The flip side of intense love

The flip side of intense love: struggling with disappointment and sadness in the midst of life's blessings. Read more at gloriousmomblog.com.I wanted to call this post “Why even moms struggle with sadness”, but a week or so ago I published “The surprising reason you had a bad day”, and it sounded too similar, even though it’s not. 

Nothing brings you more joy than having a family. So with all the love and adventure swirling around, why do we moms suffer from the blues more often than we’d like to admit?

Here’s my theory: apart from the general longing for perfection and beauty that is unfulfilled in this life, as described in my post here, I think it has to do with the hundreds of repeated failures we face every day. 

The flip side of intense love: struggling with disappointment and sadness in the midst of life's blessings. Read more at gloriousmomblog.com.I do not think these tiny failures make you a failure as a mom. The problem is, we hold tiny worlds in our clumsy hands. We’re responsible for balance, order, making sure everyone is fed, clean, and comfortable, the house faking cleanliness adequately, and a myriad of other things. We are, in short, amazingly Glorious Moms (or dads). 

However, perfection is unattainable. We may be able to fake it for a day or two, but we aren’t God, and this isn’t heaven. There are things out of our control and things inside our control, things which aren’t our fault, and things for which we have no excuse. 

The bottom line is this: we care deeply. We want to perfectly create a perfect world for the objects of our affection. We want to give them our best. We don’t want to snap in anger, continually say no to our five-year-old who just wants to play with mommy, or forget to have a meal ready for our husband. 

The flip side of intense love: struggling with disappointment and sadness in the midst of life's blessings. Read more at gloriousmomblog.com.These creatures of fierce passion, our loves, they disappoint in turn: tantrums, disobedience, poor performance in school, bad decisions. But we yearn for perfection, the way things were designed to be! For them and us. That perfection is not yet. It will be, soon, but for now we have this seemingly mediocre counterfeit. 

How to deal with the perpetual crushing disappointment, the inevitable sadness? I have two small thoughts on the matter. 

One: that we go on loving our family and loving God is a shining representation of our faith. That on this broken side of eternity we would waddle through a myriad of obstacles, loving and serving the best we know how is one of the most precious acts of worship we can present the Lover of our souls. Don’t think He doesn’t see! He sees and cherishes it. 

Philippians 4:8 whatsoever things are true, think on these things. My second thought is that as challenging as it is, we need to take our eyes off our thousands of failures, and set them first of all, on the One who never fails, and second of all, on the good things He has given us. Philippians 4:8 says to think about the good things. At one point I was journaling three things every day that had made me happy. It really helps to program your brain to focus on positive things. 

The truth is, despite multiple repeated failures, we are not failures as mothers, friends, daughters, spouses … every day we put our needs last and focus on the needs of the ones we love the most, and move heaven and earth to meet those needs. It doesn’t always happen, but they are super-lucky to have us. 

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  1. You are so right! Logically I know perfection is unattainable, but yet I love my daughter and husband so much that I keep striving for it anyway! Which can also lead to feelings of failure. Keeping in mind that we just love so much and are trying our best is great advice.

    1. Yes! You’re a fantastic mom!

  2. It is hard realizing you can’t control the Universe. I used to struggle with perfection as well and also a huge problem I think is seeing things that didn’t work out as failures.

    1. That’s an interesting thought. The illusion of control.

  3. Intersting ideas here. I see where you are coming from.

    1. Yes, kind of a different way of thinking

  4. Hope moms don’t look at themselves as failures. Yes there is ton pressure from everyone and everywhere to always be perfect

    1. Mostly from ourselves. There are a thousand opportunities to make mistakes.

  5. We do tend to be so hard on ourselves, I know. I think if we’re keeping our kiddos safe and loved, we’re doing a great job! 🙂

  6. softfuzzygunddog says: Reply

    I like your journal idea of writing three good things every day. I would try it but I’ve only just learned recently how to take time every day to read a devotional, and even that 2min of quiet reflection is hard to fit in! Maybe someday though 🙂
    I really liked this line: “There are things out of our control and things inside our control, things which aren’t our fault, and things for which we have no excuse.” It helps bring into focus what isn’t worth our time to stress about, and what we might ponder a little to try and improve (or pray about or both!).
    I found this post very uplifting, thank you!

    1. I understand the crazy busy part! I just need to get better at time management, though.

  7. At one time I posted three things I was grateful for every day. It made me look for things to be grateful for throughout the day. It was a habit that lingered for a short time, but sadly is gone now. Something I need to think about doing again (maybe not posting, but perhaps journaling, as you mentioned.

  8. You make some really great points, Susan! I think my sadness comes from not being in control, not necessarily not being perfect, but they’re definitely similar causes.

    1. That’s true! Something we have to come to terms with.

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