5 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed By Motherhood
The holidays are over. The “magic” is gone, but the mess, exhaustion, and daily needs remain, don’t they? Are you feeling overwhelmed?
In our house:
- Recently-bought games & books need a “home,” but our shelves are overflowing.
- Luke is due in 2.5 weeks. My pregnancy wardrobe is slung here, there, and everywhere, because everything is too tight and/or makes me look like an overinflated hippopotamus. Meanwhile, I need to find my “I feel fat and nothing fits right” postpartum wardrobe.
- The kids are still homeschooling daily… so, there’s that.
- I’m not sure I want to do a water birth… kind of eked out and concerned about that whole notion. Probably won’t decide til the last minute. But I need to air up the birthing tub soon to check for leaks, so it’ll be an option.
- My sewing/mending pile is as big as a suitcase and Silas (our 6 year old) especially wants the holes fixed on his Ironman dress-up outfit, but I want to finish my master bedroom curtains project before, ya know, giving birth and never having a free minute to sew again, ever.
- I made a 10-day meal plan (with 3 meals every day!) the last time I went shopping. It was a beautiful, ultra-tasty plan. I think I prepared 3 of the 30 meals on the day they were listed. This week, I’m just winging it.
(and I pared this list down by half, cause, ain’t nobody got time to read that long of list.)
Sometimes life as a mom overwhelms us. I’m pretty sure it’s universal.
Here are 5 things to do when you’re overwhelmed:
#1 – STOP STRIVING IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH
Perhaps it’s true for you too?
The more I try to do it in my own strength, the more angry & stressed I become.
But the more I walk in His strength rather than my own, constraining myself to follow HIS ways, the more peace, joy, and DELIGHT I have in daily life (even with growing demands and responsibilities).
It is so easy to go through life as a mom, depending on our own muscles, wit, and might, rather than walking in God’s ways and wisdom, to get us through the tight spaces of life.
- calls me to pray, with faith in HIM (not me!).
- means for me to lean on Him.
- means for me to do all things through Christ, not on my own.
And He means the same for you.
#2- EMBRACE THE CHAOS
Our natural tendency is to try to control things until they conform to the way we want them to be. And if things don’t go the way we’d like, then we want to run from them.
But something wonderful happens when, instead of controlling or running away, we EMBRACE the chaos.
- Life homeschooling a large, growing family is chaotic.
- Life with two preschoolers felt chaotic & overwhelming too.
- And then when I think back, life with one tiny little world-shaking newborn was overwhelming and stressful, too.
Life as a mom inevitably includes some chaos. The problem is:
We try to control it, when we were never meant to be the ones in control. Or, we try to run from it, when “it” is what God has clearly put on our plates.
God has things under control. He has kept this world spinning for thousands of years. He created the children you love.
He doesn’t need your “help” at the control panel.
And He doesn’t need mine.
When I try to “help” control things, I get stressed and things get worse. When I try to run away, things get worse. Instead, when I lean into the chaos that exists, and embrace the life God has given me, there is peace, even amidst the craziness.
#3- JUST DO THE NEXT THING.
You know what?
- When I churn in anxiety, stewing over all that I have to do, I get less done.
- When I stop gawking at the heavy load and just jump in and do what needs doing, I get more done.
God hasn’t made a mistake in giving me “just” 24 hours today. It won’t be a mistake if I get to the end of this day and haven’t done everything on “MY” list. It won’t be a mistake if some things on my list NEVER get done.
When I’m walking in His Spirit, and doing all I can do, I don’t have to fret and churn over what didn’t get done.
- He knows that I’m weak.
- He knows I’m made of dust.
- He knows that things overwhelm me.
- He knows all that is on my plate.
- He doesn’t expect perfection.
- He already knows exactly what I will (and won’t) get done today.
I don’t need to churn or feel as if the world is on my shoulders. I just need to do the next thing.
#4- CHOOSE TO REPENT (TURN FROM SIN)
Now, perhaps you don’t need to repent of anything. But oftentimes,
Feeling overwhelmed leads us into sinful interactions with the people we love most.
Last week, I pridefully wanted to justify a sarcastic response I’d thrown out at my 12-year-old. I had to force myself to go back to him, confess my sin, & seek forgiveness. It wasn’t easy. My proud heart would have rather kept quiet.
It’s hard to ask forgiveness. And It’s easy to get into ugly ruts. And we especially want to justify it when we’re stressed and overwhelmed.
But we can’t let ourselves be stagnant and stop repenting! As our kids grow, and as our responsibilities grow, these things grow too:
- More confession of sin (to our children & the Lord) & asking for forgiveness.
- More REPENTANCE– actually TURNING from sin, not just apologizing
- More intentionality in how we deal with their sin & poor choices (rather than reacting or simply “trying a discipline idea I read about in an article”)
- More interaction with our husbands, more regularly, about appetites & attitudes we see rising in our children.
- More fighting selfishness in our own hearts, as we see it (*my* time, *my* rights, *my* peace and quiet, *my* rest time, *MY* evening times with my husband without kids awake, etc.)
As our kids grow, the work gets easier in some ways and harder in others. But the need for repentance never stops.
#5- LOOK TO GOD– HE WILL GIVE YOU ALL YOU NEED.
Some days I don’t feel “up” to the task. But HE is up to the task. He gives me what I need and keeps me perpetually dependent on Him.
I wasn’t “capable” of mothering and homeschooling these six kids ten years ago, when I had a toddler and a baby. No… God gives us grace sufficient to the need, at the time that we need it.
- His precious Word,
- and every moment between then and now,
He has formed and shaped me over the last decade, to give me what I need, and make me who I need to be, for THIS season.
And he’ll do the same for you.
- God’s grace is sufficient for you, today.
- Two months from now, He’ll still offer the grace you need.
- And ten years from now, He’ll still be offering you the grace you need.
Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow; and don’t bring yesterday’s troubles up and replay them in your mind. Let His grace be sufficient for today.
- ARE YOU FEELING OVERWHELMED?
- WHAT CAN YOU DO DIFFERENTLY TODAY?
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