I am really struggling with everything right now. The constant meltdowns are just getting to be too much. I am not sure I can do this much longer. How do you do all this and not feel like you want to quit?
A sweet mom emailed me this question last week.
I receive a variation of this all the time.
All. The. Time.
I can’t do this anymore.
My life is in chaos and my child is sick. I want to run away.
I am scared and not sure I can go on.
All are from real moms dealing with really, really hard things.
A child threatening suicide.
Daily calls from the school.
Sleepless night after night.
How do you do all this and not feel like you want to quit?
My heart hurts every single time I read these emails and comments.
Like the mom whose church elders visited and told her that she needed to let her son with separation anxiety disorder go into the Sunday school classroom instead of staying with her in the sanctuary on Sundays. (Yes, this happens. Yes, I am certain the elders felt like they were doing the right thing. No, I do not believe it is ever a good thing to make the mom feel like she needs a doctor’s note in order to be respected as a parent in her church community.)
Or the mom who is not getting anywhere with the school in IEP meetings and her son is losing functionality every single day.
Or the mom who cleaned up another room torn apart in her ten year old’s last meltdown, taping up a window that had been broken and severely cutting her own finger.
Or the mom who just hung up with the insurance company, after being on hold and transferred between departments for over an hour. She was told that the company would not be paying the $4000. bill because there is a question as to the treatment being for anxiety or for autism.
These are all very real messages I have received from very real mommas.
All of them feel like they are ready to give up.
When You Feel Like You Want To Quit
When I am asked how I am able to this without feeling like I want to quit, I want to shout across the internet –
Who says I don’t feel like I want to quit? I want to quit every single day.
The mornings are the hardest.
Before I am even fully awake, I feel the sense of despair creeping in.
What if he can’t make it into the car for the doctor’s appointment today?
He punched me in the face yesterday. What will happen when he is older?
I don’t want to get up. I want to curl up under the covers and be someone else today.
I want to run away to Mexico and feel the warm sun on my face.
I can’t do this.
I can’t stand this.
I want to quit all the time.
But the truth is, no matter how much we might “feel” like we want to quit, we can’t. Quitting is not really an actual option.
We know this and so…
We get up out of bed.
We drink too much coffee.
We breathe deeply and pray for mercy, for patience, for relief, for joy.
We speak calmly, even when our insides are anything but.
We hide – in the bathroom, in the closet, under the covers.
We take the moments we need to check out, to recover, to feel sorry for ourselves, to feel sorry for our kids.
We feel like we want to quit.
But we don’t.
We take the next step, and then the next, knowing it’s the only way.
We feel like we want to quit, but really, what we want is help – some sort of respite.
What we want is just a little less hard. What we need is a little more rest. What we crave is a heart that doesn’t ache with concern and burn with shame.
We want what we simply can’t have, this side of heaven.
We are the parents our children need. We are the best shot they’ve got. No matter what, deep down inside, we know this to be true.
So we wipe the tears and we get back to doing what’s required.
And no matter what, there, in the midst of pain and chaos, in the hazy middle of our lives, we glimpse a small sliver of something meaningful.
Hope. Beauty. Grace. Purpose.
They too are there, gently beckoning us.
When we strip away all of the hard and all the bad, what’s left is what matters most – the only reason we will never quit.
What’s left is love.