I told my husband yesterday I wanted to leave. I told him I wanted to walk out our front door and not come back. No, I didn’t want a divorce. No, I didn’t want to stop mothering my girls. And no, I wasn’t being ungrateful for my blessings.
Yes, the weight was too heavy. The responsibilities of my roles felt like chains leaving me paralyzed. I was ready to quit. Ready to leave. Ready to give up. To walk away. I pondered what that would look like. Where would I go? What would I do?
I sat on my bar stool, tears streaming down my face. Did I really just say out loud to my husband I wanted to leave?
Then I heard a gentle voice whisper. Stop carrying the weight. Stop trying to be everything to everybody.
Stop trying to brush your teeth while feeding the baby while unloading the dishwasher and picking up the sticky sweet potatoes smashed on the wood floor. Just stop.
Breathe. Rest. Slow down. Relax. Let go.
But how? How do you let go when you have so many responsibilities pulling you in every direction? I wish I had the answer for you. I wish I could tell you I solved this magical problem. But I haven’t. But I can tell you what I’m doing.
- Reminding myself daily who I am fighting against.
- Not suffering alone.
- Giving myself grace instead of guilt.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against power of darkness. The battle is not against my husband, although some days it feels like it. The battle is not against the clock, even though most days it runs out before my responsibilities have been completed. I have an enemy who is doing everything in his power to cripple me, blind me, paralyze me, and make me against me. And some days I’ll admit, I feed myself the lies. But choosing to get back up is winning the battle.
I admit my feelings. Yes, the real, ugly, shameful, awful thoughts in my head. I admitted them first to myself. I allowed myself to not be okay and to embrace that. Then I shared with my husband. I was blunt, honest, and broken. And I continued sharing with friends. Friends who will listen, relate, encourage, and love me. And in those conversations,
I find freedom and acceptance which give me more strength to stay in the battle.
Grace. What does grace look like? For me, it’s to stop “shoulding” on myself. “I should be napping when the baby naps even though I want to watch a movie by myself.” “I should do the dishes, the laundry while I have the chance or no I should leave them as is and play with my baby because they days pass by so fast.” You get it? I know you do. It’s exhausting right? Grace for me is learning to lower my expectations. Learning to stop listening to all the other voices around me. Learning to embrace who I am as a wife, a mom, and a friend.
Friend, if you’re in this season, I hope you find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. I pray you will find some peace in the midst of chaos. I pray you will not suffer alone.
If you’re not in this season, can I urge you to stop giving so much advice? Yes, you love us and you do it because you care, but what we really need is “How are you? Wow, you do a beautiful job juggling your responsibilities. Can I give you a few hours to yourself.” We are constantly bombarded with information about ways we can be better and do better. It only increases anxiety and guilt. Do us a favor…hold the advice and pour out the encouragement.
I’m not really leaving. Like a sweet friend of my told me, “sometimes we want to leave only because we know we can’t.” Ain’t that the truth. So be kind to yourself, plan an outing, get away, take a break. Not only do you deserve it, you have to have it.