You may not know me, but I think I know you.
I’ve spoken to enough moms to think that maybe just maybe one of the following statements might actually describe you:
- You’re a young mama with a kid or a few and you’re trying to learn how to do this whole “mom” thing while fronting to others that you’ve got it all figured out.
- It doesn’t quite make sense that you used to have a ton of friends back in high school and college, yet lately you’re wondering whether you have any friends left at all.
- You feel like you might be getting a little depressed due to how lonely you are.
- You feel like you’re failing. At everything.
- You feel like everyone else is a mom +. A mom + a blogger. A mom + an Etsy shop owner. A mom + an author. A mom + a clothing designer. A mom + whatever. And you feel like there’s something wrong with you because you don’t have a +.
- You find yourself getting bitter at your husband who gets to go to work every day while you’re at home going insane. Possibly clinically.
- You get discouraged because you don’t see a break in sight. You are always “on the clock”.
- You long to talk with someone about “adultish” things.
- You close the door when you go to the bathroom to get just a few minutes to breathe before going out and facing your life again, only to get the door opened by a kid who ruins the only chance you had for quiet time.
- You’re tired. All the time.
- You + Coffee = Best Friends
- You – Coffee = CPS
Do any of the statements above describe you? Let’s be real—do MANY of the statements above describe you?
I know what you’re thinking. “You’re a GUY. What could you POSSIBLY know about what moms go through?!”
I may not know exactly what you endure and exactly what it’s like, but I do feel approximately 1% qualified to speak on the subject due to the fact that my job is such that I am constantly in contact with parents and hearing the struggles they’re enduring.
Second, my wife experiences her own struggles and frequently encounters other moms at various groups who all seem to be facing similar difficulties.
Third, my wife is currently out of town at a women’s retreat, and I’ve had the kids for the weekend by myself. I’m ready to pull my hair out—at least what’s left of it. I know, I know. Poor Matt. Cry me a river. I deal with kids 362 days out of the year. You want an award for having 3 days alone?
No, I don’t want an award. I don’t deserve one.
You do, though.
I don’t typically stay at home with the kids all week like my wife does or like you do, but once a year during this retreat, I get a renewed taste of what the daily grind is like for stay-at-home moms like yourself.
So today, I just want to take a few moments to share a few encouraging truths from an empathetic husband’s perspective.
Realize you are a servant.
I don’t mean this in a condescending way. You serve others. You serve your husband by staying home with the kids. You serve your kids by investing your everything into them. The best leadership model that exists is servant leadership, and you demonstrate that every single day.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” Matthew 20:26
Trust that your actions aren’t unnoticed.
Your husband may not notice everything that you do in a day. Shoot, your kids may not even notice everything you do in a day. But Jesus said,
“If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42
Your actions do not go unnoticed.
Let go of the crazy.
When my daughter Makaela was just a few months old, she spent a week in the hospital with “failure to thrive”. Compared to what some parents endure, our issues with Makaela were trivial. But at the time, it was a really difficult time for my wife and I. Yet now when we look back at the time we spent with her in the hospital, we really only have fond memories. We even smile at how cute her pictures were with the feeding tube going into her belly from her nose. I think there’s a pretty good chance that when you look back at this stage of your life, you will mainly remember the sweet over the bitter.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
Remind yourself that children are a blessing.
Deep down you probably believe that if someone else was raising your kids, you’d regret it. I agree. But there are also those days where you wish you could be anywhere but home. Maybe write on your mirror or fridge a reminder to yourself: “Children are a blessing.” Maybe make a video to yourself during a good moment of how thankful you are to have kids. Play that video back when you’re having a tough day.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127: 3
Value the gift of staying home.
Be thankful that you have the ability to stay home and be present with your kids. Not all moms have that “luxury”. Think about the single moms you know who have to work during the day just to put food on the table who would do anything to be able to stay at home with their kids.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
If you’re a single mom, holy cow. I honestly don’t know how you do it. Your kids may not appreciate all you do for them now, but one day I think/hope they will understand the sacrifices you have made on their behalf. The encouragement I can offer to you as a single mom is my belief that God can give you strength when you feel you have nothing left to give.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phillippians 4:13
Give it your whole heart.
You may not always feel like it, but if your kids are still alive, then consider yourself to be a talented mom! Let’s face it, it MUST take skills to get your kids into their clothes, feed them breakfast, find activities to do with them, change their diapers, feed them lunch, change more diapers, take them to the park, put them down for a nap, get something/anything/one thing done that doesn’t relate to kids during naptime, start dinner, give them a bath, have the house somewhat cleaned up by the time your husband gets home, AND somehow give him the attention he needs when he does! You’ve got a lot on your plate, but you’ve got to give it your best effort possible. You are not failing at life when you put your heart into what you do.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
Trust that you are good enough.
Perfection is an impossible standard that you likely won’t reach, so you might as well quit the pursuit. You should also stop trying to present the illusion that everything is perfect. If you used to have a job before you became a mom, you might be feeling now that you have lost some of your identity. Please know that your identity should never be based upon your job, even as a mom. Nor should your identity be wrapped up in how good you are. Your identity should be wrapped up in how God views you.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Quit the comparison game.
Comparing yourself to other girls or moms is an endless pit that’s going to ruin you. It’s not a bad thing if you are a mom + something else, but it’s also okay to
justbe a mom. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for where you are. Be thankful for the family God has given you.
“Each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” 1 Corinthians 7:17
The Bible compares your entire life to a vapor that is here one day and gone another. If your entire life goes by that quickly, then the current stage of your life will also fly by. It may not feel like it right now, but every parent I’ve spoken with about their younger kids has said that the 2-6-year-old stage is the best. They all say that. I spoke to one dad recently who said he and his wife will watch home videos of when their kids were little and they sit and weep together because they miss that stage so much. You will probably miss it one day. Cherish what you have now.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Don’t miss today with your kids. Don’t miss the sweet moments. They will go by faster and faster, so turn off your social media. Turn off your TV. Have a dance party. Make homemade play dough together. Take the kids to the neighborhood pool. Have a picnic. Enjoy your kids while you can. That is the best gift you can give to them.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
I’m sure the last thing you feel like doing is adding one more thing to your plate. However, by getting involved with a mom’s group or church or some place that you can interact with other women, you’ll realize that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do. It may be easier to isolate yourself in your home, but it’s healthier to do life with others.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Once you’ve chosen to get involved, there’s a good chance you might actually meet someone you could become real friends with. Great friendships don’t just happen. They happen on purpose. Invite someone you meet over for coffee. Invite them to the house. Have a play date with your kids. Invite them to go running. Be intentional. Your life is so busy that if you aren’t intentional with friendships, you won’t have any. Stop throwing a pity party about how nobody is calling you and pick up the phone and call someone else. Chances are, they’ll be grateful you did.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
Be the friend you want.
The best way to find a great friend is to be a great friend. Being a real friend means that you have to be vulnerable. You have to be real. You have to let your guard down and let someone know the real you. When you do that with someone else, you begin to get to know them too.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” — CS Lewis
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Schedule YOU time.
I know this may sound completely foreign, but it’s important. You need time for you. Time with just the girls. Time just by yourself. Time that you get to do whatever you want to do. If you feel like your husband wouldn’t support it, ask him if he would. Tell him you don’t need much time, but you do need some. And no, time for yourself isn’t selfish nor impossible. Maybe schedule it once the kids are down and you can go and get some decaf coffee and read a book. Your husband can thank me later.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
Remember how God sees you.
If there’s nothing else you get out of this entire post, I hope you get this. Your identity—or how you view yourself—should be based on how God views you. You are loved by God. You are cherished. He has designed you the way you are on purpose. When you are struggling with how you view yourself, try to remember and believe that you are God’s masterpiece. Live like a daughter of the king.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
I hope these suggestions don’t come across as though I know everything you’re going through. I don’t know everything you’re going through, and don’t claim that I do. But I do have God’s Word, and I believe it can get you through even the most difficult times of your life.
A Note to the Husbands
Some of you need to start supporting your bride. She is the mother of your children. Do you know what her day is really like? She might fill you in at the end of the day, but I’d encourage you to switch places with her for the weekend. Get a taste of her world. I’m confident you will have greater empathy for her if you do. Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. Support your wife. If she wants to go to work, then let her go to work. But if she wants to stay at home with the kids, if there’s any way to make that possible, then your family will be better for it. Support her by showing respect for her. Love her. Cherish her. Value her. See her. Treasure her.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
If you’re a dad and you’re already doing those things… keep it up. Your wife is probably more grateful than you know.
As a pastor, I have a literal team of people available, willing, and wanting to pray for people who are going through tough times. You may not live anywhere near California where I live, but the good news is that God is omnipresent and your location doesn’t matter. If you’re going through something difficult and you’d appreciate someone praying on your behalf, fill out a prayer request and we’d be honored to pray with you or for you.
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HEY MOMS—JOIN THE CONVERSATION.
What do you feel is the hardest part of being a mom? How can husbands better relate to what you actually go through? When and how are you most discouraged, and what helps you deal with your discouragement? Add your thoughts in the comment section below.