Bits of Sweetness: What to Do When Motherhood Drains Your Joy

What to Do When Motherhood Drains Your Joy

Years ago, I would have been the last person to admit this, and to even contemplate writing about it. It's like there is an unspoken rule that motherhood is only supposed to be joyful and glorious and beautiful. Sometimes, it's not though. Sometimes you are just trying to survive every single second. Sometimes it's not at all what you thought it would be. Friend, those feelings don't make you a bad mama or person; they mean that you are human. It's ok.

I have found myself so often at the crossroads of survival and hating the fact that I am feeling this way about something I should be reveling in and loving. I have asked so many questions and whispered so many prayers and pleaded with God to just take this away. Not the motherhood part, the hard and the hurt. I never wanted the hard parts of motherhood to look like this. I never wanted to be given this job and my weaknesses made even worse by pregnancy and postpartum issues. 

It's easy to wonder and judge other mamas who aren't loving it and who are contemplating the worst possible thought ever, not wanting their kids, or wanting to be done with this motherhood gig, or just wanting a break for ten years. It reminds me of what happens to glass when it is put under pressure. It can explode or it can be refined for something of beauty. 

I get it, I do. I grew up in church and I could tell you all the verses and the cliche Christian expressions. Some of my favorites-

You won't ever be given more than you can handle. (Actually, yes, yes, you will.)
It's not about you. It's about God working in you. (Well yes, obviously. But that doesn't help right now.)
It's just hormones. (No, actually, it's not.)
Years from now it will all be a memory! They grow up fast! (I'm sure they do but these days are long right now!)

I try and appreciate the care behind those words. Most people don't say them to instigate but to try and help the best they know how. Take that for what it's worth and move on.

What do you do though when you feel like your world is falling apart and you can't possibly be ok with this life another second?

You don't need to make sense of life right now. Let the "whys" rest. Let your weaknesses go. God is holding you if you trust in Him. I found peace doesn't come from trying desperately to hold it and seek it but by just letting go. Letting go of what we demand stop, and what we want to just end. Letting go of what we feel is unjust. Letting go of the bitterness.

Mamas, it's a pretty powerful thing to believe that we would just be better mamas if ___. It's not true though. That "if" will never come. I have spent so many days longing for my fairy tale motherhood to arrive. As if new little children would somehow just arrive upon my doorstep full of magical moments. You know what I found though? All the time spent wishing wistfully was making me bitter. And angry. And a mess.

I finally had to just let go of it and acknowledge that this was my life, and I could either spend time bitter and angry and a mess, or try and make the most of these messy moments. I could spend all day yelling and upset at our kids for "ruining" all of my hard worki with their playing or I could choose to see the laughter and the memories being made.

Life is one part perspective and one part needing a supernatural peace and strength to acknowledge what we can't do. Find something simple and make it work. For me, it was realizing that I connected better with God through a worship song than through half an hour of devotional time. It was realizing that I was accomplishing more for my soul by ignoring the laundry and choosing time to pour love into our kids.

Tonight, I have nothing but prayers and a bunch of love. You can go from surviving to living life thriving. Not every day is perfect, and there are some I have a lot of prayer and thought on what choices I am making, but I'm doing a little better, slowly and hopefully surely.

Mamas, choose joy. Choose life. Choose the life you have. Most of all, choose Him.

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