“Mama said there’d be days like this,” and this was one of those days. My teenager dragged me through the gauntlet of adolescent mood swings at breakneck speed. My 10-year-old pestered his sister with unusual meanness. And my youngest responded with tears and a refusal to pick out an outfit. We missed every bus and ride to school that day.
After they were finally all at school and everything was quiet, I wanted to reach out to someone for support. But it all seemed so silly. I should be able to handle this, I thought. So I laid my head down and just cried. Have you ever felt like this? If so, these words are for you.
1. This mood swing shall pass.
I can get caught up in my kids’ waves of emotion if I’m not careful. They threaten to pull me under right along with my kids and sweep us all away. But waves subside if we stand there long enough. I sometimes forget that their mood swings are eventually going to swing the other way again and come to a rest as any swing does.
For example, last week my second grader cried herself to sleep on my lap because of an incident on the bus with a friend. I nearly went down into the depth of despair with her. But the next morning, there she was, bright and cheerful! Certain that everything would work out with her friend.
So yes, we feel for our children. But remember, it will pass. It will swing back—in a week, in a day, maybe even in the next hour.
2. You are a woman, not Superwoman.
Yesterday, while trying to encourage one of my children before school, I made her cry. She actually started crying right before heading into the school building. Way to go, I told myself. Later that same day, I forgot something very important on my calendar. And it made this particular child cry again.
I’m a mom, not Superwoman. One of the most important bits of encouragement for moms is that it’s OK to make mistakes. I have this up on our refrigerator. But is it only for the kids or for me too? How about you—are you hearing it right now? It’s OK to make mistakes. Whether intentional or not, we get it wrong sometimes. We forget. We are tempted. We misunderstand.
3. “I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.”
My grandma had six children, lived through the Depression and a world war, and lost her husband at age 45. When she was in her 80s, we were very close. As she reflected on her life and even on the mistakes, she would say, “I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.”
This is not only a fact, but this is what giving yourself grace looks like. Would you expect any more from one of your children? More than doing the best they can with the knowledge and maturity they have at this moment? Sure, you’re an adult, but you are still learning with every stage of parenting.
This isn’t just encouragement for moms; it’s for everyone, so make sure your kids know it too. There are good friends, wise family members, and professional counselors who can help you. And I know deep in my heart that there is a greater being with greater wisdom than what we possess. When we are at our lowest, it’s easy to feel abandoned by that greater being. But James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Turn to God who I know has not only not abandoned you, but can give you wisdom generously. When I need a quick reference, I love iMOM’s 7 Quick Prayers of Encouragement printable. And know I am praying for you—that you feel loved (because you are!) and that you get the hug or hand on your shoulder that you need today.
What encouragement for moms can you offer? Share it in the comments below. We all need to hear it!