The Day I Quit Motherhood by Jenny Lee Sulpizio
Before I knew it, these two words had flown from my mouth and the reason was simple: it had been one of those mornings. You know the kind. The type of morning where the kids overslept, fights over the bathroom ensued, and the packing of lunches had yet to take place. It was the kind of morning where the dog had peed (all over), where the toilet clogged, and my attempts at breakfast had indeed, gone up in flames.
And it wasn’t even 7:30 yet.
So I quit. I gave up. I shouted to the whole house: to the kids, the dog, and anything within earshot, that I was done. In retirement. On sabbatical. Officially F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D with motherhood.
And it felt good (for a minute). Freeing even. That is until I saw my kids. The look upon their faces let me know how wrong I’d been…and how hurtful my little public act of defiance really was. Worse of all? This Christian mama wasn’t showing them Jesus. Not one bit. I wasn’t emoting the kind of unconditional love I consistently receive (like, on a daily basis). Rather, my frustration—my weariness—was taking over.
Isn’t this what happens so much of the time though? You and me? Sometimes we don’t always exude the love of Christ. Not to our kids, our spouses, our loved ones or our friends. I struggle with that…with my imperfections…with knowing that due to my actions, the people I love the most don’t always see Jesus in (and through) me. That I am in fact, human…flawed.
But you know what, friend? Motherhood is hard. However, Jesus is there for us in the middle of our trials. He’s there for it all and through it all.
So on those days where life takes over, where tempers flare, and kids are unruly, instead of giving up or breaking down, do one (or all) of the following:
- Pray: Open that Bible. Read what God has to say. A little bit of quiet time goes a long way on those difficult days and in those hard moments. Ask for strength…for help.
- Give Grace: You’re not perfect. No one is. Give yourself some grace during those times when nothing seems to be going right. Jesus already has.
- Surrender. The journey of motherhood isn’t easy but our greatest blessings often come with difficult challenges. Friend, your best is all anyone can ask for. Surrender the frustration(s). Breathe. Rest. Give it to God.
After many failed attempts at following God’s cues, Jenny Lee Sulpizio has but one goal in mind these days: encouraging women to set their sights on God, and away from the worldly mayhem distracting them. As a Christian mom, wife, author, and contributing blogger to numerous online sites, Jenny looks to inspire her readers to a state of action and a place of peace.
She resides in Arizona with her husband and three children. Connect with Jenny online at www.jennyleesulpizio.com where you’ll find her blog, Grace for the Journey.
Jenny is giving away two copies of her book For the Love of God: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Faith and Getting Grace.
Please leave a comment below answering this question for a chance to win:
Moms, has there ever been a day–a moment–where you wanted to call it quits?
Thank you. Sometimes it’s hard to accept grace. When we’re under emotional stress, it’s hard to see a clear way out. I’ve been living there for almost three weeks since losing my job. Living in faith is difficult, although time and time again God continues to provide.
Love this. We need to also remember to be generous with the grace toward the people around us (not just ourselves). Thank you for sharing!
I could relate to everything stated above!! There are some days that are very trying. Often times, I forget to surrender it over to the one who cares the most!
Yes i have, i am a single mom and often don’t get one moment alone and have lately found since my LB is spending weekends at his dads he is coming back full temper tantrum mode and is very disheartening, i find my self blame myself for decisions i’ve made and just wanting to give up, its hard this journey as a mom (single mom or not) but i know with God by my side i can find peace in this period of despair and come out of it stronger woman of God and a better mom
i have had this open to read and just now getting ‘nap time silence’ to be able to do so. sadly, i ‘quit’ this morning. and yesterday. thanks for the reminder to surrender my frustrations…bring them all to the Lord then praise Him for all His goodness.
Thank you so much, everyone, for the heartfelt comments. I’m so glad that Jenny’s post was encouraging to you all. I will be picking two winners later today for the giveaway so stay tuned!
Wow! I uttered these words today. My 4 yr old threw aa tantrum in the middle of a store. Wouldn’t buckle his carseat, and the list went on. I was totally exhausted. I needed to hear this. Thanks
I have wanted to quit more times than I can count! I too have yelled I quit, and moments later felt so horrible…I was taught to never give up and I do on an almost daily basis. Then I reassess my self and my emotions and carry on! Always remember to carry on.
Dalea, you’re one of the winners of Jenny’s book! Please email my Project Manager your address at: firstname.lastname@example.org (attention: Sherri). Congratulations!
Yes. Right. Now. Thank you for this article. It was what I needed today.
Definitely, today is one of those days. Teenagers, toddlers and babies..its a heady combo. I’m trying to surrender rather than quit.
Yeah, a few times a week! But I get up and do it all over again the next day. I’m a working mom of 2 boys, 5 & 7. I have way more on my plate than I can handle, but that’s just motherhood. I feel my boys and husband get the short end of the stick a lot because my time with them during the week is always rushed. I try to slow down, but the truth of the matter is that there is a certain amount of stuff that needs to get done nightly and a limited amount of time to do it in and it always seems like I’m the only one keeping track of time. SMH. I feel like I have failed as a parent a lot…but I just keep telling myself I’m doing the best I can…right??
This post hits home with me as I had one of those moments this morning. I feel like they’re becoming more frequent which leads me to want to quit motherhood. I need to know there are others just like me who know to do right but still struggle to do it. I need that daily reminder of His grace as like many I’m my own worst critic. I need to reach out to Him more for the strength for each day or moment.
Yes, when my 16 year old told me she was pregnant.
Karen, we are all in this together. I think so much relief comes in the knowledge that we all battle the same issues…that we’re not alone in our struggles. And Amen(!) to that.
Sometimes we’re so reluctant to share our feelings about what we’re going through in motherhood for fear that we’ll sound like a terrible parent, or for fear that our child will seem different in our friends eyes, or fear that……. When I have given myself the freedom to share with good friends, it has all seemed so much better. If nothing else, I’ve then got someone ELSE praying for me and mine along with me. And knowing that helps so much.
We fear judgement, don’t we? Fear is such a detriment when it comes to our own perception of our abilities to raise a child. But we all experience it. We all struggle with it. So true, Arlene!!
Thank you to Jenny (and to those who commented) for helping me to feel more normal…i have quit often…here physically, but mentally drained and wishing i were better in so many ways… thanks for the reminder that i need to pay more attention to God and let Him guide me through my days…none of us are in this alone!
Unfortunately, all too often, I’d like to call it quits. I’ve got a son with autism. We have some good times, but quite a few rough days. I love him, but feel so inadequate to mother him. I let satan get me really defeated and then rally. I need Jesus every day.
Yes, we need Jesus everyday. The Enemy always fills our mind with doubts in our ability to parent and do life in general. But God. God is there to tell us we’re not alone, he’s by our side, and that with Him, all things are indeed, possible. Amen!
There are so many moments when I have wanted to call it quits! Just earlier this week I found my self drowning in the emptiness that can be motherhood. I hadn’t been feeling well and my 3 year old was home this week from preschool for spring break and my one year old was teething. On the days that I really want to give up I find myself wishing that there was a magic formula that would make things easier. If I could just to a, b, and c everything would be in order or if this list could make my life easier or if this parenting method would be effective then I would feel good and be at peace. Of course those things never solve the problem. The only answer is Jesus! Thanks for the reminder that in the struggles of motherhood and life we just need to fall at the feet of Jesus and rest in him.
Yes, yes, yes! As moms, we grow weary. WE get tired, frustrated, and hopeless. But there’s always hope because there’s Jesus. I went through a long stint (we’re talking years here), where I wasn’t enjoying this whole mothering bit. It was a job to me. I hate having to admit that but I think so many of us struggle with the amount of responsibility we have on any given day. We can even grow to resent this role…and yes, our children. But we do have hope. WE can be renewed and restored in our efforts. We can view this role of motherhood as a calling rather than a job. All because of J-E-S-U-S. So thankful for the hope that is HIm.
This hit home with me and it’s somewhat of a relief to know I’m not alone but sad because it’s a really scarey feeling too.
I lack patience and that is not good when you have a kiddo that has no urgency for time.
My husband is very patient and laid back. I’m the opposite and I don’t like it. I do not want to pass this to my daughter because it’s not good. I feel like I have been in a very dark place and not sure where to look or how to get out of this funk.
There are not enough hours in the day or sometimes I just don’t have the energy to do all that needs done.
So let me just say this, Robyn: you are not alone. Like, at all. I have really, really struggled in this department and what changed it was realizing that I had passed it on to my kids. I see my middle child move quick to anger with his younger sibling all the time. And it bothers me so. But I realized I had to stop. That I had to give them what I would want–patience. To be honest, I couldn’t do it on my own and sought counsel and a prescription in order to help me with it. I don’t have any shame in sharing that because it was needed and the right choice for me and my family. Patience is most certainly a virtue and one I struggled (too much) to possess. Praying for you in your trials. Blessings…
Yes, yes, yes! Almost every day there is a time I want to quit. With my 5 kids, they seem to suck me dry. By the end of the evening I’m simply done. Then I feel the guilt of not doing or being enough for the kids, the husband, the extended family who don’t live around us, friends, and by golly even the dog! What a good reminder that God’s grace is there along with His strength if I simply seek after Him. Thank you for the encouraging words!
Ugh. I hate guilt. It creeps in all the time, doesn’t it? However, I had to be able to discern guilt from conviction. Guilt is from the Enemy but conviction comes from the Lord. Realizing that, along with the fact that I’m completely imperfect, has helped with my mommy guilt. Praying it helps you, too. Hugs!
Sign me up, sign me in and sign me OUT! As momma to enough children to shame me into silence, I have an AWESOME assortment of ‘wanna quit’ moments. Currently 3 teenagers in the house, 1 special needs kiddo, 2 more typical kids, an adult one that moved back in AND don’t forget we just had to get a dog! Most days I just shake my head and marvel that SOMEDAY I’ll understand what Jesus was planning with ALL THIS…for now my motto is: Never give up no matter how much ‘you gotta be kidding me’ life throws at you!
Absolutely, Dawn. I love your candor and “go getter” attitude. So true. Persevere!!!
Dawn, you’re one of the winners of Jenny’s book! Please email my Project Manager your address at: email@example.com (attention: Sherri). Congratulations!
Many days ,especially as I am challenged with dealing with the emotional needs of my 3 teenagers, one of whom has significant behavioral problems at home, I am tempted to give up. I didn’t marry until age 32 and had twins at age 33 and never imagined parenting could be so hard. So thankful for the grace Jesus provides when I call upon Him…just need to do so more regularly than resting in my own “strength”. Thanks for such a transparent blog post.
Mary Lou, teenagers are tough. My son is only ten and already, I’m feeling as though I can’t get through to him. He’s angry a lot of the time and I just pray that the Lord will work in his heart and nurture him into the man God wants him to be. It’s hard giving up that control and giving it to God, but I’m praying…and believing.
Prayers (and hugs) to you…
Oh this day sounds like quite a few of mine. Long days running around, a bunch of things to be done, very little wiggle room, poorly executed prep work and overtired mama and kids is a recipe for a day like this to occur.
I’m right there with you, Celine. Blessings, friend.
The morning after the baby had been up every two hours during the night to eat and the toddler did not want to do anything I asked him to do-like eat breakfast and was having a meltdown because he wanted to watch TV. Oh, and there was no pre-school that day as it was snowing-again. I wanted to walk away and go to warmer climates, alone.
Oh, girl. That definitely sounds like a day to quit, huh? Thankful for His mercy and grace.
Blessings to you…
I would like to quit now! My husband lost his job in July of last year. I came out of retirement to work part time for minimum wage. Our 19 year old dropped out of college to help. Our daughter & her 3 school age children also live with us. We all 4 actually work part time. We have cut out & cut back but still are struggling. This has been our living situation for over 5 years now. It wasn’t easy before but it is especially hard now. My husband & I would take a get away now & them but can’t afford to do that any more. Thank you for this reminder to pray , give grace & surrender. I think surrender is my biggest problem!!!
Oh, Rita. I’m so sorry, friend. You are going through a lot right now for sure. I’m just going to pray for you:
Lord, I’m just going to lift Rita up right now to you and ask that you provide her constant comfort and strength day in and day out as she pushes through these trials. Remind her of your promises and help her to feel your presence in everything.
In your Son’s precious name,
The shorter answer would be for the question “When HAVEN’T you wanted to call it quits?” As a mommy of three including a set of 2 year old twins I often find myself at the brink of stress with the world weighing on my shoulders. One day I recall recently was two weeks ago when the stomach bug hit all three of my children at the same time. I was running between rooms cleaning up vomit and poopy pants. I was wiping tears while listening to endless cries and whining. Then for no reason the dog, who never has had a mistake in the house, jumps up on MY side of the bed and pees on it!!! Are you serious? To make matters worse as I am giving one twin a bath because of the blow out he has in his crib he ends up pooping in the tub because of the tummy bug. The next 3 days were all similar to this 24 hour period. All I wanted to do was run away but I held strong and took care of my babies and the household.
Oh, girl. You need a spa day for sure. Or a medal. Kudos to you and Amen for the strength the Lord provides on days that seem downright impossible to get through.
There have been times I have wanted to quit also especially on days when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to! You just need to take a few minutes for yourself and try and relax and refresh!
Yes! And pray…lots!!!
There have indeed been moments I wanted to quit. I’ve worked so hard at this vocation of motherhood and now, having a teen, it sometimes seems that he rejects everything I’ve tried to teach: from our passion for baseball to our heritage and, finally, to our religion. I realized I can’t quit though. Instead, I pray a lot more!
Yes! There is so much power in prayer. No one prepared us for how hard motherhood would be. Thankful for the strength and comfort the Lord providess over and over again…
There HAVE been times when I have wanted to quit! Or at least sent to time out in my bedroom for a week!!! Thank you for reminding me that I am covered by GRACE!
I’m art the point I want to quit now. Our lease is due today I must sign and turn it in by 5p.m. agreeing to the increase I feel is overwhelmingly way to much.we have searched for a cheaper place to live and found none. I am struggling with keeping up with my work the house work and trying so hard to let go of the thought in a horrible wife because our communication wiresare cross and mother because some of the decisions my children are making. Thank you so much for what you just wrote, it confirms in on the right track and not alone in my struggles.
You and me both, friend. Amen for grace. Hugs
Hey! You are the first other person I have ever met who also says “hugs” when finishing up a caring conversation. Yay! love your blog…..
Yes, after many years add a single mother, 14 of them, my son now 24 had a son 16 months old whose mother walked out on them. Now he is back home and I’m caring for my grandson full time. In secret I cry all the time, this is not at all how I planned things to be. I’m trying to submit to God’s will in my son and grandsons life (heaven knows how much I love them both), sometimes it’s hard to see past the immediate situation to know God’s glory is all around… thank you for the words of encouragement. God bless.