Overwhelmed and Discouraged
If you're a mom, chances are you feel overwhelmed and discouraged at least part of the time. As much as you love your children, they can be difficult and exhausting. You have a home to care for as well, probably a husband, and you may also be working outside the home part- or full-time.
All of these things have the potential to be very fulfilling, and sometimes they are, no doubt about it. But sometimes it's all just a lot. Sometimes it really feels like too much. It's not just the stress of the kids' demands, or trying to get them to listen and obey, it's everything at once: communication with your husband, behavior reports from your kids' teachers, the pressure to always prepare nutritious food, the pressure to teach your kids about God, the comparison of your home and life with what you see on Instagram, criticism/disapproval from in-laws (or your own family), and your own longing for, what?--so many things! To feel beautiful! To have fun! To feel confident in your body and the way you dress! To feel somebody understands you and has your back! To not have to pinch pennies! To not feel like a complete failure--because sometimes, if you're being honest, you do.
For a good part of my child-rearing years I struggled, a lot. I'm pretty sure I had postpartum depression and didn't recognize it as such--I was over the moon with my first little baby girl! But I also cried a lot, and so did the baby. I felt a lot of pressure to be a really good mother and a really good wife, in all the areas I listed above and more. As more children were added, I absolutely LOVED being a mom to my kids, and relished the time I had with them!
But pressure from comparing myself and my situation to what I thought it "should" have been really started to suck the life out of me. There was always a voice (not a literal one) telling me I wasn't doing enough, that I needed to try harder. And those longings I listed above were sometimes overwhelming.
I don't want to be overly dramatic, and I know that not everyone experiences these feelings--hopefully you have a better handle on these things than I did!
What I want to say to you in this post is that, if you do feel this way, first of all you are not alone. I've been there, and I'm sure you know others who have been there or are there right now.
Second, the physical and mental stress of all the things going on in your life are making you susceptible to lies. These come from all kinds of places--movies, tv, social media, friends, psychology courses you took in college, popular fiction, parenting magazines and blogs--and the enemy of your soul is only too happy to filter out the good so that you are inundated with comparison, self-condemnation, images of supposed perfection, "if-only" thoughts, and blame of anyone or anything that might be identified as contributing to your distress--but especially your husband, your circumstances (which the enemy convinces you cannot be changed), and your children.
Motherhood is challenging, and often really hard.
"Later" doesn't mean "never"--you will probably have to deny yourself things you want in the short term--maybe a job or an activity you love will have to be put on hold, but it doesn't mean you'll never be able to do it again.
You need friends--even just one friend that you can talk to on a regular basis can make a world of difference! Just be sure you don't spend your time together complaining, comparing, and criticizing.
God completely loves and accepts you, and doesn't require perfection!
THE SOLUTION TO FEELING OVERWHELMED AND DEFEATED
Imagine your failures and disappointments as a handful of sand, and God's love, acceptance, and forgiveness as the sea; when you toss the sand into the sea, it's no longer discernible--it's as if it never existed! Tell God, your father, what you are struggling with, how guilty you feel, how you long for more--cast it all into the sea of his great love, and allow him to sweep over it all.
Some things can't be changed--accept them rather than saying "If only . . ." It is resistance to these things that causes chafing and unhappiness.
Change what you can, but just one thing at a time--small steps, giving yourself and your children grace, patience, and time.
Do whatever is required to stop comparing yourself--be brutal in eliminating social media and anything else that sucks you into feeling that you, your husband, or your situation isn't good enough.
Offer yourself, your children, your dreams and hopes to God, every day. If you don't feel any different, don't worry, just keep doing it.
God loves you. It's not a cliche. Let the difficulties in your life draw you closer to Him, and closer to other people--husband, good friends, mentors.
And don't despair. Hard times are part of life that can't be avoided. There are no quick fixes, no hacks to instantly make things better. But you can take courage, remind yourself of the truth, remember others are going and have gone through this, too, and you'll get through it. Things will get better!
NOTE: If your feelings of being overwhelmed and disappointed or defeated are too much for you, please call someone. I'm available if you need to talk.