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Motherhood: The Good, The Bad and … The Mercy

on | in Motherhood | by | with 25 Comments

[info_box]Guest Blogger #9: Lesley Spradlin. Lesley is a certified birth and postpartum doula, wife to Shea, mom to Austin (3yrs) and Alexa Faith (4 months.) “I am just a woman trying to figure it all out…knowing that I truly am blessed!” Visit Lesley’s blog The Blessed Life.[/info_box]

Four years ago my life looked very different than it does now. My husband and I had just bought our first home, had a few dogs, I worked a full time job that I enjoyed for the most part and  had a part time job that was my passion, I spent time at the gym or with my friends whenever I felt like it and enjoyed my sleep! I loved my church, felt that I was a woman who had come to understand the word selflessness (by getting married!) and prided myself on seeking to know what Gods plan was for my life. I was not confident in all things..but I felt confident in where I was.  And then….I had a baby!

Over that first year of my sons life, I realized that I had not even begun to scratch the surface on what selflessness  really looked like until HE entered my life. Gone were the days of sleep, all focus on “me”, quiet moments with my husband, a few dogs and my career focus.

In that first year I felt like I lost myself to this new little human being. I no longer looked the same ( 9 months of pregnancy and little time to exercise will do that to you!), I no longer could think the same ( my brain somehow turned to mush around the 6th month of pregnancy and never really recovered!) , I no longer had a full time job ( trying to juggle a new baby and full time work was NOT something I handled well!) and I felt my husband no longer saw me as his strong, confident, sexy  wife…but now as this spit up covered, sleep deprived and often grumpy, shell of who I used to me. I grieved who  I had been and began to frantically search for who I was now to become.  My title now was not only wife..but mother—and that new title scared me to death!

Fast forward a few years and I now am “mother” to a 3 year old little boy and a 4 month old little girl…and I am still searching for how to fill the role of my “new” title…mom.  Before I had children I would see some moms and think “ wow—that looks so easy!” OR I would see others and think “holy cow, they look insane! That does NOT look easy!”  I now wonder how other young, naive girls look at me …do I  make it “look” easy or do I look insane?  Because I am pretty certain I probably look more like the insane ones!

The one thing I have learned over the past 3 years is that although many woman may make it look easy and it may actually BE easy for them…for the rest of us, it’s a constant journey that feels like an uphill battle.  I am constantly stressing over if I am handling discipline right or am I teaching my children to have kind hearts or to be servants,  or am I feeding them well enough, are we handling school choices ok,  or  are we as parents setting a good example of love,  blah, blah, blah. Seriously the list goes on and on.


I admit it…I don’t feel “natural” in my role as a mom. I feel like I constantly have to search out the answers for things because very few of them just come to me—I don’t just know the correct way to answer a question on life or how to handle a difficult discipline situation or how to make my son understand that not eating ice cream and cookies all the time is important for reasons he can’t quite grasp yet! Basically I fall short…A LOT!!

But here is where the mercy comes in. God is gracious and forgiving. He knows I  am going to mess up daily…but yet he STILL entrusted these little souls to my care. He chose ME to mother these two kids..for reasons I am not sure of and can’t quite grasp…but I trust him so I am going to trust this. I believe he created them as perfect beings—he does not do anything half way or mediocre.

So here enters the mercy for myself. If I believe he created my children so wonderfully, why can’t I believe he created me the same in my role as “mother?” If he continually loves me, forgives me and gives me second chances…how can I not do the same thing for myself? One  of the many definitions of mercy is “a form of love determined by the state or condition of its objects. Their state is one of suffering and need, while they may be unworthy or ill-deserving. Mercy is, at once the disposition of love respecting such, and the kindly ministry of love for their relief.” ( Ungers Bible Dictionary)

As moms we rarely grant ourselves mercy nor do we hand it out easily to other moms in our exact situations.  What is  interesting is that this week as I was writing this blog post, I had a heck of week with my kids and some of the challenges we are facing.  I also was put in situation after situation of seeing others moms also not at their best…almost like this topic of mercy needed to really be hammered into me before I could share about it.

I want to show myself mercy—let myself off the hook and not try to control it all, but that’s soo hard for me.  This is part of the reason why I think it’s so important that we give it to each other—showing mercy to each other slowly teaches us how to show it to ourselves.   I have so far to go in this learning process, but I am trying to make myself aware and do better.   I am trying to find my “groove” in motherhood and allow myself to continually be shaped…it isn’t pretty and most days it’s downright messy, but growing children into incredible adults is hard work!! ( I wonder if God says that about dealing with us most days??)

So this week I am going to give myself some room—I am going to focus on the fact that I am doing the best job I know how to do with the information, resources and challenges I have been given. I am going to try to not chastise myself for not keeping it all together and I am going to try to show my kids what mercy can look like. I am going to remember that the women I come into contact with are juggling their own challenges—and might just need someone else to say they understand, free of judgment or  advice. This week I am going to try to do better ..knowing I won’t ever it get it perfect.

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it.

- The Grace Awakening Devotional, Charles R. Swindoll

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25 Responses to Motherhood: The Good, The Bad and … The Mercy

  1. Marie says:

    Love the thought of Gods mercy in RAISING OUR CHILDREN! The good thing is I have discovered is even after they are all grown and are having their own children, we still are mom, and we still need His mercy in that new Mom role as well! Enjoyed this guest blogger, her journey and very thought provoking words!
    PS CONGRATULATIONS MOMMYPOTAMUS!

  2. Fanchon Carlson says:

    Lesley~ Great Blog!!! I really need to read this every morning when I start my day because it really gave me a perspective this morning as I already feel myself getting “back in the mode” of the crazy day cycle! LOL Thank you for an awesome blog :) ( Congrats on being on here, I hope you win bc you definitely have a gift in writing/blogging) GOOD LUCK!
    `~your friend, Fanchon

    • Lesley says:

      Oh Fanchon–I need to read it every morning too! Its so hard to not get lost in the crazy mode…I swear I have been soo convicted of this the past few weeks. Not to say I have made it much better, but at least I am recognizing it!! LOL!

  3. Great post Leslie! Jodie is in nursing school so I am playing Mr. Mom for the next 2 years on top of pastor, work, coach, epicparent….you understand. I must also give myself and my kids grace. I discovered last night that I just need to let it all breathe a bit! i am very gifted in suffocating and controlling stuff…but it is when i let it breathe it typically works out. thnx again!

    • Lesley says:

      uumm Chris..you remember we are wired the same, right?? Ya…Shea can attest to how crazy I get about controlling it all, trying to have it all in order, ect…basically, its exhausting. Awesome what you are doing to help Jodie be able to focus on school! Love you guys!

  4. Kate C, says:

    This is a great post. Thanks for being transparent. I feel so many of the things you wrote so often as well.

  5. Debbie says:

    This was very well written and so thought provoking. I think it will be a very worthwhile blog for new parents to read….all parents for that matter as regardless of how old our children are, we still have all of these same thoughts and feelings about how we’re doing in the role of parent. I will definitely share this with my daughter who is a wonderful new mother of a 14 day old baby boy and I see her struggling with all the questions about her competence and insecurities as a new mother. Thank you for sharing and good luck!

  6. Vanessa says:

    As a mother of a 3 year old and 3 month old myself, I really needed to read this. Thank you for writing on such a great topic. I should read this every morning. :)

  7. Nara says:

    Wow! Thanks Lesley! That really hit home. Mothering is hard work, but with God’s grace and the mercy we need to extend to each other, we can do it!

  8. Tina says:

    Great thoughts Lesley! I am definitely going to point some others here who needs those words of wisdom too!

  9. Vicky says:

    Great job Lesley! You are an awesome mom. I watch you any many times wish I had been more inquisitive about better ways to do things when I was raising the boys. And so thankful for God’s mercy all those years. God chose you to mother those two precious children, and think He is smiling down on you.

  10. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing, Lesley! Grace and motherhood certainly go hand in hand. :) I realize often that not only do I need to extend grace to my crazy toddlers, but sometimes they even need to extend grace & forgiveness to their loony mama. This totally reminded me of a quote from a book I’m reading… “Motherhood is a major faith-walk.” – Annetta Dillinger

  11. Sue says:

    Loved the blog! So thankful that Gods mercy is new every day. It’s great to see outstanding young women like yourself raising God loving children and making it their first priority.

  12. Heather says:

    Okay, I FINALLY get to sit down and comment now :) I could identify with so much of what you wrote about your shortcomings because they are my own. And honestly, it would have been easy for me to pass over the “grace” section as a “solution” I have tried that only kinda sorta works. EXCEPT . . .

    Except this post explains A LOT to me. It explains why I noticed a difference in you the very first time I saw you after Lexi was born, and why I have continued to wonder how you have become more and more gracious at a time when most moms are tired and snippy. You are LIVING THIS OUT, and that is so encouraging to me. I am still trying to figure out what I am doing . . . tandem nursing, co-sleeping . . . it all feels so challenging right now. Did I mention we had a showing today and I was afraid to make lunch and mess up my kitchen even though I am eating for THREE? I should have read your post THEN. Grace is what I need. Thank you so much for giving it to yourself and giving us all permission to do the same. I can’t believe you tried to let me “out of” this post! You’re awesome, Lesley. Praying for you and Lexi.

  13. Whittney says:

    Loved it! I think too many of us suffer from trying to do it all to perfection. What a gift to be given grace. You’re a lovely mother and so dedicated. Everyone has their struggles, for example, I feel very comfortable in my mothering role but I don’t like to cook and everything I make is only so-so. Drives me nuts and I’m always worried Avery will be a terrible cook too because I can’t teach her. But at the end of the day, each of us are covered in God’s grace and I’m so thankful. LOVE.

  14. Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing, and it’s so true. On the “good” days when the house is at least reasonably clean, and we managed to cook some food, and the children are cooperating and getting along, it’s easy to believe that God chose us to mother our children. But on the “bad” days when it looks like a hurricane came through our homes. everyone is scavenging in an empty fridge, and nobody is getting along, that belief is harder to internalize. I know there have been plenty of days where I have looked at my children and wondered “What was God thinking??? I have no clue what I am doing with these people, and I’m pretty sure someone else would do a far superior job with them.” But I try to remind myself that He does indeed know what He is doing, and that for whatever reason, I am the perfect to be their mother. Great job, Lesley.

  15. i can totally identify with so much of what you’ve written! sometimes i feel like i’m doing such a crappy job of being a mom and it’s so easy to think “my kids deserve so much better than me” but what you said about God picking the perfect parents for them, really encouraged me. it can be so hard to accept well-meaning words like “you’re a good mom” but really, He knew exactly what they needed and we are IT! great post lesley!

  16. Sandy says:

    Well, Lesley, I hear so much of your mom in your words and thoughts. I know how much she loves you and your brother and sister, and she did her very best to raise you the right way, which means, the best way she knew how! You are continuing the tradition! God didn’t say it would be easy, but He did say it would be worth it! You’ve had a great example…just follow your heart! :)

  17. Patricia says:

    Lesley,

    I don’t know how you manage to put together coherent sentences much less blog! I don’t recall being able to talk ‘grown-up’ talk when I had just one little one at home. I think it is great you sharing your life so other mothers can see they aren’t alone and think they are the only ones thinking ‘oh my gosh, what was I thinking having a BABY”! You’re doing great, keep up the good work!

  18. Lesley says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments–I am so sorry I was unable to reply to each of them…I ended up getting very sick this week and am just barely playing catch up on mandatory things to keep our household running! I appreciate you reading, commenting and encouraging me…lord knows that in weeks like this I REALLY need it!!

  19. Crystal Persons says:

    Lesley, I have really enjoyed your blog lately, and now I have come to enjoy you as a person after learning about your faith in God & apparant relationship with Jesus. So, as your sister in Christ, I am HIGHLY RECOMMENDING that you read the book “No More Perfect Moms” by Jill Savage. It was just released in February. You’ll be surprised at how well she speaks directly to the heart issues of those of us who constantly fight against the need to have it “all together”. She does a wonderful job in the application area of each section which has really helped me to make it personal. I think you would enjoy this book and find it very freeing. Thank you for your transparency. We’re on this journey together…

  20. candice sirju says:

    so beautifully written…wow…. i cried for most of this post….. what a coincidence i have been going through these exact feelings and these words have brought me great comfort and encouragement. thank you gals again for taking time to share with others…… it means more than you may realize…. you have helped me so much in this precise moment…. i cannot thank you enough.
    keep up the amazing jobs you are doing heather and lesley. :)

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