If I could have hugged her through the phone I would. The text she sent was one of utter defeat... Surely, she couldn't be this sucky of a mom, that she can't just pick up a couple of groceries at the store, without everyone erupting in tears? That epic lie that all new mommies or even us old mommies believe... everyone else is doing this better than me.
The problem is no one has been honest with my beautiful young friend... The truth is when we have little babies and toddlers:
We cry everyday.
We yell and lose control.
We hide in the closet and eat candy bars and drink coke.
We don't measure up to our own standards.
We struggle to do simple tasks like grocery shop, cook dinner, and keep our houses clean.
We hate whining, but don't know how to make it stop.
We feel inadequate. We believe our children would be better off without us.
We hate life one moment and are overwhelmed with joy the next.
We are lonely. We are tired. We are scared. We feel defeated.
I remember when my 4th child was a baby... I thought it would be a breeze because I had done this 3 times before, but it wasn't. He was different. He cried non-stop for 6 weeks and he and I stayed in my room, while the world went on around us. I felt insane being locked up in that room, but that was the only way either of us would survive. And I worried about my other children. I worried that they would think I didn't love them, because I spent all my time with the baby. I was silly to worry though and I realized that when they would fret over him when I wasn't close by. They would come and find me and say, "Mommy, the baby needs you."
I felt helpless during that time. I couldn't do the simplest things and I was sure, that God had made a mistake, giving me these little blessing, because I was going would ruin them and they would need life long counselling to overcome their crazy mother. I needed help to do everything... all I could do was sit in a rocking chair with a little baby and try to make him content. I couldn't make dinner, I couldn't clean house or do laundry. I called this little guy my "sling baby", as he was ALWAYS in the sling. When I did go to the grocery story I would actually nurse him in the sling so that he would be quiet and content (I have only admitted that to a couple people)... that's way embarrassing, but it's what I had to do. We didn't go anywhere or do anything that wasn't absolutely essential. Thankfully, this did eventually pass and life got back to normal hard.
There is one truth that has carried through every hour, day and year of being a mother though... and that is THIS IS HARD. It's like beautiful torture. Believe me there is nothing I would rather do with my life. I love my children more than any other thing (besides their Dad), and I know I am extremely blessed to be a mother, BUT IT IS HARD. Every day I know that I am in over my head. I know I am not equipped and I KNOW that I have done things that have caused scars.
So, I'm going to share with you some truths that God has shown me through the years and the tears...
God never intended to give us a life that was easy. He actually wants us dependent upon him.
My hope is not in myself being a good mother... "Be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart, all you that HOPE IN THE LORD." Psalms 31:24
My help comes from the Lord. "God is our refuge (hiding place) and strength, a very (abundantly available) HELP in times of trouble." Psalms 46:1
We have a big job to do. It is the most important, influential job in the whole world, there is no doubt about that. We are right to want to do a good job, but we must understand that we can not do it alone. God is our help and a lot of times when we pray for His help, he will provide a flesh and blood person, who wants to help us. Instead of calling out the Lord we try to do it on our own, but we need to call out. First, to the Lord and then accept all the help He provides.
We also need to understand that we can not "do it all"... that is a lie of our modern culture and new moms are plagued with guilt because they can not do it all. A mommy with a little baby is very limited to what she can do. There should be no guilt in that.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in his bosom, and SHALL GENTLY LEAD THOSE WITH YOUNG." Isaiah 40:11
God calls himself a shepherd (psalms 23) and he talks about leading us beside the still water and MAKING US LIE DOWN in the green pasture. In Isaiah he talks about what he expects from mommies with littles... He leads them gently. He doesn't push them or prod them to do more or be faster. In fact, God MAKES THEM LIE DOWN. When we would drive ourselves to DO MORE, God says "slow down and rest".
Look at how he treats the young lambs! He holds them in His arms and carries them in His bosom. Do you feel like you can never put that baby down? Maybe that's just the way it's supposed to be. Maybe it's not fussy baby who needs to adjust?! Maybe it's Mommy. Maybe we turn off the advice of the whole world and DO WHAT WORKS!!! Maybe that's the way God would want us to do it???
So, the next time that the enemy tells you that your are a horrible mother and tries to steal your joy, remember that God is your hope and your help. Remember that His GRACE is enough to cover all your mistakes. Remember that THE JOY OF THE LORD is your strength. Remember that because of that baby in a manger there is NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST (Rom. 8:1) and God gave you these little blessing because He knew that "through Christ you CAN DO ALL THINGS."
If you were perfect and had it all together you wouldn't need God and He wouldn't receive the glory. So, Mommy you might suck, I know I do sometimes, but God is ABLE to overcome all that and one day His name will be praised for the young man or young woman that you helped him raise... To God be the GLORY!!!