Mom Exhaustion Doesn’t Have to Steal Your Vision

 

Mom Exhaustion Doesn't Have to Steal Your VISION // jessconnell.com

Over the last year, I didn’t realize what was happening, but looking back, I was fighting a combination of fatigue and laziness. Though I still cared immensely about how our kids turn out, getting off the couch very often felt like too great a burden to ask. Being mentally engaged and physically active throughout each day with my kids felt monumental.

Basically, I was facing classic mom exhaustion.

There were plenty of excuses/reasons, but I felt burned-out.

So I shut everything off and quit writing for a while. We got outside and hiked a lot. As the summer wore on, and the pressures lifted, I realized a pivotal piece of the puzzle:

“I need to redouble my commitment to my home.”

Somewhere along the way, I’d grown weary. Instead of me purposefully steering the ship, with my mind on the destination, things were simply drifting.

THE STRUGGLE OF PERSEVERANCE AS A MOM

I’ve realized that as a large-family mom, it’s easy, once a few kids start getting older, to feel like we’re doing OK, things are going along well, our family’s in a groove, we have our way of doing things (mostly) figured out, etc…

…but then I remember all the intentionality I poured into the big kids, and realize:

These younger ones (including my baby in utero!) NEED THAT SAME DEEP-ROOTED COMMITMENT FROM ME.

They won’t have the “same” childhood as the bigger ones did, but they still need ME to be committed to THEIR childhood & not just let them coast along, floating along on the barely-rippling wake of my once-intentional parenting. What I did, purposefully, with my 4-year-old Ethan, 10 years ago, doesn’t (by osmosis) travel over to my 3-year-old Theo now. The consistent, loving, and vision-focused discipline I had with my 18-month-old Moses, 5 years ago, doesn’t automatically transfer over to my 18-month old Luke now.

The kids in front of me NOW need my:

My older ones have received these basics many times over… my littler ones? Not so much.

It is so EASY to think “I’ve done this before.” (And I have!)

But not with THIS child. Nor THIS one. Nor THAT one.

I can’t slack off now… though it’s tempting. I’m tired, and it seems like things are “fine”… but each child God sends us is a little treasure entrusted to my care. Each one represents a new re-upping of my mommy contract.

So I must be a faithful steward of each soul, personality, mind, and heart.

Though I’m older now,
though I’m more tired than I used to be,
though it seems like I’ve already done this,
though it feels like more than I can handle,

My God has given these children into my care.

He is faithful.
He is trustworthy.
He does all things well.
He has put this soul-work before me.

My God has given these children into my care.

When I want to give in to fatigue,
when I want to throw my hands up in the air,
when I want to run away and greedily grab a few moments’ peace,
when I want to give myself permission to slack off,

My God has given these children into my care.

The Blessed Controller of All Things has plans that are better than mine.
The Blessed Controller of All Things can be trusted with my weary body.
The Blessed Controller of All Things can be trusted with my children.
The Blessed Controller of All Things can be trusted.

My God has given these children into my care.

 

Do you remember the vision you had for your child when he/she was born? Can you recall your high hopes and the zeal to which you aspired?

I remember. And here’s what I’ve learned in a fresh way this summer:

When I am exhausted, I do not have to give in to half-hearted mothering. I don’t have to cave to cynicism. 

INSTEAD, I can remind myself of TRUTH. 

 

Can I encourage you not to give in to cynicism? Can I pull you back toward that purposeful vision you once had? You don’t have to give up! You don’t have to give in!

Mommy exhaustion doesn’t have to define you.

GET BACK TO THE BIG-PICTURE VISION

When I am soul-weary, body-spent, groaning, aching under the weight of carrying these sinful, adorable, sticky-fingered, sneaky, delightful, rotten, hilarious little people through each and every day… my mind needs to be feeding on the big-picture realities.

  • I need to remember who God is.
  • I need to remember who I am, and what my role is. 
  • I need to remember that life is SHORT.

 

WHO IS GOD?

This is where our knowledge of Him is so critical. We must know Him beyond the upbeat, feel-good songs on Christian radio. We must know Him beyond our experiences and feelings. We must know Him beyond the trite teachings of wide-grinned TV preachers. We must know Him beyond reciting a cherry-picked verse here or there.

Even good theology must be backed up by a personal KNOWING of Him– through the Word, and through the faith He produces in the fires and trials of life.

In His Word, He tells us who He is… and these are some truths that are relevant for me, here, in this place of potentially-perpetual-mom-exhaustion:

  • He is good.
  • He is faithful.
  • He is sovereign over all things.
  • He sees everything about me.
  • He abounds in love.
  • He knows all the deepest needs and hurts of my heart.
  • He wisely, completely determined the boundary places of my life (when I would live, where I would live) and of everyone on earth.
  • He will strengthen and enable me to DO what He ASKS me to do.
  • He will never leave me or forsake me.

 

SO WHO AM I? WHAT IS MY ROLE?

Even when I am weary, I am not only my weariness. I do not have to be mastered by exhaustion. My role is that of a steward. As a mother, I am a steward of precious, eternal souls.

When paired with our knowledge of God (He knows me better than I know myself! He knows every concern of my heart! He knows that I am dust!), this can produce great confidence. He knows who I am, and yet He has given me this work to do!!!

God has entrusted me… tired, limited me… with the nurturing of these lively, sinful, curious, exhausting, wonderful, image-bearing SOULS. 

Though these years FEEL long, they are not. These tired-mommy years are part of the dot of my life, and I’m living for the line.

dot and line of eternity

The line will go on forever. The dot is just for a season. These years are only part of my dot.

They are, of course, an important part of my “dot.” We don’t want to make the mistake of minimizing the significance of this work! If God allows me to live to see it, these years will reap fruit of blessing, or fruit of sorrow, in the decades to come.

These years of mothering will keep echoing out into the rest of my “dot.”

But, prayerfully, by God’s grace, it won’t just stop there: these years of mothering can also echo out into all of eternity!

So then, my real desire in the here and now is not *really* to have some “me-time;” it’s not *really* to run away and greedily grab for quiet and solitude. My real goal– the central desire of my heart– is twofold:

  • eternal GLORY to God, through the lives of the children we are raising
  • eternal JOY for myself and these children, as we all learn to live for the line

When I remember this, I can fight off mommy exhaustion, and replace it with a big, tired, determined grin of delight.

When done in faith, God will use all of this– the hand-wiping, the bottom-wiping, the tear-wiping– for everlasting and imperishable things!

Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day. For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

So HOW do you fight the good fight against mommy exhaustion? HOW do you keep your eyes set on purposeful motherhood, even when you are weary?

  • Remember who HE is.
  • Remember your role as a steward–keep your eyes on the work He’s put in front of you to do.
  • And remember how short this life really is.

 

We don’t have to be perfect, but we do need to be faithful in the ways that we are able.

Each day, each hour, each minute presents a new choice:

WILL WE CAREFULLY STEWARD these precious little people– their minds, bodies, hearts, and souls?

PRAISE GOD– He will help us to be the faithful mamas our kids need.

 

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:

  • Do you feel like you’re losing your vision, under the weight of mommy exhaustion?
  • What big-picture truth do you *most* need to remember today?

Subscribe to my newsletter, and I'll send monthly encouragement -- full of truth and grace for moms. SIGN UP, SO WE CAN KEEP IN TOUCH:

Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Jennifer Collins says:

    Thanks, Jess. My two older daughters are 28 and 24 and married. (Still waiting for grandbabies!) I have 16, 14 and 12 year olds that we’re still home educating. The time goes by so so quickly. I’m convinced that my biggest job is to spend time in prayer with and for each of them and to continually guide them back to Jesus. He is my only Hope and my greatest Joy.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Wonderful truth there! I feel like I’m learning it in a real way, lately… just seeing how backing off and entrusting my older kids to the Lord (to a certain degree; not like I’m completely hands off by any means!) allows Him to work in ways that my input and control and constraints can’t do. Very thankful for His faithfulness to each of us. We are each so weak and needy!

  2. shannon bradbury says:

    Thx Jess ! Needed this reminder today…

  3. Diana says:

    Yes, yes, yes!! Loved this.

    I experienced some of this just parenting through the toddlers with our second. The feeling of “I’ve already done this, so I shouldn’t have to do this again!” – and then realizing that the parenting done with #1 doesn’t just transfer by osmosis to #2… or #3 or #4.

    Love all your posts, and this was another awesome one.
    Diana

  4. Danica says:

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your example! We’ve never met, but surely we are sisters, and what beats in you resonates so loudly in my heart. Isn’t that awesome? Be blessed!

  5. Daniella says:

    I am exhausted. When I first read this, I didn’t like it and to be honest, I thought to myself “why am I reading this blog? It’s not encouraging me. Jess is exhausted, I’m exhausted. Is there no hope? It is just too hard to be the mother I want to be.” Then in the following days, the Holy Spirit began working in me and the heart of this post started to sink in and i realized I didn’t like it because it was holding up a mirror of truth which my flesh didn’t want to see. It revealed what bad shape I’m in. We want to think we are doing ok with what we have, when we have grown weary and are making excuses and reaping the ugly fruit of this. I was reminded why I do love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your struggles because they are all of ours. Thank you for spurring us on. Thank you for speaking the hard truth and not “tickling our ears”. The truth can hurt but Christ is the great healer 😊

    • Jess Connell says:

      I love your honesty. Thank you for coming back and sharing this with me.

      Sometimes I feel like that too… “I’m exhausted; is there no hope? It’s just too hard…”

      Which is why I keep writing. Very VERY often, when I am writing here, I’m really really writing to my *OWN* heart… and this is one in particular that was totally self-directed. *I* needed to remember that my hope isn’t in:

      “not being exhausted”
      or
      “getting things under control” to a point where I never feel stress

      or something like that…

      but that ultimately, even when I feel like that, I need to be purposeful about bringing my eyes up above the waves. I need to remember the big picture of the whole world, and why I still want to care, even when I don’t feel like caring.

      So, thanks for coming back to share.

      And if I say things in the future that kick your tail around… you can probably bet that I’m actually aiming to kick my OWN tail around 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join my e-mail list & get 30 Quick Fixes (for Tough Mom Days) FREE!

  • Stay connected with your kids, even on the hard days.
  • Get exclusive MOM encouragement
  • Let me help you become the best mom possible!

Enter your name & e-mail address & let's become friends: