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When to Give Up

by Carolina Andes on May 10, 2018

When the dishes are piled a mile high, and you don't remember the last time there weren't two loads of laundry waiting, a forgotten load in the wash, and still piles of unfolded clothes. When your only option for clean clothes is rummaging through said unfolded laundry.

 

When your toddler demands to wear the same pajamas every single day, and you're tired of arguing.

 

When you wake up already just wanting it to be your kid's bedtime, and there just isn't enough coffee to get through the day.

 

When its that hour before your husband gets home, and you need to cook, and your kids won't stop whining and crying and pulling at your legs.

 

When you've let your kids watch Moana 5 times in one day, and you're overwhelmed with guilt.

 

When all your kids have eaten for a week straight is mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and strawberries. When every day is a string of stressing to prepare meals that no one wants to eat.

 

When all of your clothes either have spit up stains or are too small for your postpartum body. When your hair is unwashed and no concealer can hide those under-eye circles. When you're just tired of the crying. The whining, the tantrums. When you've spent days, weeks, months, with no one listening to you, no one thanking you, no breaks, no autonomy…

 

When you're nauseous and exhausted and so very pregnant, but the baby won't sleep, the toddler won't listen, and you just can't keep up with your house, and you've gone on every mommy facebook group, and to every friend, and you just can't figure out what in the world you're doing wrong.

 

Is something wrong with my kid? Is something wrong with me??

 

And you just want to give up. You want to give up meal prepping and dishwashing and floor-sweeping and bedtime routines. You want to give up pretending like you have it all together.

 

And so one day I just - did. I gave up.

 

 

I gave up worrying about the pile of cluttered toys. I gave up worrying about how quickly I folded my laundry. I gave up worrying about keeping my pillows fluffed and decorations current. I gave up trying to do it all.

 

Because as I held on so tightly to these perfectionist tendencies that once fit so well in my life during different seasons, I realized that in this season, they were crippling me. My desire for perfection was the thing making my life the least "perfect".

 

And so sometimes I prepare delicious, healthy meals. And some days I'm so overwhelmed, so nauseous from this fourth pregnancy, that I ask my husband to pick up a pizza on the way home. And I gave up the guilt.

 

Somedays, we watch Moana on repeat, because its too cold outside and everyone is driving me nuts. And I gave up the shame.

 

Sometimes (ok, most days) my house is cluttered and dishes are piled and the laundry wasn't switched over. And I gave up the anxiety.

 

Somedays one toddler is teething and the other is pushing my buttons and I'm just so exhausted and nothing is going my way. And so I gave up needing it to go my way. Someday, my kids will all be in school. Someday, they won't need my supervision and I can shower at will. Someday they'll make their own sandwich, and clean their own mess. And when that season comes, my house decorations and cleaning schedule and all these other little things, will all be my way again.

 

I was reminded of this today when I saw my 17-month-old tantruming, and I felt an immediate swell of irritation. I just wanted it to stop. I just wanted him to get over it, to get it together, to give me a break. And then I remembered - I need to give up needing it all to be my way. I saw his little face, tears rolling down, with a look of confusion and probably at this point not even sure why he was so sad. I saw my baby just standing there, and it hit me that he needed help, not perfection.

 

And so I held him, rubbed his back. Let the tantrum pass. I gave up worrying about the dishes I needed to wash that moment and the lunch I needed to cook and the tasks I wanted to complete. I gave up holding on so tightly to things that I just don't have room to hold on to. I gave up needing it all to go my way.

 

In Luke 9:23 Christ tells us "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

 

Daily I seem to forget that I want to pursue Christ, and that these tiny, messy, loud, difficult littles humans are my Great Commission for this season. They are my mission field, my ministry. They take my soul and stretch it to the ends of the earth, challenging and growing and sanctifying me. I must deny myself, deny the perfectionism of these worldly concerns, and follow Him.

 

God doesn't want us to be perfect - He wants His perfect love and grace to flow through us and to our children, our family, our friends, coworkers and more. But too often we get stuck believing a lie that the burden to be perfect is on us - and this lie has only brought me anxiety and irritability. We can bring our weary, imperfect selves to God and His power will be made perfect in our weaknesses. We can take up our cross daily and let Him work in us and through us. We don't have to be perfect - we don't need things to go our way.

 

And so, my dear friend, my fellow weary mother, just give up. Give up the concerns that burden you. Deny the part of you that wants things so badly to just go your way. Go to Him, weary and tired. He will give you rest, and He will strengthen you for tomorrow.