When Motherhood Defeats You

I broke down last night. I haven’t had a good cry in a while. To be honest, I have been too tired. You know the point where you are just too exhausted to spend any precious energy on emotions? That was the point I had reached. Unbidden, all of the emotions that had been stewing beneath the surface were unleashed in a tumultuous explosion. I felt hot tears running down my cheeks, and fled into the bedroom so that no one could see them.

I didn’t fool my husband, of course. As he sat down next to me and put his arm around me, the reason why I felt so broken in that moment came into sharp focus.

Being a mother is grueling, wearying, taxing, overwhelming, demanding work.Β 

And it is ok for me to admit that to myself.

Because I had appointed myself as the unofficial ambassador of not being ashamed of your family size and spacingΒ I had ignored, to my detriment, how much I was grappling with motherhood sometimes. I was so adamant to set out and prove that motherhood was beautiful and wonderful, that I suppressed and buried deep down any of the frustrations and strife that came along with it.

And let me tell ya, if you don’t handle your emotions effectively, they don’t disappear. They build up and explode out of you. It is extremely embarrassing. Luckily, the children were all in bed and did not witness mommy’s downfall into a puddle of tears that would put my two year old to shame. It was extremely humbling.

I don’t have it all together. I feel overwhelmed a lot. I am lonely often. I am never well rested. All of my pregnancies have taken a lot out of me. I hate to even admit this all in writing, but it is true.

I felt the need to pretend motherhood was only sweetness and light when it is not.

People say they can’t believe that I have time to do this silly blogging hobby of mine, but what they don’t understand is that this is my lifeline. I write, and I take this all in good humor, or else I get overwhelmed.

You can love your children more fiercely than you love your own life, and still be able to admit that the vocation of motherhood is wearisome. Wearisome in every aspect. My children unknowingly challenge me to be a better person constantly. My worst fear every day is that I will fail them in some way. And fail them I do, but they forgive me cheerfully and without hesitation every time.

Any mother who stumbles upon this blog doesn’t need me to tell her that motherhood is beautiful and wonderful. She already knows that. She needs to know that she is not alone. We are all lonely. We are all anxious. We are all overwhelmed. And it’s alright to break down and cry sometimes alone or with your husband’s arm around you. And most importantly, it is ok to ask for help. Everyone needs a good support system. I have been blessed to miraculously meet the most wonderful mothers through this mediocre at best blog of mine. They have become my fastest friends and my greatest cheerleaders. They are genuinely proud of me for my small successes and support me and pray for me throughout my times of despair. And quite frankly, I shudder to think where I would be without them. People like to harp about what a vicious group of vipers mothers are online, but I think it is oft ignored how they can also be the brightest ray of hope for each other.

I don’t want to look back on this season of my life with bitterness and resentment. Β I want to look back with fondness. But in order to do that, I have to face the reality of motherhood and the hardships that it naturally entails. Otherwise, all of the hardships will consume all of the beautiful moments. Loving in this life means pain and sacrifice. Pain and sacrifice can be sanctifying, if we let them. Like a pinch of salt can amplify all of the sweet flavors of a dessert, accepting the hardships of motherhood can make the moments I share with my little ones all the sweeter. (I love a good dessert metaphor.)

Last but certainly not least, God bless my husband for being my shoulder to cry on and knowing me well enough to recognize that when I say I want to be left alone I don’t mean it at all.

30 thoughts on “When Motherhood Defeats You

  1. Laura Pearl

    Beautiful! Very true, all of it! And I agree that although blogging takes time that some might say would be better spent elsewhere, it is such a great outlet and way to connect with others who share your faith and your experiences of motherhood.

    I have finished raising my family. My five sons range in age from 32 down to 23; the oldest four are married and the youngest has just moved overseas to begin his military career. I have more grandchildren than I have children–seven, so far, with more to come (God willing).

    And yet…and yet…the pain and sacrifices of being a parent don’t go away just because your kids grow up and leave the nest. I am constantly reminded that this life here on earth, while beautiful and filled with many joys and blessings, is far from Paradise. Being a parent is hard sometimes, and it makes you fall to your knees in prayer on a regular basis. But it’s still the best job (make that vocation) in the world.

    God bless you and your sweet family!

    (P.S.– I love your dessert metaphor. It’s perfect…as is dessert.)

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you so much! I am always desperate for words of wisdom from those who have graduated to grandparent status. Congratulations on your beautiful family and thank you and you son for his service to his country!

  2. Ashley P

    You are not alone. We all go through these struggles. For me, sometimes daily and I am not a sahm. It is hard when my husband is away for work and sometimes it is hard with him here. The kids are such a challenge and a lot of times I think why do you have to cry so much, why can’t you just appreciate what you have… My husband always tells me “if this is our biggest cross in our life I’ll take it”. He is so right. My kids make me think even more highly of my mom lol. I have apologized to her for my childhood so many times and maybe one day my children will do the same. Continue to ask our Mother Mary for her help and guidance and remember we are all fighting this battle right along side of you. All of us NFP moms want more to join us because we see the love and respect that us and our spouses have for each other. We see the gift of our children when the world sees them as a burden. And yes, sometimes those gifts drive us absolutely insane. But what I always tell someone who says I have too many kids close in age… God called my husband and I to have them, we knew each one of them existed at the moment of conception. We prayed hard to follow God’s calling for them, even when the timing didn’t feel right. And there is not one of my children that I can look at and say “I wish we would have waited”. God will reward you.

    ps there are stores in Louisiana who will mail you a King Cake πŸ˜„ Living here… I’ve had my fair share this year! Most places will also make them year round.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Your comment made me tear up! Such wisdom. Thank you so much. And next year, I’m ordering a King Cake! Excellent tip.

  3. morgan

    Oh my Sylvia. I feared something like this when I haven’t noticed you in social media not as often as usual. But I have been pretty out of it myself… Just this week I was (am?) pretty close to another epic meltdown. The kids were sick, kept me up all night, our dryer was broken (again! They already sent a technician 3 times and now we get a new one because it’s still within the warranty time), Martin had to work late because he stayed home 2 mornings for the technician (for which I am beyond grateful), I’m well on my way to getting sick myself, and our weekends are spent by a good part of babysitting grandpa who managed to rip his knee cords on both sides and now lies pretty much helpless in bed all day, so his wife can get to work in peace or get out of the house and relax because she’s barely keeping it together herself…

    I so often feel like I’m doing this all alone. Which is not true and when I whine about it to Martin he wants to whack me on the head with a wooden spoon because it is not true. But it feels like that sometimes.

    So I am beyond grateful you put this piece out there. So many mom-blogs just tell the flowery part where everything is fine (yeah mine does too. But to my defense I mostly blog to keep my followers – grandparents and other relatives and some friends) entertained about the stuff the kids do).
    I read it and I just could nod all the time. This is so, so true. And one of the reasons I put my kids in kindergarten early and went back to work parttime. I had more meltdowns and breakdowns and I’m-at-the-end-of-my-wits and I-wanna-just-give-up-and-disappear-into-thin-airs than I could count. On an almost daily basis. I have no clue where you draw your strength from doing this with 4 kids and even wanting to homeschool them…
    This is probably the most sincere, honest, inspiring and invigorating piece on motherhood. But I’m so grateful you put it out there and also for all the others who agreed with what you said and told us that they also have these moments.

    And it is so, so comforting to know that we all feel like this.

    Love you.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Love you, friend!!! It is so good to know I’m not alone in this. Prayers for a quick recovery for your grandfather!!

  4. Shannon

    Thank you for writing this! So true…it’s hard to handle emotions when there hardly seems to be “time for them”, but so important to come to terms with them. Thank you for sharing your mommy-hood thoughts with us…I’m so comforted knowing I am not alone in my feelings!

  5. Lauren

    Wow! Your blog post totally resonated with me as I had my own meltdown as a mom of a two year old and a newborn today! What a refreshing reminder that acknowledging the reality of pain and sacrifice in motherhood isn’t something to be ashamed of but a beautiful opportunity to receive and give God’s grace, both for ourselves and our children.

  6. KClayton

    What a great representation of motherhoo!. Some days are really brutal, and full of fighting, tears, stress, mess… but I feel a lot of relief knowing (hoping) that my kids won’t remember the times where mommy cried at the sink, or frustratedly shooed everyone outside so she could clean up a huge mess. They’ll probably just remember the love you had for each of them… and they will be just fine!

  7. juliaattheritz

    So true and so beautiful. It’s hard to strike the balance of being honest about the challenges of motherhood and the way your children require you to die to self a million times a day in ways large and small, while also not giving the impression that it’s all drudgery and misery and a reason for pity. You are an amazing mama, and I’m so glad we are real life AND internet friends! πŸ˜‰

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      I couldn’t do this without you! (And your amazing wit doesn’t hurt either.) I just love the concept of dying to self. It is so difficult but so necessary.

  8. blessedlittlemama

    I love this Sylvia. Thank you for being real. When I told Landon I was giving up complaining for Lent because I was tired of always saying how hard motherhood was, he just kind of looked at me and said “but that’s not complaining, that’s just the truth.” (God bless our husbands!) I sometimes wonder why people aren’t talking about how hard parenthood is ALL the time, its like the ultimate secret of the parent club I guess. I love when moms are strong enough to throw open the doors and shed some light on this subject. You are amazing, and I am thankful for your example of honest and yes, still incredibly beautiful motherhood. ❀️

  9. Tracy

    I needed to hear this. We have very important work to do. It is hard and humbling but important.

    Proverbs 31:17
    She goes about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for the task

  10. Sara

    I love this, and you. So fully wrapped up all the things I feel on a daily basis. I am so blessed to have you as a fellow mommy on this beautiful and trying journey. I pray for you often and see you as a true inspiration – even if it is based off of the rainbows and cupcakes version of your life I see on instagram. Your openness, honesty, and willingness to offer sound advice, a good joke, or a heartfelt plea for help IS inspiring and incredibly appreciated. Love you dear friend.

    1. sylvia.hobgood@gmail.com Post author

      Thank you, Sara! I couldn’t do this without your unwavering support. For reals.

  11. Kathya

    Oh sweet Sylvia!
    I have been in your shoes so many times. At my almost 9 years of mothering i still cry and get mad when the job gets exhausting and takes the best out of me.
    Mothering is hard and will only contonue to be so. But take this “crying session” as a recharge for your way to mother and to love those girls.
    Let all the tears take away yours tiredness, lonely and exhaustion. You will feel recharged next day, i promise.
    You are doing amazing!!! You are raising outstanding human beings and that something to be proud about but it is work and sacrifices.
    Remember you are never alone.
    MWe all know what it feels like. ❀

Comments are closed.