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WAHM's Heart: Learning to Let Go

Updated: Apr 1

by Rachel Robert



I found out I was expecting my second baby when my bigger baby boy was just 7 months old. After fertility help the first time around, this was a sweet surprise. Seeing the two lines sent my slightly overwhelmed knees buckling onto the tiled bathroom floor as I whispered, “Okay, Lord,” out loud. 


More often than not at the grocery store or playing at the park these last three years or so, I’ll inevitably hear the common question directed my way, “Are they twins?” 


My response is usually something like, “No, but it feels like it!”


It was survival mode for my husband and me for a little while. My boys have a unique relationship being so close in age. I describe it as love and war without much in between, and it’s perpetually physically expressive regardless. 


Being raised in a girl-dominated household, we didn't do a lot of tussling, and though we definitely had our own emotional moments, I wasn’t truly prepared for my boisterous sensory-seeking little guys at first.



As a mom, I found negative physical interactions triggering, like being in a middle-school hallway when a fight would break out, and I’d duck my head and walk swiftly to class. I would sense that same anxiety rise up in me, and since I obviously couldn’t flee the scene, I’d make my best attempts at all of the gentle parenting techniques I’d learned on Instagram, amidst some pretty stellar meltdowns.


Meanwhile, my own dysregulation increased if my strategies didn’t work in the moment, and I’d revert to yelling. Most of the time, of course, my preschoolers weren’t even in a reflective place to process anything I was saying yet anyway.


Parental reactivity can be kind of a confusing thing. 


For me, the feeling of helplessness or loss of control can appear suddenly, unfiltered, especially if I’ve resisted it constantly throughout an already overstimulating day.


One evening I was trying to cook dinner and the boys were chasing each other around the house, going for blood because one wouldn’t share the other’s favorite toy or because one spoke rudely or something like that.


After intervening, I stepped back into the kitchen to check the stove, a little blindsided and still trying to discern how to stop the madness and make repairs. I looked over my shoulder to see the boys already giving each other hugs and cheek kisses, saying, “Sowwy,” and “It’s okay, I love you,” on their own.



This happened often where they’d be playing happily again, both quickly forgiven for their transgressions toward each other.


There I’d be, neck muscles tense, cortisol pumping, out of emotional or physical energy, reaching for my dark chocolate or some other calming, yet belly-enhancing form of carbohydrate, not to mention, regretting the volume or the harshness of the words I’d used and overall pretty unhappy with my own inability to stay calm.


One Tuesday night, I was sitting at my Bible study group and I looked down at the scripture, immediately convicted. In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us to get rid of all bitterness, *fits of rage, anger, and harsh words. He even classifies it as a form of malice, or evil in some translations.



I loved motherhood, but I found myself not measuring up to the person, the mother I wanted to be in those moments, and my stress responses were exhausting me. If I’m honest, in moments of perceived loss of control, my anxiety, my own reactivity could look a lot like rage.


Though I was eventually able to extend myself grace, I knew I needed help to figure out how to regulate my own emotions. I realized that getting rid of rage wasn’t something I could help my little boys with until I practiced it myself. 


The next verse after Paul challenges believers to be done with anger says to “forgive quickly and fully,” like Christ forgives us. My first step was forgiving myself and my babies quickly, the way Jesus and little children do, and then asking the Holy Spirit what to say (or not say) or do next.


I guess that’s what repentance and sanctification are really supposed to look like: To be done with what we’re doing, to take on His ways, and to follow Jesus in a different direction. I learned I can absolutely let Jesus transform my parenting too. 


I don’t think Paul only meant to get rid of rage, anger, and harsh words towards everyone except people who are littler than us. Peace started looking a lot less like controlling the room and a lot more like surrendering it.



Some prayers I pray during overwhelm now can sound something like:


“God, please help me to understand his heart.”


“Father, help him feel heard by me.”


“Holy Spirit, help me be creative.”


“Thank you, Jesus, for my babies.”


Sometimes I just give silent hugs.


I still have much to learn and a lot of opportunities to practice, but lately, I’m more likely to pause, to ask the Lord how to proceed, or to simply let Him breathe peace over me when I need to be the calm for their storm. If I do lose my cool, I work to regulate before reacting again, ask for and receive forgiveness more quickly, and move forward with Him.


God loves us enough to teach us new ways that make us more and more like Him on the inside. Best part is, we don’t need to dwell on our own mess-ups. Most of the time, even if we’re still looking over our shoulders figuring out how to say sorry, He’s already there giving us cheek kisses and saying, 


“It’s okay; I love you.”


-


Rachel Robert is a former middle school English teacher and social worker who loves being with and advocating for children. For the past four years she has dedicated most of her time to raising her two sweet and wild boys, Elijah and Judah. Her musician husband, Phinees, is the extrovert to her introvert.


Rachel enjoys nature, written expression, worshiping God through singing and playing piano, and finding beauty in seemingly ordinary things.


In 2023, she started The Boho Rainbow Co, a decor shop where she sells whimsical handmade fiber decor and accessories both locally and online from her home in Evington, Virginia.





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