I don’t want to cry over cold coffee.

I’m gonna be honest, here…

I’ve had a rough go of it over the last few months. For whatever reason, my stress and anxiety have taken a pretty bad turn and at the beginning of each day I think, “Is this really how the day is going to go?” and then at the end of each day I think, “Seriously? Do I have to be like that?”

I get angry with myself because my attitude is ugly. All day long, I feel impatient and then I get mad at myself for being impatient. I feel irritated, and then I get mad at myself for being irritated. I feel rushed, and then I get mad at myself for being rushed. And that list? It just goes on and on and on.

In the mornings, I find myself in utter chaos. Toys have been flung everywhere, my 16-month-old is asking to nurse for the 3rd time in an hour, my 3-year-old is taking every single toy away from the 16-month-old (which is what’s making him want to nurse 3 times in an hour), and the coffee (that I made at 6am) is cold and the devotions (that I began at 6:15am) sit before me, half-finished. When I catch a moment to dive back into my devotions, my 16-month-old brings me all of his favorite books and makes his little “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh?” sound that means, “Will you read this to me?” while making the sign for “please.” And I want to smile, and weep, and crawl into a hole, and read a thousand books to that precious boy all at the same time. And I just think, why am I so stressed out? What is it in me that causes me to react so strongly to this chaos? Why does my brain feel like it’s about to explode every time one of my children need something from me?

I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

But in the midst of the stress, and the anxiety, and the weeping, I can hear this voice in the back of my head: “Slow down. Just slow down. One day, your boys won’t be begging you to read Snuggle Puppy 5 times in a row. One day, Forrest won’t want to nurse 3 times in an hour, or ever. One day, Jack will stop wanting to cuddle your arm and kiss it 70,000 times. Just slow down.”

And I’m so perplexed because I keep trying to listen to this voice, and yet – I fail. I feel defeated, and I want to ask you, “Is this just the way it is?”

But I don’t want to hear an empathetic “Yes,” or “It’s just a season,” or whatever. I refuse to believe that this is what I must settle for – even if it’s just for a season. I refuse to believe that I cannot overcome this in this season.

If there’s one thing I’m positive of, it’s that God made me the mama of my boys for a reason. He gave me to them, and he gave them to me – and that also means that he gave me the tools for the job. He gave me the ability to rise above the stress and look at the situation for what it really is.

It’s beautiful. Beautiful chaos. And I know that.

I’m just trying to figure out how to live that. I’m trying to figure out which pocket of my brain has all those tools stashed away in there.

I don’t want to cry over cold coffee. I don’t want to have to remind myself to take deep breaths when my baby asks me to read to him.

I want to remember, “I’m gonna miss this,” right in that moment – and then choose to cherish it all.

Because what’s a cup of hot coffee when compared to my babies curled up in my arms?

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16 Comments

Filed under on being a mama

16 responses to “I don’t want to cry over cold coffee.

  1. Um, you just described my mood to the T, and I think I’m gonna pull up a chair and hang out on your comment section for the next few days and read any advice given. Because I feel like I am at a loss for what to do.

    Everyday I feel so impatient over stupid things, things that shouldn’t bother me. Like a whiny voice or a toy in the hallway or a kid asking to ride their bike outside in the front yard where I have to follow them to watch them. Any one of these things should not only not bother me, they should be the BEST THING EVER to me, but for some reason I cannot get past the irritated thoughts rolling through my head. It hasn’t always been this way, so I don’t know what made it start.

    I think I hold most of the feelings in, so nobody is hearing the frustration, but still…why are the irritated thoughts even running through my head? Is that life with a 6 year old and 3 year old, when other things in life are stressful, too? Or is it time for me to be medicated???? πŸ™‚

    If nothing else, it’s comforting to hear someone else feels this way. Thanks for sharing. It was very brave to out it out there.

  2. OK, your link to McMama’s post just did a number on me. I think I read it before, but reading it tonight has definitely changed my perspective. I’m certainly going to keep it all in mind and hopefully it will aid in changing my attitude.

  3. Girl, you are in the trenches. I totally related to this when my two youngest were three and one. And pregnant with number three.

    BUT…. I will say to you what moms of big families said to me: This is the most strenuous season of mothering. When your oldest are just a few years older, they begin to contribute, not just need. Even if it’s only a little bit of contribution, it makes a HUGE difference. They also become more self sufficient. I really love the help and partnering with them more and more. And yep. I miss their chubby little baby cuddles, too.

  4. Ashley

    Oh, Rissa! I can so relate. And I agree with Katie. A friend (who has 3 boys, all close in age) told me that right now, with my boys being 1 and 3, that I am in the hardest part. And it will in fact get easier.

    I’ve been there (and continue to go there) with the frustrations at the little things then get upset at myself for feeling frustrated. And what I’ve done recently that has totally changed the way I look at my day? I’ve started doing a little Bible study and praying with G at breakfast time. Sometimes he listens, other times when I think he’s about to say something profound about what I’m reading, he just says, “My bagel is in my mouth.” Or something like that. But even if it is over his head, the Lord is using it to teach me, mold me and change me. Even if N is awake too and it’s loud and I can barely read the next line, it still helps. We can’t do this on our own. We weren’t meant to. He gets the glory when we depend on Him. For when we are weak then we are strong.
    I’ve also been telling myself to slow down. Not to be in a rush about cleaning this or accomplishing that. It takes pressure off of me and helps me to be more mindful of how I’m treating my children.
    Then there’s Christ’s example. He was perfect. Sinless. And he dealt with sinners so lovingly. He didn’t get mad when someone touched his robe to be healed, or when crowds pressed on him when he just wanted to get away to pray or rest. He was patient with his disciples when, after being with him for a while, they still just didn’t get it!
    He is our example. We need his love, his guidance, his patience to deal with these little people who look to us for EVERYTHING.

    In the midst of frustration one day I told my husband that I wasn’t sure why God made me a mom because I’m terrible at it. And my husband said, “So that you would grow, and know Christ more.”
    I don’t say all of this as if I’ve arrived and have all the answers. This is just what God has been teaching me lately.

    I love you, friend!

    Philippians 4:7
    “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  5. I think you described what I’ve been feeling recently (not to make your post about me… ;))
    It’s hard. It’s so hard. It’s the constant everything, the never catching a breath, and the always going – even when you’re sitting.
    Hang in there… keep breathing…

  6. I might have to write my own blog post related to this. I think if more women were honest with themselves and wrote posts like this one, we would realize we are all in the same boat. I think any women who claim to keep a clean house, have healthy dinners on the table for every meal, AND joyfully care for their children every day with no help are not telling the whole truth. Life with two little ones (especially with no older ones to help) can get ugly at times, and it is HARD. It’s certainly brought out a lot of feelings I had never experienced before! I just think the best thing is to accept that we can’t do everything, pick out the important things, ask for help with some of it, and forgive ourselves for the rest. Because we are, in fact, merely human.

  7. jen

    ahhh, rissa… just like everyone else who has posted, i can so relate. i appreciate you sharing because you are someone i admire & respect as a mother, wife, friend, & just an overall inspiring human-being πŸ™‚ so, knowing that you also experience anxiety, stress, frustration, & annoyance with children & the day-to-day of it all helps me to feel a little more “normal”… i hope all of the comments relating to how you are feeling are an encouraging reminder to not be too hard on yourself (as they are to me) and, as jenny said, “to accept that we can’t do everything, pick out the important things, ask for help with some of it, and forgive ourselves for the rest.”

    just this morning, i told jayson, “i need a day off!” and then he prayed that the kids would be a blessing to me today… as i’m writing this, i’m avoiding maya’s request to sit down & “snuggle-buggle” for the third time this morning… so, now i’m going to go join her.

    i doubt my comment is of any help, but thank you for sharing… for your honesty & vulnerability. its encouraging!

  8. y’know – i think at times like this it’s like we get to make a decision, “am i gonna die just a little bit to self or not?”
    sounds kind of extreme eh? But it’s true – motherhood is just this big beautiful sacrifice – but more of Him – less of me… it’s always a good thing.
    One day you will thank God for the days that brought you to your knees – ’cause that’s when He met with you & whispered truths in your ear that trasformed you.
    keep loving your little boys – & gratefully drinking the stone cold coffee πŸ™‚

  9. amy

    rissa, we all go through this, we all know these feelings. even those who aren’t mothers have these same feelings about wherever they are in life. and you know what? it doesn’t go away. but that is refreshing. because it reminds us how stinkin human we are… and how we will constantly be battling back and forth with our feelings because we are pilgrims here traveling through this crazy place and we belong elsewhere and we know it and our souls cry out for it… and so we are yearning for this peace, and then our coffee is cold or our job is tedious or the car runs out of gas or anything else, and we feel despair… but HE made us like this, we don’t need to be complacent with things, otherwise we stop yearning for His things… so be a joyful mama, and breathe your boys in deep, and when sorrow or frustration sets in, know it’s because you are pining for that which is yet to come, and find joy in knowing that…

  10. amy

    and then on this completely unrelated but maybe funny side note, i was commenting on my friend’s facebook today, and noticed i commented directly under your mom…
    apparently your mom and i have a friend in common…
    it’s a small world, isn’t it?

  11. Stephanie

    I’ve been dealing with this as well- knowing there is a better way, a grace that I’m not living in. I can’t give you the answer, but some verses that have been encouraging me and guiding my prayers come from 2 Corinthians 9:6-10.
    “6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
    “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever.”[a] 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”

    I know this is slightly out of context, but the sowing generously and being a cheerful giver struck me as really applicable to mothering. I’m SO TIRED. I’m SO OVERWHELMED. I’m so SINFUL. I’m desperate for wisdom and I’m often terrified that I’m messing up and my kids won’t want to stick with God when they get older. That gets me down and keeps me from laying my life down CHEERFULLY. I want to be a cheerful giver and a sower who expects a bountiful harvest.

    Verse 8 about grace- well, I can’t say that it’s changed everything, but I can say it’s changed my prayers. It has increased my faith that God can give me grace for every moment, in ALL things at ALL times, having ALL that I need for each good work, and that He can teach me how to receive and walk in that grace. He can give me grace AND He can work righteousness into me. Galatians 5:5 is my companion to this in my prayers.
    “5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.”

    It’s true- kind of- that this is a season. Some seasons are harder than others or more exhausting. But while having older kids may mean sleeping thru the night (for those without babies and toddlers, too) and less exhaustion, for me it has it’s own whole set of challenges and the stakes start to feel very high. So I think you are right. We need to find the tools, the grace, to rise above the stress RIGHT NOW, right where we are in life, and not just expect to ride things out until they get easier. There is grace for this moment. God, teach us how to walk in it!

  12. You describe my daily struggles perfectly! Even though I feel as though it is easier for me now with 5 (!) little ones than it was when I had only 2, I still rush through my days and feel discouraged and angry at myself and get overwhelmed by the chaos. And then when I sit down at night when the kids are in bed and the house is quiet, I have time to reflect and wish my day had played out differently. It really is hard to be a mom, setting an example of what is holy, righteous, and good. But we (I) must rise above our emotions and thrive in whatever situation God has planned for us. This part of life is a season, but my bad attitude doesn’t belong in ANY season! πŸ™‚

  13. Tabitha

    Hi Rissa,

    Yes, I read your post and all of these comments. I too am in the same place in life. I do get healthy food on the table, work from home, read to my 18 month old ALL day long, spend time with my husband, and have a relationship with God ALL at the same time. It is A LOT. I think you and I both got tons of advice for the spiritual and emotional side of things. But there are a few of literal things that I do most days of my life that really, really help. I don’t know where you live, but for us, being outside a large portion of the day is very good for my little family. The boy can find sticks and throw them, sword fight, dig in the dirt, whatever he wants to do. My girl will talk to bugs, watch the birds, and sit in the grass…. I… I take DEEP breaths and have a moment with God. Seriously, some of us have been taught that moments with God are in a certain “time and place,” but you know what? The best moments with God have been ones where in the midst of sinking, I find a place to free my little family, help them to breath, and He fills me up.

    Also, I know this may sound silly, but when I have felt miserable at times, I realized (after being very frustrated for feeling that way) that in some way, my kids are the ones who don’t feel their best, and when they don’t feel their best it effects me. (All the whining, nursing, rocking… you know) I started giving my kids a smoothie in the morning (they each drink half a quart and I drink a quart) and it has TONS of fruit and quite a LOT of spinach. (The fruit makes it not taste like spinach at all) I cannot explain to you in words the TOTAL difference in the way we all felt. It was truly amazing.

    I know this may not be the same type of advice that everyone else gave… but it is truly what has helped me. There are quite a few other things we do that may help. But these are the top two, I think.

    Just remember the way God made women…. to endure. It’s like lifting weights. Men can lift much weight with few reps. Women lift little weight with lots of reps. You were created with the ability to endure. From birth, the process that goes on between mother and child is a tearing away process. If you ignore that process then everyone feels cramped. It’s repetitive. You teach the child, they grow and do it themselves. God gave you the endurance you need to continue this process through your whole life.

    I hope this helps…. sorry for the novel. πŸ™‚

  14. Heather

    I really truly believe that EVERY parent goes through this…especially moms. I feel there is so much pressure on us to be the “perfect” mom…to have the house clean at all times, 3 square meals a day, the right snacks, teach our kids the right manners, the right ways to do things, etc. In some ways, I think society has us believing that it isn’t fair if we don’t get our “me” time either. I think that once we are parents our “me” time is so greatly diminished. Every one else posted much more eloquently then I did…I may just be rambling.

    I have a 5 year old and a 5 month old. I know with #2 I’m tending to be less stressed…more apt to snuggle with him as I know he’s my last. My 5 year old is all knees and elbows right now so while we love to cuddle he’s not all warm and snuggly like the littlest. I’m trying to cherish those chubby cheeks and body. Someday it means I don’t get what I want done..or I stay up later then I really should to pick up the house. it means that many times I tell myself..another 5 minutes of kid time vs all-the-things-i-need-to-get-done-time isn’t going to derail me that much. Sometimes..it does mean telling myself over and over and over…that I WILL miss this…I will miss the fussiness…the NEEDING mom (by both kids) more then anyone else in the world right now. Sometimes it means the house is a disaster and that my husband just has to deal. It means I can’t go to take a yoga class or work out. It means reminding myself that they won’t be this little forever and yoga will always be there.

    I’m not sure I made any sense…just know that you are NOT alone!!

  15. i get this. i have definitely had seasons like this. i hope that yours has passed. you popped in my mind tonight & off i came searching for you. i hope you are well. happy new year!

  16. Hey Rissa,

    I miss reading new posts on your blog. Hope all is well…

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