourself in the mirror. You’re chronically tired. You feel like you’re always ordering someone around. And you just want to sit down and eat some chocolate in peace.”

    I know that my purpose as a mom is to raise my children to be responsible adults. However, sometimes I don’t feel like a responsible adult myself. Sometimes I get a small glimpse of my training taking hold, like when my oldest gently comforted my middle child when she got hurt by the youngest sibling. I try to hold on to those moments in the chaos and exhaustion and realize that it will be worth the effort.
    Vinae recently posted…The DayMy Profile

  6. Andrea Shuman says:

    Hi Sheila, I found your blog this morning while scrolling through Pinterest and have spent the morning reading it. I am so enjoying it because it’s refreshing to hear from someone who loves the Lord so much and isn’t as distant as “an author of the book I am reading” feels to me. Your blog makes me feel like I you and I are like-minded friends having a conversation about real, meaningful issues. Anyway, I am going to use the word “but” now, but I don’t mean anything negative, only that I have some thoughts about one particular comment in this post. That comment is ‘She chose well, and she’s a great kid, but it’s largely because we put in a ton of work when they were little.’
    As someone who has put a ton of work into her children when they were little, I have to say that the reason your daughter has made good choices is because of God. You were simply obedient and He worked through you. But still, that is no guarantee . I don’t claim to be an expert on any issue and I haven’t been through marriage problems, so I don’t have that special sensitivity that comes from actually going through something yourself. I care, am compassionate and concerned and of course always have God’s Word to guide any advice I might give to someone who IS walking though a trial in that area. But there is something different about talking with someone who has suffered trials in the same areas you have. One area that I have experienced and am still experiencing trials is parenting young adults and teens that are not choosing to put God first in their life, EVEN THOUGH we poured tons of work, prayer, effort and tears into their lives from birth. I venture to say that we put as much work into raising Godly children as you did, or any other parent who longs to raise Godly children. My heart BREAKS for the parent who does all that work and never sees a reward for it. What Christian parent DOESNT want their child to grow into a Godly adult? Yet not every child of homeschooling, sincere believers choses to be one. I am crying just thinking about it. The pain a parent feels when they love a child so much, when they pour Godly wisdom and teaching and love into that child, when they sacrifice their free time, their own desires, and their LIFE to homeschool that child, when they do everything they can think of to teach him and show God to him, to expose him to everything good and lovely and right, to put positive people and influences into their lives, and to have that child scoff at it, is so deep. Because of what I’ve been through with my kids, my passion is for all the parents out there who earnestly and diligently read the magazines and articles about how to homeschool and have great kids, the parents who witness their friends at church and their six kids who have great work ethics, who love to memorize scripture, who follow their parent’s advice about life because they know how wise they are and how wonderful God’s Word is. I have many such friends and when I talk to them, I wonder if their advice would be different if one of their children decided that THEIR way was better that anything their parents, or God, had to say.
    I don’t ask this question maliciously, only out of real curiosity: what if one of your daughters started to date a boy who not only wasn’t a Christian, but had several bad habits that could rub off on your child, what if one of them stole something from someone in your church and the leadership found out, what if one of them sent an obscene photo of themselves to a boy, what if one of them started smoking and cussing and thought you were lame, that you were close-minded, that what you believed and stood for was no longer relevant or worth their consideration? Not all of these things have happened to me, but I’m sure they have happened to someone. Someone who earnestly sought the Lord, someone who prayed over their child, someone whose deepest desire was for their child to know THE TRUTH. I realize that if a child makes bad choices, that doesn’t change God. That doesn’t change what’s true and right. But when its YOUR CHILD making those choices, it is nearly impossible to untangle what you know from how you feel. It is sort of shocking and humbling and convicting to think of how WE are so often like children that don’t respect God, that stray far from the truth, that make choices that deeply hurt themselves and others. God is the perfect parent, and yet many of His children not only reject everything about Him, they do horrific things. Things like murder or torture or adultery.
    I know this post was about how tired parents of small children are. I’ve been there. But we all outgrow that time and then what? I would love to have that tiredness back. Tiredness is much easier than dealing with the reality of your kids growing up and not choosing what you envisioned for them.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Andrea. You’re right; I should definitely have given God the credit for my kids! That was a serious misstep, and I’m sorry.

      But there is something else that I think is important, and it’s this tendency to say that because kids CAN rebel, it’s unfair to say that a parent’s effort can have an effect on the child’s trajectory in life, because then it will make some parents feel guilty. I think specifically of the book of Proverbs, where it gives all kinds of principles, even if those things aren’t 100% guaranteed. In general, the righteous do better. In general, those who aren’t lazy do better. In general, those who raise their kids right do better. That doesn’t mean that the lazy never prosper; only that these proverbs are generally true, and thus they’re worth holding up as principles to follow.

      Ultimately every child makes their own decision, and a child, no matter how great their parents are, can definitely turn away and make bad choices (as the parable of the Prodigal Son says; in that case, the Father represented God, and God is a perfect Father, and yet the child still chose poorly.)

      But parents can also make it much more likely that their children will choose well, which is the point my 19-year-old daughter, was making in her post on why she didn’t rebel. Yes, kids can still choose wrongly, but often the reason that so many choose right is BECAUSE of how their parents raised them. We are told to raise our kids in a certain way, and when we do that wholeheartedly, it usually turns out well. That doesn’t mean that kids still can’t make their own choices,but it usually does turn out well.

      And MOST kids don’t rebel when they are raised to talk to their parents, to love the Lord, and to pursue their own giftings. That doesn’t mean that they can’t; only that most don’t.

      And so I think we can say that some parenting philosophies or ways of parenting are better than others, and I think we can say that when our kids turned out well, it is largely because of how we raised them (which includes leaning on God and allowing God to work in our own lives as well as our children’s lives). I’m afraid that if we emphasize the other side too much–that kids can always choose badly–that we won’t set the bar high for parenting. We’re so scared of blaming parents that we don’t say, “parents really should do X or parents really should do Y.” We don’t want parents to feel badly later if kids choose to go in another direction.

      But I believe we SHOULD set the bar high, and we should say, “some things definitely work more than others do.” The reason those things work is because of the way God designed human nature, and because of how God told us to do things. And I do think we need to get back to stating the general principles: some things are far closer to what God wants for family, and some things are far more likely to result in kids who love God.

      Ultimately it all does come down to God, but I do believe that when parents follow God’s plan, and themselves find refuge in God, then kids in general turn out really well.

      I hope that makes sense!

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