For the "I just can't be a mother today" mom out there - Sarah Mae
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For the “I just can’t be a mother today” mom out there


With my sweet babies. Caroline was still in the mind of God.

Anxiety struck me immediately.

It was too early to be up, but “too early” didn’t matter to my sweet little boy who was ready for the day the minute the sun shone through his bedroom window. My daughter Caroline needed milk and a new diaper, and all three of my little ones were, of course, hungry.

After forcing myself to sit up, I stared at the wall, then fell back down into my bed. I pulled my knees to my chest and the blanket over my head as tears came down and these words tumbled out to my God: “I can’t be a mother today, Lord, I’m just too tired.”

Getting awakened multiple times a night, every night, is enough to make anyone crash, but add the weight of having to function throughout the day in order to take care of a one, two, and four-year-old, and this mama was spent before the day began. Just knowing the strength and energy that would be required to make it through the day was enough to sway me to stay balled up under warm covers. Serious sleep deprivation combined with the constant giving of myself, soothing cries, breaking up fights, training, disciplining, and trying to stay calm and gentle in the middle of it all was breaking me. I needed help. I so badly needed someone to call who could come and rescue me, just for one day. But that wasn’t my reality.

My mom was ill and living in Florida, my mother-in-law had a full-time job, and there was no money to hire someone to help me out for a couple hours a month, so I could get a break. My husband took over sometimes, but he was tired too, and we wanted weekends to be with each other. Plus, there was nowhere to go even if I could get out because money was tight; coffee at a coffee shop was a luxury out of my reach. It sounds like a lot of excuses, but the point is that I felt very alone, and very, very tired. Depression snuck up on me; there was a shell of a woman where I once was. My ideals, my hopes, my joy were snatched away before I had a chance to notice. Pleas for help aimed at heaven seemed to be met with silence. The message was clear: this was my life, and I needed to just deal with it.

Adjusting didn’t go well. Anger and resentment were living just under my skin. Exhausted, out of my mind, and still hormonal, every day felt like a fight. Feelings of desperation were like an everpresent shadow over the good in my life. Experiencing hope in Jesus felt like chasing gold at the end of a rainbow . . . getting to it was always out of reach. Motherhood was something I planned for, something I wanted, so why was living it out so drastically different from my expectations?

Down to the bone, to the deepest part of my soul, is the love I have for my children. Every day of my life is imperfectly offered to them. But the little years, they’re hard and oftentimes lonely. It’s like a secret we fear sharing, just how life-altering motherhood is, especially when you don’t have training or support. Let me pull back the curtain on the idea that just because you love and are thankful to be a mother, parenting will come easily or naturally. The lifetime commitment that is motherhood will, many days, stretch you beyond what you think you can handle.

We moms don’t need an instruction manual. We need physical help.

If you’re a mom of little ones and you don’t have very much help, I know you’re struggling to breathe. Your days morph into your nights and mornings come too quickly. You’re bone-tired and would give just about anything for a break, a soul-filling, relaxing, quiet break. You need to be pampered. I’ve been there. I get it.

My children are older now. They not only sleep through the night, they sleep in! They can can fix themselves snacks and play independently. It’s good. I’m grateful for the reprieve. 

Looking back on those desperate days and looking at where I am now, I can confidently say, “It gets better!” If only I could have seen that during the hardest times, hope would have been so much easier to grasp.

I just wanted you to know that you’re not crazy. Motherhood is so very hard. Yes, beautiful and such a gift, but exhausting. Hang in there. They grow up so fast.

You just read an excerpt from Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.

Now I know I can’t pamper you like I’d like to, or clean your house or bring you a meal (unless you’re local – hit me up!), but I can offer a little something. Keep reading…

Giveaway For You Tired Mamas Out There

Desperate-6-15-672x1024Today I’m giving away my book (co-authored with Sally Clarkson), Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe to three winners. One of you will also win The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, a bundle filled with encouraging, practical resources, to help you keep on in your mothering (Read more about the bundle HERE). And a copy of our eCourse, Discipleship & Discipline, a four-part video teaching series that offers practical help and encouragement for mothering. Read all about it HERE.

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the form at the bottom of this post.

This giveaway has ended and the winners have been picked and emailed!

Keep on mamas! You’re not alone.

Love, Sarah Mae

There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.

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  • JH

    I really needed this reminder this morning. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Bridgette

    Great words of wisdom for the weary!

  • Kate

    Thank you for this today. This is literally my life today. Thank you for being used in a mighty way by the Lord! I feel like I can make it through this day

  • Betsy Durant

    Thank you for this! I am closing in on baby #3’s arrival later this month with the boys checking in at 1 and 2 1/2. This is our now, but not forever!

  • Lisa White

    Would like to donate your book to the local Mom’s group (after I read it). My 5 kids are now 11 – 19, yet I remember those days in the trenches!

  • Lynsie

    I really needed this today. Thanks for the reminder that this too shall pass! Sometimes it’s hard to see past the hard times but God will help us all through them.

  • Casie Carow

    Needed this today. I completely related to it….4 yr, 2 yr, and 5 month old at home

  • Mary Troyer

    thank you I needed this !

  • Jessica

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Sara

    “Every day of my life is imperfectly offered to them.” Yep. So good. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  • Emily Kate

    I so needed this after my day yesterday with my litttle one!

  • Melissa Lynch

    Yes! It’s getting better as they are getting (a little) older, but I still have to hold onto the thought that God gave me these little girls, and the little girls me. They are meant to be with me, in all my imperfection, not better off without me.

  • Melynda Bonham

    Even though my oldest is 8, I still feel like this often because my youngest is 3 and doesn’t always make it all night in his own bed. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed when I don’t have sleep, but God gives me encouragement in the midst. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hannah W

    Thank you for the giveaway. I’m working through your Mary/Martha book right now. One of many areas where I need encouragement:)

  • megan

    I always need encouragement through the mundaneness of everyday life staying home with littles.

  • Shannon Alexander

    I get so stressed and frustrated during the day mostly about little things. I have 5 kids ages 1-7. Most days we see daddy for only 3 hours at most. It just gets really hard doing it all sometimes.

  • Jennifer

    Just what I needed today, as a momma with 2 under 2!

  • Katy

    The thing I’m struggling with the most is balance. There are a lot of roles that I fill, and it’s impossible to give everything to any one role. But finding the right amount to give to mothering and being a wife and managing the house and…I feel like when I finally get a handle on one role, it’s because I’ve let another one lapse.

  • Jessica Loudermilk

    With two teenagers and a 4 year old in my home I am most struggling with connecting with them and making my home a fun and inviting place for themed their friends to be and continue to mature! I have amazing teens who do still struggle but I have really loved the teens years. I am just desperate for the Lord to help me through this season of being a mom to them!

  • Jose

    The thing I need encouragement the most lately is that this intense time with a 5, 3 and 1 year old will be over sooner than I think. Some days I feel exactly like this post! I try to remember that I can just take it a moment at a time.

  • Faith

    This was a good read! Today has been a pretty good day but a lot of days are feel more like surviving. Thank you for sharing and encouraging.

  • Jen

    Its so good to be reminded that this season being a mommy if a 5,3 and 1 year old isnt forever. It certainly feels like some days will never end!!

  • Katy

    I need encouragement to stay present.

  • Anne Norris

    I have been wanting to read this book! It sounds like mornings I’ve had! Thank you for all the encouragement.

  • Vanessa Dackiewicz

    Thank you, as always for the words you write. They are perfectly in God’s timing, for when I need to hear them. ♡♡

  • Alyson Andal

    This is TOTALLY where I’m at right now! I feel frustrated and annoyed most days. I feel ashamed that I feel this way too! I have a 5, 2, and 8 month old and my husband works full time and had college class 4 nights a week this last semester… I will survive! I have been praying that I find joy in this season as it is so hard to feel it many days.

  • Jen

    THANK YOU FOR THIS. Time goes too quickly, and I forget to breathe as I’m turning the calendar page to yet another month gone by. I’m overwhelmed by how quickly it goes, and am constantly rattled with questions and regrets of not taking advantage of or appreciating the little moments we have. Tiredness and stress tend to manipulate these feelings into shortness, anger and surrender to dinner in front of a screen as a pacifier for a beautiful and bubbly three-year-old I’ve been away from all day just so that mama can turn off for awhile. It hearts my heart to even type that. To find a group of women who all know and understand brings life into perspective, makes me look inward a little deeper, and makes me hug my sweet girl even tighter as I’m able to reflect and know that I’m not out there on my own little island of guilt. I believe we may all be on that giant continent together. Thank you for your honesty, as well as your thought-provoking and beautiful writing. It helps me to breathe a little lighter… once I’ve caught my breath anyway.

  • Sarah Westergren

    This was wonderful! Thank you thank you thank you!! Sharing with my mama friends!

  • Mary Landfield

    Thank you for letting other Moms know we’re not alone. I have three littles and am worn out before the day even starts. I know I will miss this season when they’re older, (especially when they’re all teenagers and have much bigger things to worry about), but it is still exhausting and I am ready to get more rest!

  • Jess

    Heavy words my heart needed to read today ❤

  • Dayna

    Thank you for your honesty in this beautiful & encouraging post, Sarah Mae.
    I remember this depression & desperation all toowell, and while most days I still struggle in mothering, I am no longer in THAT season. My kiddos are 8,6, & 3 now and I can see some light in the physically desperate times.
    [I already own your book (love!) and have purchased the bundle, so if I win the giveaway, I will delight in giving it to another mama in the midst]
    Thank you for all you do.

  • Melinda

    My boys are 10, 7 and 2…and I homeschool them. This post came at a great time, as I am struggling with similar feelings.

  • Laura Jane

    Sarah, I know the giveaway is over, but I just had to tell you… this post so resonates with me! Three littles, no grandma available, and I’ve cried so many tears because mommying doesn’t always “come naturally,” as you’ve said. So often I’ve felt like they deserve better than me, and I just try to grow close to Jesus and let Him shape me into the mommy they need. I’ve actually prayed daily for a mentor since I was pregnant with my first child, seven years ago. I’ve asked several women along the way… some have been willing to meet up once or twice, but they’re busy with their own families, or work… I get it. I would love to start a Titus 2 ministry in my church… but where are the Titus 2 women? Do they not know how valuable their input is, how much we need their support? Do you have any advice on motivating the “wiser” generation? I plan on reading “Desperate” soon; maybe you’ve addressed this issue there. Thank you for your loving encouragement, and for addressing something moms are often afraid to talk about: the fear of loneliness and failure. Hugs to you:)

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