Right now I’m exhausted. Physical, mentally, emotionally exhausted. This exhaustion has been creeping up on me for days, months, and probably years. My kids are 4.5 and 2.5. They are busy, they are messy, and they are full of emotions. Motherhood has been the hardest thing I have ever undertaken. I whole heartedly interject that it is hands down one of the most important roles I will ever have in my life. But in the spirit of honesty and transparency, I’ve been burning out.
One of the most ironic things about blogging to me has been that I know all the right things to say in my head but putting those thoughts and ideas into action is a whole other ball game. I truly try to be as real and honest with what I write as I can, but I can’t help but recognize some hypocrisy and failures in my day to day life. For example, I’ll write a post about setting a routine for summer and then what happens at my house? We cannot get in to a freaking routine and my own written words taunt me in the back of my head.
This summer has reached a boiling point for me. My kids are acting up and all my go-to parenting strategies are not working. My oldest has developed an attitude that I DID NOT teach him. My littlest has decided that potty training just isn’t for her. WHAT?!?!?!!?
My copping method to dealing with these new challenges has been escape. Whether that be binge watching T.V. once they are in bed (which is taking considerably more effort to get them into bed these days), or on the more extreme side trying to take vacations away from them to regain some energy and motivation. I love my children and want to be a present, loving mother to them. I thought getting away from them for a few days would help me reengage with them and leave me feeling refreshed.
Well here’s what’s actually ended up happening. I am finding myself more empty and un-refreshed than ever before. The more time I take for myself, the more distance I create, the less satisfied I become. This is truly humbling to write. This is not who I envisioned myself being as a mother. Unfortunately, it often takes being knocked down for me to look up and humble myself. As I have reflected on this summer, I have realized so very little time has been spend talking with the Holy Spirit. Instead, I have focused on me. What do I need? What do I want? What do I want my children to act like? What do I want my house to look like? Me. Me. Me.
So I finally asked the person I should have asked first, “Jesus, I’m empty. How do I fix this?” And He told me. He said to serve my kids. He said be Jesus to your kids. This is the exact opposite of what I have been doing. I have been so focused on myself and what I want out of life that I have stopped truly serving.
One thing I can never get over about Jesus is that He is the God of second, third, and 107th chances. He doesn’t discipline me and reveal my character only to leave me to sit in sin and shame. He lovingly shows me the way to walk in and is ready to help me do it. I know that serving my children will take work, effort, and will still be hard. But I know that the hard things in life and also the most worth while and are worth the fight.
But this is also not about me “trying harder, striving harder” because that will end in burnout. This about me taking my eyes off myself, and shifting them where they should have been all along. I’m going to be praying and asking for help. I’m going to be getting into the word, not because I’m such an awesome Christian woman, but because if I don’t I’m going to lose focus because I am so easily distracted and prone to selfishness.
If you are reading this and are feeling like a burned out Mama, I implore you to bring this to Jesus. He sees you, knows you, and is for you. He is not expecting you to be perfect or strive harder in your own strength. He already knows your imperfections, weaknesses, and how your striving just won’t cut it.
If you don’t know who Jesus is or you have heard of him but aren’t quite sure what he’s about, you can always message me and I’d be happy to tell you my experience.
This post has burned my pride a fair bit. Please be gentle with me in the comments.