The latest Disney hit movie Encanto is filled with several musical scenes and catchy lyrics. Before my kids had even seen the movie, they were singing refrains from the songs that they had heard from classmates at school. Their particular favorite: “Surface Pressure.” It wasn’t long before all of my children had caught on and it was as if they were themselves an endless Encanto soundtrack.
Several mornings in a row I found myself waking up as my alarm went off with these lyrics in my head. “Who am I if I can't carry it all? If I falter… Who am I if I don't have what it takes? No cracks, no breaks. No mistakes, no pressure.”
At first, my thought was: “Wow! This song is being overused in my house if that is the first thing my mind goes to when I wake up.” It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized that this was more than just a catchy song that I had picked up on from my children. They were words that rang true in my mind on repeat before my feet even hit the floor. My own growing pressure of motherhood: no mistakes, no pressure.
It’s not meant to be all up to us; rather, it is through this calling and vocation of parenthood that we find ourselves drawing closer to the God who created us.
As parents, we often take on the world—or at least, assume that we have to. We feel the weight of the day, the weight of the week, and the weight of the month on our shoulders. We worry if we have what it takes. We worry if we are enough. And we worry what will happen if we just don’t make the cut. We wonder how our children will turn out. We wonder if we are doing enough, wonder if we are doing too much, and wonder if we missed opportunities. We worry, we pray, we grow anxious, we hope, we distress, we trust.
We see t-shirts and coffee mugs printed with the phrase You Got This or I’ve Got This. While we know that God’s grace is sufficient for us in each moment, sometimes we question whether we really have what it takes. We feel our hearts break and shatter when we see our children hurt or suffering. We hope and pray that they know how immensely we love them, even more so, how immensely God loves them. We long to see them grow, flourish, and ultimately, follow God’s will for their life.
We beat ourselves up over what should have been or could have been, forgetting that God has called us to this and He will equip us with the strength and the grace that we need. Even in our imperfections, Christ is perfecting their hearts with every prayer we whisper. In the end, it is God Who works through us, it is He who works in our children. That is a gift. In that is found peace because God’s got this, and we don’t have to. He can carry it all—He has what it takes.
It’s not meant to be all up to us; rather, it is through this calling and vocation of parenthood that we find ourselves drawing closer to the God who created us. We depend more on Him, realizing that this is a sacred mission and a gift that He entrusted to us. It is our path to holiness, if only we allow it to transform our hearts; to allow the trials, frustrations, endless giving, heartaches, and sacrifices to be our offering to God; for the joys, laughter, smiles, snuggles, and bliss to be a prayer of praise. With God, we have what it takes.
So take the pressure off of parenthood in these 3 simple steps: 1. Pray
Whether it is a few short minutes or a longer Lectio Divina, make it a priority to talk to God first thing in the morning. It is a way to take the focus off of ourselves, off of the to-do list, and the worries of the day. Prayer orders the day properly by first focusing on God. It gives us peace and direction, having our minds lift to someone greater than ourselves, someone who can carry it all.
This is often easier said than done but we need to realize that we don’t have to have all of the answers. That while the upbringing and formation of our children is our vocation, it doesn’t depend solely on us. During the difficulties and hardships or the days that just seem to be too much, surrender. Allow God’s grace to be sufficient and trust in His providential care. Put it on His shoulders.
3. Begin Again
It happens. We have moments where we fall, we fail, and we sin. We feel like we have let our family down and may begin to beat ourselves up over it. While it is important to be humble enough to recognize and acknowledge our own sinfulness and shortcomings, it is equally important to take consolation in God’s love and mercy. There is so much grace in bringing ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession and beginning again.
We all have moments in parenthood where it may seem like the pressure is too great, wondering how we will survive without faltering or falling. Thankfully, we aren’t in this on our own. God has called us to this vocation, He will guide us, direct us, and lead us. No pressure because He will not abandon us in our times of need; He will see us through if we only put our trust in Him.
Cassie Everts is a wife, the mother to five little ones in heaven and five children on earth—soon to be six. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss in the Lives of the Saints and Today's Parents. She blogs at Everyday Ann and is a contributing writer at Relevant Radio. Before becoming a mom, she was a producer in Catholic radio. Cassie is trying to figure out this whole parenthood thing one cup of coffee at a time.