I just can’t mom today
I just can’t mom today.
I can’t make another meal they’ll barely eat. I can’t drive to one more activity. I can’t hear them arguing one more time.
I just can’t.
Being mom is too hard today. My body begs to lay on the couch in the fetal position. My stomach is growling for junk food to make all this better. My soul is tired of being pushed around. My heart is pummeled by expectations that I’m wholly unqualified to meet.
I just can’t mom today because I feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all of my unreasonable expectations.
Friends, we’ve all been there.
So the next time you just can’t mom, pause and take care by asking yourself the following questions.
Am I asking for help?
Even though we think we “should” be able to handle the daily-ness of life, every now and then, we need help. Are you asking for help? In what area of parenting do you feel the most stress? How can you ask for help to lessen that stress?
Am I breaking away?
In the World War II series Band of Brothers, American soldiers fighting in Bastogne France are rotated off the front line, sometimes just 50 yards back, to give them a physical break and to remind them that there’s more happening than battle. How and when can you get off your own front lines – even just a metaphorical 50 yards? How can you break up the daily-ness of life?
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Am I creating?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good massage and pedicure. But sometimes, when I get off the front lines, I need more than pampering—I need to nourish my soul by doing activities that make me come alive. What can you do to embrace the part of you that needs to create? When will you block off time? What will you create?
Am I de-escalating expectations?
Anytime my counselor talks about lowering my standards, my skin crawls and I physically shrink back as if she’s asked me to sacrifice my first-born. And yet, my standards and expectations are unsustainable. What expectations can you relax—not abolish—today? What’s one step you can take to lower your expectations one notch?
Am I engaging with my people?
It’s easy to get into Mom Mode: wake-up, pick-up, drop-off, clean-up. Can you take a day off from responsibilities so that you can play at the park or have friends over instead? What can you do to make a chore even the tiniest bit fun? How can you bring God into those daily tasks?
When you ask yourself these questions, the problem will be clear.
Here’s the deal: Nothing I said is earth shattering or original. You’ve heard it all before, and you’re still not doing it. There are three reasons we don’t do what we know will be helpful, and I want to give you strategies to combat each of them.
Pride prevents us from seeing that we have needs, and/or it prevents us from asking for help. Pride tells us that we can do it all, and, if we can’t, then we’re not Good Moms.
To combat pride, ask for forgiveness then ask God to show you in real-time when you’re prideful. He’s faithful to weed sin out of your life. Then take the next humble step. Pride won’t go away easily, so give yourself grace.
We don’t make self-care a priority.
I know what to do. I even nod in agreement as I hear and read best practices, “Yes, that’s good. I should do that.” Then I turn back to my regularly scheduled life and do nothing.
To combat a lack of prioritizing, pick one—just one—of the areas and implement one action item. Take one step today and another tomorrow or next week.
We believe we need permission.
We believe that we can’t ask for help, take a break, or create without permission. We feel that we don’t have the right to reach out because it would be selfish, make us bad moms, or we’d let some people down while inconveniencing others.
To combat a need for permission, accept that I’m giving you permission right now to ask for help, to create, and to de-escalate expectations. God gives you grace too. The world won’t fall apart if you take time away.
Somedays, we believe that we just can’t mom.
And that’s okay. Not operating at a high-level every now and again is normal because you’re a human…not a machine.
I know you feel like you can’t make another unappreciated meal or endure another eye roll. Trust me, it’s hard, but you’ve got help.
- You have help within: in Christ Himself who has all the power you need and in yourself as your own advocate to get what you need.
- You have help without: in friends, family, and neighbors who really would love to help because they love you and your kids.
Don’t curl up on the couch and eat the junk food. Don’t pummel yourself with unreasonable expectations. Pause, reflect, and take one step in humility. Give yourself grace and peace.
You can mom today.