Monday, February 9, 2015

Dear Exhausted, Interrupted Mama

It's so predictable, it ought to be a law. Like Murphy's, or Newton's - seemingly self evident.

Anytime a Mama can be interrupted? She will be.

You may wait to make that important phone call until everything is calm, but rest assured a brawl will blow up as soon as you do.

Or wait til baby is asleep to paint your fingernails? Yeah, she'll wake up, even if she's been sleeping a predictable 2 hours every day at this time for the past 3 months.

Why is life like that? Why does it seem like every time something matters, every time you make a little reach for something - you're knocked right back on your heels?

I was thinking about it in Sunday school yesterday morning, watching Rosie draw circles on the bulletin and making a mental note to bring a magic eraser in my bag everywhere I go (sorry to my church for the accidental crayon on the table! eep!). We're talking about rest and work balance and as soon as he says those words I'm tempted to check out.

Talk to any Mom (but especially a Mom of littles) about rest and you might see her mentally check out. Work/rest balance? It almost seems like a cruel joke. Finding a bit of quiet, a bit of peace, a bit of rest? She'd be more likely to get out the door for a dinner date dressed to the nines without someone hugging her with messy spaghetti hands, and you know how rare that is.

There's a temptation to think that no one "gets" it. No one "gets" this law of Mothering. The incessant interruptions. The everything-that-can-be-messed-up-will mentality. Sure, we make peace with it in our own lives but when someone comes along and makes the suggestion that we sneak away for a little bit of rest? It's frustrating enough to make you swear off social interactions for good.

It's that creeping thought - either no one else is doing it or everyone is. It can feel like no one else understands the interruptions on your life - and that everyone else is somehow getting these smooth times of rest that you're missing out on.

But I read down, in Mark (Mk 6:30-34) - and I see it. Even when Jesus and his disciples went off in search of rest - people followed. It reminds me of my own little flock here, with their seemingly 6th sense about where I am at all times. People with no regard for my preferences, driven by their own needs. Jesus understands this, and his response? Compassion.

I feel relief pour right over me. I'm reminded that even when it seems like no one "gets" this - God always does. There's nothing we face, nothing we struggle with that He doesn't completely understand, even the interrupted attempts at rest.

Interruptions will keep happening. It's the law of Motherhood. We will wait til the stars align, pour ourselves a cup of tea and make an intentional attempt and sometimes, some glorious times? It will work. It will feel marvelous. It will be a deep, real, soul nourishing peace. But a lot of the times? It will be fertile ground for the next catastrophe. God knows this. And we do too.

There will be exhaustion on this road. There will be times when you need rest, seek out rest - and cannot have it. There will be time after time after time that you put the needs of your little flock above your own. There will. There will be days where you struggle to see anything good about any of it, where the only thing that keeps you dragging yourself to day's end is the steady stream of coffee you keep gulping down like a magical exhaustion antidote. That's service. That's laying down your life for another. That's Christ-like mothering.

Dear interrupted Mama - the interruptions are opportunities for compassion. Growth. Humility. Keep seeking peace. Keep seeking rest. When you do, you'll find it in ways and places you may not have if everything worked out how you planned. You'll grow stronger. You'll grow more patient. You'll find yourself tired but triumphant. And when rest does come, you'll recognize it for the incredible, supernatural gift that it is.

Mark 6:30-34

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  1. Beautifully worded. ..we are in a very similar place in life..except I am pregnant with my 8th..YOU ARE BLESSED!! Esther

  2. I find that when I seek rest from the Father, I'm able to find it in a sweet baby smile as he nurses, a snuggle during book time, an act of compassion in my oldest as he wipes his brother's nose..... small reminders that give me rest and reassurance that, these days in the trenches of raising young kids, is worth my patience and savor. Blessed you are Lydia!

  3. Beautiful, as always, dear mama. I am understanding this, as the youngest of my 8 children is 2yo, now. I only wish I could have made myself understand this at the beginning of my mothering journey over 2 decades ago. <3


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