Nothing brings you more joy than having a family. So with all the love and adventure swirling around, why do we moms suffer from the blues more often than we’d like to admit?
Here’s my theory: apart from the general longing for perfection and beauty that is unfulfilled in this life, as described in my post here, I think it has to do with the hundreds of repeated failures we face every day.
I do not think these tiny failures make you a failure as a mom. The problem is, we hold tiny worlds in our clumsy hands. We’re responsible for balance, order, making sure everyone is fed, clean, and comfortable, the house faking cleanliness adequately, and a myriad of other things. We are, in short, amazingly Glorious Moms (or dads).
However, perfection is unattainable. We may be able to fake it for a day or two, but we aren’t God, and this isn’t heaven. There are things out of our control and things inside our control, things which aren’t our fault, and things for which we have no excuse.
The bottom line is this: we care deeply. We want to perfectly create a perfect world for the objects of our affection. We want to give them our best. We don’t want to snap in anger, continually say no to our five-year-old who just wants to play with mommy, or forget to have a meal ready for our husband.
These creatures of fierce passion, our loves, they disappoint in turn: tantrums, disobedience, poor performance in school, bad decisions. But we yearn for perfection, the way things were designed to be! For them and us. That perfection is not yet. It will be, soon, but for now we have this seemingly mediocre counterfeit.
How to deal with the perpetual crushing disappointment, the inevitable sadness? I have two small thoughts on the matter.
One: that we go on loving our family and loving God is a shining representation of our faith. That on this broken side of eternity we would waddle through a myriad of obstacles, loving and serving the best we know how is one of the most precious acts of worship we can present the Lover of our souls. Don’t think He doesn’t see! He sees and cherishes it.
My second thought is that as challenging as it is, we need to take our eyes off our thousands of failures, and set them first of all, on the One who never fails, and second of all, on the good things He has given us. Philippians 4:8 says to think about the good things. At one point I was journaling three things every day that had made me happy. It really helps to program your brain to focus on positive things.
The truth is, despite multiple repeated failures, we are not failures as mothers, friends, daughters, spouses … every day we put our needs last and focus on the needs of the ones we love the most, and move heaven and earth to meet those needs. It doesn’t always happen, but they are super-lucky to have us.