I’ve been asked how I manage a life with Depression & Anxiety and mother well.
Truth is. I don’t.
I could go on a rant about the hot mess express that I feel constantly runs through my living room, but while that’s honest, it’s not the whole story.
I am an absolute mess on bad days. My depressive episodes showing up not a sulking, but often in anger. A knee jerk reaction to the overwhelm in my soul.
I become the “shouting grumpy mom” in those moments. But when I’m honest, they are very seldom the real source, but often, in their tiny humanness, the triggers. That’s not unique to my struggles though. I know I’m not the only mom who’s had that problem.
As a result, because sometimes I feel out of control, I constantly worry about the damage my illness and struggles will do to their fragile psyche. I’ve read a lot of books and research, and while I wish calm and collected was my baseline response, but sometimes, it’s just not.
But, here is what I do know- being this imperfect externally, made me desperate to connect them to Jesus so much sooner.
I read this quote recently and it struck me as so very true to my own mothering experience-
“ As moms, we can confidently admit our weaknesses instead of hiding who we are because of the grace of God.”Liz Wann
It’s that philosophy that I’ve completely embraced.
I apologize a lot. I admit that mommy doesn’t know it all, and just like they need Jesus to make right choices, change and grow, I desperately need Him too. I need him to help me overcome the pain and trauma that’s triggering this response. They’ll need to know Jesus isn’t afraid of their mucky moments, and they get to see that in me.
When I make mistakes, I ask for forgiveness. I can’t always stop my reactions (though I’m working on that), but can promptly lay down my “parental pride” and admit when I was wrong. I explain that my reactions are not their fault, and then I work overtime to love them up in the ways they need.
We pray together often, when I mess up and when they do too. Prayer ins’t a last resort in our home, its a gift of a generous God who wants to draw us near when we’re weak.
Over time, I’ve noticed that we’ve been slowly creating a culture of compassion and care in our home. My girls are growing in compassion not just towards me, but to each other when they have outbursts, hard moments or days. In turn, we’re learning how to care and love for others outside of our home too- because, we all know what it’s like to hurt a little on the inside ourselves. And, creating safe boundaries for ourselves when others are hurting is a common lesson too.
My brokenness in this area isn’t one I would have chosen, and it’s hard to stomach as I often feel it disqualifies me from the “great mom” category. But, I’m leaning in through it anyway, reminding myself that my worth is not measured by my perfect performance, but a value that was given to me by God, and designed to be resistant to my fickle nature.
My reality gives them an imperfect lens through which to view the hard stuff of this world- the brokenness as a result of sin, the pain so many inflict because they are hurting themselves, how to overcome from things you can’t control, or even just the vast ways we all need a savior.
This scripture is imprinted and memorized by each of my older girls- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
They see it action way more than I wish they did.
But as a result, they have also memorized and seen this one too- “…for while we were sinners, Christ died for us…” Romans 5:8
They see the good and the bad. The broken and the whole. I don’t hide, because it’s impossible sometimes, but when I’m better, I always bring it to His feet with them at my side.
Practically, I love on them extra tight when I’m stronger. I take them on walks with me, and teach them the same management tools I’m learning to use like exercise, walking away, practicing silence (when anger tries to take over), and of course, our shared love of reading.
We sit. We snuggle. We go slow and find our beauty in seasons like these, trusting that God is a healer and the master educator- teaching us all something new.
I never pretend to be above my girls, but instead just the woman called to be their mama; a girl still in desperate need of Jesus.
It’s my hope that my humanity, which is so often exposed while I recover, can inspire them to trust in the same God they know has never once left their momma alone, and in turn, will always be with them too.
**Check out their super cute scripture memory in action over on my Instagram page. Click here to take a look **