Are you an exhausted mom like me? Are you waking up in the morning but wishing you had longer than 24 hours in a day? Are you working, cleaning, cooking, matching socks, doing homework, driving kids to activities, dealing with kids that are fighting over whose turn it is to hold the remote control? Are you wondering whether what you’re doing every day makes a difference? Do you feel unappreciated despite all that you do?
You might not get this if you’ve never been fully and solely responsible for young children or you are a mom that has many help around you. As much as being a mom is one of life’s greatest blessing, sometimes its just simply exhausting. Sometimes being a mom means feeling burnt out and under appreciated. Like no one else notices or appreciates what we’re doing. After all, no one would know that you had a maximum of 3 hour sleep the previous night in your work clothes.
“Thank God we don’t look like what we have been through”
Everyone would see me and usually think I’m always looking “on fleek” and put together but trust me many times I’m just so stressed, tired and plain exhausted walking all over the place like a headless chicken trying to juggle too many balls. As a working mom, there are moments when I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions that it’s impossible to feel i have it all together. The other day I totally forgot to pack lunch for my son’s school trip. Thank God I was early for the school drop off which meant I could dash quickly to the shop to grab cheese and ham for his lunch. It was also me that forgot to pack a tracksuit for winter PE the other day which meant my son had to stay inside the class whilst almost everyone else went outside for PE. My son obviously survived but my mom guilt took over. So trust me I get it.
One of the most stressful periods for me in my entire life was last year when my husband had to work away from home most weekdays in France leaving me and our 2 kids behind at home. Around that same time my awesome weekday nanny of over 3 years moved onto greener pastures and I had to find a new nanny which meant there were periods when we didn’t have proper childcare in place. It also didn’t help that I don’t have much family around in London that could have chipped in to help every now and then given most of my immediate family are in Nigeria and United States.
My husband is very hands on and supportive when he’s around but on one of the weekends my husband was back at home, I found myself tearing up in the bedroom while my husband was with the kids in the living room. I was meant to be resting but I just couldn’t handle feeling used like a maid. I was exhausted. I have feelings too. I matter too.
The peak of this stressful period was one of the weeks my husband was away, I was without childcare just before my older son started school, he had just graduated from pre-school so it was outside term time. My younger son kept waking up at night. He was refusing most of his food which was very unlike him. At this point I had told literally everyone I was looking for a nanny. I had put my younger one on the daycare waiting list. I also spoke to several nanny agencies who mainly had options for live in au pairs which wasn’t my interest at the time. The toil of caring for 2 active and energetic boys took a huge toil on me.
On the positive side, my boss was happy for me to take time out if needed. Also, I was able to work from home which I did for maybe 2 days or so on the days a local child minder was available for few hours but I quickly realised I couldn’t work from home, rush back and forth from the child minder’s house so I took some days off work.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”
I decided I couldn’t continue this way. I needed some time to brainstorm and to clear my head. I figured out I just needed some alone space to think and plan. I remembered there was a very lovely big aunt I met through my husband, they used to be neighbors, we go to the same church, she has always been very supportive over the years and has offered to help with the kids so many times. I gave her a call that morning and she was more than happy to look after my two kids for the day at such a short notice. I used that day to do a lot of errands, trust me. I did the grocery shopping, food prep, laundry, cleaning, lined up several nanny interviews. Fortunately, that’s same day I found a temp nanny through a close contact that was able to help look after the kids for few weeks which meant I was then able to interview properly and find someone suitable on a more long term basis, which I did eventually. And I have been “fine” since then. This last month especially has been quite good with my husband back working in London and taking the lion share of the kids load.
And I’m very aware this isn’t just a working mom or mom thing, this is 2018, this can also be a working dad thing or a dad thing. I bet my husband can tell his own side as well and it might not be too different to mine.
But I am still always very grateful to the lovely Aunt for helping me out that day. God used her to help me that day during a very stressful time.
“God understands whatever pain or struggle you’re going through”
So moms trust me I understand first hand the daily struggles. But can you permit me to say- Mom, you’ve got this. After going through some low-low periods and experiencing frightening degrees of exhaustion on so many occasion, I can assure you that you will come out on the other side. There will be light at the end of the tunnel.
“God is not punishing you, he is preparing you”
It may seem like it will never end, like you will never have a good night rest and feel as though you will lose you mind. It will pass. Believe me when I say God will never leave you hanging. He will never forsake you. You just need to ask him. Lay all your burden at his feet. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you. He will help you. He will send helpers. You will smile again. You will gain energy. Before you know it your kids will be all grown. So trust in God during these stressful times, ask him for strength, grace, wisdom and perseverance.
“God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling”
We can could argue that it’s just motherhood and many moms in the past have had to do all these and more. But being a mom is hands down the toughest thing I have ever done. It is always nice to be reminded that I’m not alone and that there are other moms out there struggling and making it work every day and winging it, just like me.
So today, I raise my hats to you the exhausted but incredibly beautiful and amazing mom. You the mom that strives with little or no sleep. You the mom who needs a shoulder to cry on. You the mom with health issues. You the mom that deals with terrible tantrums on a daily basis. You the mom that your child constantly refuses their food. You the mom whose child isn’t interested in doing their homework. You the mom struggling with finances. You the mom who works non stop for her family just like a maid and feels like no one notices. You the mom with those four kids under eight who never gets a break. You the mom with a newborn baby who never get any sleep. You the single mom doing it all alone. Hats off to you. Keep going!
If you are a Christian woman or you need some further encouragement, I have started producing a monthly newsletter in pdf format for the women in my church tailored to Christian women and moms. The first issue is out now and the focus is on “Self Care“. Feel free to download it HERE and share with others that might find it useful. If you enjoyed reading it, drop a comment below to let me know, trust me it takes so much effort to put my thoughts on paper.
Remember you’re never alone on this journey, if you haven’t already, join me and other like-minded mums from all over the world on our private facebook page ‘Notjustamum‘.
Best wishes always,