This has been a tough season of motherhood. I have three kids 18 months apart. My daughter just turned four and, that same day, my boy/girl twins turned two and a half. Having kids that close together has been an adventure. The older they get, the more like triplets they are.
Last week, I cried at a Steak n’ Shake. My son threw a toy car at me, and I just couldn’t react. Earlier that day, he and his twin sister had tantrums at Target so bad we had to leave. So instead of reprimanding him, I pulled my glasses off and cried. I was at the end of my rope. At the end of myself.
As a type A person, being a mom to three preschool age kids is a daunting and insurmountable task. I hear the ways that parents get to be intentional with their sole child or their kids further apart in age, and I’m envious. Of course, I want to raise my son to be a leader. Of course, I want my daughters to be gentle and sweet. Of course, I want to pray over them each individually before bed about all the aspects of their lives. But when they fight over the same backpack, even when they all have their own (that have their names embroidered, might I add), I just can’t muster the strength. I seem to have so little left of me.
Side note: Isn’t it remarkable how moms want to beat each other to the bottom? I’m complaining because I have three kids 18 months apart. Some moms “brag” about having it the worst because they have all boys. Some mom’s have it even worse —they have multiples, i.e. twins or triplets.
As moms, we are worn. We are tired. We are weak. We are in desperate need of a b-r-e-a-k, a BREAK! And, as much as we shouldn’t try to beat each other at the game of “who has it the worst?”, we also need to give moms space to rest.
It is okay to hate the phase of life your kids are in. You’re not a criminal for disliking newborns or three-year-olds or pre-teens. You’re not a bad mom because you yelled. You’re not a better mom because you don’t yell. You’re not a bad mom because you’re ready for bedtime at 10 am.
Here’s the thing: Moms need so much grace. We need grace from God, because we all fall short in motherhood. We need grace from our husbands, because we aren’t always going to look well put together or keep the house spotless. Marriages that have surplus amounts of grace, especially in parenting, are the marriages that thrive through the years of child-rearing.
We need grace from our kids. When we yell, we need to ask for forgiveness. We need to remind our kids that we are not perfect, but when we know Jesus, we know the one Man who was. When they are so disobedient that it leads to tears, we need grace to just let the tears flow.
We also need grace from each other. In this walk of motherhood, we can serve each other by bearing one another burdens. We need the space to say to each other, without judgement, “my kid is being a real turd.” We need the space to admit to one another that we fall short, and we hate that we fall short, but we just can’t do it all. We need grace as we navigate the various ways we become moms. We need grace when it comes to the ways we talk to moms of twins, a bunch of boys, and even adoptive moms.
We need to receive grace, and we need to be the first to give it. After all, Romans 2:4 reminds us that God’s kindness is what leads us to repentance. From that, we can learn that we should also be kind, and that the kindness is what leads us, as moms, to a place of refreshment and renewed spirit.
So give yourself grace today, and extend that to your sisters who are also walking through a tough season of motherhood. No need to remind them that they’ll miss these days—we know we will. But, that doesn’t remove today’s frustrations. Grace abounds in the walls of motherhood. Praying you know that in your soul, and give thanks to the Father for such grace. Now, I gotta go clean up some more Legos.
Photo by Markus Spiske