Exposing the Lies Moms Believe: A New Series

The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.
Terry Pratchett, author

Lately, I’ve been paying special attention to the voice inside my head. Have you ever done this? Truly listened to your self-talk? I’m not sure I recommend it, because, quite frankly, it’s driven me a little batty. But, it has been revealing, nonetheless.

For example, the first conscious thought I hear upon waking is I didn’t get enough sleep. It doesn’t matter if I slept six hours or ten, the very first thought is that it was NOT ENOUGH and, therefore, I need more rest.

My next conscious thought is, When can I sleep next? Can I nap today? Do I get to go to bed early tonight? Can I sleep in tomorrow?

I’m telling you, this is every morning, without fail.

Then I press the snooze and sleep for 10 more minutes—as if that’s going to help my alleged sleep deprivation.

Then I get up.

Once I shuffle my sleepy-self out of bed and into the bathroom, I start thinking through my daily To-Do List. Inevitably, the third conscious thought that bombards my brain is, I don’t have enough time. No matter if I have six things to do that day or ten, my brain has established that I do not, under any circumstances, have enough time to do it.

The struggle.

So, basically, by 5:40 am, before I’ve even brushed my teeth or brewed my coffee, I’m convinced that I’m deficient in both sleep and time, and therefore, will be unable to adequately complete the tasks before me, no matter how many or how few. Period.

But here’s the thing: That belief that I don’t have enough? It’s a big, fat lie.

In fact, this is the first in a series of many, many big, fat lies that invade my brain all day, every day as a Mom. If you’re a Mom, they invade your Mom Brain, too. Some of them are so deeply ingrained, so familiar, so a part of who we think we are, they often go undetected.

And that’s when the lie becomes most dangerous.

I’m telling you a lie in a vicious effort that you will repeat my lie over and over until it becomes true.
Lady Gaga

When I’m not careful, lies become true to me.

When they become true to me, I behave differently–as if they are true.

And when I behave as if lies are true, I move through life heavy, overwhelmed, burdened and bound.

And that is why I’m writing this series. Because the well-balanced woman is not heavy, overwhelmed, burdened and bound. A well-balanced woman moves through life unhindered and free.

Lies Moms believe

For the next few weeks, I’m going to discuss some Popular Mom Lies. I’m going to explain where the lie originates and how to expel it. I’ll start with the lie of “I don’t have enough” and tell you the Truth about that.

And then I’ll continue with more Lies, like

• “Everyone has it together but me” (This is the one kept me bound for years!)

• “Good moms do crafts/cook from scratch/play with blocks on the floor/fill in the blank, but I don’t do that. So, I’m not a good mom” (I bet you have a version of this one in your head right now.)

• “I’m the emotional thermostat of the home.”

• “If it works for that family, it should work for mine, too.”

• “I can gauge how well I’m doing my job by how happy/compliant my kids are.”

• “It is my responsibility to make every meal/holiday/vacation magical and memorable.”

• “Parenting shouldn’t be this hard.”

And more, as I think of them. Which I will, because the lies that invade my brain are ruthless. RUTHLESS, I tell you!

I’ve asked some of my favorite Mom-Blogger friends to join in the discussion and help me tackle a few of these by sharing some lies they’ve believed.  I’m excited to publish some great guest posts.

 

By the end of this series, I want you to see

You are not alone. The lies we believe as Moms are universal.
You are not weak. Everyone is vulnerable to believing lies.
You are not hopeless. For every Mommy Lie there is Truth to set you free.

I can’t wait to dive in.

Coming up next: What (or Who) is behind these lies?

signature

Be a Life-Giver to a Tired Mom

Motherhood is exhausting, even on a normal day. That’s not a complaint, it’s a documented fact.*

Consider, God immerses The New Mom into the beauty and wonder of Motherhood by giving her a most fragile and fragrant bundle of wonderfulness who, as it turns out, must eat directly from the body of The New Mom every 3-ish hours, around the clock, or the bundle will die.

The wonderful bundle grows, and (hopefully) sleeps through the night, eventually. You’d think a Tired Mom would catch a break by now. But, as all Experienced Moms know, the ‘round-the-clock schedule never truly ends. The beauty and wonder of Motherhood is interlaced with diapers and discipline and driving and dating. (And it sometimes feels like it progresses through those stages as rapidly as you read that sentence).

For some, the Magic of Motherhood is also eclipsed by developmental delays or illness or behavioral issues or relationship struggles or death.

I know Tired Moms with special needs children, in-home nursing care and hospital equipment in their family room.

I know Tired Moms in the throes of baby/toddlerhood (My sister told me yesterday that her sweet boy woke up at 2:30 am. For the day. She was tired.)

I know Tired Moms in the throes of tween-hood/teen-hood, with kids who are making some stupid-bad life-altering decisions. (Just last night, I received a desperate late-night call from a friend telling me her teen ran away and to please let her know if he happens to show up at my house.)

I know Tired Moms holding down the fort alone because a husband is traveling for work. (I call them Super Heroes)

I know Tired Moms holding down the fort alone because the husband is gone for good. (I call them Super FREAKING Heroes)

I have one Dear Tired Mom Friend who is doing everything in her power to keep life normal for her precious little ones while her husband daily slips further and further away because of a rapidly progressing terminal illness. It’s a nightmare.

You probably know some Tired Moms, too.

Maybe YOU are that Tired Mom.

After two of the most exhausting years of parenting I’ve encountered thus far, I can safely say, we’re all getting better. This is partly because the situations are truly improving. And also partly because God is good at reshaping our brokenness into beauty and our weakness into strength. With a combination of confidence and reservation, I tell you, I’m seeing a light at the end of a very, long, dark and scary Mom Tunnel. **

It’s nearly impossible for me to write from the Tunnel.

I can’t see very well when I’m blinded by darkness, broken and hurting and struggling. The best blog post I can manage will say something like, “Ouch. This is hard.”

I do much better after I’ve groped my way back to a place of Clarity and Light. Then, after I’ve stood up, brushed off the dust and allowed my eyes time to adjust to the sunlight again, I can see more clearly, look back over the long path I just groped, and offer you, perhaps, a small bit of wisdom.

I hope this is that for you: a small bit of wisdom, borne from the Tired Mom Tunnel.

The Tunnel

Don’t worry, this isn’t a long list of to-dos (we’re a bit too Tired for that, are we not?) I’m sure there are many things that would have encouraged me or would encourage you that are not in this post. But when I look back over the last two years—the last year, in particular—when I honestly did not know if I or my family would be okay, there are two things people did for me that stand out.

If you want to be a Life-Giver to a Tired Mom, simply do this:

Love Her Children

One day last summer, I walked into a hair appointment for one of my kids. It had been an incredibly difficult couple of months, funneled into one of the worst days of my life. After a series of sleepless nights, my head was throbbing, my nerves were on the outside of my skin, and my stomach hurt. I wasn’t doing well.

I’ve had the same hairdresser for years. She knows me. She knows my kids. She knows a little about what we were dealing with. But never had I appeared in her doorway in such a vulnerable, exhausted state.

I walked in, looked her square in the eye, and managed a feeble, “I’ve got nothing today.”

Without saying a word, she looked at me, looked at my child—blinked a couple times—and then jumped into action. She gently led my daughter by the hand to wash, foil and trim her hair. For two hours, she talked to Rebekah about school and friendship and beauty. She made her laugh. She soaked her in attention and affirmation…in LOVE.

Watching someone take over for me at a time I truly had nothing to offer—it refreshed me and fueled me to continue on the long, weary battle. It revived me.

Tired Moms are tired because their relentless love for their children spurs them on to push far beyond their limitations, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. We’re reluctant to hand over the reins, even for a minute, because no one loves our children the way we love our children. Yet, here I sit, with tears in my eyes, remembering all the times in the last year I watched my dearest friends bombard my kids with hugs and texts and notes and encouragement.

It is overwhelming, really.

If you know a Mom who is reaching the end of her rope, try coming alongside her, jumping in and lifting some of the burden off her shoulders. Maybe she has a little one you can chase around the yard for a few hours so she can take a break. Or maybe she has a tween who would enjoy an ice cream cone and some help with math (Actually, the Mom may also enjoy the ice cream). Or perhaps she has a teen who would appreciate a little note on a scrap piece of paper saying, “You are stronger than you think you are.”***

Tell Her She’s Doing a Great Job

If a Tired Mom just confided in you the depth of her confusion, pain and exhaustion, most likely she is not asking you to fix it. Trust me, unless she specifically asked you to help her fix it, any response from you that begins with the words, “You should…!” or “Why don’t you….?” Or “Have you tried…?” is not what she’s looking for. In fact, that will probably suck the life right out of her.

By unloading on you, what she’s actually saying is, “I feel like I’m failing here. I need someone to tell me my family is going to be okay. I simply need someone to tell me that I’m doing a good job and that I don’t completely suck as a mom.

So tell her that.

“You are doing such a good job. You are such an amazing Mother, and I’m so proud of you and the way you’re handling this. And also, you don’t suck.”

Mom, you don't suck

It’s not complicated, really. To be Life-Giving to a Tired Mom love her kids and tell her she doesn’t suck. You will breathe life into her weary soul so she can carry on with the hard work of Motherhood.

Oh, and if you can manage to take her on a weekend beach getaway, that works, too. As does most forms of chocolate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*I have no actual documentation to support this, except for my own years of personal “field research.”

**Mom Bloggers will tell you, the older your children get, the harder it is to share details of your children’s struggle. That is why we so often resort to sharing recipes or complaining about the laundry.

***Actual note given to my daughter at the most perfect time that made me bawl like a baby.

signature