The Mommy Test

Written by: Brenda L. Yoder

Have you ever walked around your house for hours but don’t know what you’ve done? Have ever you felt completely overwhelmed, trapped inside a house with sick children, hoping the sun would shine, just for you today? Are there lurking fears in your head that all you will do this week, and the next, and the next, is clean up spit up, vomit, and messy diapers?

You’re not alone.

Mother Checking Baby's TemperatureI experienced post-partum depression with three out my four children. After Child #1, I thought life would never be the same again. After Child #2, I learned a new normal, and it was springtime, so all was well. After Child #3, the simple life with two children was no more, and after Child #4, I thought I was going to go over the edge. One school age, one in preschool, a sick toddler and a baby? In the middle of a winter that went on forever. For real?

Some people called it “The Baby Blues.” I heard whispers in the corners as tears fell from my eyes when the choir sang. “Overwhelmed, weak, fragile, not-doing-so-well” seemed to be plastered on my forehead. Or so I thought.

I felt alone.

As I looked around at other moms of various ages and stages, they seemed put-together and strong, able to manage children, home, lunch money and diapers fairly easily. They looked like they had showered recently, and probably had a casserole in the oven. I wasn’t sure if we had anything in our pantry other than macaroni and cheese.

I felt afraid.

Afraid I was failing the test. The mommy test. The wife test. The Christian, godly woman, Proverbs 31, Focus on the Family test. “F” was printed on my chest, feeling like a woman marked with failure. I wondered if anyone else felt this way.

MP900387302As I’ve spoken with other moms over the years raising toddlers to teenagers, common themes I’ve found among them are insecurity, fear, vulnerability, and feeling alone. A group of moms I recently spoke with identified the image of the “ideal Christian woman” as being perfect, patient, soft spoken, having well-behaved children, and being busy.

A tall order, but real expectations. So what if that’s not you?

You feel alone.

You feel afraid.

In my journey from parenting toddlers to teenagers, there have been moments I’ve been far from the ideal. I’ve been impatient, not-so- soft-spoken, and my children have often failed the well-behaved test. I have ranked high in the “busy” category. Being busy provides some sort of redeeming value to an otherwise botched life as a mom. I excel at being busy. How about you?

I’ve walked in hard places. I’ve seen the same fear, loneliness, and insecurity I‘ve felt in the eyes of other moms. As I’ve risked being real with other women, I’ve received the gift of tears from moms who have realized they are not alone in their secret room of guilt, insecurity, or feelings of failure.

Dear Daughter of the Most High God, welcome to a place where you are not alone. It’s a privilege to walk with you on this parenting journey. Kids don’t come with instruction books, but neither do mothers. The glow of motherhood is marred with dents, scratches, and tire marks. From my heart to yours, this mama is scared with all of the above, and a lot more. But with them comes strength, courage, and hope.

I’m not alone anymore because of the hope I’ve received in a living God who hears my every cry and answers the most desperate prayers. I’m not alone because I’ve taken a risk in being real, in showing the scars and a red-stained face with tears. I’m not alone because God never intended for us to be perfect or voiceless. I’m not alone because I’ve found a safe havens where I can say, “Help!” and I’ve found I’m not alone.

This is that place for you. Won’t you join us?

Father, for women reading this today, will you please flood them with your overwhelming presence and affirmation of who they are in You? Will you give them strength in their step, laughter in their smile, and joy in their heart, no matter what is falling down around them? Thank you that You are the only thing in life that is perfect. Thank you that your perfect love casts out all fear, and in that, we can stand.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1 (MSG)

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