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I could go on and on about how my kids have all cried and tantrummed so much this week. I could go on and on about how I’m tired and my husband has worked long hours and I just want takeout forever. But as I was mentally composing the most whiney mom first world complaint post ever, it hit me. I’m the problem here, not my circumstances.

My kids have had a rough week, every single three of them.

That’s developmentally normal. It’s spring; they’re squirrelly.

But what’s not normal is that I’m not handling it well. I scream. I shout. I really really lose it. Over little, normal things.

Yes, but Nell, you seem like this is just hard all the time. Didn’t you just write about this a few weeks ago, this hardship thing? That’s what happens when you have three young kids. And you really want more?

That’s either the devil on my shoulder or what I think every person in my life thinks about me and my life, my wheel of un-changing fatigue and depletion as a mom. And I’m not even nursing or pregnant right now! How do I have cause to be so crabby? So short-tempered? Maybe because I think I’m not supposed to have hard times–I’m supposed to be bouncing through a field of daisies with my sweet little kids in tow. Because if I say it’s not like that, I am afraid of the criticism above.

Instead of writing a post sharing the legit annoyances and difficulties of long days with young children, I wanted to say to anyone out there struggling with these cyclical feelings of being overwhelmed, being under impressed that your life consists of screaming & poop:

It’s OKAY to be here.

Even if sharing that your list never gets crossed off makes you look like an irresponsible person for being open to having more kids.

Even if your friends or family think you don’t have the right to complain because you asked for it by having lots of kids, or by not not having lots of kids. Or if you don’t have lots of kids but you work and have a few kids, an incredibly hard dual-job life in its own right.

Even if you think you’re beyond being ignited by the protest naps, and then you’re not, and you’re protesting the toddler who won’t sleep.

Even if you dread pregnancy or dread trying again for another month of no-show on the pregnancy test.

You can share your burdens. You can say this life is hard. You can. And when you know you can, if you’re like me, maybe you’ll scream less at your kids in frustration for the life you are “supposed” to be leading.

Maybe you’ll be okay with just being right here. At the foot of the Cross. Because it’s almost Good Friday. Unite that suffering, friends! And know you’re not alone.

I want to forgive my kids for driving me semi-batty and I want to give more of myself. So I’m shedding the expectations of the world that this should look pretty and just diving in. See you at church with my toddler ripping my glasses off in the back!

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22 Responses to On giving and forgiving

  1. Kelley says:

    Thank you! How refreshing to see someone be honest about things that not everyone can be honest about! I get it:)

  2. Jen says:

    What a good surprise to hear you on the jfshow! Then lead me to your blog. Exactly what this busy, tired mom of 6 needed to hear. Thank you for you honesty and sharing. Blessings!

    • Natural Mama Nell says:

      i love Jf. She’s been a lifeline to me so many times. Mama of 6, I salute you!! So many blessings!!!

  3. “Even if your friends or family think you don’t have the right to complain because you asked for it by having lots of kids.”

    THIS RIGHT HERE.

    So often, I wallow in self-pity and sheer exhaustion of raising four littles with one on the way. So often, I feel guilty for feeling overwhelmed, guilty for wanting this baby, because I already have my hands full. So often, Satan whispers “is THIS the responsible parenthood JPII talked about? I think not.”

    But he’s wrong, and I’m wrong. You’re right. This is a season. It’s totally ok to feel tired and overwhelmed but still long for a newborn to grace my arms, or to not feel guilt about sharing struggles with others when I know some of them think “well, you got yourself into this mess…”

    Thanks, Nell. You’re my girl.

    • Natural Mama Nell says:

      That’s the heart of it–let’s NOT feel like we’re supposed to either have fewer kids to care for or a cleaner house. We can be where we are and it’s okay. You’re MY girl, sweet friend!!

  4. Melissa says:

    I’m right there with you! I feel like I’m at the end of my patience rope 50x per day and every time I think to myself “I have to be the only mom who acts like this”

  5. YES! So much YES! Thank you for posting this. I have an 18 month old, a 2 1/2 year old, and am almost 4 months pregnant with my 3rd and I feel this constantly. The nap protestung and tantrums have just begun with my 2 year old and it is intimidating me! But I feel like I’m always struggling and ppl must really think we’re insane to being open to life. I can’t ever express to them just how hard it is, but just how much I wouldn’t trade this for the whole world, or skin that is blissfully line-free before my 30th birthday! Seriously though, glad to read an honest post by another mama who loves her life and her kids and her faith, yet struggles like a normal human being and isn’t afraid to post about it! Because I’m tired about constantly feeling judged and even caring. On to Triduum!

  6. I am here too!!! The tantrums (I lose count every day!), the yelling that I can’t keep in check, the takeout diet (and guilt that my weakness is stretching our budget and making us eat terribly a lot of times), oh–and my poor husband’s crazy long work hours right now…its all so hard and so exactly the same over here these days. Be encouraged and loved by God and all of us sister mothers who are going through the same things, though. Wish I had something more profound and inspirational to say, but you already took care of that in this post I think;)

    • Natural Mama Nell says:

      It is so helpful to know we’re in this together!!

    • Violet says:

      This sounds like me – I WAIT out LOUD for order out Fridays here! LOL and ME TOO! My husband works from sun up to sun down…5 kids, homeschool, life, business and home – definitely buy take out time! :D

  7. Violet says:

    This is awesome! This reminds me of when I had four under four – and I can attest that YES! This is all so true! And such a great refreshing read!! If more of us mothers learned to admit that yes sometimes it is hard, and sometimes, we don’t know what were doing, the world would be a much awesomer (yeah, that’s totally a word – I don’t care that the red line is there LOL) place. Because we’d be supporting each other instead! Power to you mamma!

  8. Ashley S. says:

    Yes! My oldest (5yo) had a very difficult week this week. One day I wanted high fives for my mad parenting skillz and two other days I should have been committed for my toddler-like temper tantrums. But we survived, and now dad is here. Whew. Thank God for mercy, forgiveness and grace, right?

  9. Rebecca says:

    I was listening to a Scott Hahn talk on suffering last week. He pointed out that we all try to avoid suffering as though it were the greatest evil (which explains so many, many sins from little to big: i.e. complaining, screaming at kids, contraception, abortion, etc.). But when we recognize the redemptive aspect of suffering, uniting ours to Christ’s on the cross, it brings a whole new meaning to everything in life. I am right there with you in the difficult parenting trenches. Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Kelsey Marie says:

    Nell, thank you so much for sharing this. I love reading how REAL you are with parenting, motherhood and your children. These are things all parents should hear more often.

    Also, I’ll be making a trip to the Twin Cities in a month-ish and saw that you took your kids to a croissant and hot cocoa shop?? That sounds like something that is literally exactly up my alley… mind sharing the name of that bad boy? It sounds perfect for a morning date for my friend and I!

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