It Doesn't Help Anyone To Not Be Honest About Motherhood - Sarah Mae
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It Doesn’t Help Anyone To Not Be Honest About Motherhood

Ocean Shores, Olympic Peninsula

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.

Love, SM

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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

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  • Seejay

    Your husband’s reaction gets me all hot under the collar!  Him coming home and either co-parenting with you for the evening or giving you a break would have been at least a change of scenery for him and perhaps the only time all day he would even see his children.  I would have gone to the mat on that one. 

     When my two were little I was lonely as well.  I didn’t know anyone where we lived, at least not well enough to hand over my children to. Fortunately my husband knew this time with the children was fleeting and he gave up golf for that season of life so that he would be with the family on the weekends. He did work some late evenings  but he actually did his best to go in early to work while we were all still sleeping so that he could get home by dinnertime 90% of the time.

    I’d be dealing with bigger issues towards my husband years later if he had not been there for me and the kids.

    • Sarah Mae

      Seejai, I asked my husband if I could put that story in, and he said, “yes” knowing how some people might respond. The truth is, he had pressures of his own, and he was tired as well. He was there, though. He rarely ever went out with friends or did anything for himself, and he worked extra jobs for us just so I could stay home (we barely had two pennies to rub together!). He spent his evenings helping me with the babes, giving them baths, playing with them, and he always encouraged me to get out if I needed to. 

      The time with little ones can be very difficult on everyone, and he was no exception. Plus, we were both just young and immature and trying to figure life out…we still are some days. I can tell you, he is a wonderful man, and this past year alone he gave ALL of his vacation time to me so I could travel. He is a good man. 

      • Elizabeth G.

        I love that both of you were willing to share your struggle! Thank you for acknowledging that it was tough for him too…I wish I had been able to do that for my husband back when our oldest ones were little and times were, for me, much as you describe! Back then (26 years ago) it was “shameful” not to have everything under control! Now I gladly share my struggles, in every area of life, and how my loving Savior has walked with me, or sometimes carried me, thru those very dark times! ( And still does, whenever I need Him!) He has impressed upon me that it is by His blood and the word of my testimony that I am an overcomer!! (Rev.12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony…) So, again, thank you for sharing yours and your husbands struggle during that time and the fact that its not forever…there is hope!!

  • Joy

    Sarah Mae, you’re beautiful.  I LOVE how you are so real.  It takes a lot of guts, and I appreciate you just being yourself!  🙂

    Man, I remember those days.  I had no one to help me, and life was hard.  Now that I have ages 12, 10, 8, 6, and 2, things are still hard, but in a different way.  Even though some difficulties go away, others replace the ones that left.  Now I have pre-teen angst to deal with, along with a high-need toddler and all the other issues in-between.  But I also now have older children to help me clean and do the dishes and help with the younger ones.

    When my first few children were all little, it would have really helped me for someone to just be honest and tell me that motherhood is a long journey.  But no one told me that.  In the homeschooling community, you’re often made to feel like you must be doing something wrong if you’re experiencing difficulties or discouragement.

    Give yourselves grace, dear mothers!  And the main thing I’ve learned is not to compare myself to others.  We all have our own set of circumstances, family dynamics, etc.

    Glad you’re on dry land now, Sarah Mae!  🙂

    • Sarah Mae

      This, YES: “it would have really helped me for someone to just be honest and tell me that motherhood is a long journey”

  • Kristine McGuire

    This is a message I wish someone had told me when I was a mom with two little girls at home. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, feel out of touch with the “real world”, or like no one could possibly understand what your going through when everyone else seems to have it all together. You are so right. There are seasons in life–some more difficult and messy than others—each one is normal.

    Great post, Sarah Mae 🙂

  • Natashad

    Sarah Mae — you totally just said exactly how I felt in that stage (still somewhat in it, but it is getting better).  I so needed that today.  I felt (and still do at times) that I needed my husband every evening — I needed a break because I had absolutely no patience left by then and I didn’t want to have to “push it” with my kids and end up taking my tiredness and overwhelming feelings out on them!  It is a fine line where our husband’s do also need a break??!!!!  How to balance it all????  I continue to pray and it is getting better!

  • Neelye03

    Thank you so much for this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

  • Shannon Ferraby

    Dear Sarah Mae,
    I started out a few years ago feeling like I was in a season of “walking on water”. Even though I felt in a good place-I still honestly shared about dark or hard times and how God brought me through or was still bringing me through them. I was told in a not so great way that as a christian I need to put my “best foot forward” and be careful not to paint a bad image of myself. Long story short: I was left feeling hurt and from then on timid about sharing what I was really struggling with-or had. Then came the darkest waters I have been in thus far. It has been a long, dark, lonely struggle to stay afloat and I do think most people are uncomfortable hearing the truth. They would rather keep their “nicey nice” image of everything being good. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement as you found dry land. It always comes-that’s the good news! Jesus never leaves us, even when we feel alone in our dark water, but that faith is sometimes hard to come by and it does help to hear how someone else made it through.

  • Rachel @ finding joy

    A very beautiful post, Sarah Mae. I am constantly telling friends and others that the hardest season, for me, in parenting was when I had my two little toddlers (they always think it’s right now because I have seven children). Honestly, until that oldest one reaches 4-5 it is just plain hard. You, as a mom, are giving of yourself constantly. This post, my friend, will bless many.
    It’s being authentic. Not wearing the “I’ve got it all together” mask.And we need that in this world.Bless you!Rachel

  • Harmony Texasmom

    I love this post. I love your blog & your honesty! Thank you for sharing

  • Mary Bonner

    Sarah Mae, 

    My only living child will soon be 24, so I am WAY past this season of life.  But I remember it well…when he was little, I was pregnant and very ill.  Pregnant again and losing my daughter…I wish someone had told me “this too shall pass.”  

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery for putting this out there.


  • Tracy LaFon

    beautifully said and written, as only can be done by a mother who has gone through this experience.

  • Elizabeth Sadosky

    My 6yr. old daughter made an observation today – “Mommy, you only have your ‘freak out’ times in the morning, or at bedtime. You never have them during the day. That’s so interesting, right?” I explained that Mommy has her ‘freak out’ times when she is overtired and little children do not want to get ready for school or stay in their beds. Being a ‘single’ parent this year because my husband is deployed, I have felt so guilty for the times I do yell at them. But I know that I have to allow myslelf Grace, apologize to my kids when its needed, and most importantly every morning wake up praying for God to give me His perspective and His priorities with everything I do and every person (and child) I interact with. That alone has been helping me immensely.

    • Sarah

      Oh that is so gorgeous what your daughter said!! Aren’t children so perceptive?? They know everything.

  • Hsmominmo

    Amen! very nicely put, Sarah Mae. Thank you for the reminder to keep our ‘Seasons of Life’ in perspective, and to step back and look at the bigger picture.
    What a great husband you have, for supporting you and agreeing to have you post about him in this way. Blessings to you and your family

  • Annie H

    I needed this this morning. I have a 5 year old boy, 2.5 year old boy and am due with our 3rd blessing in late August. My husband is currently away, which is typical due to his work with the Air Force. Yesterday, especially last night, was one of “those” nights. I am still recovering from my parental guilt this morning. I am in the midst of that drowning feeling and thought I was just a bad parent. I’ve thought I just need to pull it together, be stronger and better. 

    Thank you for this post and your honesty!

  • Rachel

    No doubt about it, these words are absolute truth. My only additional thought is this- even though my girls are now 9&7, being a homeschooling mama still gives me the occassional “I’m drowning” feeling by the time February arrives. I pray through it and I find “peace that passes all understanding..” in the midst of it all.
    Thanks for sharing Sarah Mae.

  • Jjudy05

    Love this and needed this reminder about 11 years ago and again about 4 months ago but once again I caught my “wave” and surfed back to shore.  I am positive that being pregnant with now my third child that I will get washed out to shore again but I have learned to ALWAYS have my surfboard-it makes getting back to shore so much easier.
    Thanks for the post to help others and a special thanks to my surfboard (my husband).

  • Jamie

    Thank you.  Thank you so much for your words.  I was drowning completely last night and this morning.  I went to my inbox to see if there was any hope for me and yours was the first email I read.  I really can’t thank you enough.  I am such a perfectionist and my world feels like it is spinning out of control.  I can’t figure anything out, and I am so so tired.  My little ones are 4, 3, and 3 months.  It is so hard.  Thank you for being honest.  Thank you for letting me know that this too shall pass.  Thank you for giving me hope for the shore.  Are there any ways to expedite getting to the shore?  Is the shore only reached when the little ones get older?  How do I make it until then?  Please post again.  I would so much appreciate your advice.


    • Sarah Mae

      Jamie, it’s so interesting that you signed your name “Desperate” because that’s the title of my new book due out in October:

      I will post again. 🙂

  • Virginia Armstrong

    Just the words of encouragement I needed today! Thank you!

  • Joy_in_purity

    THANK YOU!!!! That is exactly where I’m at right  now- Two toddlers and expecting another in 7 weeks… You described how I feel exactly. Thank you for being honest and helping the rest of us realize we’re not alone.

  • Brooke

    I went through this with my first child. He was a VERY difficult baby/toddler and has thankfully outgrown it. There were so many times I just didn’t want to go on another day. I am so thankful that I had the Lord to cry out to in my time of need.  I was afraid to ask my husband or anyone else for help. I didn’t want to be a bother and felt like, “Other people can do this, why is this so difficult for me???”.  I didn’t realize at the time some of his behavior wasn’t normal! I really should have asked for help. Pregnancies are always hard for me.! I have learned with my two daughter’s it is ok to admit you need help once in a while. They are also infinitely easier than my boy. 🙂 They are my rays of sunshine and now that we have passed the dark day with my son, he a ball of  sunshine, too! There are still tough days and they take a lot of prayer! My children are 5, 3 and  20months.

  • Lasandrahutchinson

    Mmmm…thank you! This is good stuff. I have 4 children under 6 and am just realizing, “Oh, there is no way that I will get everything done. I am just on e person and I will injure myself trying to be superwoman. I need to relax.” 

    I think this is great because it helps others when we are honest about our struggles and the fact the we will overcome them…eventually!:)

    BTW: I haven’t seen your blog since you changed it and added the e-books! Congratulations!

  • Evie N Jason Lyon

    oh my goodness. I SO needed this today. I have 6 children, ages 13, 6,5,4,3, and 21 months. I am single parenting it throught the week and my husband comes home for 2 days on the weekends. This is temporary, but I so feel like I am drowning, and my husband doesn’t understand. It makes it a bit easier when you know for a fact that you are not the only one 🙂 Thank you so much!

  • Michelle

    Sarah Mae, You nailed it right here:

    ” The art is beautiful, but creating it is messing, and time-consuming, and painstaking.”

    Many women bloggers probably don’t even try to make their lives look perfect, but due to trying to protect their families and children’s privacy, only post a glimpse into their lives.

    Perhaps some try to make it look different, or prettier, but I’m not sure it is intentional.

    I think we can find a way to be honest and real, so as to not come across as supermoms, but this too is a gift and balancing act! I think God has gifted you this way and is blessing many through you!

  • rboreing

    With a 2 & 22 month old, many days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water! Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who is understanding of the daily difficulties of two little ones. I know this season is short but it is so hard! I’m trying to just laugh at the crazy things that happen around here like macaroni in hair, broken plates & diaper disasters…that’s the only way to stay sane! 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement for mamas in the trenches with littles!

  • Aimee Wilcox Saunders

    My husband has been in medical training, first med school, then residency since I was pregnant with my first. I have spent the majority of the last 7 years alone and much of that time “drowning”, as you say. I completely agree withe comment that mornings and bedtimes are the worst. My husband would be on a 30+ hour shift then come home and sleep all day, total of 3 days without even seeing him. All the time he was too exhausted to help or even carry on a conversation. I felt like he was a mirage, something I could see but wasn’t really there. Part of my healing was admitting that every moment, EVERY moment I needed to Lord to help me. I started asking for his help audibly constantly because when I didn’t, I exploded and then I grieved. The miracle of it is that I love my children more, my husband more and I sweat the small stuff less. Perfection is impossible but I know the source of my stability…and I ain’t it!

    • Sarah

      My husband is not up in the mornings until late, and days when he is out a long time are the worst. Also if he’s here though it is impossible to get the help I need. I feel I’m about to explode as I tidy up for the 15th time around him and he fails to move a limb. He doesn’t mean badly, but when I need help it makes me so sad sometimes. And without adequate venting time (conversation) I think wives can become so disappointed. I need more where he cannot give it. I now call my friends to get it all out -having 2 little ones is hard. It makes you feel alone at times. 

    • Sarah

      And ps: exploding and then grieving? It seems to be my specialty at the moment. Yesterday even was a day like that. We had such a bad fight, said horrible things, and then I just cried and cried. I feel my husband can’t understand what I need.

  • Rebeca

    A friend shared this link and I’m so glad I read it. I’ve been feeling very much like I’m barely keeping my head above water right now… homeschooling and raising my four kids, ages 9, 7, 4, and almost 2, one with special needs. Struggling to hold onto joy and grace in the midst of what feels like a dark valley and a stormy sea. Thank you for your encouraging words…

  • Lisa Maria

    I FINALLY made it over to this new site of yours Sarah Mae and I’m so glad I did… congrats!  This post is one that I really needed to hear right now! I’ve been there, done it over again and I’m doing it again now.  THANK YOU for the encouragement and the inspiration. God bless!

  • Stephanie’s Mommy Brain

    I have so been there! Right down to having kids almost the same ages: 3, 18 months and newborn. I thought I was going insane! And then, just when I started to feel human again 2 yrs later, I added a 4th baby. Honestly, there were times I put everyone on his bed/crib and went outside and just sat on the step waiting for my husband to come home because mommy needed a time out. The pure physical exhaustion was overwhelming. Thankfully my kids are now 3, 5, 7, 8 and I’m not so tired and feel like a normal human again. I don’t regret my babies in anyway. Just wish I could have gotten some help so their infant years were more pleasant.

  • Sara

    Would you mind if I post a link to this on my blog? 

    • Sarah Mae

      Sara, go ahead. 🙂

  • jordy

    Well-written, Sarah. We are still a year or so away from the “baby days”, but I’m glad to read this ahead of time! Thank you for being honest. It helps to go into it knowing what to expect as opposed to feeling like we should be able to do it all.

    I had the same revelation about six months into my new marriage (it will be two years on Monday) where I felt overwhelmed and like there was no one to turn to. All of my newly married friends were saying how everything was so incredible and amazing, and I (actually, we) was not experiencing quite the awesome honeymoon stage. Finally, I spoke out about it on my blog, and I was flooded with comments about how what I felt was a normal feeling. For the first time in my marriage, I felt validated. It truly set the stage for the next year and a half. If I had a “drowning” feeling, I knew I wasn’t the first one to feel that way, and my husband and I were able to be more open about it to one another.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Julia

    Oh today of all days I needed this most. I am pregnant with our sixth child and homeschooling, dishes, laundry: all of it felt like a mountain today.  Thank you a million times over for this. You are a blessing to be sure!

  • Leah

    Our youngest (and last) is 3 too, and I am finally able to breathe. We went through a terrible season of PP depression and many, many women were so judgmental of me. Most of them were older, and they could have been such an encouragement to me. One of them even had the audacity to tell me I needed mental help.  I was thinking, No, I’m a young pastor’s wife, a mother of 2, just moved to a new country, almost died during my pregnancies from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, family is 2,000 miles away, etc., etc. All I needed was some good old fashioned help and encouragement. I’m glad to be on the other side now and know that I’m normal, but I have had my share of drowning days. it’s hard to be open, because people instantly judge us, but we can’t help anyone without being open. So thanks for being open!

  • Jessica

    Holy cow, you’ve been reading my mail!  Thanks for those words of encouragement.  My heart definitely needed to read them today!

  • valerie

    So true! As a Mom to 9, I soo understand your words here. My children are now 10-24 but in the midst somewhere there you do sometimes think you’ll never see this other side. Keep going. You will get there and much much sooner than you think!! So hold those babies, keep house enough to have a peaceful home and try to understand and fulfill the needs of hubby , otherwise let ALL the other STUFF go! They are simply not important at your stage of life and all too soon you’ll look back and wish you could hold the babies again. and you’ll look forward and be proud of who you and your babies have become! 🙂

  • kristinapetrella

    I started posting pictures of the mayhem that my three year old creates on facebook so I wouldn’t feel alone when my daughter empties an entire box of rice krispies onto the floor….or throws Nesquik in the kitchen.

    Thank you for voicing this truth because Satan loves to hit us over the head with the lie, “Only your kids are like this.”  
    Thanks again.

  • MomsBandB

    Thanks for sharing this, Sarah.  I’ve had to learn to be selective with who I share the “real” stuff with.  Those who say, “Well, you decided to have all those kids,” or, “Well, you decided to homeschool,” are NOT the ones to go to when I’m frustrated or overwhelmed.  Unfortunately, they are sometimes those closest to me.  We need to use when choosing those to really open up to.

    • Brianna

      Absolutely. I absolutely agree.

  • Camille

    I agree! My baby is now 3.5 and I am finally feeling like I’m able to get a grasp on more than just one minute at a time.  You gotta cut yourself (and your spouse) some slack and just hang on — it does get easier. 

  • ceet

    Thank you for speaking the truth!  I too had these crazy moments, days, and years of motherhood.  I beat myself up for not being perfect, and hated trying to be perfect, and ended up depressed, hating myself, my husband and my sons.  If I had only had someone to truthfully engage with me in an honest way, and gotten treated for my postabortive syndrome, and some antidepressants – oh, what a different diary I could have written. 

    I pray you through this season of your life, that you enjoy your children and enjoy the life God has given you.  Be blessed! 

  • Debbie T

    I certainly needed this shot in the arm!  The truth is, I hear mothers tell me all the time, “This is only a season – enjoy it while it lasts” but like you, it’s hard to ENJOY the feeling of drowning and being overwhelmed!!!  It’s not enough to hear that – we need to talk about these times the way you have here.  I love my family, and it’s a relief to know that I’m “normal” lol. 

    You are such a lovely “sister” to have…   Makes the blue seem more attainable…

  • Da2hillsmom

    sooo the season I am in now.

  • Ashley B.

    What a wave of fresh air your post was!  I too, like many other moms who commented, am in the middle of what appears to be the storm of Littles. . . with a toddler, infant and baby on the way.  Though I have two olders to help – it can still be overwhelming trying to meet the needs of all my kids . . . plus hubby. . . on a daily basis.  Comments of, “Well, you’re the one having so many kids” really isn’t ANY help at all and leads me in some instances to not reach out for fear of being judged.  But really, even mom’s with 1 child have overwhelming days so that shouldn’t matter that we’re on #5, right?!  lol!   

    What came to mind for me was how Jesus was up front with his disciples and didn’t sugarcoat the fact that he had to die.  He didn’t hide it from his disciples, didn’t put on a fake smile and he didn’t make it seem ‘less unfavorable’.  He was real, knew his mission, was confident in what needed to be done. . . . and most importantly he trusted the Father and did what he had to do!  I strive to let that be my example when the advice/condemnation of others get me down.  ♥

    • Jamie

      Oh, Ashley, your comment resonates with me in so many ways!!!  I have 12 children ages 13,12,11,11,11,9,9,8,7,4,2,2.  No multiples, but we’ve adopted and have birth children.  We KNOW that God brought each of us together and designed our family in such a miraculous, awe inspiring way.  BUT, it is hard work, and the enemy attacks and I am not WonderWoman.  And…it hurts when people constantly say, “You’re the one who wanted ALL of those kids.”  I feel judged, I feel like I don’t have the ability to ask for help without being JUDGED.  I feel like I am not able….and, truthfully, I’m not.  It is HE that began this work in me, that will see it through. 

      Thank you for the reminder that this IS only for a season, for me an extended one, but the shore is in sight.  Maybe……

      Please, pray for me, because in November, I attended the birth of our sons’ sister.  This precious baby girl was exposed to drugs and had a rough start.  Her birth parents have serious mental health issues and it is such a sad situation.  I really hope they will decide to allow her to be raised with her brothers…..but God’s will, not my own.

      • Elizabeth Sadosky

        Jamie–God has made your heart so full and your arms so wide open to raise all of those amazing blessings! I will be praying for the new situation with that baby girl. I think more people need to view the world through God’s eyes, as you have done–seeing children who need a loving family and opening your home to them! I will pray for you!

        • Jamie

          Thank you, Elizabeth.  I really appreciate the kind words of support and prayers. 

  • Hippie4ever2

    Thank you. I only have one child, get to stay with him and somehow still feel exhausted much of the time. I’m amazed by all the mothers of more.

  • thegypsymama

    Preach it, sister!

  • Janice Le

    I may not be drowning with kids but I am drowning by myself… if that makes sense.
    My husband works night shift, my daughter goes the entire week without seeing daddy then the weekends come and she sees him. When she is at school, he is at home sleeping and leaves right before I go to pick her up.  I am with her 24/7 day and night. It is a lonely journey, but many times have heard God speak to me in a soft still voice that it’s only a season. It’s been 8 years into this season and I am tired and some days I’ve had enough. I don’t know why it’s taking GOD so long to just finish this.
    We have put in requests for husband to go on day shift and we’ve yet to hear anything…

    Thank you for this post.

  • Wanibug

    I think this post is a page out of my own life story! I am mom to a first grader, an almost 5yr old w/ special needs and a 22mos old w/ developmental delays.  I have had very many days when I felt like I was drowning.  Days when I wished I could run away.  When I would have gladly given my children to the highest bidder.  Ok, maybe not.  But yes, motherhood is hard.  Its sad that we hide it under the rug, perpetuating a cycle of loneliness.  We should be sharing our struggles so others going through the same things know they are not alone. Thank you for sharing.

    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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2Corinthians 12:9

  • Lois Hause Wood

    Thank you for the breath of fresh air!  It’s time we all admit that Motherhood is HARD WORK.  Anything this valuable should be.  I tell people all the time that fb is the shiny polished version of my life, real life includes sticky floors, dirty dishes and muddy noisy children, LOTS OF THEM!!

  • Traci B

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah. My first child was not a “good sleeper” so I felt near insanity for a couple of years with just the one! Worst thing people said to me was “I’ll be praying for you…” How ’bout coming over for an hour to hold the baby while I take a shower?! My baby is now 16, a beautiful young lady. When new moms in our church have babies, we pray AND volunteer to give a hand, especially if, like me, their family members live out of state.

    • Valerie

      I agree! The prayer is appreciated, but come hold the baby while I shower! Better yet, when a new baby arrives, how about offering to come read the restless, displaced toddler some books for an hour?!

  • Pink Dryer Lint

    Wonderful.  Yes and amen.

  • Tess

    THANK YOU for posting this! You’ve quoted, almost word for word, my feelings that I expressed to a (very understanding) friend today. I have two, ages almost 3 and 1, and I feel overwhelmed DAILY. Until very recently, my husband had a full time job in construction, and was the senior/solo pastor of a church. We were busy ALL THE TIME and on weekends, when most moms get help, my husband had another job where he COULDN’T help me. I’ve been feel like I’ve been drowning for months, and have only started to voice it – because I feel guilty, and have had well meaning people tell me to “suck it up”. We want more kids (a lot more!) but I feel like I can’t/shouldn’t have any more until I can get feelings and my home under control! Thanks for posting this so I know I’m not alone! (As my husband has just joined a soccer league that will take him away 2-4 nights a week). I feel so lost when other moms sugarcoat motherhood, and being a SAHM. Thanks for being honest, and real! 

  • Sarah Antweiler

    Oh good. So that means in another 18 months, I’ll be ok???? We have a 3 year old and twin 18 month olds…and I barely keep paddling most days. So, so hard. And they are GREAT kids. But, it’s just hard…hard to find joy in the mundane, hard to not get irritated when all they are doing is just being children, hard to not be envious of those who have lots of help. It’s just a hard season of life that I am trying to not wish away…desperately wanting to embrace. So, I thank you for making me feel normal!

    • Becky B.

      A 3 year old and twin 18 month olds? You are exceptional! 😉 Eat some ice cream and be blessed! 

  • Becky B.

    Thank you for the encouragement. Somehow my mama-friend thought I needed to hear this and indeed I did!

  • Deahna

    OH MY GOSH! I love this. I love how you write what is in my head and what’s going on in my life.  I have a teething baby, a VERY CHATTY 4 year old that I started homeschooling, and I feel like I’m going to lose it.  Thank you for making me feel “normal” and giving me a laugh. 

  • Jennifer Taylor

    Thank you for this! I truly truly needed this today!

  • Randi

    Amen and amen again. 

  • Brad and Whitney McConnell

    I want to say thank you.  There are many amazing women who’s blogs I follow.  They are spectacular, they have all their ducks in a row, their house looks like a magazine, they know how to manage money and buy healthy but cheap groceries.  I adore them and look forward to their posts because I can learn… but some times it makes me feel like a failure.  There are days I yell, not often, but I do.  My house will never be perfect.  It is clean but not perfect. 

    Your posts remind me that we are all human.  That we all make mistakes but we are not bound or defined by them.  We are free to live and learn and start new.

    Thank you so much for lifting that burden off my shoulders.   God knew I needed to find you this week so Thank you too (God) for giving me what I needed.

  • Karla

    This totally resonates with me! I love my husband dearly, but he recently began a new job that has him on for a full 24 hours (which means he stays overnight), then he often fills his “off” days with side work (he’s a self-employed carpenter/contractor), plus he volunteers at the local fire dept which means he has work nights and trainings and is basically on-call 24/7.  Sometimes I feel like a single mom!  He understands how I feel but doesn’t give up his passions.  In some ways I wouldn’t want him to because I don’t want him to resent me, but it would be nice to have him around more. 🙂

    I only have two kids and often compare myself to others – a family member who has six kids, other I know who have more, families who may not even have a father – but I try to remember that we’re all different and our situations unique. 

    I’m not on facebook anymore (long story), but a few times when I posted pictures of the chaos around my home, other mommy friends would say, “you think THAT’S bad?”  That would make me feel even worse, like I couldn’t handle it; I wasn’t having support even beyond my immediate family.  Suddenly it’s a competition for who has it “worse,” when really we should all be in it together. 

  • Ashley Ditto

    Sarah Mae this is so wonderful! I needed to hear this today. Thank you!

  • Sarah

    Goodness me -I needed to read this today!! I am definitely in the drowning boat at the moment -I have a 4year old who talks from dawn til dusk and I’ve been ill for 3 weeks and so it is not easy to handle. Mummy “loses it” a bit more than she would like….. I also have an 8 month old, so with breastfeeding and staying up late and getting up all night to sick little ones and changing wet beds, I can relate to what you were saying. Thank you for making it ok to feel this way. I’m going to let my husband read this (and hopefully gain more understanding of how I’m feeling) when he gets home today. 
    (ps: i’m reading and doing your 31 days to clean now, or at least I was until I became ill. It’s got wonderful heart xx )

  • Kim DeRosier

    This is just what I needed to hear today Sarah!  Thanks for the encouragement.  I recently had my 3rd child and I have yet to take a shower today and I can’t remember if I even brushed my teeth!!  I so appreciate when others validate that the season I’m going through is tough but I will get through it with God’s help, one day at a time.

  • Sandyvane

    The husband is being incredibly selfish. He is setting her up for a lifetime of disappointment for his lack of understanding her needs. It will continue their whole marriage unless she is firm with him now.

  • Christa Arnstam

    thankyou so much

  • Allyson Long

    Thank you so much for this blog post.  I am in this season right now and the hubby feels the same way.  I just have a hard time explaining myself to him!!!  Thank you thank you!!! 

  • Meg

    That is so true, Sarah Mae!  I’ve learned that when I am feeling down and discouraged with parenting and the messiness of living, it is not a good time for me to look on Facebook.  To just see one side of the picture can just be too much.  The other night, I was so grateful that the Lord gave me the strength to run to His word, and not to FB after I put the kids to bed.  I ended up stronger instead of weaker!  So grateful for His grace and mercy. 
    Thank you for your post!

  • Michelle

    I absolutely LOVE this post. And yes, you are normal. Everyone (okay, maybe not everyone….but most normal women) go thru this at some point. Mine didn’t hit until teenage years. Deep breath. One day at a time!

  • Rhoda

    Years ago before I had children, my DH and I were going through a lot.  We had recently moved to a new town, were both working, had gotten very involved in our church, had a school in India and a lot going on ministry wise there too.  Long story short–we were drowning.  I still remember one day reading Psalm 93, talking about the LORD reigning and clothed with majesty.  Then it goes on–the floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up.  It goes on to talk about the noise, the waves.  BUT–verse 4–The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea than the mighty waves of the sea.  Think Niagara Falls–the roar, the rush, the power of just that one Falls–and GOD, the creator of All, is mightier than that and all the water put together.  Now as a mom, when the floods start lifting up, I try to remember to go back to Psalm 93 and get God’s perspective.  Does it change that my DH is working too many hours to help out at home much?  Does it help the times of feeling lonely, out of the loop, why me??   Though it doesn’t do much to change the circumstances, it does help the perspective.  God knows, He cares, He still loves me even in the meltdown (my own–not the kids!).  And I am not my own–I belong to Him.   I’m not to where I can pray–bring on the floods–but I know where my strength is supposed to be–if I but run to Him.  The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth to it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10.  

  • Rochelle

    Amen!!! I so appreciate this post! I want to be sensitive/supportive to my husband and his need for a break. But 3 under 5 is hard too! I have a short fuse, am impatient, and just want peace & quiet most of the time. I am being reshaped in so many ways – and I know God is in it. But there are days that I do feel crazy. It is so encouraging to know that this is reality for “this stage.” And it is okay. To keep going. To not think I’m doing it all wrong. Thank you!

  • Bec Touzel I needed this today, so badly. We live at our work, an outdoor recreational kids campsite. My husband is head of kitchen and so 4 nights out of 7 (average) is cooking dinner for other people. I just don’t know how to do it all – everyone thinks I’ve got it all together and I just DON’T!! I love our life but, well you know…
    Mummy to 2yr old spirited little girl and due in 4 weeks with 2nd baby

  • Spinningjakie

    Awesome! My first two are almost 5 years apart and my second two are only 14 months apart! We moved to a place where we knew nobody only a few months before #3 was born, my husband was working 18 hour days, and I can’t tell you how many times I wished I had the courage to tell people exactly this! But I didn’t want to whine, appear weak, or look needy. So I didn’t. And I sobbed. Constantly. It was such a dark time in my life, but I am happy to say that we got through it. Thank you for giving it words and encouraging others!

  • KM Logan

    Were you in my house last night? That could have been us you were talking about.  3 under 3, and my husband wants to go to a men’s Bible study.  The logical part of my brain knows how necessary it is but the human part was more than a little whiny.

  • Avery Thomas

    Sarah Mae, 
    I don’t know you… or really anything about you… but this article really spoke to my heart.  Thank you so much for sharing.  
    I live in China with my husband and 6 month old son.  He is a University teacher and when he is not teaching … he is reaching out to students (as our goal is to share the Good News with them.)  Needless to say, he is not home much.  I tried to talk to him and got the same reaction you mentioned in the post.  I thought I was going crazy.  I truly appreciate your openness.  
    Thanks for letting know I am normal and many moms are lonely and tired 🙂


  • Julia

    thank you very much for this. I have a toddler boy and am in the midst of feeling overwhelmed and not good enough. I needed to read this. thanks for being honest.

  • Ben

    Thanks ladies, you have all given me more than enough reason to go and get a vasectomy.  If this type of crap is what you have to put up with when you have kids…no thanks!  Tell me, what are the upsides to having 7 children all spaced one year apart?  Sounds masochistic.
    Btw, a cruddily drawn crayon sketch of a purple house (kid “art”) is not an upside.
    I’ll stick to spending money on enjoyable things, physical fitness, not getting boring, and not pretending 2 year olds with poopy pants are interesting.

  • Ben

    Thanks ladies, you have all given me more than enough reason to go and get a vasectomy.  If this type of crap is what you have to put up with when you have kids…no thanks!  Tell me, what are the upsides to having 17 children all spaced one year apart?  Sounds masochistic.

    I’ll stick to spending money on enjoyable things, physical fitness, not getting boring, and not pretending 2 year olds with poopy pants are interesting.

  • Jenn

    I love this!  I got so sick and frustated by some of my mom friends’ annoyingly upbeat fb statuses and how they have five children and can cloth diaper, homeschool, make dinner from scratch from all organic foods, grow their own gardens, etc. all in the same day.  Trust me, I am not dogging on people who do that –  I think all of those things are great if you choose to do them, but I want to see the real down and dirty stuff too!  I finally unsuscribed from them and sometimes I just post, “Well, my son threw up on me – three times today!” just b/c that’s not the norm. 

    Being a mom is SO hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  But I’m coming to accept that God has given me this role of mommy and I am the best mom for my son and future children.

  • Ruthie

    Love this post!!!  This is reality!

  • Rachel Ramey

    And please, PLEASE, my sisters, don’t be the one to discourage another mother by implying she isn’t trying hard enough to swim when she’s drowning.  I can’t count the number of times I reached out for help and was essentially told I “wasn’t trying hard enough.”  That is SO disheartening.

  • Jamie Gill

    I realize this post was made almost 2 years ago, but i just came across it. I too have a just barely 3 year old, 19 month old and 3 month old. I also work full time from home (with set hours). Most days I feel like I am failing at everything, mom, wife, employee. Most days its all I can do to stay afloat. Reading this (and your other posts) gives me hope that I can do it. Thanks for sharing and being honest about your experiences!

  • Darryl Christy

    Just a word of warning/encouragement to my fellow men..if you get some “alone/hobby” time each week you best be giving your lady the same luxury or you might see some therapy (or worse) in your near future..

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