For a Mother Who Finds Mothering is Taking a Toll on Her Health

Mothers don’t have time for self. They don’t have time to chew (their food). They don’t have time for exercising. They don’t have time for God. They don’t have time to take a shower. They just don’t have time.

Motherhood is hard. And while I hear those words tossed about so often, I really, really don’t think that as a society we respect and internalize that truth. Maybe because so many women do it. Maybe because moms listen to each other’s stories and think, “Yep. I do that, too. Yep. I have that, too.” Maybe because we forget as our kids grow up into adults just how hard it was.

For too long we’ve belittled the frustration of motherhood and the toll it takes. It IS a big deal. It IS a huge, overwhelming job. I completely empathize with you! I’m there with you! Look yourself in the mirror today and say, “I AM doing a HARD job.” And then smile at yourself and say, “I can DO this HARD job. I LIKE this hard job. It IS a job like no other. And NO other woman can do this job for my household like I can.”

While I know that motherhood is hard, I know there are so many other women out there that have it harder than I do. Maybe harder than you do. And sometimes that is helpful to hear. It pulls me out of self-pity when I have one kid vomiting on the couch, one throwing herself on the ground screaming and sobbing because the neighbors cut the trees down, one walking in the door with a broken nose from gymnastics practice, and one asking what’s for supper. It helps keep me focused and motivated to remember these are passing moments, and others have “real” problems.

But, well, you know what? At other times, this only serves to drive home to me how frivolous and incompetent I am. Then, whammo, guilt monster, judging, and belittling set in. That is not productive, and it is not health-promoting.

We’re not here to see who can raise their kids better. Who can clean better. Who can cook better. Who can yell less. Who can do more and more while still raising kids.

Listen. Some of us do cook better. Some of us do clean better. Some of us are more patient. Some of us enjoy toddlers more than others. Some of us can work and come home and have energy to help with homework. Some of us can help teach Sunday school without dreaming of the game Whack-a-Mole at night. Some of us do love to shop with our kids.

But nobody can be YOU to your children. Nobody. Ever. So encourage yourself more. Let go of the judging and belittling of yourself and other moms. Find humor. Encourage another mom. Humor another mom.

You are amazing! You have a wonderful skill set! Embrace it! Love it! God did NOT make you like anyone else. Clean house or messy house. Food from the farm or food from the box. Introvert or extrovert. Medical doctor or GED. Award-winning kitchen designer or self-proclaimed artist.

Yes, I know that in motherhood you’re always interrupted! Interrupted you. That’s the story of a good mom’s life! For several years, you may be forced to give up WHAT YOU DO while you mother your children. Today’s world argues against that. For me, it was necessary to give up what I DO in order that I didn’t give up on WHO I am. Does that make sense? Doing too much robbed me of WHO I was. I was losing touch with myself.

Well, I’ll close. But today I would like you to consider if there are a couple of things in life that you might want to give up so you can be the mother and person you want to be. Maybe it’s as simple as not answering the phone when it’s that best friend who talks for an hour. Or maybe it’s the frequent trips to visit your sick relative. (I know that sounds very harsh.) Maybe it’s the extra class you’re trying to squeeze in.

I just don’t want you to lose YOU! And I also want you to have a great relationship with your children! As two of my children have entered the teen years, I am just so struck by how they are so amazing. And I’m so glad they like being around me and even confide in me at times.

And I know I am temporarily giving up a lot of WHAT I do. But because I have kept true to WHO I am, I know I can look forward to a future doing what I want to do. And doing it as healthy as ever, inside and out!

Have a super weekend!

Terri F

 

 

10 thoughts on “For a Mother Who Finds Mothering is Taking a Toll on Her Health

  1. All Seasons Cyclist

    Good article! I remember when our third child was born and my wife had to spend an extra two days in the hospital (instead of her usual 23 hours), and I was left to watch two little boys all by myself. I can’t tell you how happy I was to get to go back to work so I could get some rest!

    Reply
  2. MEH

    Wow!!! This is so good and spot on! My children are now grown, but I am in the process of moving through so very many similar thoughts about myself lately. Getting older and dealing with a disability have both changed much of my sense of WHO I AM based on what my strengths, desires and abilities have been in the past. I am seeking a new definition of myself at this stage of life. Your post helps to refocus no matter what season of life we are in. Thanks, Terri!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, MEH! I am happy that my externalized thoughts can help others refocus . Someone called me out this week on separating who I am from what I do (or my lack of doing this), and it really got me thinking. I’m sorry about your disability, and I hope that WHO you are is in the driver’s seat to drive you to the opportunities in store during this change and season of life! My warmest thoughts and wishes for the changes you’re going through! And thanks for taking time to comment.

      Reply
  3. Ann

    Thank you! It helps me and encourages me to read your post. I often struggle with how hard it feels at times to be a mother. I feel stretched to my limit at times, and feel like I am not the mother I want to be (not enough patience, yell sometimes, etc), but I am trying. I am also trying not to be so hard on myself. It is a challenge for me to juggle work and trying to “do it all” for my kids.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      You’re welcome–and thank you, too, for your comment. Your phrase “stretched to my limit” made me ponder how the physicality of pregnancy and labor actually reflects the psychology of motherhood–being stretched to the limit!

      I am glad that my thoughts could encourage you a bit. May your December be as peaceful as you can make it be, in your heart and in your home.

      Reply

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