A few days ago I had one of *those* days. The baby wasn’t sleeping well and had been up half the night, I didn’t get to shower, the house was still a complete disaster because we’d just moved into it a week prior, and I was feeling extra sorry for myself because it was a Saturday and Chris was headed out to work for an extra long day of flying.
I figured it was inevitable. The grouchiness, that is. I made a feeble effort to be kind but it was pretty well just a big ol’ snowball effect of slightly sharp tones, impatiently barked commands, cold cups of coffee, and way too many expectations.
By the end of the day I was nearly in tears. I was mad at my kids and mad at myself. The worst thing of all was the disconnect I felt from them as their little hearts and mine clashed and throbbed all day long.
I posted a status on my personal Facebook account about achieving an “F-minus” in motherhood. Sweet encouragement and words of truth began popping in on my status and in my inbox from mamas who’ve been there and totally get it.
As wisdom and truth began to permeate my heart I could feel my lungs constricting slowly, my shoulders relaxing a tiny bit.
These are some of the truths that were given to me at that time, and a few others I have come across elsewhere. Perhaps you might need to hear them from time to time, too?
1. Our failures, weaknesses, and sins are not who we are. You are an amazing mom who sometimes has rough spots. Tomorrow will likely be better.
2. It is easier to believe the lies when you are tired and stressed. Don’t let your sleep-deprived or stressed-out brain trick you into believing the junk being thrown your way. Stop it in its tracks, and your mood will likely improve.
3. It is the sum of days not just today that shape your kids. Everybody has an off day now and then but it is the whole sum of a childhood that makes a kid who they are – not one bad day.
4. The fact that you even care means that you can make a plan for improvement. Instead of having a pity party, use your negative feelings to inspire a better plan for next time.
5. Your failures are a chance to model godly repentance. Heaven knows your kids need to learn repentance too, right? Ahem.
6. The Lord is full of grace and he is glorified by you admitting your failures and turning to him.“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God. You will not despise.”
7. We often fail when trying to do something we are not good at or gifted in. Do as Paul instructs in Romans to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought”, and take stock of your gifts and personality in order to shape your mothering style. Don’t hop on board the “ought to” bandwagon – it’s plenty crowded already.
8. Your hard is hard. Don’t berate yourself for “not handling things well” or for feeling overwhelmed. Realize that this season of mothering little ones is difficult whether you have an only child or a mini-van full, and don’t compare your hard to someone else’s.
9. Those visions in your head of everyone else’s house being cleaner than yours? Not true. Maybe some are cleaner, but certainly not everyone’s. Ahem, *cough, cough* not mine!
10. It’s ok to go to bed super early. Sometimes it’s best to just bid the day farewell and pull the covers up. Sometimes your best strategy is to get some extra rest and try again tomorrow.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)