The mental load
At any given moment, a quick scan of a mother’s brain will reveal a million different opposing thoughts, all pulling her in different directions.
- How do I better position myself at the workplace?
- Have I done enough for my child…?
- I wish I could have controlled my emotions better.
- If only I had more time.
Am I the only one struggling?
I have recently begun to wonder whether we pay enough attention to our mothers’ mental and spiritual well-being. Being a mother has proven to be the most challenging and emotionally draining marathon I have ever embarked on. And I am only just starting. I look around at my fellow long distance runners beside me, and my own mother comes to mind for inspiration. Everyone else seems to be coping so well. “Am I the only one that feels like I’m drowning…? I cannot get a single thing right today. I must be the most terrible mother in the whole wide world. How am I going to make it to the end of the road…?”
It goes without saying that this marathon requires an immense amount of physical and mental resilience to keep going, particularly during this trying time of Covid and lockdown. In this new dystopian world that we suddenly find ourselves in, mothers find that we have absolutely no outlet. Previously I would have taken some time out, off for a dinner with close girl friends who are also moms and we could commiserate. And then it would be easier to try harder again tomorrow. But these days I only have my four walls, my family members and a good window to look out of. And these days I have been thinking to myself, what is the point of telling people how I feel…? What is the point of dragging someone else down with me? Anyway, how could they possibly help me now?
Well the truth is, mothers or fathers, singles or marrieds, old or young: we are ALL pilgrims on a long journey. Along the way we will experience deep joy, as well as great anguish; successes as well as failures. Every single hardship is life-shaping… IF we are humble enough to see that there is always a lesson in it for us. So if you are struggling, just like me, to find meaning in all that is happening right now, try to take a step back and think about what God is trying to teach you right now.
For me, the Lord seems to be teaching me the humbling lesson of failure, and trying again. In my life thus far I have been fortunate that I have experienced mostly successes, and very few failures. But as a (locked-down) mother, in this short span of a few weeks I have suffered daily failures, and every day I end the day tired and defeated, feeling grieved that it never quite turns out the way I hoped or envisioned. It is a daily exercise of humility and dying to self, to fall before him and say “I am nothing without You.” The verse that has been keeping me afloat has been “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Indeed the Lord gives me a new chance every morning to try again, to show love, to be patient and kind, to think about others before myself, to not keep a count of wrongs. And that is what being a mother is all about, isn’t it? That very special breed of sacrificial love, that you only truly understand when you are a mother yourself.
To all the mothers in YCKC, we salute you.
For the countless times you..
picked up after the rest of your family;
you ate less because there wasn’t enough;
you woke up earlier than everyone else;
you magically ensured a warm and liveable nest at all times;
you forged on even when you were sick and down;
your forsook your career and your dreams because your children needed you more;
you tried your best but it somehow fell short;
you juggled multiple responsibilities without complaining;
your body forever changed because you bore children.
Thank you mothers, for your many unspoken sacrifices.
♥️ Happy Mothers’ Day.
Afterword: Tips to coping when feeling down
If you are feeling sorry for yourself that day, give yourself half an hour to wallow in it. Go for a walk and some fresh air. Then pick yourself up and try again. Always reach out to someone whom you think might need some encouragement. Because when a person is hurting, the last thing they normally feel like doing is reaching out to you to tell you that they are suffering. So be the first to make that move.
Jia you mommies! You can do it! (in His strength)
– Cheryl Yap, a Mother (YCKC Bulletin 10 May 2020)