When Mom Just Needs a Good Cry

exhausted[1]Occasionally Clint comes home to the kind of house the biblical womanhood books urge us to cultivate—peaceful, joyful, and in order.  Often he comes home to the slightly more frazzled version.  But every now and then he comes home to the blank-faced, empty-eyed, wife-of-exhaustion home.  Last week I had one of those nights.  If I was a punching bag I’d have been entirely flat.  All done.  He found me sweaty and woefully shower-deprived, chopping sweet potatoes in the kitchen, vacantly wondering if one roasted starch could qualify as dinner.  Clint took one look at me and said, “Why don’t you go out for dinner tonight?  I’ll feed the kids and put them to bed.”

For a moment I thought the clouds might part and a dove descend from heaven.  “Are you serious?”  Before he could answer (or change his mind) I was in and out of the shower, running out the front door with soaking wet hair and the first pair of clothes I could find.

“Where are you going to eat?”  Clint called.

I flashed him a mile-long smile.  “I don’t care!!”

For an hour and a half I enjoyed sushi, shrimp, and sweet silence.  But here is a really honest admission—sometimes, even in the oasis, I feel anxiety.  I think it’s because deep down I’m afraid I will always end up back here, in this place of depletion and discouragement.  And I want to grow past that.  After all, I’m an overcomer in Christ.  I have two beautiful children who are watching me.  And let’s be honest—there’s not always going to be a Japanese steakhouse when I need it.

So the question I’ve been asking myself is what drives me to this point?  When I was a teacher there were stressful days, but I never felt like a coma would be welcome relief.  I don’t know if it’s the ultimate answer, but one of the conclusions I’ve drawn is that parenthood is just different from any other vocational calling.  Most jobs allow for a sense of separation.  You clock in and clock out.  You maintain personal boundaries.  You become as emotionally invested {or detached} as you want.

And then along come children, and in five seconds flat they invade all of you, running full speed ahead into your heart, your mind, your life, and occasionally your shower.  I used to think that after having kids Clint and I would still sometimes live like we didn’t have them.  Maybe we’d go on a romantic vacation, or hire a sitter and go out with friends.  And we did.  But what I didn’t realize is that once you have kids, they are always a part of you.  Even when they’re not around physically, you think about them, pray for them, wonder if Grandma remembered to put their toe medication on before bed.  They are woven into your DNA.  It’s surreal and precious.  It’s the reason I cry every time another candle on the birthday cake reminds me that they’ll one day be grown.

And at the same time, it’s challenging.  Kids don’t ask for a portion of your heart or a little bit of your effort.  They ask for all of you.  They need all of you.  When you want to burst into tears because you just had a fight with a friend, they’re right there beside you wanting to know—“Why are you crying?  What’s wrong?  Explain it to me, Mom.  Help me understand this world, Mom.  I’m hungry, Mom.  Meet my needs, Mom.  Be there for me, Mom.”

But here’s the game changer.  You and I have a Parent, too.  And unlike us, He’s perfect.  The Bible says, “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12-13).  If you have taken Christ at His Word, surrendering your life to Him because you believe He is who He says He is, then you are His child.  Which means you are allowed to run into His arms and burst into tears just like your baby runs into yours.  And boy are the arms of Jesus tender.  In Matthew 23, even as He is rebuking Jerusalem, Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

O Jesus, I am willing.  I am willing to be gathered into your arms.  I am willing to find strength in Your strength (Eph 6:10) and rest in Your rest (Matt 11:28-30).  I am willing—I am longing—to be parented by You.

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14 thoughts on “When Mom Just Needs a Good Cry

  1. I love this post. I am a new mom, and I already am realizing how much they become apart of you. Those moments you’re leaving and think you’re getting a break, you think of them the whole time you’re gone. Thank the Lord we have Him to depend on as we meet the needs of our children!

  2. I can totally identify with this! Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the most rewarding. I’m so thankful that God is the perfect parent, because I’m certainly not! Thank you for a great post:)

  3. What a lovely post! It’s so true! I, too, have had moments where I’ve just wanted some ‘Rip van Winkle’ action, so your mention of a coma being a welcome reprieve struck me. It is such a miraculous blessing to know that the Savior is there for us. He and the knowledge of him makes surviving the hard days, and the repentance and improvement afterward, possible.

    And I’m willing, too. 🙂 Thank you for the happy tears. Keep up the hard work!

  4. Great post! I definitely get it!! I feel like you could be writing my thoughts. Thank you for the reminder about running into Jesus’ arms. I needed that today!

  5. Jeanne, I just wanted to drop a note and say I love your blog. My husband and I are missionaries in Athens, Greece with our three young children, and you have encouraged me in so many ways by pointing me to our Heavenly Father. I hope my kids (also growing up on the mission field) will be as connected to God as you are 🙂 Thanks for everything!!

  6. Yesterday was one of those days, but aren’t His mercies new every morning? I had a great cry to my husband after a long day of homeschooling, housework not getting as done as I’d like, and feeling sorry for myself. But after calling out to the Lord with my hubby, I woke up actually blissful! Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing, and I can relate to your story.

  7. How I needed this today. I absolutely feel in need of a good cry after a day with my little people today. You put words to my question. What drives me to that point? And daily He works on me reminding me to just come into His embrace,

  8. I just love the way you described it. One thing that I see as the parent of adult children, is they ARE always a part of you no matter how old they are. My two adult children live across the country and even though I have a full rich life of work and ministry, I still think and consider how my “kids” are.Daily. The ttrick at this stage is how to stay connected without smuthering or intruding! Add to the mix spouces and grandkids too and they all pull at your heart too. In very different ways. Parenting at every stage teaches you about who and how the God of our universe parents us. Grandparenting is one of the most joyous stages yet and reveals things about God I never dreamed!!!! SO enjoy each stage, take a break often, cathart when you need to, but always know its the best best best job ever!!

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