I saw you today on a walk. A chubby, little hand popped out of the sagging stroller seat and ejected a sippy cup onto the unforgiving pavement. The owner of that little hand began screaming for their drink while you rushed to pick it up and wipe dirt off the spout.
Suddenly, another little one in the other sagging seat poked a little too hard with the twig she begged to keep from the park. And World War III broke out…while the littlest one, snuggled safely on your chest, woke and cried for lunch.
I saw you brush your hair away from your smudged eyes with the back of your dirty hand and begin to intervene in yet another squabble. And my heart squeezed for you.
You’re exhausted. The endless diapers, fights to break up, messes to clean up, toddlers to wrangle for carseats and nap times and high chairs and baths – it all leaves you so weary and worn down.
You wonder when you’ll get to eat more than just the toddler’s leftovers and why on earth you can’t seem to shed that last five pounds.
You look at the other moms at the park with frustration – they’re in their perky yoga pants and sportsy bras and their hair is where they want it. And you sigh because you can’t seem to find the time away from so many little fingers to even jump in the shower.
When will you get to sleep at night without the call of a baby or a toddler?
You wonder how you’ll survive till they’re all old enough to understand your simple instructions and actually respond.
And why doesn’t the joy of that sweet hug she gave you not last through the umpteenth time you have to tell her “no!”
You wonder whether you’re the best person to care for them or if they’d be better off in a daycare with someone who has more energy.
And you wonder why you always struggle to get it together. And why her littles are just so…good!
I get it. I’ve been there more than I like to admit. I’m often still there. I wonder and sigh and cry and ask God, through gritted teeth, for patience and wonder when it will zap into me.
It’s tough – like, really, really tough. Mothering several little ones is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Wouldn’t you agree?
But there is help! When Paul wrote this, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer,” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just speaking to us moms with lots of littles. But it does apply, doesn’t it?
- We can have hope that our efforts to love our children, train them and help us all make it through baby-and-toddler-hood are not in vain – rejoice!
- We can probably look at a point in our lives (or a good friend’s – or better yet, have them point out in our lives) when we persevered through a really intense season and made it through to the other side – patience!
- And we can also probably remember a season where constant prayer truly fed our souls and lifted our gaze – pray!
But…maybe even the thought of mustering enough rejoicing to hope, pray or be patient seems impossible in the midst of burning food and mounds of Cheerios on the floor and a long to-do list that only keeps growing.
If you’re there, my friend, then know that you are not alone!
In those moments, talk to Him.
Whether it’s been thirty minutes or thirty days since you last had a quiet time, talk to Him.
Whether you have thirty minutes of quiet during a nap time or the real-time three seconds before she puts her hand back in the dirty toilet, talk to Him.
He is listening. And He will speak. He stands ready to help us, my friend!
He is close to the broken-hearted and truly does give strength to the weary. (Ps. 34:18 and Isaiah 40:29) You will not always feel this way and someday you will see fruit of your labors. (Ps. 30:5 and Proverbs 31:28)
Dear Exhausted Mom, take 2 more quick seconds before she wakes up and print off this week’s worth of encouragement – a gift from one exhausted mom to another.
What helps you lift your gaze in your most exhausted moments?
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