When You Feel Like Everything Depends on You as a Mom
“Mom, are you okay?” my son sheepishly asked me.
No, I really wasn’t. Feeling outmatched and overwhelmed, I burst into tears. It had been one of those days when the kids seemed to be bickering continuously, the house looked like the site of a natural disaster, and I had been up most of the night battling another one of Bella’s asthma attacks. When I have what seems like a thousand emails in my inbox, projects looming, laundry piling up, bills to be paid, and meals to plan, it can feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I can’t help but think, “Everything depends on me!”
The stress of everyday life as a mom is real. Our responsibilities are many and the consequences of our attentiveness—or lack thereof—are significant. The load can weigh heavy on a momma’s heart. It can leave us wondering if we can do it—and do it well.
When we start to feel like everything depends on us, we may give up and check out. We let the house go to shambles while we shop at the mall or update Facebook, or we offload too many of our parenting duties onto babysitters or husbands. What’s more likely, though, is that we try to do it all and keep everything under control. We get used to everything being under our watchful eyes, and we don’t want to let our children out of our sight—literally.
For a protective momma, letting go of control is not easy, but holding onto control is exhausting! It’s easy to maintain control when our kids are young. They need us for everything and we have a lot of control over them. We decide what they will eat, when they will eat, what clothes they’ll wear, when they will nap, how much TV and which shows they can watch, and when they will go to bed. This is appropriate. But as they get older, spend more time away from us, and engage more with the world, it becomes appropriate to loosen some of that control.
Of course we still need to set boundaries, protect our kids, help influence their choices, or even say no to our kid’s desires that are dangerous or unbiblical. But it is not our responsibility to control or change their personalities, their every activity, their choice of friends, or their dreams and goals. Nor can we (ultimately) control their spiritual choices through lists of rules or keeping them at home as much as possible. If we believe deep inside that everything depends on us, we will continue to grasp for control at every turn. Being over-controlling is one of the surest symptoms of a self-reliant, everything-depends-on-me mom.
The good news is that everything doesn’t depend on us.
We are not momming alone. While we might feel that way at times, we serve a God who is far more powerful, wise, and loving than we ever could be. And he is with us, reigning and ruling over all things (Ephesians 1:22) and parenting our children in countless ways we cannot see. He is at work in us and through us. Where we are weak, God is strong. Where we fall short, God is faithful.
Growing to be a better mom is not about gaining control so we can hold everything together and make everything work. It is about growing more dependent on our wise, good, and powerful Father. It is about giving up control and learning to surrender to God instead of trying to be God.
This post is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my new book, The Better Mom and God continues to teach me about this topic through my husband's cancer journey. We are so thankful for your prayers and you can follow along with updates here on The Better Mom Facebook page.
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