Struggling to find joy in motherhood

I know I normally do a Friday Favorites post, but this week I need to share whats been on my heart the past few days!

Parenting is hard. I may have mentioned this once or twice.

I absolutely love being a mom (we’ll just call that this week’s “Friday Favorite”). But I have to be honest…I’ve been having trouble finding the joy in being a mom lately. I can get so bogged down in the whining and the nagging and the messes and the crying and the interruptions (sooo many interruptions) and the “why won’t anyone listen to me?!?!”s. Can anyone relate? I feel like I’m constantly counting down the clock each day and wondering how much longer til bedtime. It’s draining.

And I don’t like feeling that way.

There are so many things I need to (and want to) get done in a day. I got into this a little bit on last week’s post. I’m constantly in multi-tasking mode. I can fold laundry while they nap, I can paint while they are outside, I can watch my TV show while they watch theirs, I can read a book or write while they are playing in their room, etc. etc. But at the end of the day I’ve been multi-tasking basically everything to the point where I’m just half-assing all of it, including my time with the boys. More often than not I am counting on them to be independent players or entertaining each other so I can get my to-do list done, whether it’s a need-to-do (clean dishes) or want-to-do (watch this week’s shows on hulu).

Yes, there are things that have to get done and my kids do not need my undivided attention from wake up to bedtime. I don’t want to create little needy monsters. But they do deserve my undivided attention at some points during the day. They deserve time with me without me also trying to accomplish something else. They deserve time with me without my cell phone in hand. And you know what? I need time with them, too.

So much of my frustration and my stress and my “overwhelmed” feeling in parenting is due to my own attitude, not my kids’ (ouch). Am I really going to let a 2 year old and 4 year old’s behavior dictate my day?! That’s ridiculous. So what if Porter is on meltdown number 32 of the day? He’s two years old. Try to correct the behavior and then just keep on moving on. I don’t need to turn it into my own meltdown (guilty). Yes it’s frustrating, and frankly annoying, but that’s just where we are at right now.

So? So I’m working on it. I’m praying. I’m being intentional with my time. I’m taking some things off of my plate that I don’t have room for. I’m asking God to help me stop acting so self-centered (again, ouch). I’m owning up to my fonky attitude. I’m realizing I may need to sacrifice some things to make life flow a little bit more smoothly, as much as it can with small kids.

This week I decided to wake up an hour or so before the boys so I could enjoy some quiet, drink my coffee in peace, and scratch a few things off the to-do-list. That way I’m not trying to get those things done with the boys awake. It frees up the rest of my day so I can do things like stop at the park on the way home from school, or spend half an hour rolling the ball and reading books. There is truly so much joy found in those little things and that’s what I had been missing. And honestly waking up on my own and not to the sounds of someone crying or yelling “mommy!” from across the house starts my day on a much better foot. It’s nice to wake up without someone needing something from me.

Another practical thing I can do is be quicker to recognize when I’m having a bad attitude and to stop it in its tracks. To invite God into whatever emotion I’m struggling with and trust Him to live and work through me. To look for the opportunity to trust Him instead of my own “abilities”. I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t yell at a 4 year old to stop whining. I’m pretty sure He has a lot of grace with us. And so that means I can have a lot of grace, too, because I have Christ in me (hallelujah). I can discipline in love and not in frustration. I can love my kids and those around me well because I am loved well.

Honestly I am a constant work in progress as I’m trusting God with this parenting and life thing. He has been revealing SO much to me lately, and while it’s hard I am so thankful.

I hope my out-loud-processing and over-sharing can be an encouragement to you that you aren’t alone in whatever you’re walking through, even if our circumstances are totally different. So what’s God been teaching you lately, and what is an area in your life you could invite Him into? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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