Being a mama is sometimes hard. There, I said it. Not to say it’s not completely worth it even on the bad days, but there are moments that I want to run away screaming.
Not long ago, my son was playing upstairs. He got a little too quiet. He came downstairs and said, “Mommy, there are polka dots everywhere!”
“I hope they are imaginary polka dots,” I answered.
“No, they’re not.”
Cringing, I got up and went to look at what had happened. There was a trail of tiny white foam balls leading across the living room and up the stairs. No big deal, I thought. Just a little bit of vacuuming and we’ll be okay.
Nothing could have prepared me for the horror that awaited me at the top of those stairs. I saw it before I even got to his bedroom. It was as if a blizzard had swept through the room, leaving white balls of chaos everywhere. It looked like the bean bag exploded, but it was no accident.
I could hardly breathe.
Tears didn’t come.
Laughter didn’t come.
I couldn’t even find it in me to get angry.
After a moment that seemed like an eternity passed, I went into full-ought, mama clean up mode. Where could I even start? Vacuum? Sweep? Scoop with my hands? Burn it down and start all over?
Amazingly, I remained calm, which I attribute only to the peace that passes all understand coming directly from my sweet Savior. I went back downstairs to gather up brooms, dust pans, vacuum cleaners, and sanity.
We started cleaning. In a couple of hours, all was back to normal and the disaster averted, leaving a little soreness and a few blisters behind.
But that day was hard.
How do you handle it when motherhood is difficult?
I’ve found a few places in Scripture to give us some encouragement in this area.
- Remember that it is not the end of the world.
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9
So it’s a bad day. Guess what? There is a new one tomorrow. As long as the day may seem there will come a nightfall and a new day tomorrow. We may feel like we want to die at times, but it won’t kill us! Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and find the peace that only God can give in the difficult times.
- Try to find humor in the situation.
“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” – Proverbs 15:13 (ESV)
I’ll be honest. That beanbag incident was funny. If I’d seen it in a movie or been told the tale by a fellow mom, I’d be laughing my head off. Truthfully, now that the shock of it all is over, I do laugh when I talk about it. And what a great story to tell as my son grows up! Sometimes bad days aren’t funny, but if it’s at all possible, think about how you might look at it a few years or even days in the future. It might just be hilarious when all is said and done.
- Show grace.
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11
You know, sometimes it really is somebody else’s fault! Sometimes your child does mess up. And it can be irritating or even downright infuriating. But what a perfect time to display an example of grace! We can be Jesus to our child by keeping our calm and making the experience a learning one. That doesn’t mean that my son did not have to help clean up his mess, which he did not enjoy, but he did not see me lose it even when I felt like it.
- Look for the blessing.
“’…The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” – Job 1:21b
So… you may have to look really REALLY hard sometimes to find it. But it’s there. For instance, my son learned a lesson through the beanbag incident when he had to help clean it up. It also gave us some extra quality time together. (Maybe “quality” isn’t the best way to describe it, but it was time together nonetheless.) And because I was so exhausted after the cleaning up, we got to order Chinese instead of my having to cook. There you go! Three blessings in one horrible mishap. Seriously, though, I’m convinced that every cloud has a silver lining if we just look hard enough for it.
I’ll give you another example. My son had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease a couple of years ago. It was awful, terrible, and every other negative word I can use to describe it. It manifested itself mostly in his mouth and he was in pain and couldn’t eat anything. Every time he drank, it would spill out of his mouth. But another thing he couldn’t do was suck on his pacifier. We never gave it back to him and voila! Weened off the pacifier with no issues. See, there is always a blessing in the thorn.
In the end, we find our own ways to cope with the terrible days that motherhood sometimes brings. Cherish every moment, good and bad. For soon they will all be over and our children will be grown and gone. Those bad days will be just a distant memory (if we even remember them at all) and hopefully in their place will be a lifetime of laughter and joy that overshadows even the most trying days.
Love in Christ,
All Scripture references are from the ESV.