In a crumble, I sink to the worn couch, pushing aside the spilled Cheerios. The baby and toddler are finally asleep at the same time. From the corner of my eye, I can see the mound of laundry waiting to be folded and the lunch dishes awaiting me. But instead of doing my usual nap time cleaning frenzy, I sit a while longer.
Earlier that morning, I had been at a mom’s group and something from our conversation was lingering. There were eight of us, all young moms. The leader at our table asked us to go around and share a little about ourselves. One by one, the ladies shared their name and every time their name was followed by “I’m a mom to…” It was that moment that had been haunting my thoughts.
I am a mom but is that where I find my identity? What happens when my kids grow up and I am left with an empty house? Being a mom was always my dream and it still is. I love being a mom to my three little children, but I also have learned that I have to be seeking my identity in Christ.
If you are a mother, then you know and understand the depths of those emotions. There is the exhilaration of caring for this beautiful person that you helped create and there is also the complete exhaustion as you strive to know how to best care for your child.
When I was a new mom six years ago, I quickly saw what a rollercoaster motherhood can send you on. In the beginning, I tried to do everything perfectly. I was determined to be the perfect mom with the perfect child. When my son was almost three years old, I gave birth to my second son and I figured I could easily handle two children. That’s when things started to crumble around me. My sweet new baby did not like anything that his older brother did. My magical method of swaddling and sleep training did not work and he had food allergies that caused feeding to be an exhausting challenge. At the same time, my oldest turned three and we entered into the terrible threes. I was worn down, drained in every possible way, and feeling like a failure.
I was seeking my identity in motherhood and coming up feeling less than worthy.
Around that time, I reconnected with a friend from college who was going through similar challenges. We started a study together and began to make changes. My eyes were opened to the realization that I had my focus off. Instead of seeing myself as a failure, I saw myself as God sees me—his beautiful and unique child. When the challenging days came and it seemed like nothing was going right, I was no longer hiding in a corner crying because deep down, I knew I was okay.
You see, sweet friends, when I seek my identity in motherhood, I end up crying on the couch to my husband because I lost my cool again, or wondering why my kids love to throw tantrums in aisle 6 of Target. When I seek my identity in motherhood, I find my self-worth in how well-behaved my kids are or how well dressed they are. When I seek my identity in motherhood, I find myself lost and wondering who I am once the house is empty.
It’s hard to remember that before I’m a wife or a mom I am a daughter of Christ. How does that play out in my life? When I am frustrated over my kids’ behavior or start to compare myself to another mom, I can stop and remember that I am a child of God. I do not need to find my identity in my kids or my ability to be a mom because my identity is solidified in Christ. In the midst of a hard parenting moment, I have underlying peace because I know that God has prepared me to parent this child.
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
When you start to feel lost and frustrated remember you are God’s masterpiece. He loves you no matter what and He has great plans for you. When the kids are fighting and you feel like you are failing, remember you are a child of Christ and He loves you. Daily seek God above all else and the rest will all start to fade away.
Wife to Nick and mom to three wonderful children, Keri loves to use her day-to-day, moment-by-moment life in South Carolina to pour inspiring truth into women. She’s learned so much about God’s character being a wife and mom, and thinks it’s beyond rewarding to use this season to speak to others about living presently in theirs. You can read more from her on her blog or catch up on Facebook or Instagram.