It has been one of those weeks. No, take that back. It’s been one of those months.
You know the kind… everything has all suddenly become absolutely the most important thing and must be accomplished now and guess what? Now the baby stopped sleeping 4-hour stretches at night. And the naps? Down to 30-minute intervals so GOOD LUCK cleaning or exercising or showering or feeding your soul! And a social life? Ha! I’m convinced Facebook was really invented by a mother of a large family with an infant, desperately grasping at whatever she can of the life taking place outside of her front door.
I recall this happening right about now, the 4-month postpartum mark, with my other kids. It’s like the adrenaline from birth and the miracle of life (especially this last time) has finally worn off and LIFE has set in.
Remember that? LIFE? You know… laundry. Activities. Carpools. Lessons. Marriage. Cleaning. Bills.
All of that was there before, but when I’m tired, it just seems SO BIG!
Life feels big right now. And I just feel so small and incapable of doing it at all, let alone doing it well.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you just want to curl up into bed, put a pillow over your head and block out the LIFE that is screaming at you to “GET UP! TAKE CARE OF ME NOW!”
I know you have. We all have. But we still have to get up, regardless of how appealing those covers look.
Yesterday was one of those days that, while I got out of bed and did so semi-willingly, as the day progressed I’m pretty sure everyone else wished I would’ve stayed tucked in.
I started off by nicely asking the kids to get ready for church and then hopping in the shower. (Side note: why are the worst parenting moments just before church? I mean COME ON. You’d think I could hold it together enough not to scream at my family before going to meet Jesus! Reason # 1,938,332 why I need His grace).
I came out only to realize that my kids’ breakfast wasn’t a healthy cereal, like they were supposed to choose, but Cap’n Crunch’s “Oops! All Berries” that not only stains the teeth, but also the intestinal tract (ahem… I’m off toilet duty this week).
I yelled. Not a good moment.
The kids got ready-ish and I finished up feeding the baby while doing my hair (neither done particularly gracefully, but we managed) and I came out of my room to find the house messier than a dump and my oldest back asleep in bed, unready and definitely un-showered.
I yelled. Again, though this time louder, and with smoke blowing out of my nostrils for emphasis.
Finally, after we got outside and ready to go, I paused to enjoy the beautiful, crisp, 29-degree air, righting my heart for what would inevitably be a “normal” ride to church, then proceeded to load the kids into the van.
Only I couldn’t.
The van’s sliding doors were frozen shut.
I groaned (yelled!) the agonizing cry of a mama who had worked so hard to get it all done by herself (hubby was gone) and was doing well but was at her last moment of sanity.
The kids, being resourceful (and children), piled in through the front doors of the van while I tried to manage Phoebe’s carrier through the armrests and… I just started crying.
I was done. OVER. I hated the van. I hated the cold air. I hated that my oldest and #2 were fighting over sitting shotgun while my #3 was bemoaning the fact that #4’s arm hairs were touching hers and #5… sweet #5, he just looked at me struggling with the carseat, spewing venomous words at the genius who forgot to build frost-free doors for minivans and said, “Momma, are you crying?” with big, big blue eyes filled with concern.
I took a breath and his waterworks burst forth.
My heart broke.
He was sharing an absolutely innocent, heartfelt expectation about his momma and every momma on the planet: We’re not supposed to cry.
He sees me as his anchor. I am the one person (maybe daddy is too) who has it all together and when HE is crying, I can fix the problem and calm him down… everything will be alright.
If Momma is crying, his anchor is broken and he feels absolutely helpless.
But the thing is, mommas DO cry. We absolutely have to. If we didn’t cry we would be deceiving ourselves with the lie that we can do it all; that this LIFE thing? Got it covered!
We have placed such ridiculously high expectations on ourselves as mothers (let alone as humans). We seem to have this idea that we have to do motherhood perfectly; that in order to be viewed as “good enough” by others, be it peers, strangers, our spouses… even ourselves, that we can’t have moments where we just want to quit. Where we acknowledge that WE ARE TIRED. That there is TOO MUCH on our plates… that we cry.
Did you know that even Jesus cried? When the burden He faced in the garden of Gesthemane was just too much, He cried out to His Father in heaven and asked Him to “take this cup from Me.” Tears that came from so deep in His heart that they were like blood. (see Luke 22:44) He also cried when His dear friend Lazarus died. This is the same Lazarus that He knew He would RAISE FROM THE DEAD that very day. Yet He still wept authentically. He was sad for His friends and He cried with them, like many of us do with our friends. He was God incarnate, yet fully human. And He cried.
Now, the likelihood of us being in the same kind of agony as Jesus before He bore the sins of all mankind on His shoulders is zero. That being said, our God knows that we cannot do this life, this one damaged by sin, without Him. He is our ABBA, our Father in heaven who is the anchor of our souls.
If His own Son was overwhelmed with emotion on more than one occasion, what makes us think we can’t be overcome too? Or that it is shameful? Or that it means we’re not enough? Or that we’ve failed?
Would we say that about Jesus?
My sweet #5, with bottom lip trembling and tears welling up in his eyes was waiting for my answer… “Momma, are you crying?” he said again.
“Yes, bubba. But it’s okay. It just means I need Jesus right now. He knows how to make it right.”
Go ahead, Momma. Cry. It just means you need Jesus. And He’ll meet you right where you are.
By the way, I found a gorgeous print you might like by Emily L. over at Maker + Ink. You can buy it here (I don’t get anything from this, I just like the print and the artist 🙂 )
It’s a great way to remember that WE are not our own anchors… He is. <3