If someone gently tucked me in for a nap and told me they thought I was amazing, I think I would burst into tears and just thank them again and again through the sobbing. And then I would take that nap. Because I am a mom to four and I am tired. And naps are awesome but also very very rare.
Really though, that scene resonated with me because as moms, we all long to hear that sometimes. Nelly understood that, and she gave something precious to Pam: recognition for all she was doing.
(From this paragraph on I promise not to talk about the characters from the Office as real people anymore. Continue.)
Let me be clear: I do not think I am amazing. On the contrary, I am keenly aware of my faults. Of all the times I've messed up. Of the ways in which I could be doing more. Of the things I'm not accomplishing. Of the times when I fall so very very short. Of my sin. I think I can say that most of us are very aware of these things, that we are often our very harshest critics with a replay button for every single mistake we might have made that day.
As January ended and we headed into the second month of the year, I felt discouraged and down-trodden, weary and worn, tired and exhausted and wondering what I was doing wrong. Just ask my husband. He could sense the weariness at the end of each day, he could see me breaking and on the edge of what I had left to give. It was a combination of so many things; the holidays, family coming to stay with us, a wedding, sickness, getting back into homeschooling and teaching piano and trying to find a routine, not enough quiet time or breaks, rough weeks with each child, a lack of connection, a lack of sleep, and simply feeling overwhelmed and behind on every single thing. And the real kicker? Guilt. That mom-guilt that seems to creep in so easily, crippling even our best efforts as mothers.
I felt guilty that my house wasn't clean. That we weren't accomplishing as much as I would have hoped in our schoolwork. That we weren't doing fun projects and crafts. That I wasn't making enough time for other people. That my hard-working husband didn't have socks clean for work in the morning. That the home-cooked meals were too infrequent or not healthy enough. That I was tired and I yelled at my kids when they whined for the eighteenth time that day. That I wasn't setting a good enough example for my little ones. And the list could go on. Nothing felt like enough.
Thankfully, I'm happy to say that I'm not writing this post from that place. The past two weeks have been so much better. We've found our routine again, I feel more caught up, I've been able to connect with sweet friends who empathize and encourage in the right ways, I've had moments to myself and in the Word, my husband and I have had time together, rest has been better, fun has been had... the things that were vital and missing have slowly but surely fallen back into place for now. God is good, y'all.
I know, though, that I will continue to struggle-- each new season, week, day, hour can bring something new and different and challenging and hard. That's life. We will all struggle, however different it might look for each one of us. Perhaps you're in a hard season of marriage or going through heartbreak with your family-- believe me, I know how hard it is to mother, and feel like you're doing it well, during those times. Maybe you are dealing with sickness, whether it's just a few days of flu or something prolonged. Maybe you have a child with special needs, or perhaps just one who is very very difficult and stubborn. You might be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom (either way, it's a juggling act in which a few balls always get dropped.) Or maybe you simply have too much on your plate and you're tired of trying to keep up. And when we struggle, it is so easy to get discouraged. Too easy. We lose sight of what is important and get stuck in the muck and mire of our own minds.
Whatever season you may be in, my lovely fellow mother, I tip my hat, one of the many we all wear, to you. I recognize the work you are doing every single day. I stand beside you thankfully, glad for your example and your sisterhood. I revel in grace with you, the grace that abounds each minute of this never-ending job and allows us to breathe. I pray for discernment with you and for you, to know the difference between what is the real conviction God is laying on our hearts, prompting us to make the changes needed, and what is simply the ugly monster of mom-guilt laid on us by the world around us. I rejoice at the work we have been given in these precious children of ours, thankless and exhausting as it may be. I see your servant's heart and praise God for your dedication to this calling. I thank you for all you do down here in the trenches of this thing called Motherhood.
I say to you today, because sometimes we all just need to hear it: I think you're amazing.
And if I could, I would tuck you in for that much-deserved nap straightaway.