You know what spilled milk is worth crying over? The kind you just woke up early to spend twenty minutes pumping – even though what you really wanted to do was go back to sleep because you got a lousy night of rest – so that you could feed your baby during the busy day ahead. Wasting a drop of that liquid gold is worth the tears alone. Add a little new mom hormones and sleep deprivation: perfect recipe for a meltdown. I’ve had plenty of those moments before being a mom though. When I’m overextended and my heart is tired from holding on to things, the smallest disappointment can be the last straw. The other morning I stood in the kitchen cleaning up a bottle I had spilled all over the counter and I found myself thinking, if this happened even one month ago, I would probably be crying frustrated tears right now. Becoming a mom has been the best teacher in giving up. In the BEST way. Big things and little things. Some things I expected and some things that I didn’t. Things I’ve held for way too long.
When I found out I was going to be a mom there were aspects of my life I knew I was choosing to let go of (even if just for a time). Career aspirations, freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted, the dynamic of my marriage as it was, sleep, my body… These are things I knew would be challenging, but I expected them. What I didn’t expect was the way God would use this season to teach me how to give up things my heart didn’t even know were there. Things that I don’t need to carry anymore. Unrealistic expectations, comparison, anxiety and pride. Some things he changes without me even noticing. Others are a painful, daily process.
Nothing will reveal your faults and selfishness like having a baby. They’re a constant audience and they’re number one. They get to decide when you sleep, what you eat, when and where you go. And even though there’s this little person you’re giving your whole self to, there’s still a husband who deserves your love and attention (even if it sometimes feels like you have nothing else to give). I think this selfishness is probably something God will be working on in my heart forever. Every time I think I’m getting the hang of it, there it is again! The way I see it play out in my life the most is my struggle to control. Circumstances, schedules, plans, people’s perception, so many things. I find it especially hard that I can’t control God’s answers and His timing. My selfish need for control basically boils down to, “I want it my way!” I want more sleep, I want a perfect home, I want things to work out according to my plan, I want it to appear like this new mom thing isn’t super hard. I want what I think is best.
Striving to control things you cant (or don’t have to) only leaves you drained and exhausted. There’s such freedom in realizing we don’t have to try so hard. It took a new baby to hit this home for me. The day I invited friends over even though there were dishes in the sink and my floors hadn’t be vacuumed in too long was a serious day of revelation. They didn’t even care! Actually, the things they noticed were the things I had done. What I saw as failure they saw as success. We really are our harshest critics. Had I rushed around to make everything look how I wanted before they arrived I would’ve missed the morning moments with my son and probably greeted them feeling stressed and stretched. Instead, I got over the feeling that I needed to apologize for messiness and just enjoyed being with them. They left and I realized I felt filled and a little more free.
My heart is still such a work in progress on this, but when the bigger moments arise, I’ve noticed my grip is a little lighter. Each little victory is a step closer to giving up the bigger things and trusting that when I let go, God’s got them. I recently heard Lysa Terkeurst say something in a podcast that couldn’t have rang truer. She said, “With seasons there needs to be a recognized transition. When we hold on from one season to a new season, we will take on too much.” These were the words my heart was feeling. In order to be fully present in this sweet season as a mom, there are a lot of things I no longer [right now] have space for, and that’s okay. These moments are just too precious to not fully embrace because my capacity is being taken up by things that don’t have a place in this season. No matter how many loads of laundry you get done today, there will probably be more tomorrow. We don’t have to do it all at once and a lot of good can happen right in the middle of a messy home (and a messy heart). So I’m letting go and I invite you too as well. Let’s give up together!