GRACE for the Stressed Out Mama
Before I got married I had visions of what our family would be like. Mommy would be humming cheerfully while the kiddos helped her make cookies in her sparkling clean kitchen.
Instead, I find myself in situations far different than what I envisioned. In fact, our latest baking enterprise turned out like this:
Yes, all mommy has to do is step into the bathroom or go change the baby's diaper and it seems like all hell has broken loose by the time I return.
Moms, I get what it's like. Oh, I SO GET IT!
You want to be a happy mom and do fun stuff with your kids.
You want to cook nutritious meals and bake yummy treats.
You want to serve at church and keep your house clean and serve your neighbors and keep yourself looking nice for your husband and…and…and…
But it seems like everywhere you turn there are obstacles in your way.
Little people dump out what you're baking.
The food you cook gets burned and you have to serve your family cereal for dinner.
You're tired out with a teething baby and you're having to drag yourself through the housework.
“THIS WASN'T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE!” you're thinking.
Homemaking was supposed to be fun. I was supposed to be a cheerful wife and mom, enjoying being here for my family, but instead I am one STRESSED-OUT, FRAZZLED MESS!
You know what you need? A good dose of GRACE.
Here's how I find grace in the stressful seasons:
G – Get some rest
When you're tired, your emotional sensitivity level shoots through the roof and your patience level fizzles out to nearly zero. Instead of sweetly letting your children help you stir the cookies dough, you find yourself hollering about the flour they spilled (or purposely dumped. ahem.) “Where did that even come from?” you wonder. “Why I am hollering at my babies?” It's time to get some rest, mama. Get everybody down for a nap and go take one yourself. If that's not possible, get them to bed early and GO TO BED yourself.
R – Read your Bible
When I find I'm acting like a bear, I often realize I've been so busy that I haven't spent much time with the Lord. Instead of letting the sweetness of the Spirit of God fill my soul, I've been letting the worries of everything I have to get done fill my mind. When the clock is ticking away and my agenda isn't getting completed, I find myself getting more and more frustrated and stressed until I eventually explode under the pressure. Sometimes that's simply because I haven't asked him whether what's on my list is what He really wants me to accomplish. Sometimes there are things that must be completed within a certain timeframe, but I'm trying to accomplish them in my own power. When I feel the pressure, it's time for me to step away from my worry and step into the presence of God. (See also: Finding Time for God When You Can Hardly Find Time to Breathe)
A – Abandon failed projects
Just because you think a good mom makes cookies with her kids doesn't mean you're a bad mom if you don't. If you're the type of mom who gets aggravated at spilled flour, then give up on the cookie idea. Your kids would rather have a happy mom who doesn't get herself all worked up.
If you've been asked to bring a pie to the family gathering and it's taking you all. day. long. to get the thing made with all the interruptions (true story), you can do one of two things: 1. Don't bring the pie and say “I'm sorry I wasn't able to get the pie done.” or 2. Go to the grocery store and buy a pie, put it on a nice plate, and keep your mouth shut about where it came from. It doesn't make you a failure. Who cares if other people think you should be able to get it done. You know you can't get it done without making your family miserable with your stress. They're more important than what everybody else thinks.
C – Cue the music
There was a reason David was brought in to play music for Saul when he would get so enraged. Music soothes the soul. When you're feeling stressed and snippy with your family, turn on some relaxing, soul-strengthening music. Your disposition will improve immensely.
E – Embrace reality
Be who you are, not who everybody else thinks you should be or what you've envisioned you would be in the past.
If it's not your thing to make cookies with the kids, don't force yourself to make cookies with the kids and end up being a grouch because it frazzles you.
If you burned dinner and had to feed the family cereal, don't worry about it. At least you're putting something in their bellies.
If you struggle with keeping the house clean, but you give it your best shot, don't look around and beat yourself up for being such a failure. “Other moms manage to keep their house clean. I am such a loser.”
No you're not. You're you. You've got a unique personality, and you are loving your family in the way that only you can.
Stop wishing you were like this or that other person. Be the wife and mom God made you to be and embrace it with joy.
Give yourself some GRACE, mama.
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