dear mom who feels like she is going to explode

a letter for those frustrating but you don’t know why days of motherhood

It’s one of those days. Or weeks. Or months.

Or it’s just that time of the year known as winter. I now get why Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a book called The Long Winter. You’re stuck in the middle of the routine, without the break of summer feeling within reach, and often the days are just a tad bit dismal. Not as much color. That sun has been gone for weeks, and those organic vitamin d pills that are supposed to help aren’t really helping. You just need a break, but there is no break in sight. And now, now you feel like you’re going to explode with frustration. I know, I know, it’s just a saying, but let’s be real and talk about that feeling.

And often you don’t even really know why. You know you feel frustrated, discontent, or overwhelmed. Why in the world is the stack of dishes making you want to scream? Or the fact that the laundry pile of sorted clothes got dumped over? Another time you’d feel great – on top of the world – and those things wouldn’t bother you. But, today? Right now? They might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Please do not ever think that it is just you that feels this way.

Sometimes we add extra shame and stress on ourselves and tell ourselves that real moms don’t get overwhelmed or we compare ourselves to others or we ask what is wrong with me? I just wanted to be a mother and now I am feeling this?  That feeling, that overwhelmed with life and wanting to pull all of your hair out but you won’t because bald really isn’t your style right now feeling doesn’t just happen to you.

It happens to all of us.

That’s the truth.

That’s real.

It happens because, well, plain and simple, it’s part of being a human. I don’t care that Carol Brady kept her cool when the roast burned or the kids all fought or her husband came home late. Again. Or that Claire Huxtable on the Cosby show could juggle working, taking care of kids, and laughing almost every single day and that her hair and clothes, for that 1980s look, were always put together and polished. And really? Really are there that many Mrs. Cleaver’s in this world who when pushed to the edge just let out a small sigh and a slightly exasperated Oh Dear?

That’s just not real.

Neither is Hallmark.

But, if you’re really needing a good cry go and turn that channel on – sometimes a good cry is what is needed. I’m telling you, don’t stuff it all in over and over and over again. Let it out, have a good cry. There isn’t a gold star award for the mother who can hide all of these tears and forcing out an I’m fine with a tight smile on her face. Sometimes, dear mom, you must simply cry. In fact, I’m telling you sometimes it’s okay to cry over the pile of dishes, or laundry, or the kids that don’t listen, or all of that because at this very moment that is what is overwhelming to you. And, mother who feels overwhelmed, call a friend, reach out, be real. If you need help, then get help.

I’ve cried.

That’s the truth. And I tell you that because you need to hear from other moms words of truth.

Now, here’s the deal. There will come a day when this feeling like you’re going to explode feeling will go away. Spring will come and with it marigolds, birds, and sun. The dishes will get done, the laundry folded. You’ll move past the difficult moments, relationships will mend or grow, and you’ll move forward. You’ll laugh again. I promise you. On these days that are so ridiculously hard, I want you to think about one of those good days that you’ve had in the past and then remember that they will come again. And then I want you to take a minute, just a minute, and see them happening again in your future.

You must believe in that – the good days – right now.

You see, all you can see right now, is this day and all the hard stuff.

The good days will come again, that the kids will laugh, and your clothes will be folded, and there will be normal calm moments. Remembering and seeing the good  might just help with this hard day.

Just pause, look through your instagram feed, look through photos, and remember.

There is hope and good.

I’m writing you to tell you that you will smile, you will get through, you will finish today.

You are doing amazing things. You have forgotten to see that right now. So I am going to remind you. I will tell you how important you are and tell you that even if you go to bed with that stack of dishes undone that those things don’t matter. I will remind you that missing a deadline, or forgetting a birthday party, or getting upset about spilled milk doesn’t define you as a mother.  I will remind you, right now, that even if you feel like you are going to explode that you are still an awesome and amazing mother. I will tell you that you will do one thing, and you’ll do it well, and that your giving of self, while at sometimes feels like it goes unnoticed, really is a beautiful thing that is truly honored by our culture. We just forget to tell it. So I’m telling it to you.

You are outstanding.

Dear mom, you can do this today. Break the pattern, take a walk, dance in the living room, eat ice cream for lunch, watch a movie, write down beautiful gifts of motherhood, run in the snow, go get some coffee, order take out, fold those clothes, paint – do what you need to do right now. I have faith in you. Let go what needs to be let go and concentrate on what you can do. The joy will return.

Deep breath. Pull up your boot straps. Hug your kids. Call a friend, facebook a friend, simply reach out.  Look in the mirror – that reflection? That’s you. And that you has an incredible role. The secret is that you are changing the world – one life after another. When they come to you and need to hear your voice and need you to kiss an owie to make it better it is because you matter.

You are their mom.

And that? That is life changing. You just need to see the incredible value of you today.

Do you know what I know?

You can and absolutely will do it.

One step, one step, one moment, right after another.


38 Responses to “dear mom who feels like she is going to explode”

  1. February 25, 2013

    Courageous Mama Reply

    It’s so important to speak the truth about homeschooling … the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some days it’s the only thing that keeps us going: knowing we’re not alone, and having the opportunity to share the wonder of it all. Thanks for sharing!

  2. February 25, 2013

    Brigitte Reply

    You pretty much described my morning, right down to the laundry pile of sorted clothes being knocked off the couch!
    Thank you for your encouraging words – they were like a soothing balm to this rather frazzled mamma today! X

  3. February 25, 2013

    Rachel E. Reply

    Thanks again for your words. Yesterday was so chaotic, the dishes didn’t get done. This momma doesn’t like working in a dirty kitchen. Long night with the youngest because of a bleeding diaper rash, up early because of it. I had to do dishes this morning. Wears a person out.

  4. February 25, 2013

    Heather Alderman Reply

    This has been me for the past couple weeks. It is an awful feeling… we live in Michigan and all have cabin fever big time. I am just sick of the constant messes and fighting kids. I can’t wait until summer, when we can just slip our flip flops on and spend the whole day outside!!

  5. February 25, 2013

    Angel Reply

    So good to know I am not alone … and I am normal!

  6. February 25, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Yes! Normal! Love those words Angel. I think mid winter is the hardest time for me Heather – that routine is still there and we’re just itching for newness. That’s why I love spring. Fresh starts, flowers, and everyone getting outside.

    And Brigitte – good to know that I am not alone in the dumped out laundry. 🙂

    Rachel – blessings and health to you today.

    Thanks everyone for your encouraging words. I appreciate your comments.


  7. February 25, 2013

    Sammysunshine Reply

    Another direct hit…sharing this with all my mom friends out there…much needed…

  8. February 25, 2013

    Lori Reply

    Already shared this post with all the moms I know. It seems I have talked to so many that are just to the end of themselves and feel like they can’t keep up. I am that mom all to often. I was just saying to my doctor that I feel like I am so unqualified for this job, even though this is round 2 of doing this mommy gig :). Some days I think I should be fired. 🙂 Thank you for the words of encouragement as it is always good to be reminded none of us alone on this journey. 🙂

  9. February 25, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    You don’t know HOW BADLY I needed to hear this today. Last night I did explode and it wasn’t pretty. Today is a day of cleaning up the mess of exploding Momma, and not letting the pressure build back up. If you would, could you please pray for me? Thank you so much. You didn’t know that God had you write and post this today,

  10. February 25, 2013

    Rae-Leah Douglas Reply

    Always grateful to read your posts, they are something I look forward to and share with all my friends. You always remind moms we are not alone, as evidenced by how many poeple comment that they feel it was written for them today! Thanks again for being an amazing mom and having such a way with words!

  11. February 25, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Truly need to read this every day! Thank you for sharing “normal”. Sending this out to some friends of mine!

  12. February 25, 2013

    Mel Reply

    How did you just reach into my heart like that? My week has been exactly how you wrote it.. With some family drama added, and I’ve been piled onto the couch in a sad little heap trying not to let it swallow me up..
    Other people feel this way?!

    Thank you so much for doing what you do. Thank you!

  13. As I sit here trying to finish a piece of writing which HAS to be done tonight, whilst my beloved tries to make pasta (he is not the best cook in the world, and that’s a very kind understatement) and my children keep coming in and asking ‘when’s dinner? WHEN is dinner?’ and I keep saying, ‘soon’ and ‘soon’ and ‘nearly ready’ I took a moment to read this page (I bookmarked it this morning. It’s been that sort of day) and I want to thank you. I’m a good enough mama. That will do.

  14. February 25, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Totally needed this after chasing our dog made me 10 minutes late for an appointment, the baby threw up all over on the way to the appointment, and found myself with no baby wipes to clean her up with. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Thank you for making me realize it is normal to feel this way.

  15. February 25, 2013

    SaraLyons Reply

    hi! This is my first time visiting, a friend sent me this post to read because I just wrote one of my own basically feeling like a failure some days. You made me cry with relief. I feel like its not just me but the trials and tribulations of being a parent. Just wanted to say thank you. You made me feel that support I so needed.

  16. February 25, 2013

    Rahime Reply

    Beautiful and so encouraging! I’m having one of those weeks…months?…yeah. It’s sometimes so hard in the thick of life to see the light at the end of the road. Thank you.

  17. February 25, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    I just walked in the door after taking four kids to the dentist – including that precocious three year old of mine Samuel – that was work. Thankful to go, but a challenge to keep the littles occupied.
    Anyways, I popped on here and read all the comments and I am truly blessed and humbled by them. Thank you all for sharing a bit of your hearts and your journey with me. Again, I will say it again, we are stronger when we realize that we are not alone. Is motherhood hard? Yes. And in the midst of the hard it is one of the most beautiful rewarding things.
    Lets continue to be a generation of women reaching out and encouraging each other. That really matters.
    Blessings to each of you.

  18. February 25, 2013

    Michelle Cannon Reply

    Personally, I am offended. How DARE you sneak into my home, take photos of my house, and then have the audacity to post them to your blog! RUDE.. just rude!

    Hahaha! I kid!! Great post!

    • February 12, 2015

      Brooke Jones Reply

      Have you been sneaking into my house and taking photos too? Michelle’s reply made me laugh because I thought the same thing she did. The sink, the kids room, the Hulk with a missing hand. Yep! I am there. Thanks for making me feel connected to moms everywhere!

  19. February 25, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    Ha! Love your comment, Michelle. 🙂 It made me laugh today.

    Blessings to you.


  20. February 25, 2013

    Molly Reply

    whoa. This is like deja vu for me. I just wrote a post last week called “sometimes you need a good cry.” I was completely overwhelmed in a moment and my emotions just exploded all over the place. But then I was okay after I cried. Thank you for writing this. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  21. February 25, 2013

    Whit Reply

    I needed every word of this today more than I even realized. This life is tough. Challenges keep getting thrown my way. I feel like breaking down, giving up and running away from it all a lot these days. Then, I see one of my sweet boys’ faces, and I know my importance. It is just really really nice to know we aren’t alone. That I am not a terrible person for feeling this way. There are other moms feeling the same thing. Thank you for your sweet and gentle words once again. You always bring a sense of peace to my overwhelmed heart.

  22. February 25, 2013

    christy Reply

    i absolutely love reading your dear mom letters, it’s nice to know that i’m not the only mom out there with dishes running out of the sink, laundry piles everywhere (clean and dirty), kids who don’t listen and feeling frustrated! thank you for taking your time to write these, they really are a blessing to us other moms out there!

  23. February 25, 2013

    Rachel Bueckert Reply

    LOL! I just shared this with my sister because we were on the phone discussing how both of us are having screaming baby/difficult children days today! Good article, needed to hear this today. 🙂

  24. February 25, 2013

    Rosalie Reply

    I just found your blog through a friend and I must say it was much needed today! I sincerely appreciate your words! I look forward to reading more! Thank you! Much love!

  25. February 25, 2013

    christa sterken Reply

    ahhh, a dose of truth. I needed that. My kids are teens and I still feel like this sometimes. One almost college age and I wonder, when will I be that perfect mom? Never. But I am pretty good most of the time, “we” are pretty good most of the time. That means you guys too. Mothering is tough, important work. Homeschooling on top of mothering can be euphoric, and, well, sucky.
    That is life. Real and honest and you did a magnificent, important job of capturing that for women today. I am delighted to share this…

  26. February 26, 2013

    shy Reply

    I sooo love your post. I’m feeling tired lately. I’m a new mom and I feel like there’s a lot to be done yet my time is not enough. I’ve cried about it and it helps.

    Thanks for sharing this one.

  27. February 26, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    What amazing words of comfort. Praying!
    Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
    My email address

  28. February 26, 2013

    Stacy Reply

    I sooooo needed this reminder today! We’ve had so many overwhelming and frustrating days, and when my six-year-old is already having an attitude before 7:30 AM, it sure makes me feel like I’m going to explode! There have been so many times where I feel like I have reached my limit, and then you post exactly what I need to hear. I am so thankful that God has given you the words and insight to encourage all of us who follow your blog. Thank you so, so much for helping me to re-center on God this morning. Much love to you!!! <3

  29. February 27, 2013

    House of Smead Reply

    Thank you so much for this blog post. You described exactly how I’m feeling right now. I really appreciate your encouraging words.

  30. February 27, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this! I just had a talk with one of my teenage sons and didn’t exactly feel like a very good mother. Sometimes its difficult to find the right words and I was already overwhelmed with many things…now I’m sitting outside in the sun(feels like the first day of spring) with my coffee, trying to breathe and get some new energy from the sun! Thank you again!
    Love Åsa in Sweden

  31. March 1, 2013

    Alissa Collins Reply

    🙂 Spending a lot of time hiding in the office, avoiding the kids who think that the last 3 weeks of winter are for fighting… loudly… whining… crying and demanding angrily.

    I seriously considered wearing my flip flops today just because my feet are going to freak out if they spend even one more day in a pair of close-toed shoes. The morning was 45 degrees… it could have happened. 🙂 Great encouragement!!

  32. March 3, 2013

    themahoganyway Reply

    I needed to read this tonight. Wish I had read it earlier in the day when I felt like exploding…and then I did. I apologized to the kids but the damage had already been done. I’m still getting the hang of being s newly single homeschooling mom. It’s tough.

  33. March 31, 2014

    Kathy Reply

    Thank you so much for this post. These past couple of weeks I have felt like “mom hulk” and I feel horrible about it. THANK YOU for this!

  34. February 12, 2015

    Janean Baird Reply

    This was the love letter I needed today. Thank you for being real and writing these encouraging words for all the mothers of the world. You speak universal truths.

  35. February 12, 2015

    Kelly Reply

    I love the line “when they come to you and need to hear your voice”. It’s the small things children need and I forget that sometimes.

  36. February 19, 2015

    Jade Reply

    Thank you. I needed this article right now.

  37. November 19, 2015

    Angel Reply

    Thank you 10 million times! I have said it on other posts of yours, but you seem to write the exact thing that I am feeling. It is good to know that I am not alone and it is great to be reminded that its ok. I have no other words but truly THANK YOU!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.