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A Mom’s Mental Load: Self-Inflicted or Necessary?

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A Mom’s Mental Load: Self-Inflicted or Necessary?

In 5th grade, I learned the difference between a fact and opinion piece of writing. Opinion was my favorite. Go figure! What I’m about to reflect on is my own personal opinion within the walls of my home. 

Having a primary parent does not work for our family. Having two parents that show up for their kids does work really well. 


SEASONS

By now you know I’ve been a teen mom, single mom, widowed mom, and now a married mom to three. In each season, I’ve realized the phrase “tough as a Mother” is an honor, not a pain point. I’ve prayed for deep discernment on my kid’s unknown actions and also deflected some tough parenting issues to someone else. Giving up these imaginary titles I place on myself leaves space for my kids to learn and grow with another adult. Usually their dad.


I recently read another opinion article about how mothers carry this mental load of care for their family. It’s true. Yet, no one asks us to. Is it innate? Is there an expectation there? What if we just... quit? Are we as women truly made to be nurturers and emotional supporters? All I know is, I carry weight that my husband doesn’t. “Will the teacher notice I didn’t fix hair this morning? I literally cannot even imagine signing the kids up for one more activity to chauffeur around to. What kind of future emotional impact will there be with us having the same six meals on repeat? Shoot, I forgot to flip the laundry!”


CONTROL

You know who else can yield a brush, drive a car, cook a meal, and re-wash a load of soured clothes? 

Mr. Guess. 

You know how Mr. Guess knows those things should even be worried about? By me telling him. The response is usually, “those things don’t really matter. It will all work out.” Ohhhhh is it that easy, sir? Yes, yes it is.


SPOILER ALERT: it’s self-inflicted

Bottom line, I had to quit listing out subtitles to motherhood (chauffeur, cook, teacher, principal, counselor, doctor, maid, laundromat, nanny). I’m just a M O M and these kids and husband, I can choose to gladly serve or be bitter about it. 


Would it be nice if motherhood was a paying gig? Sure! Who doesn’t like some extra cash. But the pay truly, hear me out, is in the giving of yourself in love and receiving back more than you could even imagine. The sacrifice and selflessness are the token that you keep on loading in the slot.

#WORTHIT

I could brush off the give and take we have in our marriage or tell you this- it was hard fought for. From someone who raised one kid on her own, to voluntarily creating more humans with another human... it took some compromise and relinquishing of control. 


“I married you to parent our son,” said as a joke to make a tough parenting conversation with Mr. Guess a little lighter. But it’s so true. I married a man that I prayed specific qualities for- and none of them included “Please, Lord Jesus, let him worry about the little things like dust bunnies and lurking food dyes.” No, I wanted a man that would listen to me and the kids. A man that knew how a boy’s brain ticked and could guide him. Someone who was gentle where I was rough around the edges. The man I needed to pursue my heart was heading fast after God’s heart for his own life. Who we needed was a parent that didn’t pass off but leaned in.  


And he needs that from me too! Our kids deserve it. 

STOP IT

This mental load, don’t fall for it. Fact: it will make you tired. bitter. lonely. fearful. discarded. Focus on serving, loving, giving. Settle into enough, joy, and receiving. Praise the Lord, He’s already made a way for you, Momma! 


There is no season you’re in as a mother where you have the excuse to let the mental load weigh you down. Seek out a friend for help when needed. Renew your thoughts. Don’t have a friend? Be a friend. Let other adults into your kid’s life. Whether divorced or single, there is a way out of the mental load. Put it at the top of your list “give grace and ask for help when needed”.


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I can’t leave you without encouragement from a well that will never run dry on direction. God’s Word is an open book of instruction. Pray over these scriptures. Ask God to show you in what ways can you let go of this mental load and step into a role you’re made for as a Mom. 


ANXIETY: “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:22-24‬ ‭


FEAR “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭


CONTROL “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭


FRIENDSHIP “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭


SERVING “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:46‬ 


JOY “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Choking Fear

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Choking Fear

I should not have been standing by my husband’s casket still feeling his strong and stifling hands around my neck. We live in a broken world where following our hearts lead us to rushed marriages and unfulfilled expectations. Inside communities where gossip tongues spread lies like wildfire, the smoke has choked me time and time again. Where my own thoughts and actions have left me in a mental torment, the only way out seemed to end my life.

Choked.
Choking.
Will choke again.


Funny thing about the the lungs is that a man’s lungs can hold more oxygen than a woman’s. Twice as much. Does this mean a woman’s breath, her voice, is half important? Many questions, few answers because honestly, some days it just doesn’t matter.

I’m at the beginning… the fringe of finding my voice. It’s been a year journey of the Lord saying over and over, “I’ll fight for you, be still.” As an Enneagram 8 (read stubborn, competitive, fights for justice), this is completely against my nature. The very fibers I was made with craves to talk, to be heard, to speak life into others. This vessel, these lungs, they’ve been worn down. In the words of P!nk, “I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence. The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth.”


”Mommy, did God make the world by speaking it?” Yes, baby He did… and that same voice still speaks Truth and Life into you.

As much as I know that. As sure as that’s my foundation… those stifling hands still choke me. I wake up in sweats barely able to breathe. I get into an argument with my husband and feel like my words don’t matter. I command my kids over and over to perform a certain way, but yet they still miss it! <<What is all of that? Why do I carry the weight of an insecure woman, widowed by suicide? Shame. Fear. Guilt. It’s time to choke back more than just tears.

I can’t say it enough sister, friend. The things you feel the most strong about are what you just need to take a deep breath and step into! I prayed continuously to be given my voice back. I’m all for the Lord fighting for me, and I knew these lungs of mine have been conditioned over time to speak out what He’s doing in my life.

Writing is safe. Speaking is scary, especially for someone that works things out through speaking outside of her head more than in. I’ve had an answer to prayer for a year, and as sure as the sun rises, it’s coming up.

Are you ready to choke fear? Would love to know how you fight!


Your Weapons:

”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

”“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1b

”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

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What You Have is Just Enough

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What You Have is Just Enough

“No matter how many wrong choices we made past, we can always decide to make the right ones today. The past need not determine one moment of the future.” Wilda Culp from “The Story Keeper”.


Southern women and their sayings. Usually true as all get out, but not what you always expect to hear! The above quote is from a fictitious character in “The Story Keeper”. A must read book! {Part of my new year ambitions was to read more. Always up for book suggestions!}

I have to admit, I’m as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to share some things with y’all. Looking back on some intense past failures in my marriage, as a mother, friend, business owner, and child of God was an inward look needed, but ripped off some old bandaids. Hanging there, all frayed and unforgotten, I decided not to go into 2019 with fears holding me back from what I knew was my purpose in life.

Today. We have today, right? If you woke up this morning with breath in your lungs, then you have purpose. Is it a great big long search of “finding yourself” to find that purpose? Nope. You have everything you need for today and the next right at your fingertips.

Jesus gave us a great illustration for this in John chapter 6. The disciples were faced with a hungry crowd of people. Jesus had compassion on them, because they looked like lost sheep without a shepherd. The disciples solution to feeding them? Send them away to a nearby town to buy their own food! Smart!

Immediately, reading this I thought of conferences where you split in between sessions to eat lunch with others. I personally hate this! It’s a rush to find out who’s going where, what friend group do you want to be with, what’s the cost of the restaurant, will we make it back in time or miss something driving too far away to get a bite to eat?! Ah, the stress of it all! I would much rather bring a humbly filled lunch box and chat in our seats about what we just heard.

I can imagine the disciples feeling of contentment when they found a solution! But what did Jesus say, "You give them something to eat.”

Ummm… Hold up, Jesus. That’s going to cost a lot of MONEY to feed all these people.

”How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”


<<What do you have? Start there.

Did you sense anything from my previous illustration of eating lunch out? Insecurity! Fear of being uncomfortable! I joked with a friend recently that I have hardly any physical insecurities. It is true, somewhat! When I’m in my element talking in front of people, laughing with friends, chatting with my sister, or playing with my kids I feel confident, purpose filled, and content.

But my husband would tell you differently! When I’m with the person who knows me most intimately, those insecurities bubble up. I sense every unshaven hair and past failure equally as deep. Perfection is strived for in my marriage, and it has stifled some of the most beautiful “could be” moments.

In the midst of it all, I continuously hear the Lord telling me He will do great things with our marriage and commitment to each other.


What I might have today is a committed marriage. It just doesn’t seem enough to show the world how good God is, because I have taken it for granted in years past. I know you can relate, sister friend. You’ve cried on my shoulder, confessed some deep mistakes and insecurities, told me you wanted out, mourned for the wife you wanted to be…

Let me give you this to eat, and I pray the Lord multiplies it in your heart, “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” <Ephesians 2:10

Mr. Guess

You don’t need to search out what your purpose is. You already have it! Today is your day. Jesus has already made a way for you to leave those wrong things in yesterday… Take Him up on his offer and walk out your new year in freedom!

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