No one told me the harsh truth of becoming a new mom.
No one warned me how many tears would be shed those first few months, turn years.
No one gave me the heads up that at times, I would feel like the most selfish, incapable parent on the planet.
No one thought to mention that the one thing that I'd hoped for all my life would actually make me feel like a crazy person.
No one wants to bash the hopes and dreams of a mom to be.
No one wants to talk about how motherhood can bring out certain sin struggles that we never knew existed.
No one really wants to be the bearer of bad news.
So, I learned the hard way...
I will never forget the moment. The moment I realized that this motherhood thing may break me.
It was 3 weeks after the birth of my first son. My husband had returned to work, the visitors had come to a steady halt, and I was tired. I couldn't wait for nap time.
The first few weeks home with this little guy, my husband and I spent countless hours in bed, during the day, just catching as many minutes of rest as we could. Little guy wasn't too fond of sleeping at night, so our daytime snuggles were very welcomed. Some naps were longer than others, but we would take whatever we could get.
But, on this particular day, I needed a long nap. Like, the kind of nap where you wake up and don't know what day it is kind of nap.
On this particular day, I had done everything right leading up to this nap...changed him, swaddled him, nursed him, snuggled him, and then so very gently, I laid him in the swing that would gently rock him to sleep and keep him that way for hours!
Yes, I did everything right. However, this particular nap was no longer than 15 minutes. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Not exactly a "nap" in my book either.
I remember waking up (if you can even call it "waking" after 15 minutes) SO ANGRY.
So angry at my son.
So angry that I was still so tired. Maybe even MORE tired than before.
So angry that I had to get up and start dealing with him again.
It was alarming.
It was crippling.
I couldn't believe that this bundle of joy could turn my emotions upside down in the blink of an eye.
But, it didn't end there, and it wasn't just triggered by sleep, or lack there of.
Over the course of the first year of my sons life, and many many "mommy fails" that I wish I could forget, I slowly began to realize that my anger wasn't going away.
It was getting worse.
It wasn't until my eyes were open by the truth shared by a wiser woman during a gathering at a young mommies Bible study, that I learned that my anger was a product of the idols that I had built up in my heart.
Idols that I didn't even know existed.
Growing up in church, when I thought about idols, I pictured Moses coming down from the mountain with the 2 stone tablets containing the 10 commandments, only to see how all the Israelites had become impatient made a golden calf to worship instead of God (Exodus 32).
I didn't worship idols. I worshipped God. Or so I thought...
It wasn't until I faced the challenges of motherhood, that I realized I had made idols in my heart, that I thought were "of the utmost importance".
I idolized uninterrupted sleep at night.
I idolized watching my favorite show in peace.
I idolized the cleanliness and organization of my house.
I idolized the idea of a balanced nutritious meal on the table every night.
I idolized the freedom to go to Target and wander around for as long as I wanted.
Now, these things, themselves, are not wrong...at all.
It was when I became angry when these desires I had were not being met because of my son's needs that I had to meet instead.
Angry when I was woken up for the 5th time (well, lets be honest...I was angry the first time too).
Angry when I had to press pause too many times during my show to entertain the baby.
Angry when I couldn't find time to organize the growing amount of baby things overtaking my house because he seemed to need all those crazy tripping hazards.
Angry when I couldn't even think about what to cook, let alone the act of shopping and preparing a meal because I was so tired.
Angry when I had to walk out of store because my son wanted to nurse, when I just wanted to browse.
Once I realized that these things, which weren't bad in and of themselves, had become of utmost importance, how I strived to make them happen and got mad when they didn't, I was then able to see CLEARLY that I was actually worshipping them.
Once I saw and accepted that motherhood was a sacrifice (which didn't happen overnight), and a process of dying to those things I held as idols (again, didn't happen overnight), I could slowly begin to reel in the anger and replace it with acceptance and gratitude that I was given this job to do.
Once I narrowed down what seemed to be "so important" to me that taking care of my child became a burden, I was able to cut some of those things out of my day to avoid the temptation of anger when they weren't met or achieved.
Has it abolished my anger completely? No.
Has it changed my perspective on my anger? Yes.
And maybe anger isn't your emotional trigger. Maybe it's worry or doubt that is exhibited when your idols are taking a backseat to motherhood.
They key is to acknowledge that they are there. Acknowledging that they hold power over you. And acknowledge that through the power of prayer, you can have victory in abolishing these idols in your heart.
I am in a new season of life now with 4 children, six years old and younger (including 1 year old twins).
My idols look different these days, and with each new season, our idols have to be reevaluated.
They can switch on us over time without us realizing it.
I battle the idol of peace and quiet.
I battle the idol of siblings respecting each other and getting along.
I battle the idol of wanting to write more consistently on this blog and see it thrive.
I battle the idol of wanting to "check out" and just scroll social media when I don't want to address the crazy little ones around me.
It's still a struggle, but I'm a work in progress.
I still have a desire for a clean and organized home, but i've let that idol go with the reality that I can't (and shouldn't) clean up after 4 little boys all day. Instead, I rest in knowing that by 7pm, all will be back in its place (or behind a closed door so I can't see it).
I still have the desire to cook nutritious meals every night, but that idol has been replaced with the acceptance of frozen pizza on Friday nights that gives me a break and still allows us to have a family tradition of Family Fun Nights.
I still have the desire to sit and relax and watch a show, but that idol has been replaced with the fact that my husband and I will eventually get to sit down after bedtime and watch something together...sometimes not until 9pm, and that's okay.
Acknowledging my idols, accepting that they really aren't "of utmost importance", and moving forward to replace those thoughts with truth, that I have been given an amazing job to do, has helped this momma's heart in times of struggle and seasons of anger.
Related Blog Posts:
To The Overwhelmed, Weary, and Struggling Mom
When The Hard Is Consuming Your Heart - This Challenge Is For YOU!
Welcome to Dwelling Well Mom! I'm so glad you are here! I'm Christi, wife, mom of boys, Christ follower, picture taker, DIYer, chocolate eater, and coffee drinker. Born and raised a Florida girl, now braving the mountains of Boone, NC, I'm on a journey to find peace in the midst of my mundane. Join me!