We cherish of the sweet moments of motherhood, of tucking our little ones in at night with soft moon-glow as they drift off in peaceful sleep.
Reality strikes in any of the following scenarios that develop after the supposed final goodnight.
“Mommy, I need a drink!” says the bright-eyed preschooler in the doorway.
The elementary student pops out of bed to find you on the couch. “I forgot to tell you something. I need black pants for the school program tomorrow.”
Not only are we exhausted but also we are exasperated.
Later, in the middle of the night, the baby screams from intestinal discomfort and by the time you get to the crib, a massive blowout has happened. Sleep deprived, we take care of the urgent need, but then struggle to fall back to sleep, thinking about all there is to do tomorrow.
How do we cope with the overwhelmed feeling of motherhood?
Jesus spoke words that encourage us and help us remember the priorities of life, of loving and caring our family and ourselves.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
This passage speaks about priorities, which covers the first two broad concepts to conquer the “overwhelms.” Specific tips are given in the last three.
- Remember to nurture your relationship with the Lord. The first sentence of the verse teaches us to actively love the Lord in all ways. Even if it’s a few moments while your coffee is brewing, whisper words of praise to God for being loving and kind. Keep a small devotional in your purse or as an app on your phone so you can use brief minutes to connect to with God when you are on the go.
- Take care of you. Jesus taught us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It is easy to get so involved with taking care of everyone else, that we neglect to practice healthy self-care. It is not selfish, but it strengthening to the family. Taking a few minutes out in the yard or a family walk around the block can help improve perspective. Give yourself grace, just as God gives you grace.
- Learn to accept the fact that that “good enough” is acceptable. Perfectionism is the enemy of grace. Do what you can and learn to be satisfied with it. Did you do it with love in an attempt to build your child’s self esteem? Did you connect with your child? The end result may not be Pinterest-worthy, but that isn’t the goal.
In Psalm 19:14 we read, “ May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (NIV) By keeping our focus on doing our best for the Lord—pleasing Him and not others—we avoid heaping on the extra mommy-guilt.
- Prioritize the tasks instead of grouping them through multi-tasking. When I have much to do and little time to accomplish it, I often try to do too many things at once in an attempt to multi-task and do more. However, I usually get overwhelmed with many half finished tasks that it becomes hard to complete any of them. Here is one idea that has helped me sort out what is important. Approach the tasks as a customer service agent would treat a long line of customers during the holiday shopping season—take care of the next need in line and have the rest wait for their turn. Notice what need to be done first, and do it. Then do the next thing.
If possible, create “to-do” lists for each day, so that you know what you need do and when to do it. This will help you keep the after school activities and doctor appointments straight. It will bring orderliness to any scattered thoughts the about upcoming days.
The words of Psalm 90:12 guide us: “Teach up to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)
- The most important thing is to learn to look to the Lord for wisdom to help you with the unique needs of your family. When the “overwhelms” gang up on you, pray and ask for guidance to make it through the situation. Life is unedited; things happen that we don’t anticipate, embrace God’s grace and the anchor of faith in the situation. When we are stressed out, take a few deep breaths and remember that true strength comes from the Lord. At the end of the day, reflect on the following scripture as a prayer before drifting off to sleep, with hopes of sleeping through the night.
“From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
When my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
For you is my safe refuge,
A fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.”
Psalm 61:2-3 (NLT)
About the Author: Nancy Kay Grace is a pastor’s wife, mom, Bible teacher, pianist, and friend. She is also a speaker and author of the devotional, The Grace Impact. She is blessed with a great husband, adult kids, and grandsons. Nancy’s biblical teachings revolve around seeing God’s grace in everyday life, self worth for God’s perspective, and pressing on during tough times. Her blog and newsletter sign-up is found at nancykaygrace.com and she is heard on the Internet radio show and podcast Living Life Unedited. You can find Nancy on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest.
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