I remember a few years ago when I was having a really hard time with the day to day of life. I had two little ones and was pregnant. I felt very lonely, I was overwhelmed, and I suffered from tremendous guilt that I wasn’t doing enough or being a good enough wife, mother, or homemaker.
It was winter, but spring was just around corner and softball would be starting up for my husband again soon. The baby was due at the end of February. I asked my husband if he would not play softball that spring because I would have a 19 month old, a three year-old, and a newborn, and even one night away, let alone two, was more than I felt I could handle. My husband didn’t understand and was upset that I would ask him to give up softball. As you can imagine, we had quite the disagreement.
I shared with my sister-in-law my feelings of being overwhelmed and guilty. She encouraged me to express to my husband that I felt like I was drowning and he was asking me to swim harder, when what I needed was him to pull me out of the water.
I shared my feelings with my husband, and he expressed to me that he needed an outlet. He worked all day and than had to come home and relieve me, and he just needed a break. In some ways, he was drowning as well.
Those days with little ones and out-of-control hormones were dark water days.
I felt very alone, and very, very tired.
I want you to know how I felt because I want you to know that if you are experiencing a season where life feels under water and you are gasping for breath, that you are not alone. I really do understand. You feel crazy, emotional, tired, overwhelmed, and you’re not sure if you can ask for help. You don’t want to be a burden. But you’re not okay.
I remember those days.
You are not crazy.
Facebook statuses and blog posts where everyone’s children are happy and cute and “hahahaha” are just the pretty side of the painting. The art is beautiful, but creating it is messing, and time-consuming, and painstaking. Everyone’s children yell. Everyone’s children have conflict. Everyone’s children spill milk, pee in their bed, and ask a million questions when your head is about to explode. And sometimes, you do explode.
Cut yourself some slack, mama.
You are normal. You are kind of a mess (but not all mess). You are not alone.
Let me say it again: you are normal.
You will come out of this season.
My baby is three, and I’ve just now found dry land. I can breathe.
Hang in there, the shore is just a few more waves away.
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Need more encouragement? You might like, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by myself and Sally Clarkson. It’s for those who have ever whispered, “I just can’t be a mother today.”
I hold these pages, words of Sarah Mae’s and Sally’s, that are a gift to every mother, that welcome mothers everywhere out of hiding and loneliness and into a fellowship of sisters and mentors, that will make you feel not alone, that will make you feel that there is real God-given hope. -Ann Voskamp, New York Timesbest-selling author of One Thousand Gifts
Photo Credit: Ocean Shores, Olympic Penisula