Motherhood is not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. It is tough stuff and hard work, and some days are harder than others. It’s not realistic to think that you’re going to approach every day with a smile on your face no matter how much you love being a mom. Some days we just wake up crabby. Some days are filled with sorrow. Some days are just plain exhausting.
But if you’re finding that this is a regular pattern for you, that there are a lot more bad days than good ones, or that you’re stuck in a rut that you just can’t get out of, then it’s more than just the normal demands of motherhood. If you have gone several days without smiling at your family or if everything they do makes the hackles on your neck stand up, then you, my friend, have lost your joy!
Here are a few reasons why:
8 Reasons You’re Losing Your Joy
- Lack of Vision
It’s difficult to find the energy and motivation to do something when you don’t know what you’re working towards. Having a vision is crucial because it gives you a goal to work towards, keeps you on the path toward that goal, and serves as a constant reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Without a vision, you will find yourself being pulled about by life’s currents rather than setting a course, and your biggest goal will be simply getting though each day. It would be nearly impossible for a mother to maintain her joy in the midst of life’s demands without a vision to keep her going.If you’d like to read more about setting a vision for motherhood, read my post here.
- Lost Sight of the Bigger Picture
Along the same lines as having a vision for motherhood, you must constantly keep the bigger picture of child-rearing in mind if you are ever going to be able to resist the urge to succumb to fatigue, resentment, and pity parties. Think back to when you first decided to have children (or if it wasn’t exactly planned, when you first decided to commit to raising your children). Why did you decide to have kids? For me, it was the realization (brought on by the book Resolution for Women) that by raising Godly children, I can accomplish exponentially more for the Kingdom than I could ever do by myself. When I’m weary or frustrated by the task of disciplining my son, or when I’m tempted to coast along and just get through the toddler years, I remind myself of what I’m doing it all for. I didn’t have kids to be an accessory, to be fun play-things, or to fill a void in my life. I had them so I could raise them to be arrows (Psalm 127:4). I didn’t have them to be blessings to me (although they are and will be); I had them to be blessings to others and to God. And that keeps me going when the going gets rough.
- Not Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep is something that ALL moms can relate to, but sleep is so important for your health and your joy. There will always be periods of time when it’s just not possible to get the amount of sleep you need, but make sure it doesn’t stay that way for long. There’s a reason we sleep at night – God designed our bodies to reset and restore themselves while we sleep. And if God put that in our makeup, I’m pretty sure we should be working with his design and not against it. He is infinitely wiser than we are, after all.
And yet it often becomes a contest among women of who can get the least amount of sleep, with the winner getting full bragging rights, the admiration of her peers, and the opportunity to feel superior over other, more rested, women. But she also wins exhaustion, crabbiness, and a host of physical issues. If you would rather fulfill your daily duties with energy, proficiency, and joy, then do yourself a favor – don’t buy into the “less is more” mentality when it comes to sleep. Work with God’s design for the human body and get the amount of sleep you need to function at peak performance.
- Too Much on Your Plate
I’m convinced that some people are just naturally suited to do more than others. Even still, every mom has a limit, and she will get burned out when she tries to do more than she can handle. Furthermore, I would assert that most moms are actually taking on more than they were ever intended to handle. There is so much pressure nowadays for moms to “do it all.” Being overwhelmed and exhausted has become a rite of passage for women. As if you are doing something wrong if you don’t feel utterly drained.
And you know what? I say phooey on that. God does not intend for each woman to do it all. He has a specific design and plan for each of us, and we are responsible for that and only that. Anything beyond those things which God has laid out for us to do is not ours to take on, and only inhibits our ability to do what we were actually supposed to do! So I say, if your relationship with God, your home life, and your health are in jeopardy, then you are doing too much. Let something go, and watch your joy return!
- Skipping Your Quiet Time
I know there’s a lot to get done in a day. Chores, errands, school, work, dinner, practices, recitals, etc., etc., etc. When the day’s to-do list is long, it’s tempting to cut out the things that don’t seem urgent. Many times, the first thing to go is our daily quiet time – the time we spend in the Word, in prayer, and in communion with God. But that is the worst thing you can do when life gets busy, and is guaranteed to deplete your joy. That time sets us up for the rest of the day, refuels us, and maintains our connection with our power source – the Holy Spirit. We are often tempted to skip this time and get on with our day, but we shoot ourselves in the foot when we do this because it causes us to rely on our own strength rather than on God’s. Speaking from my own experience, I know there is a HUGE difference in my attitude the rest of the day when I’ve had my quiet time. If you’re wondering why you’ve been so lacking in joy lately, take a look at how you start your day.
- Too Much Work, Not Enough Play
Life gets busy, especially with kids to take care of. But life shouldn’t be all about work, work, work. Are you taking time to just be? Be with your husband, be with your kids, be … by yourself?? It’s good to be productive, and we should all strive to be diligent in our work in and out of the house. But we should balance that with a good amount of play. Take a break and play with your kids. Get down on the floor with them, laugh with them, and enjoy their individual personalities. If you have been tense and on edge a lot lately, it’s time to play! Do something purely for fun with your family. They’ll thank you, your future self will thank you, and you will see that joy that’s been MIA come flooding back into your soul.
- Not Making Time for You
This one is huge for moms. We often become plagued with the disease of guilt if we even *think* of taking time for ourselves. How can we do something just for us when our family needs us? Isn’t that selfish? OR we take the self-martyrdom route and use our lack of “me” time as proof of what good mothers we are. “I never take time for myself. I’m too busy taking care of my family.” Both attitudes are wrong. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and neglecting yourself is not a sign of being a good mom. We actually become better mothers when we take time for ourselves because it recharges our batteries and enables us to take care of our families with even greater skill and vigor.If you have gotten to the point where you are just tired of taking care of people and are resentful towards them, then it’s time for you to do something for yourself. You cannot effectively take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself. (You can read more about the importance of “Mommy Time” here.)
If you have been bogged down or negative towards motherhood lately, seriously contemplate whether one of these issues may be the culprit. Put a few of the things we talked about into practice, and enjoy the newly restored you!
If you know someone who might benefit from this list, don’t forget to share! We all win when we help each other flourish!
If you enjoyed this post, check out one of these other related posts:
- My Vision for Motherhood
- Running on “E”: Why Every Mom Needs Mommy Time
- How You (Yes, you!) Can Be a Joyous Mother
- The #1 Key to Joyful Motherhood
- 25 Encouraging Verses to Help You Cultivate Joy