What I Need When Motherhood Makes Me Whine

This article is so important.  You know I’m a busy mom. And I think a lot of busy moms read here. And I can testify, it’s so easy to get lop-sided about our job, and begin to live with a victim mentality. (Admit it: you’ve thought at least once in your life, “These people want to eat. Again?!”)

I fear too, with all the Internet articles circling around, that it’s easier than ever to begrudge our job as mothers.

Our lives are easier now than ever in history. We have electricity and modern conveniences our great-grandmothers would be gobsmacked over.

And while we need to be able to give ourselves grace and share our burdens with one another, that sharing needs to be accompanied by words of strength and encouragement, and practical strategies for coping when motherhood feels too hard, not by a license to wallow in pity.

I’m talking to myself.

So do yourself a HUGE favor and go read I Signed Up For This. I mean I cannot tell you how great it is. Then tell me what you thought.

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25 Responses to “What I Need When Motherhood Makes Me Whine”

  1. Cindy says:

    So, I’m sitting here at the doctor’s office doing the allergy shot thing, getting ready to do the awana thing, and, yes, whining a little. I love housekeeping. I love mothering. I do not love running around town all the time, and that seems like a huge chunk of my life right now. Whimper, whimper, whine. Wah. I almost skipped this post, but then I saw the word “whining” and thought it must surely be for me that this thing was posted today. So hi! Thanks!

    • 😀 Nothing like running around town to make me whine. (We are introverts, after all.) But isn’t it an awesome article? I’m just amazed at how often I act surprised at the hard parts of motherhood.

  2. 6 arrows says:

    Ouch to #11 — “me-time.”

    It was easier to die to self when I had little little ones who were so dependent on me.

    Now that there aren’t any more babies (or toddlers, or even preschoolers), who need lots of care, it’s easy to convince myself that I deserve some significant me-time because, after all, I’ve been at this parenting business almost a quarter century…I’m going through menopause…I’m tired…and, by golly, I’ve earned some alone time after all that!

    Um, no. Their needs change, but they all still need TLC from Mom, whatever their ages.

    I cling to “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

    There is my strength and encouragement. 🙂

    • I was thinking about this yesterday, C, and how I’m sure this is how many grandmothers feel. “I’ve done my duty” and that’s why we wonder where they are. I can see how very easy it is to get to that place. But even once our children our grown, I think we must still give of ourselves. And that certainly must require an extra heavy dose of grace and understanding God’s purpose for us here. May we all be renewed.

      • 6 arrows says:

        Amen to renewal, Kelly.

        I’m reading a book right now entitled Quiet Talks on Service, and I’m reminded of how counter-cultural the message of “serve others” is, versus “serve myself first [then others, if I have the time, the energy, the ambition, the whatever].”

        A life of service is just that — a LIFE, not a phase that ends when we or are kids get to a certain age, or after we’ve performed our “quota” of good deeds.

        • Cate says:

          You can certainly have some “me” time and still have a life of service.

          What is me time, anyway? Exercise–that’s important! Hobbies–like this blog? That’s a good thing. Reading a book–frankly, if your children need you so much that you can’t read a book, then something is wrong.

          I want my daughters to enjoy “me” time when they are adults, so I am careful to model it to them.

          • Cate,

            I’m not sure you’re reading that part of the article the way it’s meant to be understood. Notice she said, “but I won’t act like a spoiled brat if I don’t get it.” There is a difference in having some time to one’s self, and demanding that time as an entitlement.

          • 6 arrows says:

            Cate,

            I agree with you that alone time and a life of service aren’t mutually exclusive. Jesus Himself took breaks away from the crowds to be alone with the Father. And moms can certainly take time apart from the children for a variety of reasons — not just for prayer, Bible study, etc., but other things like you mention (exercise, hobbies, reading), as time permits.

            And I agree it’s good for children to know that moms need breaks, and that they don’t spend all their time working themselves to the bone meeting everybody’s demands. It’s unhealthy for the children (not to mention for mom) to witness or live out a life model like that.

            My point, though (as well as the author’s), was about the *attitude* we have towards “me-time.” If I think I’m entitled to a certain amount of alone time for any reason, but circumstances are such that I can not or should not “get away from it all” for a while, then do I have the right to throw a hissy fit over the supposed unfairness of it? Or can I flat out refuse to serve anymore because “I’ve done my time” over the years? No.

            It’s my opinion that a life of service begins with a servant-hearted mindset. Alone time as part of that life of service can be a wonderful way to recharge. We all need breaks. But the servant heart seeks to serve; is grateful for the opportunities to replenish one’s reserves with alone time, even if that time is more scant than one wishes; and does not continually rail against the challenges in life that may make a person temporarily unable to take a break, no matter how much one believes s/he’s earned one.

            I don’t believe we earn our “me-time” because of our previous good deeds, or our age, our present difficulties, or any other reason. It’s given to us as a gift, and is very beneficial to everyone involved (a mom and her family) when used to the glory of God (receiving it with gratefulness rather than a sense of entitlement; using that time well, allowing it to equip and energize us for further acts of service, rather than as a frequent escape from service; and so on).

            I hope that clarifies my earlier comments.

            • Cate says:

              Don’t throw a fit if you don’t get me time? That is the message? What grown woman throws a fit over such a thing? I’ve never known one. I’ve known women to be sad, or depressed or overweight because of inadequate time to care for themselves. But I’ve never known anyone over 3 to throw a fit over such things.

              • 6 arrows says:

                “Don’t throw a fit if you don’t get me time? That is the message?”

                The author of the article used the term “entitled brat,” as in, “I will take it [me-time] when I can get it, but I won’t act like an entitled brat if I don’t get it.”

                I am using “throw a fit” in the same sense the author is using “entitled brat” because that is what entitled brats often do — throw fits when their wills are thwarted.

                You never saw anyone over three throw a fit? You’ve lived a pretty sheltered life then. Go teach school for a few years and see if you don’t see some major tantrums in the over-three crowd, including sometimes in the parents of the kids.

                If you really want to see a doozy of a fit, you should have seen the one I saw when a mother of a spoiled-brat student came in to chew me out for putting her perfect-angel (*cough cough*) child on detention.

                Or the encounter a colleague (the cheerleading coach) described when a mother got angry that her daughter only made the junior varsity squad.

                You think these kinds of people who get so bent out of shape that they threaten others because something happened that they didn’t like are going to be self-restrained when someone or something stands in the way of their me-time?

                You’re quite naive, Cate, if you think that kind of ugliness doesn’t spill over into other areas of life, or that it doesn’t happen in adults, just because you personally haven’t witnessed it.

                • Cate says:

                  Bless you, 6 arrows.

                  No, I have never seen a grown Christian woman, a wife and mother, throw “a fit” because she didn’t get enough “me time.” Never in my life have I heard of such a thing. Have you?

                  I would suggest that if there is such a woman, it would behoove her husband to get her some time for herself, because she must really need it. A blog post saying she’s not entitled to it wouldn’t help her at all.

                  In such an extreme case, she needs help, not people telling her she doesn’t deserve it or need it.

                  • Cate says:

                    I’d like to add that if a carpenter finds himself overwhelmed with work orders he can’t handle, he doesn’t say, “Well, at least I have electricity! My great-grandfather didn’t have that!”

                    No, he says, “I better ask my buddy for help.” or “I better not take any more orders.”

                    That is what the overwhelmed mom should do. Not allow herself to be guilted and shamed for her exhaustion.

                    • From the collective glance at all your comments, Cate, I don’t think you’re interested in having a real discussion or seeing an author’s heart or hearing the real message (this post as well as the most recent one). The author here isn’t talking about a mother who sometimes finds herself overwhelmed. She nor any of us would deny that mother should and deserves to get help, take a break, or whatever. (I’ve repeated that often.)

                      The author is addressing a consistent, problematic mentality, where a mother simply thinks wrongly about the normal parts of her job. To use your example, it would be like a carpenter getting frustrated every day, over normal work situations, always complaining about things that are to be expected on a construction site, being surprised at the ordinary tasks, and having a martyr mentality instead of being grateful for work.

                      Please attempt to address what is actually being said, instead of throwing straw men everywhere. It’s not helpful. We would love to have you here, but not with a dissenting spirit for the sake of dissent.

                    • 6 arrows says:

                      Thank you for your wise words, Kelly.

              • Cate says:

                Yes, Kelly, thank you.

                6 arrows, I mean it when I said “Bless you.” If you are going through menopause, then it is understandable that you would be less patient and speak impulsively or unkindly at times. I understand and forgive you.

                • 6 arrows says:

                  Alright, Cate, here’s the deal.

                  You’ve been acting like a troll almost from the get-go, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt because it’s not wrong for a person to counter another person’s assertions, as you did when you first commented on this post.

                  But you continue to come back, twisting the words of those people you wish to target (mine on this post, Kelly’s on the current one). I’m not going to correct every falsehood in your last comment, because your goal is not to have an intelligent discussion, but to distract, mislead and bait.

                  Offering forgiveness and blessing?

                  Ha! But nice try. 🙂

                • Keri says:

                  Cate, I have figured that’s probably the case with her too. I’ve been the recipient of her words also.

  3. laura says:

    gobsmacked, huh?? lol

  4. Laura says:

    I LOVE this article!!! I so totally needed to read it, especially this week. All this week I kept sending texts to my best friend along the lines of ‘is this really my life? I CANNOT DO THIS ANY MORE’ and generally complaining about my kids. So yeah. It’s great to have that reminder that it was MY choice to have kids, MY choice to stay home, MY choice to homeschool. Time to pull up my bootstraps and grow up and face my life with joy!

  5. Jeanette says:

    I am definitely going to remember come vbs week that at least it’s not two weeks of vbs and then I have to go home and do the canning! 🙂 But I struggle with the phrasing of this, “I signed up for this, ” because that would be similar to a barren woman saying she signed up for being barren. None of us decided to have the children we have. God gave them to us. And hopefully we can be constantly thanking Him for the honor of raising His kids, and not surprised by all it entails as the author so keenly pointed out.

  6. Amanda D. says:

    Holy buckets!! I don’t know what was more entertaining, the article or the comments left here on the blog! 😉

    The article was right on, loved it! Thank you for linking to it because I needed to remember that I signed up for this!

    My oldest will be 20 shortly and youngest is 4 months. I always preach what this article says, but I don’t always remember to remind myself!

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