Guest post by Erin Jones
Things have been pretty crazy here some days. With a husband who has to be away several evenings a week with his work, I find myself trying to keep 6 kids busy on my own, make sure they’re getting along, cook supper, baths some days, playtime with them if I can, homework, bedtime devotions, stories… And in between I’m nursing babies, bouncing babies, changing babies, changing Joey, making sure Joey doesn’t get hurt when I find him sliding down the wooden stairs on a pillow… Sigh. I find I lose my temper sometimes. I feel overwhelmed sometimes. It can get crazy.
I remember one day, a few weeks ago, I was feeling quite exasperated. I had taken the kids to an activity and got home right at supper hour. I was trying to throw something together as I hadn’t had any time that day. The babies were crying, the “older” ones- my 2, 3, 5 and 7 year old- were being extremely loud, some were picking at each other. It was chaos. At least in my little world. I was wondering how I was going to get kids fed, babies fed, kids ready for bed- all in an hour lest I lose my mind. I did what I could in that moment- I stuck bottles in the babies’ mouths so they were happily drinking and a frozen pizza cooked away. Was it ideal? Maybe not. But it worked.
Sometimes we paint Mommyhood as a perfect happy little picture. I think of Cayleigh’s pictures where the princesses in puffed sleeves are always smiling. Where there are rainbows and suns and flowers in blossom. Where everyone is holding hands and everyone is happy. But Mommyhood isn’t always like that. There are struggles. We hear about the crafts and the baking and the games Moms play with their kids. We hear of how good they sleep, how well they play together, how they can read and count. We hear of the outings and the healthy things we prepare, the fingerpaints, the tickles, the laughs. We hear of the smiles and the cuddles and the forts and the stories. But do we ever hear of the struggles? Do we ever hear of the exhaustion? The times where we feel overwhelmed? Challenged? Do we only tell people our strengths but never our weaknesses?
I always knew I wanted a “bigger” family, God willing. And I thank God every day for the wonderful blessings He has given me in my children. But it’s not easy. Pretty much the second we found out we were having twins the morning sickness hit and it’s been quite challenging since. Caden turned 7 a month before the twins were born–the oldest child now with 5 underneath him. We dealt with babies not eating, not nursing, not sleeping, a strong-willed not quite 2 year-old and 3 others who needed Mommy and Daddy, but we were exhausted beyond exhausted and didn’t know how we’d get through even one day on no sleep, let alone months. 4 1/2 months later it’s getting easier in some respects but harder in others. What can I do on those days where I feel like I can’t do it on my own? Can I pretend things are perfect and easy and all smiles and rainbows? Or can I look elsewhere?
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me’ (2 Cor 12:9)
A lady at our church had twins several years ago and her kids are grown today. I thank God for her. I thank God for one conversation in particular I had with her. We haven’t talked much but I remember, just after the twins were born, being honest with her. Honest about how they weren’t eating well, about how it was hard to get out, hard to give my other 4 attention. Did she tell me everything was going to be ok? No. Did she tell me it was going to get a lot easier? No. What did she tell me, then? She said, “Erin, The Lord is your strength.” She told me it wasn’t having a clean home- that wouldn’t give me strength (and I’m still wrestling with that- mind you, the babies are wearing me down!), it wasn’t what I did with my kids. That wouldn’t give me strength. The Lord is my strength. And you know what? God’s power is made perfect in my weaknesses.
It’s not easy being a mom. It isn’t. And let’s stop painting the picture that it is. No one is perfect- not even our precious children. No one sleeps perfectly, eats perfectly healthy all the time, does the perfect activities, has the perfect amount of Mommy and/or Daddy time all the time. Sometimes there might be tons of TV here, not the greatest frozen meals, and sometimes I might feel so overwhelmed that I shed a tear or two. That’s when I need to cry out to God for He alone is my strength. If I yell, I need to confess my sin and ask for strength to move on and do better next time. And pray and pray He will change my heart and my mind and help me to me more patient. That is where I am at.
So, instead of painting the picture of Mommyhood as roses and rainbows like my daughter’s pictures, I’m going to be honest and say it’s a job where I need to (more than I do) confess my sins to the Lord daily, ask for forgiveness, and ask for strength. It’s tiring and it’s trying. Yet it is beautiful and fun and the best job I’ve ever had! But let’s be honest. It’s not all flowers and happy faces. It isn’t. We all have weaknesses. And who helps us in our weaknesses? Christ. Let us all point to Christ. Let us boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon us. Let us remember “every good and perfect gift is from above”- it’s not by anything we have done or can do. Everything good is from Him. Let us tell others our strength is from God, our help comes from God and that we need help.
Now wouldn’t that paint a beautiful picture? 🙂